Havana is a major port location, a leading commercial center and the cultural heartbeat of Cuba. Thanks to the U.S. Prohibition Act that made alcohol illegal in the 50 states, party-goers booked flights to Havana in search of good rum and a freshly rolled cigar. The economy was booming and Havana was reaping the benefits. But the party only lasted a short time. On Jan. 31, 1959, Fidel Castro’s men announced that prostitution, gambling and other “party-like” services offered by Havana locals working for the tourist dollar would be replaced by old-fashioned hard work. Suddenly, the flights to Havana ended.
Thanks to more recent laws allowing private businesses, farmer’s markets and other tourist-friendly enterprises to open shop in Havana, the city is regaining its tourist dollar and quickly becoming first-rate capital city. Nightclubs, fine dining and the Cuban culture allure tourists to book flights to Havana each year.
What you see is what you get in Havana. As soon as you step off your cheap flight to Havana, heat and humidity will envelope you in a sizzling embrace. Day, night, summer, winter – it’s all the same. Temperatures don’t vary much, and range between 77 and 81 degrees, but cool winds and occasional rain storms calm the searing blanket. Winter nighttime temps can sometimes fall to 68 degrees, but with all the daytime heat, the occasional change is refreshing.
Peak Season: The gap between winter and spring makes for a sweet spot in timing for your cheap flight to Havana, as it lands on the cooler end of the temperature spectrum without hitting the heavy hurricane season. The most common (and most expensive) travel dates are on or around the New Year.
Off-peak Season: You can be selective with your flights to Havana if you time them appropriately. August through October are usually the wettest months, so finding a cheap flight to Havana might be easier than during the springtime.
Havana’s bus system is unreliable, so take one of the shuttle or tour buses that cater to travelers. You may want to try a camel, which in this case is not a humped desert animal, but a tractor-pulled passenger car. These take people all around the city, but are for the more adventurous traveler. You can find tourist taxis easily at hotels, transportation centers and major sightseeing spots. Havana taxis charge rates in US dollars and can be very affordable. Freelance taxis are illegal, and while the passengers aren’t punished, the drivers might refuse to drop you in front of your hotel. It’s always a good idea to settle your price before you get in the car. Walking around is a great way to soak up the city’s color, especially in La Habana Veija, but you can also take horse-drawn carriages, two-seater Coco Taxis and antique cars to get you to your next stop.
Museo de la Revolucion: This 1920’s building hosts articles that honor the revolution. Whether it be blood stained clothing, missiles, or Soviet tanks, you’re sure to feel the historical impact of the Cuba’s heart-wrenching historical turmoil. What once was a garden now displays vestiges from the Bay of Pigs, and the murals and paintings fill the need for a little beauty in a feuding atmosphere.
Partagas: Nothing is spared when it comes to the quality of cigars in Cuba. Enhance your travel to Havana by checking out the Partagas family factory to see how cigars are made, and to understand the complex and careful process of sorting, de-stemming, and selecting the specialty outer leaves for each perfect product. Don’t even think about boarding your Havana flight home with Cuban cigars in hand: It’s illegal to transport Cuban cigars out of the country.
Markets: Outside markets, called ferias, are kingdoms of handcrafted goods and matchless souvenirs. You can also find things like coffee and second hand books.Be careful not to overload your luggage on your return Havana flight, and make sure you save your receipts so you can fill out the U.S. customs forms on your Havana flight home.
Dancing: Feel like stretching your legs after a long flight to Havana? La Casa de Musica has two branches; one in central Havana, and one in the Miramar district. Both boast an uplifting atmosphere and concerts most days of the week. Find a local partner, learn a few new steps, and let your own Havana Nights story take course. But if you’d rather watch a pro get footloose, check out Gran Teatro de La Habana and Ballet Nacional de Cuba.