If there had been environmentalists in 1870, they would surely have protested against the construction of the Vedado (the "forbidden") area, then a huge nature lot of mahogany, oak and cedar trees meant to form a barrier against attacks from pirates such as the French Jacques de Sores.
But no one wanted this vast land that sold for 10 cents a square yard. Eventually, Francisco de Frías y Jacott, Earl of Pozos Dulces (1809-1877) was the first to hire free workers (not slaves) to build up that unused land - he was honored with an unknown tiny park on Linea.
In 1901, an American "nutcase" built the first bungalow at number 504 of calle 9. Then other fatcats came to erect palaces; some photos.
In the late 40's, the forest cover had turned into a vast grazing for goats crossed by a railway line and slowly but surely concrete columns formed the first Cuban skyscrapers [seen on the horizon in the photo at top] enthroned in an orgy of modernism and extending well beyond the first two blocks of the new middle-class neighborhood : Calzada and Diecisiete (the 17th).
The rest is his story.
TOP 10 MUST SEE
• Established in 1871, Cementerio (Necropolis) Colon spreads over 56 hectares (140 acres) contains 500 tombs, chapels, vaults and family plots. The Habaneros wanting to make a wish come to pray at the grave of Amelia Milagrosa (Amelia the Miraculous). Corner Zapata and 12. Photos here. Detailed map by Moon here.
• Museo de Artes Decorativas, with Eastern European art from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. Absolutely sublime, unparalleled in taste. (The lady was filthy rich !) Calle 17, corner of E.
• Galeria Haydee Santamaria, more than 6000 pieces of sculptures, paintings, prints, photographs and folk art. Calle G, between Quinta y 3ra.
• Casa de la Amistad, fabulous building with bar, cafe, boutique, terrace, restaurant, musical evenings. Paseo 406, between 17 and 19.
• Casa de ICAP (Cuban Institute for Friendship among Peoples), another nice building with bar, cafe, boutique, terrace, restaurant, musical evenings. Calle 17, e / H y Y
• Museo Napoleonico re-opened in 2011, the collection of "Sugar Baron" Julio Lobo. Calle San Miguel, corner Ronda.
• Plaza de la Revolucion its tower, its museum, its vistas and its two larger-than-life revolutionaries.
• The Universidad de la Habana and its calm campus with stunning buildings and welcoming.
• Hotel Nacional : its lobby, inviting swimming pool (25cuc for the day including a burger) and its neighborhood turistica (Coppelia, Habana Libre, Yara cinema).
• The area of the intersection of Calles 23 y 12 with the Cinemateca, small restaurants, the arts center, galleries and cinemas.
WICHY DE VEDADO, Havana's gift to DJ sampling : this video is named 23 y L (a street corner at the epicenter of young, hip and chill touristy Havana) where he sometimes performs, in front of the Habana Libre, Coppelia ice creams, the Yara cinema, etc
Get high at Parque Lenin over some of its 1800 hectares of green spaces, theme park, golf course, train ride, lake, restaurants, bars and galleries.
GET OUT OF TOWN ! Viazul bus terminal is in front of City Zoo but each of the 16 daily departures stops at closer "Inter-Provincial" terminal near Plaza de la Revolucion, also in Vedado. At the door, you will be offered rides in private taxis (ie, old American jalopies) : you make the call, you take the risk.
Plaza de la Revolucion, KMilo 100Fuegos (Camilo Cienfuegos) who now appears larger than nature like the Che with Camilo's famous words of support for Fidel's 1959 speech in the same plaza : « You are doing fine, Fidel ». Photo of the complex rising of the sculpted face here. (#25) •]• The two revolutionaries reliving side by side since october 2009
PALADARES Amor, calle 23, entre B y C; Azotea de Elda, calle 23 #759, entre B y C; El Bistrot, calle K, entre 7 y Malecon;Gringo Viejo, calle 21, entre E y F;Huron Azul, Humboldt, corner P (closed);La Palma, 27 de noviembre, entre M y N; Los AmigosM y 19; Marpoly, calle K #154. RESTAURANTS [FULL LIST HERE]
Chansonnier (International/Fusion); El Atelier (Signature); La Casa (Fusion/Sushi); Havana Chef (Spanish); Razones (International); Starbien (Spanish); 3D Bar (Snacks); La Chucheria (Sandwich Bar); Sancho Panza (International); El Beduino (Arabic); Fabio Ristorante e Pizzeria italiana, Pastas 5,25-6,50cuc; Pizzas 3,50-6,25cuc calle 17, corner of J; open 12 to 12 Ground level : bar (takeout) and dining room; upstairs is chic & pricey, a bit "tourist-trappy". Tel (7) 55-3716 La Torre, on top floor of Edificio Focsa, quite dear, calle 17 and M; Union Francesa, on the ground floor, first floor and roof (for grilled specialties) of a colonial casa, calle 17, corner 6, across "Parque John Lennon" ;
EVENINGS, DANCING, MUSIC AND SHOWS Atelier, shows at 23h30, disco follows, calle 17, corner 6; on Sundays between 4 and 8 p.m., Discotemba for Habaneros (and tourists alike) who just wanna dance (to recorded music from the 70's and 80's) and have fun. A place where foreigners looking for chicks should not be welcome. Barbaram, son the way we like, Trova type. Not dear but far, calle 26, e/45 y 47; Café TV, shows and karaoke, decor celebrates Cuban TV history, packed weekends, 17 edificio FOCSA, e/M y N; Casa de las Americas, concerts early evening weekdays, 3ra, corner Presidentes; Casa de la Amistad (see above), shows on the terrace, 5cuc; Café Fresa y Chocolate, inner court of ICAIC, rock and marginal groups. Calle 23, e/10 y 12; El Gato Tuerto, famous with intelligentsia in 70's and 80'. Now filin, jazz and bolero music speak with their notes. Calle O #14, e/17 y 19; El Gran Palenque of the world-famous Conjunto Folclorico Nacional de Cuba. HQ of the rumba. Matinees on weekends. Calle 4 #103, e/Calzada y 5ta; El Karachi, at midnight pop meets rap. Techno on Sundays, 16h-21h. Calle K, e/15 u 16; Huron Azul / UNEAC (Union of writers and artists of Cuba), 17h-2h, trova, son and rumba. Calle 17 #351, e/G y H; Bar-Club Imagenes, traditional and bolero shows from 23h, bar and restaurant. Calle Calzada, corner C; Jazz Café, HQ of Chucho Valdes, Irakere and the like, 20h and 23h. Disco follows. Galerias del Paseo, corner 1ra; La Fuente, mini bar and garden on calle 13, corner of Los Presidentes (Calle G). Cheap; Las Bulerias, español decor, dancing on musica cubana, Midnight to 4h, calle L e/23 y 25; Las Cañitas at the Habana Libre : salsa bands, disco, jazz. Muy popular. Calle 23 corner L; Opus Bar, top floor of Amadeo Roldan, conversations with a view. Calzada, corner D; Conjunto Folclórico - Patio de la Rumba Calle 4 e/Calzada y 5ta. Cuban dancing in its unique roots : Africa Tel. (7) 830-3939 Shows on Saturdays in the open air patio. Get there early, not a large venue.
HEED THE HINTS IN THIS FINE PRINT :::Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba. Unless you only want a room in any house which may be of the same quality, not the specific casa you booked through photos on these websites ::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: Since October 2010, maximum bedroom capacity is not limited to two adults::: Also, large casas are not limited to renting only two bedrooms per night. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by the website staff. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 20-25cuc per bedroom per night [up to 40+ for 4 in a room]; breakfasts 3-5cuc, dinners 7-10cuc. ::: Any casa particular anywhere in Cuba must have a hot water shower, otherwise it cannot have a permit to rent ::: Please share your Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]cubacasas.net
BOOK BY PHONE • From Canada and the USA : 011 53 (+ phone # preceded by 7 for Havana) • From Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (+ phone # preceded by 7 for Havana) HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 05 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 015 + the 7 digits of the cell.
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ANGELA Two bedrooms, one with private bathroom Calle San Miguel 1116, entre Mazón y Basarrate. Very close to the Universidad and Calle Infanta. Tel. (7) 879-6851 Locate on this map.
MERCEDES Two large bedrooms, each with private bathroom Calle 21, # 360 appartement 2-A upstairs, entre G and H, corner of avenida de Los Presidentes. Tel. (7) 832-5846 Locate on this map.
MIRTHA y JORGE Two aircon bedrooms, each with ensuite bathrooms Calle Luaces No. 16, entre Salvador Allende (Carlos III) y Lugareño near a Habana Bus Tour stop and close to Quinta de los Molinos Park in Plaza de la Revolución area. Tel. (7) 878-2837 Locate on this map.
MADELEINE Two-bedroom apartment : kitchen, living, dining ... Calle J # 255, ground floor, entre Linea y 15 near a produce market, front of bakery, near Coppelia, UNEAC, Museo de Artes Decorativas. (7) 832-7480 or cell (015) 292-2391 Locate on this map.
LETICIA Three-bedroom colonial-like, ensuites, two patios
Calle Valle 212, e/Mazon y Basarrate à deux pas du Parque Aguirre three blocks from Universidad. Locate on this map. Tél. (7) 873-3470
CARMEN Two bedrooms, private baths; one with terrace Almendares No. 110 entre Bruzón y Desagüe, Plaza de la Revolución, behind Astro Bus Terminal. Tel. (7) 870-0664 Locate on this map.
ELVIRA V One private-bath bedroom with independent entry Calle B, no 716, upstairs (Altos) entre 29 y Zapata, Plaza de la Revolucion some 15 mins. walk from the Malecon. Tel. (7) 830-4682 Locate on this map.
ELENA V Third floor, two aircon bedrooms, ensuite baths Calle 21 # 62, corner calle M, apto 6 In vicinity of Nacional, Habana Libre and Victoria hotels. Locate on this map. Tel. (7) 832-0495
LOS FAROLES V Two-bedroom apartment, private bathrooms Calle San Juan Bautista # 74, entre 35 y 37, Nuevo Vedado, near the Plaza de la Revolucion, behind the must-see Cementerio. Locate on this map. Tel. (7) 833-4348
ELIA y MARY V Two aircon bedrooms, private baths Calle San Rafael 1217, entre Mason y Ronda (which goes round the Universidad). four blocks from the famous Cine Yara. Locate on this map. Tel. (7) 878-3604
GEORGINA Two bedrooms each with private ensuites
Calle San Rafael 1165, entre Mazon y Basarrate in neighbourhood of the Universidad. Locate on this map. Tel. (7) 878-3604
LUIS y MILYV Ground floor one-bedroom apart, living room Calle 15 # 305, entre H et I, close to Malecon and near hotels Nacional & Habana Libre. Locate on this map. Tel. (7) 836-3954
CALLE 13 V Three aircon bedrooms, two baths, patio, bbq, pool Calle 13 # 1361, entre 24 y 26, 5 mins. on foot from Malecon, near hotels Riviera and Melia Cohiba. Locate on this map. Tél. (7) 860-0848 cell 05 273-2877
CASAHABANA V Four bedrooms, three baths, two floors + roof terrace Calle D# 555, apto 3, entre 23 y 25, facing Parque Mariana Grajales. Locate on this map. Tel (7) 833-1438 cell 05 289-7813
ORALIA V Upstairs two ac bedrooms, shared bath Calle Bruzón 123, entre Luaces y Montoro about 5 mins. from Plaza de la Revolucion; one min. walk from Quinta de los Molinos on Carlos III. Tél. (7) 878-4574 Locate on this map.
JORGEV Upstairs indep. two-bedroom apartment, kitchen Calle Ronda 5, upstairs, e/ Neptuno (and San Lazaro) y San Miguel, about 20 m from the main entrance of the University. Locate on this map. Tel. (7) 641-6673
FLORA V Two aircon bedrooms, private baths Calle B No. 705, entre 29 y Zapata, Plaza de la Revolución, near the Teatro Nacional. Tel. (7) 833-9151 Locate on this map.
MARIBEL V Avenida 19 de Mayo #5, e/ Ayestaran y Amezaga, in the Plaza de la Revoluciónarea, some 40 meters from main Omnibus terminal. Find on this map. Tel. (7) 879-3119
ZOE y VICTOR V Upstairs, two aircon bedrooms, private baths Avenida 20 de Mayo 426 (a 13-storey tower), esquina (corner) Amenidad in the Cerro area, overlooking the Latinoamericano stadium. Locate on this map. Tél. (7) 870-8809 cell (5) 283-4554
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