To be honest I am not a big fan of these Hop on Hop off bus tours. But in Havana it is a great and cheap way to get a first overview of the most imortant districts and to go to the sightseeing spots located outside the city center. Therefore, we decided to do a tour with these red double-decker busses to discover Havana.
Cost: 10 CUC (approx. 8.5€) per person
Start: Parque Central (Of course you can start at other stops because it is a round trip)
Tickets: Tickets can be bought inside the bus (valid for one day).
Attractions: Parque Central (1) - Paseo Martí (2) - Malecon (3) - Plaza de la Revolución (4) - Cementerio de Colón (5) - Parque Almendares (6) - Universidad (7) - Museo de la Revolución (8) - Castillo de la Real Fuerza (9) - Almacenes San José Artisans' Market (10)
Important: On the top deck you must duck your head at some times, because otherwise the branches of the trees will hit you. It is a little bit better when sitting on the left site fo the bus!
1: At Parque Central there is not only a Hop on Hop off stop but also numerous colorful Fords, Buicks or Chevys. For approx. 50€ you can go on a sightseeing tour through the city in one of these old-timers. Around the square are some luxury hotels as well as the Gran Teatro de La Habana and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. On the south side there is the Capitol, an exact copy of the Capitol in Washington.
2: At first the bus goes along Paseo Martí. The wide street is lined with old buildings and trees. Especially at night there are many tourists and locals sitting on the marble benches to watch the musicians and other artists. The street ends at the famous promenade Malecon.
3: During the day the Malecon is pretty empty. Only a few fishermen cast their lines. At night many tourists and Cubans meet here to have a Barbecue, dance, listen to music or relax.
4: Then the bus stops at Plaza de la Revolución; Today it is the political center and the symbol of the revolution. In the middle of the square you can see the Memorial Jose Martí. On the opposite there is the ministry of the interior with a huge Che Guevara picture, saying "Hasta la victoria siempre" (until the lasting victory). Next to it is a picture of Camilio Cienfuegos saying "Vas bien, Fiedel".
5: Approx. 1km away is the biggest cemetery of America and the 3rd biggest in the world (Admission 5 CUC). After the main entrance there are some locals waiting for tourists to show them around for some tip. But there are different guides for different areas and our guide was only allowed to show us 1/4 of the surface. In the heat of the day we were totally fine with it.
6: Then we passed Parque Almendares. In the park you can see a river and various plants as well as a minigolf course and some cafés. As the tour continues, we passed by the university and the Museum of Revolution.
7: The Universidad de la Habana is the oldest of the country and one of the oldest in America. Approx. 30.000 Cubans study here; e.g. economics, natural sciences, social sciences or humanities.
8: The Museo de la Revolución is a must see when visiting Havana. The exhibition inside the museum is the biggest and most diversified one of the country with 9000 exhibition pieces.
9: Next stop is Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the oldest building in Havana. Furthermore the fortress is one of the oldest in Latin America and the first of its kind.
10: Approx. 1km away is a nice market called Almacenes San José Artisans Market (opening hours daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.). It is located in a great hall. Beautiful art and different souvenirs are sold here.
This is were the tour ends.
Please note: Not all attractions have their own stop but you can enter and exit the bus close to them. Also, there are some more stops (e.g. various hotels) and attractions (e.g. the aquarium) where the bus stops. I just picked the in my opinion most important ones.
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