Havana

From Eco Friendly Travels

Eco-friendly travel guide to Havana advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Havana, Cuba.


  • Air quality: 2 / 5
  • Exploring by foot: 5/ 5
  • Exploring by bicycle: 1 / 5
  • Public transportation: 3.5 / 5
  • Parks: 4 / 5
  • Outdoor activities: 4/ 5
  • Locals' English level: 2 / 5
  • Safety: 4 / 5
  • Accommodation: US$10 - $300
  • Budget per day: US$50 - $500

Responsible Travel

Havana is the Capital city of Cuba and also one of the 15 of Cuba's provinces. It is a port city and the largest commercial center of Cuba. Historically, the city served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest, and now it is home to ministries, headquarters of businesses, and diplomatic offices. Havana is a rather popular tourist destination, and it is not a dangerous city, so visiting it is a good idea. Many things can be done to ensure responsible travel, and some of them are:

  • Using Public transport such as trains, trams, buses, and streetcars available across the city.
  • Purchase locally made products and avoid haggling.
  • Eat local food. Numerous restaurants serve local dishes that you can try.
  • Avoid littering and try to recycle whenever possible.


Air Quality and Pollution

The air quality in Havana is quite low, and air pollution levels are a bit high. There are several factors that contribute to the low-quality air in the city. Some of the air's highest pollutants include industrial emissions, vehicle emissions, oil refineries, and cement and nickel plants. The air is, however, not toxic, and exposure to it will not kill you.

Water pollution is relatively high in Havana. The city does not have a solid waste management or recycling policy, and thus, they have a large plastic problem amongst many other littering or ground pollution issues. Most of the rubbish flying around tends to end up in rivers. Also, toxic waste from some of the industries as well as farms is still being dumped in the water, which leads to there being high pollution levels.

Noise pollution is considered as being a large problem in Havana, with most people attributing it to a lack of general respect for the next person. Cubans are very eager to share their musical tastes and tend to blast their music loudly, disregarding the next person. The city center's noise starts early in the morning before dawn breaks and includes noise from car and truck owners taking their time to warm up their engines and then revving.


Respect the Culture

Havana is very rich in culture, and a trip to the city without indulging in the various exquisite cultural experiences would be a total waste. The culture of Havana is reflected by the city’s size and variety. The island is known for producing cigars, but you will also find that the local cuisine alone is worth the trip. Traditional music is still immensely popular, and you will hear styles like habanera or the mambo and discover modern Cuban hip-hop. Your trip to Havana will be an unforgettable cultural experience.


Top 10 Places to Visit

There are several places in and around Havana that offer a fantastic sightseeing experience. The city has many historical, architectural, and outdoor wonders that will keep you entertained throughout your stay. Below is a list of the top 10 places to visit in the city.

  • The Malecón is a broad boardwalk, roadway, and seawall that stretches for 8 km along the Havana coast. It is one of the city's most soulful and ideally Cuban thoroughfares, and long a favored meeting place for assorted lovers, philosophers, poets, traveling minstrels, fishers, and wistful Florida-gazers. There are many new businesses along the boardwalk due to Cuba's economic reforms that now allow Cubans to own private businesses. The Malecón's has an amazing atmosphere that is almost intoxicating at sunset when the weak yellow light from creamy Vedado filters like a dim torch onto the buildings of Centro Habana. The Malecón remains Havana's most authentic open-air theater, sometimes dubbed 'the world's longest sofa,' where the whole city comes to meet, greet, date and debate.
  • El Capitolio, or the National Capitol Building, is a public organization and one of Havana's most visited sites. The building has pretty amazing architecture and towers over the city, making it hard to miss. The building is more majestic and breathtaking in the evening, and this is the best time to capture some beautiful pictures. The building also houses a lot of Cuba's recent history. Unfortunately, they do not have a guided tour in English, only an audio guide.
  • Castillo De Los Tres Reyes Del Morro or Morro Castle is a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay. The fortress shares its name with structures in Santiago de Cuba and the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the name meaning a very visible rock from the sea navigational landmark as it can be viewed from miles around. The fortress is of historical value as it protected the mouth of the harbor with a chain being strung out across the water to the fort at La Punta. There is also a lighthouse on it, which is usually open for tourists. There are also very large open areas which are properly preserved and are great for taking walks and really cool pictures.
  • The Museum of the Revolution is housed in what was the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario García Menocal to Fulgencio Batista and became the Museum of the Revolution during the years following the Cuban Revolution. The museum has beautiful architecture that is worth admiring. The exhibition is very old-fashioned, and 90% of it is pictures from the revolution and some propaganda descriptions of it. The tour is quite interesting, although it involves a lot of reading. There is a gift shop that sells some wonderful souvenirs at reasonable prices.
  • Paseo del Prado is a walkway that covers several parts of the city, which Cubans love to walk across, almost like a tradition or custom of the city. This outdoor space serves as a meeting point. There are several activities going on, including children occupied in their children’s games such as football or “pelota" (baseball), others skate, and some more run. Couples also enjoy sitting on the stone benches, and some seniors enjoy the shade of the trees as they reminisce over their past stories. The Paseo del Prado in Old Havana is full of life as it is also a favorite place of recreation for friends, a place to spend time joking and dreaming together.
  • Gran Teatro de La Habana is a theater in Havana that is home to the Cuban National Ballet. It is a grand building with several facilities, including theatres, a concert hall, conference rooms, a video screening room, an art gallery, a choral center, and several rehearsal halls for dance companies. The International Ballet Festival of Havana is hosted here every two years since 1960. The theatre looks amazing at night, and you can take gorgeous pictures right after the sunset. It tends to be the most crowded area in the city. There is a coffee shop here which is a bit expensive.
  • El Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón or Colon cemetery is noted for its many elaborately sculpted memorials, and it is estimated that the cemetery has more than 500 major mausoleums. The cemetery is not far from the Revolutionary square, and its location offers a contrast to the crumbling old town. The country's history is in plain sight, and it is best to visit on a Sunday when there are not many people. It is hauntingly beautiful, and the grave of the lady with a baby is a must. There is an entry fee of 5 dollars. You should bring a hat and water as it gets really hot during the walk. Also, it is important to note that there are no toilets.
  • Fusterlandia is a quirky and colorful folk-art neighborhood on the outskirts of town. There are so many beautiful art pieces to see here, although most of the people you will come across are tourists. The tour does not take long, maybe around 45 minutes. Fusterlandia has such creative energy it is a lot of fun so you should visit it, although the taxi ride there is a bit expensive. All of the art was done by hand, and you can pick up some knick-knacks or art.
  • Playas del Este is a scenic beach with beautiful sandy shores. This is one of the best in the city and is where the regular folks from Habana spend their weekends, making it one of the best opportunities to spend some time with locals. There is a great swimming area, and you can rent some chairs and an umbrella. There are also coconuts cocktails that you can sip while you enjoy the day. There are several restaurants where you can either go eat, or they can deliver your food and drinks to your spot at the beach. The beach can get a bit noisy, so if you are looking for a quiet and calm place, this is not for you. The beach is a bit out of the way, but there are taxis that drop people off then return later at a specified time to bring them back to town.
  • Cigar Factory Tours is a cigar factory that is a fascinating place to visit, even for people who do not smoke. It is housed in an old building with an interior atrium. The smell is amazing and to watch the cigar being hand-rolled is so interesting to watch. All-natural materials and handmade, which makes them unique. The factories are located in the old part of the city, and the best way to go is by walking or by taxi. The tour is quite short, and if you are lucky, you can find a knowledgeable tour guide. The factory is rather noisy, which is a bit surprising since everything is hand made.


Explore

Havana is one of the most visited cities in the world due to its numerous exciting and breathtaking sites. The city is buzzing as it is the center of most of the activity in the entire country. The city is rich in culture and has many museums to commemorate its rich and amazing history. Exploring the city is an enjoyable experience as it is very safe for tourists, with no violent crimes against tourists. Also, the cost of living is relatively low, making it an awesome place to go on vacation. The choice to visit Havana is, without a doubt, a great one, and it will be worth your time and every cent spent. Keep reading to be able to find out more about this fantastic tourist destination.


City Parks

Havana has many gorgeous parks and gardens, with some being for exercise, family time, and amusement parks, to name a few. Listed below are the most popular parks in the city:

  • John Lennon Park or Parque John Lennon is a quiet public park that is full of trees where you can see the statue of John Lennon sitting on a bench. John Lennon has never been to Cuba, so the name of the park comes just from his fans. The statue of John Lennon is a sight where all the taxi tours stop so that the tourists can take photos. The park is fairly large and clean, and there are no outdoor vendors or shopping nearby. The park is great for hanging out, and there is even a play area for kids.
  • Parque Lenin is a recreational park complex situated south of Havana that is a great place to hang out on the weekend in nature and do pony riding with your kids. The environment is peaceful, and Cuban families commonly frequent it. You can enjoy nature and do other activities such as visiting the rodeo, the amusement park, restaurants, and a small aquarium. There are also areas where you can have a barbecue and enjoy the fresh air.


National Parks

  • Parque Zoológico Nacional is a recreational, environmental facility that exhibits animals from native fauna and other continents in their natural environment. The conditions were designed to be similar to those of the natural habitats of the animals, and the animals are in apparent freedom, both in meadows, moats, and large enclosures. Conditions similar to those they have in their natural habitat are imitated. The park is interesting for animal lovers or if you are traveling with children. There are very few food options, so it’s wise to bring something to eat and water to drink.


Beaches

There are several beautiful beaches in and around Havana that are worth visiting for a day of relaxing or doing other beach activities. Below is a list of two of the most popular beaches in the city:

  • Playas del Este is a scenic beach with beautiful sandy shores. This is one of the best in the city and is where the regular folks from Habana spend their weekends, making it one of the best opportunities to spend some time with locals. There is a great swimming area, and you can rent some chairs and an umbrella. There are also coconuts cocktails that you can sip while you enjoy the day. There are several restaurants where you can either go eat, or they can deliver your food and drinks to your spot at the beach. The beach can get a bit noisy, so if you are looking for a quiet and calm place, this is not for you. The beach is a bit out of the way, but there are taxis that drop people off then return later at a specified time to bring them back to town.
  • Beach Santa Maria del Mar is a beautiful beach with amazing sand and water. There is food for sale on the beach, which sells some great fish platters. There are umbrellas and chairs available for rent on the beach. There are also masks and snorkels available for renting. There is a lot of swimming going on here, although the locals tend to frequent the beach between May and September.


Landmarks

  • The José Martí Memorial is a memorial to José Martí, a national hero of Cuba, that consists of a star-shaped tower, a statue of Martí surrounded by six columns, and gardens. Standing at 109 m, the tower is the largest monument to a writer in the world. There is a museum on the floor level, which is very educational and makes it very easy to understand Cuba's history and Jose Marti's achievements. There are guided tours in English for free, although you are expected to tip.
  • The Christ of Havana is a large sculpture representing Jesus of Nazareth on a hilltop overlooking the bay in Havana. To get to the statue, you need to take a ferry. There are stairs going to the top of the statue, and from there, you get to see a great view of the city. The best time to come is in the evening when you get to witness the gorgeous sunset.


Museums

The fact that Havana is the capital city means that there are a lot of stories it has to tell. There are multiple museums across the city that commemorate and keep the story and culture of Cuba alive. Numerous museums are worth a visit to ensure that you leave the city having learned about its history, amongst other things. Below is a list of some of the most prominent museums in the city:

  • The Museum of the Revolution is housed in what was the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario García Menocal to Fulgencio Batista and became the Museum of the Revolution during the years following the Cuban Revolution. The museum has beautiful architecture that is worth admiring. The exhibition is very old-fashioned, and 90% of it is pictures from the revolution and some propaganda descriptions of it. The tour is quite interesting, although it involves a lot of reading. There is a gift shop that sells some wonderful souvenirs at reasonable prices.
  • The Museum of Decorative Arts is a decorative arts museum in the former residence of the Countess of Revilla de Camargo that was inspired by the French Renaissance and was built between 1924 and 1927 in a neo-classical style. It's one of the well-organized museums in Havana, and the furniture is varied from different cultures and countries. The museum is rather small, and some people find the interior of the mansion more interesting than the artifacts. The materials are very well conserved, and the staff is very knowledgeable, and some are even friendly.


Eat

There is a wide variety of local foods found in Havana. These dishes are designed to embrace and celebrate the culture and taste of the locals. As a tourist, trying local dishes is a definite must do as you get to experience a part of the culture that is different. Also, trying dishes that you probably don't know is part of the exciting adventures that come with being a tourist. Several restaurants and street vendors sell different dishes that you could try, whether it is out of curiosity or so that you can have a story to tell later.


Traditional Local Restaurants

One of the best things about traveling across the world is trying the various local cuisines available in that area. In most cases, traditional restaurants are the best place to experience local foods' taste, and maybe even a bit of the culture behind said dishes. There are many traditional local restaurants that you should try in Havana. It is important to note that to spot the best Cuban food restaurants, you should look for the ones with a lot of local customers. Below is a list of the most famous traditional local restaurants in the city:

  • El Chanchullero is one of the best restaurants in the city. The restaurant is quite popular, and there are queues for the tables every night. The line moves quickly, though, as the staff is friendly. The main dishes have healthy servings and could easily be shared. They also have some of the most amazing cocktails in the city. The restaurant is reasonably priced.
  • Café Habana is a modern-looking restaurant connected to a coffee shop, and it is a great lunch spot in downtown Havana. The place gets rather busy as they serve delicious dishes at a reasonable price. The most popular dish is the half chicken with a big helping of Moros y Cristianos, which is a staple of Cuban cuisine made up of white rice and black beans cooked together. They also serve local beer to enjoy with your meals.
  • La Paladara Familia is a popular tourist restaurant that has relatively high prices. They serve delicious traditional dishes in generous servings, with their most popular dish being Ropa Vieja, which is stewed shredded beef with onions, peppers, and spices. There is a rooftop patio with an amazing view, music, and a bustling atmosphere. They sometimes run out of many dishes, especially the specials.


Vegetarian and Vegan

  • El Bambú is a classic vegan restaurant that is located in the National Botanical Garden, near the Japanese garden. There is a variety of delicious dishes and drinks, and also features a self-service salad bar.
  • El Shamuskia'o Restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant where everything on the menu can be made vegan. There are many dish options, with the most popular being the bruschetta, veggie kebabs, pistou (vegetable soup), breaded veggies, salads, cucumber sushi, stuffed tomato, eggplant lasagna, baked bonitos (potato), and moussaka with bonitos. The food is very delicious and quite affordable.
  • Azucar Lounge has a variety of vegetarian and vegan choices available, including falafel, pesto or tomato pasta, black beans, and grilled veggies. It is a beautiful restaurant with an amazing view of the Plaza Vieja. The food is rather expensive when compared with that of most restaurants in Havana.
  • La Opera is a gorgeous and homely Italian restaurant with a full bar selection. Their basts and bread are made in the in-house kitchen. They have what is known as the market combination of the day, which is basically a selection of vegetable dishes that are available on that day. They are a rather upscale and inclusive restaurant as they are both vision and hearing impaired friendly.


Street Food

Street food is quite popular in Havana, and there are several places where it can be found. Several restaurants were designed to sell street food and sell various amazing dishes. There are also many food stalls across the city and in some of the top tourist attractions where you can buy street food as well as interact with locals. Some of the most popular street food dishes include:

  • Tostones, these are flattened pieces of plantain fried until they are crispy and eaten like a potato chip, often served with a dip.
  • Hamburguesa de cerdo are simply pork burgers that are topped off with a ring of pineapple or cream cheese and strawberry marmalade.
  • Pie de coco are little pies are served as a dessert and have shredded coconut baked into them.


Drink

Havana is characterized by mostly hot weather, meaning that the need to stay hydrated is strong. As is the norm, the choice of beverages is determined by the weather for most people. There is a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks, excluding water, that the locals and tourists enjoy to cool themselves down on a hot day. These drinks include but are not limited to fizzy drinks, fruit juices, smoothies, lemonade, milkshakes, and ice-tea, to name a few. Typically, tea and coffee are enjoyed on a cold day to warm up the insides, but few people enjoy drinking it even on a hot day. Most people, and in most cases, they drink it even on a hot day.

The people in Havana are big on entertainment and enjoying life, which in most cases includes drinking. So, alcohol consumption in the city is relatively high. Alcohol is also a great way to relax and wind down after a long day at work. There are several bars and pubs where people can go for a relaxing drink and hang out with friends, while some people prefer to drink in the comfort of their own home. There are various types of local beer, mainly larges, which are the popular alcoholic beverage in the city. There are several other alcoholic drinks that are enjoyed by people depending on their taste in alcohol. These include wine, gin, vodka, and cocktails, to name a few.


Tap-water

The tap water in Havana is not safe for drinking. It is best to avoid tap water of any sort, including mixed drinks made with tap water and beverages containing ice made from tap water. It is best to stick to drink bottled water, which costs roughly $1.50 for a 1.5-liter container.


Organic Cafés

Organic foods are foods that are grown without artificial nutrients, pesticides, or other chemicals. Eating organic has become a widespread trend where people are very selective about what they put in their bodies. There are several organic cafes that attract patrons of all ages who are careful about nutrition. There are many cafes in the city that cater specifically to this group of people. Below is a list of some of the organic cafes that one could try:

  • Camino al Sol
  • California Café
  • Cafe Fortuna Joe
  • Hav Coffee and Art


Breweries

Havana's local beer brewing industry is thriving, as is expected of a city where the locals enjoy and celebrate their local brew. There are numerous breweries that are responsible for making local liquor, with the most popular being lagers. These breweries are responsible for supplying a majority of the bars and pubs in the city. The most popular breweries are:

  • Hatuey
  • Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco
  • Cafe Bohemia


Activities

There are numerous activities that can be done in and around Havana to ensure that you thoroughly enjoy your tourist experience. The city is one of a rather popular tourist destination and receives many local and international visitors. The activities are designed to ensure that no one is left out, and people of different interests can still enjoy and have a great time. Some of the most popular activities include museum tours, hikes, bike riding, and beautiful parks, to name a few. Some of the activities are in the city center while others are just on the outskirts. It is essential to carefully plan your itinerary to ensure that you get the best out of what the city offers.


Yoga and Retreats

Yoga is traditionally a Hindu discipline that focuses on physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines. It has become quite popular globally, and there are yoga studios in almost every country in the world. There are several yoga studios in Havana, with the most popular including:

  • Vidya Yoga Studio
  • Luis Alberto Yoga Studio
  • Mhai Yoga


Accommodation

There are numerous accommodation options for tourists in Havana. The type of accommodation that you end up in depends on your budget, taste, and sense of adventure. This section will look into some of the accommodation options that are available for tourists to select from.


Green Hotels

There are several eco-friendly hotels in the city. They have the same aim of sustainability of the environment. These hotels tend to offer safe, non-toxic, and energy-efficient accommodation. Other characteristics include using renewable energy, organic soaps, energy-efficient light fixtures, and recycling programs. A few of the most popular ones are:

  • Iberostar Selection Varadero
  • Melia Cayo Coco
  • Iberostar Parque Central


Hostels and Guest Houses

  • Cuba 58 Hostel is a simple hostel with two rooms for six people with air conditioning and a private bathroom, one room for eight persons also with air conditioning but shares a bathroom and one small room just for three persons with air conditioning and shared bathroom. The hostel is located in the heart of old Havana and is a perfect place for meeting people and making friends who travel along with Cuba. It is near several restaurants and bars. Breakfast is included in the initial booking fee, but you need to provide your meals for the rest of the day.
  • Hostel Corazon Del Mundo is a recently restored colonial style, spacious house in the center of Havana, with comfortable rooms and a private bathroom, equipped with air conditioning and a hot shower. The house has a beautiful view of the city on the terrace. You can chat and meet many friends from different nationalities. It is ideally located in the center of the city near all the main tourist attractions, bars, and restaurants.
  • No Limit Hostel Havana is located in one of the most popular areas in Havana and close to several tourist attractions, restaurants, and bars. They have comfortable private rooms- most with a private bathroom, air conditioning, and balconies overlooking the Capitol, the Malecón, and the ocean. The hostel has an extremely welcoming, dedicated, and kind long-term staff. Breakfast is not included in the accommodation charge but is available on request. They also offer any time information and support (taxis, car hire, sightseeing information, and tours throughout Havana).



Apartments

For those who intend to stay in Havana for a long time, staying in hotels might prove to be a bit too expensive. There are several apartments that are hired out for a minimum of one month, and these are more budget-friendly as they reduce costs on several levels. For one, apartments allow for self-catering, which means that you get to save instead of having to buy all meals at hotels. If you stay as a group of friends or family, you can share the cost, unlike hotels that charge per head. The rent charges range between USD 448.89 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center and USD 72.26 for a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city center.


Couchsurfing

Couch surfing refers to staying with a host family that rents out a part of their house to tourists. This is a trend that is gaining popularity in Havana. There are several websites where people who are willing can put their homes on offer, and tourists can book the most interesting or convenient one. One such website is simply called couch surfing.


Camping

There are numerous campsites across Havana for those tourists who want to rough it by living outside during their vacation. Camping offers a sense of adventure as it allows people to get the full outdoor experience and can be quite affordable. Camping provides a great experience, including the fresh night air as well as the magnificent night skies. Below are some of the more popular campsites in Havana:

  • Palacio de Pioneros
  • Casa de Niuris y Marco
  • Aranguito


How to Get There

There are several modes of transport that can be used to travel to Havana, with the most convenient for you being dictated by where you are coming from, be it a local or international area. People from surrounding cities usually travel to the city by bus or train. While those coming from further away commonly use aeroplanes.


Air

Havana Jose Marti International Airport is the only airport in the city, and there are over thirty airlines that operate out of it. The airport is large and comfortable, and it is fast and easy to get through customs and passport control, collect your luggage, and off you go to explore the hidden gems of the city. There are several easy ways to travel from the airport to the city center, with the most efficient being taxis, airport shuttle service, or public buses.


Bus

There are different buses for locals and tourists used around Havana. Buses designated for tourist travel, both between and within cities, generally meet international standards. Public buses used by Cubans, known as "guaguas," are crowded, unreliable, and are sometimes used by petty criminals. Local busses are always very full but are very cheap. At times, when travelers turn up at the local bus depot, locals pretend the buses aren't running, forcing travelers to catch the more expensive option.


Train

There are some old locomotive trains that move around Cuba, Havana included. These are quite slow and inconvenient, and you need to be patient if you want to use a train to travel to Havana. The trains are infrequent and are often delayed. The trains are also a bit uncomfortable.


Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking is almost considered as being a legit mode of public transport in Cuba. Hitchhiking is legal, free of charge, and safe. Lots of people line the streets and highway trying to catch a ride. The universal sign to show that you want to hitchhike is by sticking your thumb out.


Others

Taxis are a common mode of transport, although once they notice that you are a foreigner, they tend to double their usual rates.


Moving Around

Moving around Havana is quite easy, regardless of the mode of transport that you use. You just need to select the way of traveling that you are most comfortable with, and you will be fine. There are several ways to move around within the city, as will be shown below.


Walk

The best way to get around Havana is on foot. Many of Havana's most popular attractions, including Habana Vieja, El Malecón, and Museo de la Revolución, are less than a mile away from each other, so there is no need to look for additional transport.


Bicycle

There are no official bicycle rentals in the city, although some locals may be willing to rent their bikes out. Cycling is not popular, though, as there are potholes, stray dogs, and poor lighting.


Electronic Vehicles

Electronic vehicles are growing in popularity in Havana, although most people are not used to them and may struggle to manage them. There are also several charging stations across the city to ensure that these cars do not go flat.


Public Bus

There are different buses for locals and tourists used around Havana. Buses designated for tourist travel, both between and within cities, generally meet international standards. Public buses used by Cubans, known as "guaguas," are crowded, unreliable, and are sometimes used by petty criminals. Local busses are always very full but are very cheap. At times, when travelers turn up to the local bus depot, locals pretend the buses aren't running, forcing travelers to catch the more expensive option.

There are also hop-on-hop-off buses that go to tourist attractions.


Tram, Train and Subway

There is no train that moves around the city.


Sustainable Shopping

There are many shopping centers in the city whereby tourists and locals alike can go for shopping. It is more sustainable to shop in local shops as well as to ensure that you do not only stick to one shop but try to spread the wealth by visiting different shops.


Food Markets

There are several markets across the city that are dedicated to selling fresh food. They sell both local and international food, processed or unprocessed. Some of these markets include:

  • Mercado Agropecuario 19 y B
  • Mercado Agropecuario Egido
  • Fifth Avenue Gardens


Flea Markets

There are several flea markets across Havana that offer both an exciting shopping experience and a chance to mingle with the locals. Most of them sell various things at reasonable prices, some of which are found in local shops. However, they tend to double the price when selling to tourists. Some of these flea markets are:

  • Flea Market Craft Market
  • Almacenes San José Artisans' Market
  • Antigua Casa de Justiz y Santa Ana


Second Hand Stores

The trend of second-hand stores has caught the world by storm; numerous stores have opened where people can buy things they wouldn't usually afford for less than half the price. The most common ones in Havana are:

  • Enjoy Life Vintage
  • Blue Butterfly Resale Shop
  • Community Cares


Eco-Fashion

People have become more cautious about how their actions and choices affect the environment and have started doing things to reduce their carbon footprint. Clandestina is the only eco-fashion brand in Havana.


Recycling

The recycling industry of Havana is not taken very seriously. Very few people practice recycling habits even though there are containers that are designated for placing recyclable waste. Because of this, the city has a rather serious plastic problem.


Waste

Havana's waste management system is quite weak, and there is a large volume of pollution in the city. Collections are made twice a week, so you should ensure that you are ready. Hazardous waste is collected at the locations where it is generated, selectively, in appropriate containers.


Work and Study Abroad

There are a few job opportunities for foreigners in Havana as the city puts locals first when it comes to most employment opportunities. There are, however, a few gaps where foreigners can be hired. Once you have a job, you can apply for a residence or work permit. One of the most common jobs for foreigners in Cuba is becoming an English teacher, especially if you are from a country that speaks native English. There are several tertiary institutions in Havana, and they are open to international students. Most of them offer some programs in English and Spanish.


Exchange Student

Universities in Havana offer high-quality education at affordable tuition fees. It is possible to study towards many top-quality Bachelor's or Master's degrees in the city. There are several programs for exchange students in the city, and you just need to find out from your current University if they are affiliated with any of the institutions.


Au Pair

An au pair is a young foreign person who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and pocket money. The concept of Au pairs is relatively popular in Havana and is a great way to get a job for those intending to move to the city. Several agencies and websites connect potential Au pairs with families that need them. Some of the requirements to become an au pair include:

  • Be younger than 30
  • Must not be married or have kids of your own
  • Must intent to stay with the host family for over a year
  • Must not have a criminal record


Volunteering

Volunteering is a rather noble act whereby an individual gives their time and energy in exchange for nothing to help those who are less fortunate. There are several voluntary organizations across Cuba that are open to extra hands, although finding placement in any of them can be quite difficult. The easiest and fastest way to become a volunteer in Havana is to apply via a volunteer program. Some of the sectors that require volunteers include:

  • Teaching English
  • Volunteering with disadvantaged children
  • Medicine
  • Culture


See Also