Updated 07:12 AM EST, Tue, Nov 24, 2020

Travelers Guide to Cuba: 5 Things You Should Know About Havana

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When planning your next South American escapade, Cuba's capital should be near the top of your list. Apart from its smiling citizens and pearly-white shorelines, Havana's rustic ambience tells the story of a city frozen in time.

To prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey, here are 5 things you should know about Havana:

1. It's called The Rome of the Caribbean

Like its Italian counterpart, to which it is nicknamed after, Havana is home to numerous sites and buildings that have been preserved over the centuries. Its main attraction is Habana Vieja. The UNESCO world heritage site serves as the city's downtown area filled with Baroque and Neoclassical architecture, Planetware reported.

Other prominent sites include the Museo de la Revolucion in Calle Refugio 1, the Museo Napoleonico near Universidad de La Habana in San Miguel 1159 and the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro guarding the port of Havana.

2. Tourism in Havana has been roaring even without the US

Diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba may have thawed in recent years, but that doesn't immediately restore over 50 years of indifference. Unbeknownst to most Americans, tourism in the South American country, especially in its capital, has remained unaffected by the longstanding US embargo.

In 2014 alone, Cuba has welcomed no less than three million international visitors. That roughly translates to $2.5 billion in tourism revenue, as per the latest data from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. This makes it the third most visited Caribbean holiday hotspot, trailing only slightly behind the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

3. Hotels in the city are mostly upscale properties

Tourists looking for five-star accommodations will find plenty near the National Capitol Building in Havana. The Spanish-owned Iberostar and Melia chains offer top-notch service, while Hotel Nacional de Cuba in the middle of Vedado, Havanam was proclaimed Cuba's Leading Hotel in 2015 by the World Travel Awards.

That in mind, mid-tier hotels in Havana are close to nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, mid-budget tourists can immerse themselves in Cuban culture by renting local apartments and private houses.

4. Rum and beer reign supreme

BreakingTravelNews noted that rum is easier to find in Havana than a bottle of water. Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco is also producing a distinctive brew of Caribbean craft beer. Tourists on a budget will be glad to know local beer is also freely available in Havana.

5. Wallow in water activities in Havana

Havana is a city oasis blessed with calm, clear water and pristine beaches. It is perfect for all sorts of water activities like snorkelling, kite-boarding, scuba-diving and more.

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