Cuba's legendary capital is a city of contrasts, of grandeur and decline. At first glance, Havana beams forth the brilliance of the days when proud Spanish ships sat moored in her harbor, packed full of valuables from South America. Havana's pastel-colored mansions and elegant squares give the visitor a glimpse of her former opulence. Despite decades of complete neglect, the city's vintage charm has remained largely unaltered.
The heart of Havana is her most famous boulevard, Malecón, which starts near the old town, La Habana Vieja, and stretches nearly 7 kilometers along the coast. Picturesque and fascinating remnants of the affluence of the past can be found during a stroll through this old town center. At the other end of the Malecón we arrive at the comparatively luxurious quarter, Vedado, where you will live and learn Spanish.
Cathedral of Havana
Not only is Cuba a beautiful country, it also has a population that is very friendly and hospitable in spite of the economic difficulties in the last few years.
It's a country of music, of poetry, of dancing, singing and chatting. People still have time for each other and for their guests. Cuba is like going back in time to the 1950's: old vintage cars, a relaxed atmosphere, and no hurries.
Apart from that Cuba has a nice tropical climate year round to enjoy its beaches, water sports, etc.
A street in Havana
Havana is a city of faded glory filled with a people of unbridled spirits. A city where little is allowed, but much more is possible. After years of undeniable decline, this impressive metropolis, now included in the UNESCO list of World Monuments, is rising like a phoenix from the ashes.
Havana is a city one learns to appreciate. It is a melting pot of cultures and races, an open-air museum under the strict direction of Fidel Castro. Apart from the picturesque inner city, the Playas del Este and the famous immense boulevard that is the Malecón (also considered to be the living room of Havana) you should take some time to get to know the Vedado neighborhood. This is the part of Havana where host families live and where you'll find many art deco buildings that would be considered national monuments in many countries.
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