One of the icons of Havana is the sea wall along the promenade, extending five miles from the harbour. It is a great place for a stroll to get your bearings on arrival, although if it’s hot there’s no shade – in that case save it for the evening as the Cubans do.
It is a good place to take the pulse of the city after arriving for the first time. This long, meandering walk is where Habaneros fish, chat, strum guitar, pick up love interests – and snack. Cadillacs and Buicks judder past, their souped-up stereo systems blasting salsa or regaeton. Gangly beach boys somersault into the waves from the rocks. Tourists mingle with the guitar-strummers, joggers, and lovers. In between them, weave street snack vendors of popcorn, fried pasta, and toasted peanuts. The pregón, or street call, is a soundtrack to Cuban street life. The siren call of the peanut vendor joins those selling chicharrones de macarrones: cooked macaroni re-fried with pork rind. You can also seek out guarapo – fresh sugar cane juice to quench your thirst.
When it rains, silver sheets of water gather on the Malecon and the passing cars drench passers-by in salty water. When it storms, the palms are tossed and the sea whipped into a frenzy as great waves surge over the wall. It is a constant, ever-changing drama in the heart of Havana, the one place where the elements are always on display.
The Cuba Private Travel team has access to the very best in Cuban art, music, literature, dance, environment, history and architecture as well as Cuba’s most outstanding beaches and accommodation. By listening to you, the independent traveller, we are able to create tailor-made travel itineraries for your vacation that take you to the heart of Cuba’s culture, landscape and people. Cuba Private Travel’s bespoke itineraries are fully U.S. Treasury Department compliant and include access to personal guides, experts, interpreters and, of course, a 24-hour concierge.
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