Havana Cuba will prove intriguing and unique for even the most seasoned travelers. With Cuba tourism on the rise as a whole, more and more voyagers looking for a truly authentic travel experience are considering a Cuba vacation. A Havana vacation experience is usually where Cuba trip planning will start, as the city is chock full of attractions. Also, since most tourists arrive on flights to the José Martí International Airport to the south of town, a day or more is usually spent in the Cuban capital. Havana's nightlife is alive and well, it's dining scene reveals many a splendid choice, and the Havana hotel options are quite sufficient.
A city that found itself in the middle of European and American clashes for most of its history, Havana wears its identity on its sleeve. Recent renovations to buildings in Habana Vieja, or Old Havana, pay an homage of sorts to the city's colonial identity, and casual walks along the Malecon inspire the imagination to run wild as you peer out to sea. Havana Cuba is wonderful in so many ways, there is no doubt about that. Should you be fortunate enough to visit Cuba's cultural, business and political main hub, you will be enamored with its spirit and its grace.
Habana Cuba, as it is known in Cuba, rests on the northwest Cuban coast, just over 100 miles from Key West, Florida. The largest city in the Caribbean, Havana is a thriving, yet casual metropolis that offers great museums, impressive palaces and churches, and plenty of public squares where relaxation and people-watching are at a premium. Havana of course figures prominently in the history of Cuba, and it was founded actually on the southern coast of Cuba in 1515 by Spanish Conquistador, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. After a few years, it was decided that the city be relocated to the north coast, due largely to the area's wonderful harbor location on the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, Old Havana was born. As the Spanish went about conquering much of the New World, they used Habana Cuba as their featured port in the Americas, especially when preparing to carry their spoils back to Spain. As the harbor grew in importance, so did Havana as a city.
The Spanish would designate Havana the "Key to the New World," and in the second half of the 1500s they began to construct fortresses like the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, and the Morro Castle. Other new buildings rose up in Havana Cuba in the 1600"s, and by the mid-1700s, the city was larger than New York. During the Seven Years' War, Havana would become a British possession, only to return to Spanish control with the Peace of Paris treaty. Havana would eventually become the world's top sugar producer, and the city began to become quite fashionable in the 1800's as it increased trade with other Caribbean islands and North America.
The Spanish presence in the Americas would come to an end in Cuba with the 1898 Spanish-American War, which was fueled by the sinking of the United States's Maine battleship. Havana would go on to suffer financially in the 20th century, and with Fidel Castro's move to convert the country into a Communist state, more economic demise was on the bill. Soviet investments and interest would see a decline in the 1990s with the fall of the Soviet Union, financially hampering Havana again. Tourism is always a good way to generate national income, and as such, Cuba is making a move to welcome more and more visitors, hence Havana's most recent renovations. With the U.S. allowing legal tourism, the future is looking bright for Havana.
A Havana vacation can surely fill day after day of interesting pursuits. Havana has well-defined districts, and is quite honestly more like a few different cities grouped into one. Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must for Cuba tours. The Malecon in Old Havana extends to the Almendares River, and follows along a north shore seawall. The Museum of the Revolution, which is found in Old Havana, can arm you with a better understanding of the city and of Cuba as a whole, and among the many Old Havana buildings of interest is the Capitolio Nacional, or National Capitol Building.
Newer suburban areas make up another portion of the city, and the vibrant neighborhood of Vedado is a downtown district known for its hotels, business edifices and nighttime entertainment value. Vedado's western edge borders the upscale districts of Miramar and Playa, which are good places to consider basing yourself during your Havana vacation. While shopping on a Havana vacation is hardly an ideal endeavor for most, it's always tempting to at least grab some famous Cuban cigars. Couple a Cuban cigar with a Cuban glass of rum, and you have a Havana vacation experience that is apt to make you feel like a local.
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