La Habana Vieja (Old Havana) is the oldest neighborhood and the city
center of Havana, Cuba. Old Havana and its fortifications are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

La Habana Vieja, Old Havana (Havana, Cuba) – In Another Minute (314)

La Habana Vieja was first established in 1519 by the Spanish on the
Bay of Havana. Cuba has seen some drastic political changes over the
centuries. In contrast, Havana and especially the neighborhood of Old
Havana have remained frozen in time. Most notably are the baroque and
neo-classical buildings and the 1950s cars. What a visual feast for a
photographer, a video maker and any visitor!

There was no way I
could make a comprehensive video about La Habana Vieja in just one
minute. I tried to create a mixture of some of the famous sights and
some images that spoke to me personally. Depending on which video my
Patreon supporters vote for, there may be a longer video about La Habana
Vieja this month. If you want to participate in the vote, please
support me on You’ll get other rewards as well…

Major sights in this video (in order of appearance):
Castillo del Morro Castle and Lighthouse (seen from our balcony)
La Cabaña Fortress (seen from La Habana Vieja)
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis on Plaza de San Francisco
Catedral de San Cristobal
Plaza Vieja (seen from inside Factoria Plaza Vieja, Cervezas y Maltas)
Hotel Ambos Mundos (Hemingway Hotel) on Calle Obispo
Plaza de Armas (where I got the Obama poster for my birthday)
La Floridita (where Hemingway and us had delicious daiquiris)
La Bodeguita del Medio (where Hemingway hung out, but we didn’t)
Parque Central
Payret Cinema and Capitolio

of the images in this video about La Habana Vieja, I shot on my
birthday while Scott and I roamed Old Havana. It was the best way to
spend a birthday: filming and photographing the perfect location of my
dreams. The subjects that get me most excited are abandoned-looking
buildings, places with strong history, classic cars, street art, city
life and its people and colors contrasting with grey. All this was in
abundance in La Habana Vieja. The only other subject that I feel
strongly about is nature, which I got to film a few days later on the
Caribbean coast.

Walking around capturing a yet unexplored place
with Scott and every once in a while dip in somewhere to have a bite or
get another cold beer (bring your own koozies) was the best way to spend
my birthday. Wonder where we will go next year…

For anyone traveling to Havana, Cuba, in the future, I cannot recommend enough Mary and Juan Carlos’ apartment Vistalmorro.
The 2-bedroom apartment with a balcony overlooking the Havana Bay,
Malecón and the Morro Lighthouse, is a bit pricier than your average
Casa Particular (private room or hostel). But I believe it is well worth
it. The apartment is in walking distance of everything you might need
or want in Old Havana. And the luxury and functionality of the apartment
provides an excellent break from the heat, noise and visual
over-stimulation of the old city. I wrote a more detailed review on
Airbnb. By the way, they’re not paying me to write this. 😉

also didn’t get paid by the Hotel Ambos Mundos (aka The Hemingway
Hotel), where we stayed our last night in Havana. Still, I’ll probably
publish a video about that hotel in the near future.

Other videos I plan to publish in the coming weeks and months (in-between Colorado and Portrait videos):

Centro Habana
Vedado and Plaza de la Revolución
Colon Cemetery (Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón)
Havana Street Art
Classic Cars of Cuba
Classic Car Ride through Havana
La Boca
Playa Ancón
Havana at Night (the post will include a few tips for restaurants and bars)

Already online:
Trinidad de Cuba – In Another Minute (Week 313)

A few Havana travel tips:

you don’t get the sense you have to worry about pick-pockets, the
“danger” of the hustlers is a real nuisance and can cost you quite a bit
of money. They may convince you to buy discounted cigars or pressure
you into purchasing baby formula for an unseen baby. Yes, we too fell
for hustlers during our first hours there. Cubans are super friendly,
welcoming and open – but some of them hustle with such an insight into
human psychology and elaborate schemes. It’s hard to be unfriendly or
suspicious when people are so helpful and nice and pull all the stops to
convince you that you are not being hustled. My advice is to remain
friendly but be firm that you don’t need cigars, rum or directions to
anywhere. Sometimes you just have to walk away and ignore the “Lady,
lady, lady!” being yelled after you. And I recommend taking it in stride
when you do realize you’ve been hustled. After all, you did just help a
person who has bigger financial troubles than you.

The other tip
is specifically for travelers with only US bank accounts and credit
cards. Your American credit cards and ATM cards do not work in Cuba as
of this writing. Bring more US dollars than you had budgeted. Just tuck
them away somewhere safe and convert them to CUC in case you run out of
money for whatever reason. There is no other way for you to acquire
additional money while in Cuba. Fortunately, we brought just about
enough, but it did get a little tight.

Ah, there is so much more I
could tell you. But this post is long enough. If you have any
questions, please don’t hesitate to write in the comment section here or
on any of my social media pages.

Prado, La Habana Vieja
Havana, Cuba

The photo above (and second to last shot in the video) is of the
buildings that were the backdrop for a “Fast and Furious” shoot. This
annoyed me a bit because I couldn’t get to film them myself (road
blocked). But I did get some dramatic footage of the “Fast and Furious”
camera helicopter flying by them – and then we returned another day for
the shot used in this video.

The song in the video is “El Pescador” by Bruno Bassi of Los Hermanos, which I discovered via the royalty-free music website Their collection is available via a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Soon I will have more photos of La Habana Vieja, Cuba, on my personal blog and on Flickr. Patreon supporters will get to see them before anyone else…

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