We traveled to Havana in January 2020 prior to diving the Gardens of the Queen. After an evening flight from Miami, I arose early the next day to capture some photos of old Havana. The rooftop views from our hotel, the Iberostar Parque Central, provided a great preview of our trip beginning with views of the Capital. The taxi drivers were busy at 6 am polishing their flamboyant 1950's convertibles along the Paseo de Marti. I grabbed some quick photos in the park before our tours began.
We started at the Plaza de San Francisco by the convent. The Spanish architecture was impressive as we walked to the Castillo de la Real Fuerza. The were multiple large cannons at this old Spanish fort. Along the way we passed street venders and several musicians. I couldn't resist a few pictures of the senoras with cigars. Later we paused for lunch at La Casa Restaurante. The paladares in Cuba are excellent for meals and a great way to meet local Cubans in their homes.
After lunch I climbed into a fantastic 1955 Chevy Bel Air for a ride along the Malecon and back to Parque Central. Havana is like Disneyland for adults. I finished the afternoon with a stroll along the Paseo de Marti down to the sea wall. Locals were fishing at this famous location across from the Castillo del Morro. I drank coffee at the Hotel Telegrafo before dinner. This was my favorite spot to watch cars and street life. The hotel band played each evening outside as the locals danced. We finished the evening with cocktails and jazz at the Floridita nearby.
The next day was spent touring outside of Havana in the morning. We visited Hemmingway's home, a cigar factory, and a famous fort along the Carribbean Sea in Cojimar. In the afternoon we rode to Revolution Square and then I visited the Museo de la Revolucion. Our final destination included an evening at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, an old sugar factory that was converted into a club and art gallery outside of old Havana. We watched a jazz concert that evening before returning to our hotel.
© Mark Etter Underwater Photography