Any Cuban journey starts in Havana, Cuba’s capital city and home to a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site.

What to do in Havana

Street life in Havana is key: whether that be domino playing, gossiping, seduction or impromptu music. Havana’s history and culture is stored behind the facades of a host of well-curated and informative museums, art galleries and cultural spaces. The city’s Art Biennial goes from strength to strength and Cuba Private Travel can introduce you to Havana’s leading experts, all eager to guide you and share their knowledge, whether that be shopping for Cuba’s famous tobacco and rum, learning about the Afro-Caribbean history of Cuba, understanding the country’s revolution and architectural heritage or meeting the stars of Havana’s ballet, fine art and sporting worlds. Havana has a lot to offer.

Tours of Havana

Cuba’s capital city is home to a stunning World Heritage site where, over the last two decades, Havana’s old colonial centre, the Habana Vieja, has been lovingly restored. Through the work of city historian Eusebio Leal, artisans have been brought out of retirement to realize their dreams of showcasing Havana’s architectural heritage whilst also passing their skills and wisdom on to a new generation of custodians.

To fully understand Havana, we recommend visiting some of the areas where restoration money hasn’t arrived. Just west of Habana Vieja, the gritty working-class district of Centro Habana is an atmospheric picture of ruined, rutted beauty. Slightly further west there are architectural gems in the well-heeled districts of Vedado and Miramar whose peeling and faded grandeur eloquently describes the twentieth century changes that Havana has experienced. Join Havana’s young romantics for a sunset stroll along the Malecon. This is where surf and city blend with fishing and salsa as the city winds down and transitions into night.

Outside town, Las Playas del Este offers a sneak preview of Cuba’s legendary turquoise water-and-white-sand beaches, while 24 km from the city centre, the beautifully restored home of Ernest Hemmingway, La Vigia, is now a museum. Cuba Private Travel will take you exploring in 50’s style, chauffeured in one of Havana’s beautifully restored classic cars or riding on a Harley Davidson with Ernesto Che Guevara, Che Guevara’s bike mad son.

Food and Restaurants

Cuba’s rich cuisine has evolved out of the island’s layered, émigré history. Havana now has a panoply of new private restaurants, known as paladars, and these are pushing the envelope on the cuisine scene thanks to the government recently loosening its laws on small business start-ups. Cuba Private Travel will always find you the best tables and take care of any dietary needs. Some of our favourites include Vista Mar, Rio Mar and Porto-Habana, where wonderful views compliment the menus. La Guarida restaurant will rival any of the world’s top restaurants and offers the added attraction of dining in a unique architectural gem that sums up the faded grandeur of Havana. For light lunches and snacks, call in at our favourite cafes. El Café is great for sourdough and brunch, Café Fortuna Joe’s for funky furnishings and, in the old town, 5 Esquinas Trattoria offers pizza and pasta.

Cuba is famous for the production of rum, chocolate, sugar and coffee and visits to the old plantations will bring the country’s history to life.


Havana explodes with artistic possibility during the city’s Arts Biennale, but whatever time of year you visit Cuba Private Travel can organize your private tour of Havana’s best artists (in their studio-homes), collectors, galleries (both state and public) and collectives; You can learn about the finer points of Cuba’s Kafka-esque art-dealer scene and, if you are not in the market to buy, we can give you a potted tour of Cuba’s vibrant artistic heritage, from its colonial genesis to the present day. Twenty years in the making, Fusterlandia is where the artist Jose Fuster has turned an entire neighbourhood into Gaudi-esque mosaics of spiral walkways, pools, and statues – even the bus stops are mosaic.


Cuba Private Travel can arrange private rumba performances for you in Havana. On a private city rooftop in total seclusion watch two of Havana’s best dancers as they unfurl a stunning rumba for your eyes only. One of the dances acts out the relationship between the orishas Eleggua and Oshun. Eleggua is often shown as a playful boy child, dressed in red and black. Oshun is a goddess of love and sensuality, who spreads sunshine and honey. After the performance sit down with the dancers and let them explain the nature of the dance, its history, what it means to them and how the dance fits into their personal story. You will learn the nuances that it expresses and how four hundred years of slave culture, fused with Spanish colonialism, created a vibrant and multi-faceted culture of its own.


The Cuban National Ballet School is the largest ballet school in the world. Founded by the nonagenarian Alicia Alonso in 1948, it is also one of most prestigious in the world. Its home is the Gran Teatro de la Habana, an Art Nouveau building originally built by the Galician community in Havana as a social centre, and now one of the most gorgeous buildings in Havana. We can arrange for you to go backstage at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and watch the prima ballerina and her leading man give a private performance for your eyes only. We can do the same with Cuba’s leading female flamenco star or a contemporary dance troupe such as that of the British-Cuban dance star Carlos Acosta.


Havana nightlife is exuberant with plenty of alfresco salsa and rumba clubs, live music venues and troubadour sessions. Knowledge passes by word of mouth and some of the best parties are pop-up. Sometimes you will head to a late-night show only to find the best band did the matinee! We will cut out all the confusion and disappointment and make sure that you hit the right club at the right time so you will be just where you need to be when the best bands start playing and the clubs are full of people (without having to queue, of course). You can tour the town by moonlight in your own chauffeured vintage car in the company of a knowledgeable and specialist concierge. If you want an amazing night to celebrate an occasion, we can turn your villa or a rooftop somewhere into the best party in town – complete with invitees if you wish. Cuba’s only Michelin-starred chef will be on-hand to turn out beautiful roast pork or ceviche dishes while Cuba’s best singers and trumpeters serenade the night.


Revelling in Havana’s sporting venues is an introduction to Cuban passion. Havana’s basketball team ‘Los Capitalinos’ plays at Sala Polivalente Ramón Fonst. Baseball is mainly at Estadio Latinamericano, with a season that runs from November to May. Havana’s ‘Los Azules’, (The Blues), is the top baseball team that every child mimics in the playground after school.

To participate in Cuba’s Olympic medal winning boxing heritage, Sala Polivalente Kid Chocolate is electric. Cuba Private Travel can arrange boxing classes at the atmospheric Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Trejo, or private boxing lessons with some of Cuba’s champion boxers.


Havana is, quite literally, the last place in the world to go shopping for designer labels and brand names - but what if you forsake all this and go for true originality instead? We can show you the places to find beautiful handmade leatherwork and exquisitely stitched guayaberas amid the market tat. We even know where to find Murano glassware long buried in back street junk stores. History buffs can seek out political tomes sold amid the bougainvillea-drenched beauty of the Plaza de Armas and we recommend taking yourself deeper into vintage books territory by seeking out private dealers in their homes where you will also be able to unearth original revolutionary posters.

Beach & Spa

On a quiet beach west of Havana we have a beautiful little wooden beach house in an artists’ community frequented by Cubans in the know. An expert masseuse, reflexologist, mani-pedicurist and facialist will pamper your body and soul while you lie back and listen to the lapping sea. Local fisherman drift by and when you are hungry we whistle them over so that you can choose your catch, cooked up by your own private chef.

In town, the rooftop spa at the five star Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski offers world class pampering alongside an infinity pool, bar and terrace where you can relax and soak up the panoramic views of Havana.

What to do in Havana