Where to stay in Havana


Havana, the vibrant capital of Cuba, is a city of intriguing contradictions where historical richness meets contemporary vivacity. As a visitor, you'll be enchanted by the city's colorful architecture, lively streets, and the warm hospitality of its people. Choosing the right neighborhood is crucial to experiencing Havana's diverse character, with each area offering a distinct flavor and atmosphere. This guide aims to provide an honest look at the main neighborhoods where travelers might consider staying, highlighting their respective charms and challenges. Whether you're looking for a cultural immersion in the city's historical heart or seeking a more serene spot by the water, navigating Havana's diverse neighborhoods will help you find the perfect base for your Cuban adventure.

  • Old Havana

    • 🏛️ historical
    • 📸 touristy
    • 🤼 crowded
    • 🗽 sightseeing
    • charming

    Old Havana, or 'Habana Vieja,' is the city's historic heart, overflowing with old-world charm featuring cobblestone streets, vibrant plazas, and baroque to neoclassical buildings. Staying in Old Havana means being surrounded by UNESCO World Heritage sites, museums, and historical landmarks. The area is a tourist hotbed, ensuring you're never far from souvenir shops, traditional eateries, and live music venues. On the downside, it can become very crowded, and the constant flow of tourists can sometimes diminish the sense of authentic daily life. Moreover, while the buildings are enchanting, their facades often hide drawbacks like noise and a lack of modern amenities.

  • El Vedado

    • 🍷 nightlife
    • 🏙️ modern
    • 🎭 cultural
    • safe
    • clean
    • contemporary

    El Vedado is a lively yet relaxed neighborhood known for its vibrant nightlife, arts scene, and contemporary Cuban life. Modernity meets the historical with 1950s architecture housing cinemas, galleries, and performance spaces. It's a hub for both local and international restaurants and cafes, making it a foodie's delight. While El Vedado boasts greater space and less crowd compared to Old Havana, visitors should be aware it can still get noisy, and not every street boasts picturesque charm, with some areas showing the wear of time. This district is perfect for travelers who seek a dynamic and authentic urban experience.

  • Miramar

    • 🥂 upscale
    • 🏘️ residential
    • 🧘 quiet
    • 💎 luxury
    • relaxed

    Miramar exudes an air of upscale residential living, featuring wide avenues lined with mansions, embassies, and lush gardens. This district offers a more tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of central Havana. However, it lacks the same level of accessibility and bustling street life found in other parts of town. The area has upscale hotels and restaurants, catering to visitors looking for luxury rather than raw cultural immersion. But be aware, if you want to be in the heart of the action, Miramar may feel too isolated, as it requires a taxi ride to reach the more touristic old center.

  • Centro

    • authentic
    • 🚬 gritty
    • noisy
    • affordable
    • local

    Centro, or Centro Habana, is the dense, busy heart of the city with an authentic local atmosphere. The area is rougher around the edges than the nearby tourist-centric Old Havana, with a grittier feel. Accommodations here are usually cheaper, and the neighborhood teems with life, from markets to street food stalls. However, visitors should be prepared for the area's rundown buildings and lack of green spaces. While it offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of Havana's residents, Centro might not appeal to those looking for a serene or polished holiday experience.