2 days in Havana itinerary

2 Days in Havana Itinerary

Exploring Havana is a fabulous way to get introduced to Cuba and having 2 days in Havana is a great amount of time to see the best that the city has to offer.    You’ll have a chance to see Havana’s socialist monuments, the crumbling colonial grandeur that makes Havana so stunning, and the art Deco architecture that will have you reaching for your camera at all times.   Our 2 days in Havana itinerary will have you seeing the key attractions of Havana, learning about the history of Cuba and her people, and exploring some of the spaces that make this city unique.   There’s lots to do in Havana and you’ll want to pre-plan as much as you can, stay somewhere central and enjoy the energy of the city.  Here’s our 2 day Havana itinerary.

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Practical Considerations for Spending 2 days in Havana

While a two-day Havana itinerary is more relaxed than our one-day in Havana itinerary, you will still plan ahead to make the most of your 48 hours in Havana.    There are also several things to organize before you arrive.

If you arrive at Havana international airport – then read what you need to know about arriving at Havana airport here.  Our Cuba travel checklist includes what you’ll need to enter Cuba, including a Cuban Tourist card (buy it here if you haven’t already got one) and medical insurance, which is a requirement to enter the country.  We recommend WorldNomads for Cuban medical insurance, or Roamright if you are a US citizen.

Getting from Havana Airport to Havana

Havana airport is about 30 minutes drive to the city of Havana.  You can take a bus from the airport to Havana and there are four Viazul buses a day from the airport to the Viazul Bus station in Havana.  You’ll need to check the times to see if they leave at the right time for your flight arrival.  You can check this in our guide to the Viazul Bus here.

The Viazul Bus station is 2.2 miles (3.6km) from Old Havana, which is where we recommend you stay if you are spending just two days in Havana and, to maximize your time we recommend pre-booking a transfer from the airport to your casa particular or hotel in Havana. You can now book both shared and private transfers.

Plan your internet access in Cuba

Internet access isn’t yet ubiquitous in Cuba, so you should read our guide Cuban internet here.  However, also consider pre-booking a Cuban Tourist SIM to make your internet access easier while you’re here.  You can read all about Cuban Tourist SIMs in our guide here, or TLDR:  Pre-order one and pick it up at Havana Airport on arrival.

Understand the currency, cash, and cards in Cuba

Read our guide to Cuban Currency here to understand the money situation in Cuba.  And understand that while the Cuban government has blocked Cuban banks from accepting US dollars, Cubanos still want them.  Much of your time in Havana will be spent with locals, and you’ll need some cash for that. 

Safety and Security in Havana, Cuba

Cuba, and it’s capital city, Havana are generally safe places to travel.  But petty theft does happen.  Don’t openly display valuables and lock your valuables in your accommodation in a portable travel safe, and don’t flash wads of cash and you’ll be fine.

Have a plan and a backup when visiting Cuba

It’s always a good idea when visiting Cuba to have a plan with some flexibility built into it.  And have a backup to the plan.   Havana is generally laidback and life is a little slower here than back home.  The service that you get in a restaurant may not be what you’re used to at home.  You should plan for extra time in cafés and at all attractions.

Transport around Havana Cuba

Havana has a cheap, but busy public transport system.  But it’s set up to service the local community.  It’s not really designed to get you between attractions when you’re on a tight schedule.  We recommend seeing most of Old Havana on foot.  If you’re going to travel longer distances, then we recommend a taxi or a transfer for efficiency and speed.

If you’re looking for an alternative way to get around Havana during your stay in Cuba, why not rent a bicycle? It’s a great way to get around the city – and beyond, perhaps to the beaches, or if you’re staying in Vedado and want to get to Old Havana – perfect! Check Havana bike rental rates here – just don’t forget to lock it securely if you leave it unattended!

Where to Stay to Maximise your 48 hours in Havana

Most of the places that you’ll want to see on a one day in Havana itinerary are located in Old Havana (Habana Vieja) so we recommend staying in Old Havana.   Our recommendations of where to stay in Havana Vieja are:

The Casa Buenos Aires is in a superb location in the center of Old Havana, just one block from the Museum of the Revolution, making it easy to walk all the sights of Old Havana.  There are three private, ensuite rooms here, all with a private bathroom and a private balcony.  Breakfast and laundry are available here.  There is internet access here, a glorious garden and terrace with a bar where you can enjoy a fabulous Cuban cocktail.  See photos of the Casa Buenos Aires here.

The gorgeous Casa Giraldilla is a restored colonial house dates from the 1920s and has high ceilings and a glorious balcony for people watching.   Carmen and Carlos speak English, Spanish, and a little French.   All rooms are ensuite and have either a window or a balcony onto the street.  There are two doubles and a twin room here.  Breakfast and internet access is available here.  There is a glorious terrace on the roof available to all guests.  Book a room here.

The Casa de La Plaza de Cristo is in a building that dates from 1903, an 8-meter long balcony gives all guests a magnificent view of the Plaza de Cristo.  It is a fabulous location to stay at in Old Havana.  Rooms here are bright and airy, simply decorated and have air conditioning.  Rooms are ensuite and breakfast is available for an additional cost.  You can see the location of this great old Havana casa particular here.

Now.  That’s all sorted.  Are you ready to explore Havana in 2 days?

2 days in Havana Itinerary

Our 2 days in Havana itinerary is a little more relaxed than our whistle-stop 24 hour tour of Havana in a day, but you’re still going to need to keep moving to see everything.  This two day Havana itinerary is slightly different from the one day option, moving a little slower and allowing you time to relax.  You can, of course, always combine the two!

Day 1 of 2 days in Havana Itinerary

See Havana’s Malecon first thing in the morning

The Malecon, or promenade in Havana is a glorious place and it’s beautiful first thing in the morning or on an evening.  Get up and before breakfast, head down there – it’s just a short walk from Old Havana, and it’s a fabulous sight.

Walk along the Malecon in Havana Cuba

Get a great breakfast at your Casa Particular

When you’ve worked up an appetite, head back to your Casa Particular for breakfast.  Eating breakfast at your casa particular (read our guide to this unique accommodation option in Cuba here) is one of the best places you’ll eat in Cuba.  It’s also an important way of supporting the local community here in Cuba.  And you’re in for a feast – with great fresh fruit, amazing coffee, and a whole host of other goodies.    You’ll want to make sure you get a great breakfast, as on the first day of your two day itinerary in Havana you’ve got a lot to pack in before you eat again!

Casa Particular Breakfast Cuba

Take a (free) walking tour of Old Havana

The best way to get to know an area, city, country, and people is to meet with the locals.  The free walking tours run in Havana (and other cities in Cuba) are run by locals.  There’s no fee for them, but you do have to book a place so that they know how many people to expect, you simply tip your guide appropriately for their time.  On the free walking tour of Old Havana, you’ll get to see and hear about all the major attractions of the area.   So you’ll see Havana’s four main squares, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco de Asís, Plaza de Armas, and Plaza de la Catedral.   You’ll start at the Hotel Inglaterra, the oldest hotel in Havana, you’ll get the history of El Capitolio, walk past the Partagás tobacco factory and find out about the Cuban Cigar making process.  There are stunning buildings here – like the Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís, the Catedral de San Cristobál de la Habana and you’ll see the fort too on Plaza de Armas.   Reserve a place here.

Next, hustle on, on this two day itinerary for Havana it’s not time for lunch yet.  You’re going to head straight on to a classic car tour of the city.

Take a Classic Car Tour of the City

This is one of the best ways to see Havana Cuba.  I recommend pre-booking a classic car tour of the city – you can do that here – or you can find the classic cars parked up outside the Hotel Inglaterra.  Or near the entrance to the Museum of the Revolution.   You’ll need to negotiate, but the usual rate is about US$70 an hour.  They have a standard route that they take, (there’s more on what to expect on a classic car tour here).  You’ll need to pay cash, alternatively, you can prebook and prepay a vintage car tour in Havana here.  Now here’s where you get your lunch.  Ask your driver where he recommends for lunch.  The tour will take about an hour and then ask him to take you somewhere local to get some good food.    It might be a late lunch, but remember you had that awesome breakfast.  And there’s a treat coming up, so don’t fill yourself too full, after lunch you’re heading to probably the most important museum in Havana.

Classic Car Tour Havana Cuba

Visit the Museum of the Revolution in Havana

This is a good option for the mid to late afternoon.  There have been several Revolutions in Cuba and this is one of the best places to find out about them.  I do recommend taking the guided tour option if they are offering them when you visit.  If not, then be sure to check out the main rooms of the museum and make sure you see the vehicles in the garden of the museum that are remnants of some of the important parts of the most recent Cuban Revolution.

Museum of the Reovlution Havana Cuba

Head to the Malecon for Sunset

I mentioned earlier that the Malecon is one of the superstars of Havana.  And watching the sun go down here is truly lovely.  It’s like half of Havana comes out and goes for a walk as the day cools down.  You don’t have to walk the entire 5 miles, just have a short stroll, and then head back into Old Havana as its cocktail time!

Cocktails at La Bodeguita del Medio and El Floridita

There are two cocktail bars that you must go to in old Havana.  La Bodeguita and El Floridita.  La Bodeguita lays claim to being the place where the mojito was invented.  Both were Ernest Hemingway’s haunts.  They’re iconic Cuba and they’re so much fun, but you can’t stay long as you’re heading out for dinner and some Cuban music. Check out what Cuban cocktails to drink in our guide here.

Mojito Bodeguita del Medio

Head out for Cuban Music in Havana Cuba

There’s no better way to finish your first day in Havana Cuba than by exploring the music scene.  And there are two fabulous options that I recommend.

Dinner, drinks, and cabaret at Cabaret Tropicana

This two-and-a-half-hour show comes with a dinner option (there are also drinks included) and you’ll get to see a stunning show where you’ll travel through all the Cuban genres from bolero to rumba, son to guaguancó, as well as mambo, salsa, and danzón. And yes, you can dance too.  The Cabaret Tropicana de La Habana was inaugurated in 1939 and became the emblem of Cuban nightlife in the 1940s. It’s an open-air location and has welcome stars like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Edith Piaf, and Ingrid Bergman. It’s a fabulous night out – you can book tickets here.

The Buena Vista Social Club Tribute

You’ll discover the origins of Cuban music at the Buena Vista Social Club Tribute.   It’s a live show inspired by the Buena Vista Social Club, the iconic member’s club and music venue from the 1940s, and the famous Cuban band that took their name.    Your ticket includes dinner and drinks.  There are more details here, and you can book your ticket here.

Day 2 of 2 days in Havana Itinerary

On day 2 of your 2 day Havana itinerary we’re going to combine modern Havana with the very traditional.   And so after the amazing casa particular breakfast, you’re going to head to the contemporary part of Havana.  It’s an area generally called Vedado.  And it’s where folks who return time and again to Havana often stay.

If you’d like to stay in the neighborhood, then this casa is a glorious place and it also benefits from being very close to the Viazul Bus station and the Plaza de la Revolucion.

Casa Caribbean Blue 1927 is located in a glorious Neo-classical property just a short walk to the Havana Viazul Bus Station in the heart of Vedado.  It’s just 10 minutes walk to the Malecon and the Hotel Nacional.  There’s a garden and a lovely terrace here, plus a washing machine.  All rooms at Casa Caribbean Blue are fresh with plenty of natural light and presented in a traditional Cuban style.   The host here, Noel, speaks Spanish, French, and English.    Read more reviews here.

Exploring Vedado – Modern Havana on a Free Walking Tour

Again we’re going to take to the locals and ask them to take us around their neighborhood.  The free walking tour of Modern Havana is a great option to see a lot of this contemporary area.  You’ll get to see the famous Hotel Nacional – old mafia headquarters in the 1930s – and then you’ll stop at another Cuban institution, Coppelia’s ice cream parlor.  See the Avenida de Los Presidentes, where you’ll see statues of various Latin American leaders, and then it’s the Plaza de la Revolution – with the statue of Marti and the famous silhouette of Che Guevara on the façade of the Ministry of the Interior.  This is an awesome place to come if you happen to be in Cuba on May Day any year.  There’s a visit to the iconic Christopher Columbus Necropolis cemetery, and then after this 3 hour walking tour, you’ll finish at the location, which in 1961 Fidel Castro declared the socialist character of the Cuban Revolution.

Havana Itinerary 2 days Vedado

Head to El Tablazo in Vedado for lunch and then make your way back towards old Havana, you can either take a leisurely walk along the Malecon or grab a taxi and head back.  (If you plan to take the Street Food Tour, then stay around Vedado as that’s where you’ll be starting!)

For the afternoon you have a choice – and there are three options – take in some more of Havana’s museums, learn more about the culture of Havana with a street food tour, or find out everything there is to know about Cuban Cigars.  Which will you pick?

Explore Havana’s Museums

Havana has a host of museums to explore and it’s easy to find one that suits your taste.  There’s more in our guide to Havana museums here,  but here are three of my favorites.

The Rum Museum

The Havana Club Rum Museum in Havana is a true journey into the Cuban roots of rum.  Not only will you find out about the rum-making process, from freshly cut sugar cane to a surprising scale model factory; but you’ll also learn about how the distillery and aging warehouses worked. There’s also a tasting involved and some fabulous Cuban cocktails to try here too.

  • Havana Club Rum Museum Opening Times:  Monday to Friday 9 am – 430pm
  • Address of Havana Club Rum Museum:    Avenida del Puerto 262 esq Sol, Havana Vieja, La Habana
  • Entrance Fee for Havana Club Rum Museum:   Experiences are available here, prices vary
  • Website for Havana Club Rum Museum:  https://www.havanaclubmuseum.com/

Farmacia Habanera Museum, Havana

Close to the Plaza del Cristo, you’ll find the pharmacy shop museum.  It is still open as a pharmacy today and the museum here is all about the history of pharmacies in Havana.  It’s a glorious building.  And you’ll find old medicine bottles and tools, original architecture, and also natural and traditional pharmaceutical products.

  • Farmacia Habanera Museum Opening Times:  Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm
  • Address of Farmacia Habanera Museum:    Calle Brasil (Cornered with Compostela), La Habana, Cuba.
  • Entrance Fee for Farmacia Habanera Museum:   FREE
Pharmacy Museum Havana Itinerary 2 days

Finca Vigia (Hemingway’s Museum)

The museum of Ernest Hemingway is located in Fina Vigia, where the famous American writer lived while in Cuba.  He rented this house in 1939 and then 12 months later bought it and lived in it until he returned to the USA in 1939.   It was here that he wrote a large part of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream”.

Havana Itinerary 2 days finca vigia

You can’t enter the interior of the house, it has been preserved exactly how Hemingway left it,  but you can view it through the windows.  You should make sure you walk through the garden if you visit, see Hemingway’s fishing boat, the pet cemetery, and the pool where Eva Gardner bathed.

  • Finca Vigia Museum Opening Times:  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00. Sundays from 9:00 to 12:30. The museum is closed on rainy days.
  • Address of Finca Vigia Museum:    Vigía y Steinhart street, San Francisco de Paula, San Miguel del Padrón, Havana – Cuba.
  • Entrance Fee for Finca Vigia Museum:   US$3 for unguided visits, US$4 for guided visits, +US$5 for cameras, +US$25 for video cameras.
  • Website for Finca Vigia Museum:  https://fincafoundation.org/sitefiles/

Explore Havana’s Street Food

Learning about a city, country, and culture through food is an incredible way to learn a little more about life.  On this fabulous street food tour, there are stops to taste typical local fried foods, like chiviricos and churros, and the traditional Cuban pork sandwich, all washed down with a refreshing cup of strawberry syrup flavored crushed ice… mouth-watering!  This is a great way to understand and explore the inventiveness of the Cuban people when it comes to food.  There’s the typical Cuban sugarcane drink known as guarapo, squeezed straight from the cane – and either a visit to a traditional grocery store or a stop off at Coppelia!  Reserve a place on the Havana Street Food Tour here!

Learn about Cuban Cigars with a Cigar workshop

Cuba is world-famous for her cigars and there’s no better place to learn about this industry than here in Havana.   If you join this Havana cigar workshop then you’ll learn about the origins of tobacco in Cuba – it goes back more than 500 years and you’ll find out about the influence that Christopher Columbus had here too.  There’s time spent on the different types of cigars, and then you’ll get to make your own cigars.  This two hour workshop comes complete with Cuban rum, coffee, and a huge amount of learning and history.  You can read more about it here.

On your second evening in Cuba, I’ve also got two options for you.

The first is a colonial experience with dinner, the other is to explore the nightlife of Havana. 

See the Havana Cannon Firing Ceremony

Since colonial times the cannons at Havana’s El Morro fortress have fired, warning the residents of the city that the city wall gates were closing.    It’s a ritual that dates back to 1774 when pirate attacks were a regularity and the cannon firing used to happen from a ship in the harbor.  The ceremony then moved to the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, known locally as La Cabaña.  Guards dressed in historic uniforms continue to perform the ceremony, although the pirates are long gone.  This is a great way to see a bit of history and then head to a local restaurant for dinner.  Check out more details of the Havana Cannon firing ceremony here.

Havana Cannon firing ceremony

Explore Havana at Night

There are some great places to visit and see at night in Havana and you’ll often find some great spots by just taking a wander.  However, if you really want to experience the best nightspots in Havana, then it’s best to go with a local.  And on this four hour free walking tour you will have great fun.    You’ll get to explore traditional Cuban drinks, from locally brewed beer to canchara, dance to salsa music, and explore some of Hemingway’s haunts too.  Want a great view of Havana at night?  This tour has you covered as well and what could be better than the view with a great mojito in your hand?  This is a fabulous way to wrap up your 2 days in Havana and you won’t want the night to end!

Want more Cuban Itineraries?

If you’re looking for alternative itineraries for Cuba, then head on over here to check out the different options. From more days in Havana to 7 days in Cuba right up to 14 days in Cuba.

Travel Tips for Exploring Cuba

Final Words on this 2 days in Havana Itinerary

Havana is an amazing city to visit, no matter how much time you have.  And I love exploring places in a full on fashion, jumping straight in and exploring the best of what they have.  Two days in Havana isn’t a huge amount of time, but I hope these options have given you some ideas on what to see and do in 48 hours in Havana!

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