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Havana Holidays

Havana is a cacophony of sound and vision, with Cuban guitar, brightly painted buildings, grand produce markets and beautiful beaches. A trip to Cuba's capital city is about more than just cigars and rum, as this picturesque city is full of history, culture and nightlife just waiting for you to explore.

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A hip and artistic hub

Cuba's capital, Havana, has fast become one of the trendiest areas on the island. It seems as though everywhere you look, a new art project, alternative bar or fusion restaurant is preparing for its grand opening. El Jelengue de Areito, a jazz bar without a phone number or website, is a great place to start if you're looking to find the trendiest people in Havana.

If you're a lover of art, Havana also offers plenty of galleries. You can even sign up with Sussette Martinez, who takes people on tours of the best works in the city. Local artists Roberto Diago, Yoan Capote, Kcho and Roberto Fabelo are all considered celebrities in Havana and will occasionally open their studios for people to tour and see their latest works.

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Surfing and beach culture

The beaches around Havana are adorned with golden sand and clear blue waters perfect for swimming. For families with young children, the beaches are large and clean with shallow waters, particularly around the Playas De Este. This stunning beach is nestled under towering palm trees and is located just a 15-minute drive from the city centre.

There are also some great hotspots with incredible surf. Havana Surf School has recently opened up, meaning more and more locals are getting into riding waves on the Cuban coastline. All you have to do is call up the school and they'll take you to one of the best breaks on the coast that day.

A spot of shopping

Havana is home to one of the most impressive markets in the Caribbean, Almacenes San Jose. This huge gathering of local handicraft makers and producers of artisan clothing is a hotspot for anyone with a keen eye for a bargain. Try your hand at negotiating with the locals, you never know what discounts you might receive.

The island's rum trade is one of the best in the world, and everyone has heard of Cuban cigars. However, you may not know Havana's marketeers also sell great perfume, wicker baskets and incredible freshly squeezed juice. The last of these is a particularly refreshing way of fighting the heat.

Try the local specialities

Cuban food isn't something that we in the UK come into contact with often, but for many who have tried it, it has quickly becomes a favourite. Cuban recipes are not dissimilar from African and Spanish cuisine, but take on a unique Caribbean twist with the herbs and spices that are used during preparation.

As the capital of Cuba, Havana is also the capital for Cuban food. The veritablerestaurant culture is something that every visitor to Cuba should explore, starting with Habana 61 and Donde Lis Restaurante, two of the best Caribbean restaurants in the city. It's not all local island delicacies though, as 304 O'Reilly and Nazdarovie are two restaurants which stand out from the long list of fusion and international eateries in Havana.

Incredible historical monuments

Havana was founded in 1515 and has a huge amount of cultural and historical sites for tourists to visit. Beautiful architecture, brightly painted facades and winding streets make up the character of the city, but the true stars of Havana are the Morro Castle at the harbour and the Museum of the Revolution.

For a really remarkable photo opportunity, visit the Christ of Havana, a massive statue of Jesus which can be found on on the hill overlooking the bay. Although from afar the style seems classical, the sculpture was actually only erected in the 20th century and is the work of Jilma Madera, who won the commission for it in 1953.