Lay of the Land
“We left the way one leaves a cherished but impossible love: our hearts heavy with regret but beating with great hope.”~Mirta Ojito
Havana is the largest city in Cuba with over 2 million of the country’s 11 million inhabitants. The three principal areas of interest to the tourist are Old Havana (Habana Vieja), and the once glorious residential areas of the Vedado and Miramar. The Malecón is the famous oceanfront boulevard, where you may see waves still wash over the walls at high tide and, at virtually any time of day, young lovers can be seen strolling.
President Obama’s December, 2014 announcement regarding the U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relationship means many things for the island nation that so famously sits just 90 miles off the coast of Florida—but above all, it has meant a massive influx of travelers to a nation with primitive infrastructure and limited hotels.
Indagare has been taking travelers to Cuba on Insider Trips for seven years. Half a dozen of our travel experts have scouted the destination, making sure we are up to date on the best hotels, restaurants and — most important — guides who bring their insider access to each trip.
Americans traveling with licenses can fly directly from Miami and according to reports, soon from many more American cities as U.S. carriers are planning to add direct flights. There are flights from London as well as daily flights from Mexico and Canada. Private charter flights can also be arranged but most will be on the Cuban charter airlines so the interiors will be closer to those of a Greyhound Bus than to a NetJet.
Much of Old Havana is a car-free zone and is best explored on foot so you can take in the architectural details of the beautiful buildings and squares. Pedi-cabs do criss-cross Old Havana so if you are weary, you can hail one and for a few pesos ride back to your hotel. Outside of the main hotels and major tourist sites, you will usually have a choice of regular cabs, vintage cabs (from Buick convertibles to glistening DeSotos) and horse and buggies.