The Colonial Walk & Classic Drive - detailed description


Read the detailed description of the Colonial Walk & Classic Drive.

The schedule this morning includes:

We visit La Maqueta (scale model), Old Havana in miniature, but still 48m2. It took three years to build this detailed project with light and sound effects. It gives you the helicopter view of this historic part of the city, the other part you will see after lunch from one of our vintage cars.

Our first square is the Plaza de Armas (the square of weapons), the first cobbled piece of Havana ever. A cozy and shady square with book stalls, terraces and with the neoclassical El Templete, built in 1827 on the spot where one supposed that the city of San Cristobal de La Habana has been founded in 1519.
The Palacio de los Capitanes Generales from 1776 (the year the US was founded) is rich in history and houses the City Museum since 1967.
Let’s go inside. The museum tells the colonial story through interiors, objects, paintings, and sculptures. It tells the story of the wealthy people back then and how they liked to present themselves. Formerly the governor's palace, it tells a story of colonial grandeur, in our eyes perhaps a bit gaudy, but that’s the way it was back then. The building is marvelous, through the decorations, the arcades, the courtyard. You do not see all this that often.

Plaza Vieja is a spacious and open square from 1559 when it was still called Plaza Nueva. The majestic buildings around; colorful and beautifully restored belonged once to the Spanish aristocracy. From the balconies, they watched the parties and processions below. Even bullfights were held. Now it smells of freshly roasted coffee, it hosts inviting restaurants and you hear cheerful sounds. Plaza Vieja is the square where you would like to stay.

However, we will continue to Plaza de San Francisco de Asís opposite the bay of Havana, the square where the legendary and bohemian resident Caballero de Paris got his statue. Also a top location for photo sessions of newlywed couples.

Plaza de la Catedral is the most important of all. The baroque cathedral from 1727 draws the image of the square. Restaurants, terraces, fortune tellers and proud women in Creole costumes color the square.

Lunchtime

The included lunch will be served in the restaurant of your choice (you can find the options here. The guide will say goodbye. Process your impressions at ease and refuel for the afternoon program.

At 02.30 pm (14.30 hours) the driver picks you up for the Classic City Drive. Having seen this morning the inner city from the inside and from the top, you’ll be spotting the surprising neighborhoods during a panoramic drive. Board the classic car and enjoy what you see.

Districts Old Havana and Centro Habana

Muralla, the name of the street that leads us to the train station, passing the Parque de la Fraternidad towards the Cuban Capitol.
Do not focus too much on the tourist attractions only, as you can find beauty in every corner.

Through the streets Reina and Carlos III we reach Centro Habana, one of the most populated districts. In the current urban pattern, Centro Habana is the center and connects the historic district with the (modern) neighborhoods. Hence the name. This is everyday Havana, Habaneros busy getting their groceries, busy with the most wonderful things, busy with their game of dominoes, less glamor here. Several families live in one and the house.

Continue to the iconic Plaza de la Revolución for a stop.

Districts Vedado and Nuevo Vedado

You'll pass Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón (1876), one of the most impressive cemeteries in the world. We are on our way to Almendares, the city forest of Havana.

District Miramar

A fairy-tale road leads to Miramar, the youngest district of Havana. You will be surprised by the luxury villas and mansions and by the lush gardens mostly with swimming pool. In the 1940s and 1950s - when Cuba was still the sunny backyard of the United States - the upper-class settled here. Broad avenues with hedges (still well maintained) and green parks recall those days.

Districts Vedado and Old Havana

Returning to the boulevard Malecón we cross the Vedado district, a residential area in the 30s - 40s, and still, but also a social-cultural center of the capital. It is cozy and lively. Green as well, with trees along the streets and with various parks. One is the John Lennon Park. 

Surprising, but in the first decades after the revolution, the music of the Beatles was banned on the island. Cuba made up for it by placing a bronze statue of John Lennon in a nice city park. It is a real pleasure to drive through Vedado and greet John. Imagine, you got a ticket to ride!

After this panoramic drive, we are back in the historical center, UNESCO World Heritage since 1982. Here ends this Drive, unless you want to be dropped elsewhere. 

If you want to return to the page of the Colonial Walk & Classic Drive (& Walk), click here.


 

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