One of my favourite walks in Cuba is along the tree-lined promenade called Passeo del Prado in Havana, which divides Old Havana from Central Havana.
Instead of looking at what’s right in front of you when you’re walking around Havana, why not walk around looking up for a change. During the day you can find artists displaying their talented work, along this promenade, and it’s hard to spot anything you don’t like – there’s just too much good stuff. In the evening, even though some persistent artists are still there, it becomes a popular hangout area for youngsters. It also attracts older people catching up for a chat and a smoke, or those who just like to sit on the long row of stone seats and watch the world go by on a balmy evening.
But it’s not just this beautiful promenade that I wanted to point out – it’s this amazing row of colourful balconies that you can see on either side of the road. Start with the Malecon behind you (this is another great 8km long esplanade, with a high sea wall, that hugs Havana) and walk towards the Capitolio Nacional (like the Capitol building in Washington DC) at the other end.
Now look up and the first building on the left-hand side (you can’t miss it) is the Iberostar Grand Packard – a classy luxury hotel with a modern glass extension of three floors built on top of a historical building. At night when it’s all lit up, it looks quite surreal and I still can’t quite make up my mind whether I like it or not. The hotel has an infinity pool on the sixth floor with the most amazing views.
Continue along and you’ll see brightly painted balconies in yellow, blue, beige and pink, all various states of dilapidation and renovation. Some are run down, with tall rotten wooden doors, others are used as an extension of people’s living quarters. It’s intriguing to see what people have on their balconies from clothes to plants and barking dogs. Undoubtedly these buildings all have high ceilings and the rooms could either be spacious or extremely tiny, but one thing it’s for sure. It’s amazing what you see when you look up.
All our Cuba itineraries start with a city tour of Havana. First on foot where you’ll be exploring Old Havana and then by classic car American car when you visit places further away from the centre. Read more about this vibrant city in my Sightseeing Havana blog.
If you too want to see it with your own eyes – then give me a ring on 01768 721040 and I’ll put a bespoke itinerary together for you based on your interests.