Flights to Havana, Cuba (HAV)
Once the height of tropical glamour, particularly during the early post-World War II years, Cuba fell under communist rule in 1959 and was closed to the United States for decades. But in recent years, U.S. sanctions have loosened, opening up travel to the Caribbean island.
The capital city of Havana is located on the northwest coast. At its heart is Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded by the Spanish in 1519. The city was an important shipbuilding center by the 17th century. Wealth generated from that industry resulted in the construction of a stunning array of pastel-colored buildings of baroque and neoclassical architectural styles, characterized by hanging balconies, wrought iron gates and private courtyards.
Havana is an outdoors enthusiast’s paradise, thanks to watersports like snorkeling, diving, fishing, and boating. But there is plenty to do inland, too, like caving, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding and cycling.
José Martí International Airport (HAV), formerly known as Rancho-Boyeros Airport, is located in the town of Boyeros, 9 miles from Havana. The airport handles more than 25 international airlines, including Delta Air Lines, and serves about 60 destinations in more than 30 countries.
The airport has five separate terminals, one each dedicated to domestic flights, U.S. charter flights, international fights, Caribbean flights, and freight. Bus service provides transportation between the terminals.
Most of the airport’s services are located in Terminal 3, which serves international flights. This is where you’ll find most of the restaurants and shops, selling duty-free goods, books and magazines, souvenir, cigars, and rum.
- Chartered shuttle buses pick up visitors traveling in tours outside the terminal
- Taxis pick up passengers from stands outside each terminal
- Local buses pick up passengers outside Terminal 1, but the only accepts Cuban National Pesos (CUP) not convertible pesos (CUC), which makes it difficult for visitors to use.
- Car rental agencies are located in the Arrivals area or outside parking
Tour Old Havana, beginning at Plaza Vieja then on to Catedral de la Habana, Forteleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, and Calle Mercaderes, a picturesque cobbled street lined with shops and museums.
High visibility and one of the world’s largest reefs create the perfect environment for deep sea diving. Favorite dive sites include Jardines de la Reina, Maria la Gorda, and the Isla de la Juventud.
As Ernest Hemingway’s renowned novel “The Old Man and the Sea” asserted back in 1951, game fishing is outstanding in Cuba. The Gulf Stream along the north coast is home to sailfish, tuna, swordfish, barracuda, and marlin. Fly fisherman can angle flats for tarpon and bonefish.
Soak up the sun at Playas del Este, a miles-long stretch of sand and surf punctuated by hotels, restaurants, and beach shops. Santa Maria del Mar is a popular spot for tourists. Guanabo is a less developed stretch and a favorite of locals.
While tourism has been on the upswing in Havana, the number of hotels has not kept pace. Visitors are advised to book accommodations well in advance of their visit.
Located in the Miramar residential and business district, Melia Habana boasts great views of the city and the sea. Surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and lush ground, the hotel is home to La Bella Cubana, a fine dining restaurant serving a fusion of Asian and Cuban cuisines.
Iberostar Parque Central Hotel in central Havana boasts gorgeous colonial architecture, a rooftop pool, and stunning views of the city.
Casa Particulares are private homes that rent rooms to guests. Options range from penthouse apartments to more humble abodes. Rooms typically have two beds, a private bath, a refrigerator and an air conditioner. Many can be found on Airbnb.com, opens in a new window.
Havana has a tropical climate, making it warm and sunny year-round.
The hottest months are June through September when highs average in the high 80s. Humidity is also high this time of year. The coolest months are December through February when the highs average in the low 80s. The rainy season is May through October when pop-up rain showers occur 12 to 16 days a month on average. This is also hurricane season. Dry season is November through April, when showers are brief and less common.
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