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Where to Stay in Havana?
Havana is less budget-friendly than other cities in Latin America, due to the many peculiarities of the Cuban economy. Still, if you know how the system works and where in Havana to stay, finding cheap hotel deals can be easy. There are several main tourist areas in Havana, all of which offer diverse options for travellers to shop, stay and dine. Habana Vieja is the most spectacular part of central Havana. A Unesco World Heritage Site, this neighborhood has more than 900 buildings of historical interest, plus many restaurants and cafes. Habana Vieja is home to major attractions such as the Museo de la Ciudad, the Museo del Automóvil, and countless historic buildings and churches. Outside of the old part of the city lies Centro Habana, a neighbourhood with more modern architecture than Habana Vieja. The relaxed suburb of Vedado contains many of the city's parks, smaller restaurants, and is also the location of many agropecuarios, Cuba's version of farmer's markets.
Havana Accommodation Options
The Cuban government strictly regulates Havana's tourist economy, so shopping for discount hotels in the city is unusually challenging. There are basically two types of accommodations available in Havana: government-run hotels and casas particulares, which are private homes that have licenses to rent out rooms to travellers. Hotels in Havana run the gamut from luxury hotels in restored buildings in Habana Vieja to more modest accommodations in Vedado or the Playa and Marianao. However, many official hotels in Havana lack the amenities that travellers usually expect in modern hotels: televisions, Internet access and even hot water can be lacking even in high-priced hotels. 'Casas particulares' offer much less expensive accommodations, and give you a chance to see how ordinary Habaneros live. Many have private rooms for their guests, air conditioning and offer dinner or breakfast. The preference for these is mainly due to their friendly atmosphere and personal touch.
Havana Hotel Recommendations?
In the heart of historic Havana, the Hotel Mercure Sevilla stands out thanks to its Moorish architecture, its unique and spectacular view over the city as well as by the prestigious personalities that have stayed in the hotel since 1908. 178 rooms, 2 restaurants, 3 bars, a meeting room for up to 50 people and a swimming pool. 24hr dining available. N.B. in Cuba the EUR to CUC (cuban pesos) exchange rate is subject to a fluctuating government tax. American credit cards are not accepted. Located on the beautiful Varadero beach, the Mercure Cuatro Palmas Varadero, a colonial style hotel, features a courtyard surrounded by patios, red roofs and tropical gardens. Restaurants, bar, pool, daytime entertainment, music and evening shows. 2 room types, standard located on the beach and classic separated from the hotel by a road. Please take note that the EUR CUC exchange rate is subject to a fluctuating goverment tax which is different for buying and selling. Vouchers and American credit cards not accepted. The eclectic Ambos Mundos Hotel was built in the late 1920's and it is an intimate and cozy place that stands out because of its history. In the early 1930's, the American writer, Ernest Hemingway, stayed in this hotel and, in the room 511, he wrote the first chapter of For Whom The Bell Tolls since he found the hotel 'a good place to write'.
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