Five Things To Do In Havana From Rum To Tropical Dancers

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Havana is a magical city and one of the most unique I’ve visited so far. The history, architecture and people of Old Havana are breathtaking. So once you have taken a tour of the capital of Cuba what is left for you to do in Havana? Lots! There is a rum museum, an ancient fort, a Vegas-style song and dance show, a Cuban market and a neighbourhood transformed by an artist into a mosaic fantasy land. There is plenty to do in Havana, here is my list of things to do when you visit this magical historic city. Enjoy.

Cabaret Tropicana 1 of 5 things to do in Havana

Before I go into detail I have decided to list these activities in the order I think you should visit. If you only have time for 2 out of the five, then pick the top two. Let’s begin.

Fusterlandia – Imagine you are born into a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Havana called Jaimanitas. All you have is your imagination and a dream. The dream is to transform where you live into a mosaic fantasy of art and your own expression. This is José Rodríguez Fuster and welcome to his dream, Fusterlandia. With the profits from the sale of his art José Fuster has transformed his impoverished neighbourhood into a living and breathing exhibit of modern Cuban art.

Fusterlandia is free to explore and wander on your own. There is a gallery where you can purchase a piece of José Fuster art and you may even meet the artist himself as he wanders and works on his property. Don’t just stick to his house though. He has transformed over 80 neighbouring houses as well.

One of many neighbouring homes decorated by Jose Fuster in Fusterlandia

This living art installation not only feeds your soul it also feeds the neighbourhood and its inhabitants. What was once a poor suburb is now a thriving community. Support it with your visit.

Looking over Fusterlandia in Havana Cuba

Castillo del Morro – From modern art to ancient fortifications, the Castillo del Morro is a most impressive fortification that sits high on a hill overlooking Havana harbour. Built by the Spanish to defend the city this walled fortress is a wonder to wander through and explore.

Panorama view from Castillo del Morro Havana

Cannons still sit on the walls as well as a lighthouse that rises from the heart of the fortress.

An old cannon on the wall of the Castillo del Morro Havana

Lighthouse at Castillo del Morro Havana

You can look through bolt holes and imagine yourself defending Havana from the invading pirates and British or you can just explore the old barracks, chapel and walls.

Chapel inside the walls of Castillo del Morro Havana

Not to miss an opportunity for shopping there is even a small market of local wares available for you to purchase.

Market set up outside Castillo del Morro Havana

Almacenes San José Artisans’ Market – If you love to explore markets this one located close to the cruise ship terminals in Havana Harbour will leave you very satisfied. Even though it is close to the cruise ships my local guides advises that the prices here are better than in other parts of the city. Plus here there is competition from other vendors so feel free to haggle.
Inside the Almacenes San José Artisans' Market
They have everything here including food vendors and a local bank. I had been approached in Old Havana about getting braids done in my hair. I had turned it down and instantly regretted it. Lucky for me I found a couple of ladies that offered this service here. Done!
Rows and rows of shops within the Almacenes San José Artisans' Market
Pineapple and cocnut stand inside the Almacenes San José Artisans' Market
Getting my hair braided by a local cuban woman
The finished braid
Havana Club Rum Museum – Did someone say Rum? My absolute favourite spirit is a staple of the Cuban people and of course, there is a museum dedicated to its making and history in Cuba. Arranged by my local guide Betsy through her company Cuba Tour I was taken on a tour through an old Rum factory.
Museo del Ron Havana Club
It starts with sugar cane and ends with a tasting in the bar. I learned a few valuable things not least of which was Havana Club 3 year Rum is for making cocktails, Havana Anejo is for Cuba Libre and the Havana Club 7 year is made for sipping. They had a few bottles that were as old as 25 years but they were a tad outside my price range.
Tour of the Havana Club Rum Museum
Minitiature of the original Havana Club Rum Museum
Rum Rum Rum
Tasting the Havana Club 7 year Rum
Looking for a souvenir? How about a ready to go Havana Club Mojito Kit?
The authentic Cuban Mojito Mix gift pack
Cabaret Tropicana – Lights, showgirls, showguys, feathers and really bright colours. Welcome to the show that is Tropicana. Started in the 1940’s pre-revolution this Cabaret show has become one of the most famous in the World. The rich and fabulous gathered to be entertained and fast forward to 2017 the tradition still continues.
The Cabaret Tropicana Havana
You can enjoy a dinner and a show or opt just for the show as I did. If you don’t like bright lights, feather headdresses and the best musical talent in Cuba then you won’t enjoy this show. Sit back, drink as many rum and cokes as you want (a bottle per table is there for your enjoyment) and enjoy the show.
While there are probably 100+ things to do in Havana these five are a great place to start and three of them date back to before the Revolution.


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Disclosure: General

Thanks to Cuba Tourism for hosting my stay in Havana. My views and opinions are 100% my own.

About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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