where to stay in Havana

Where to stay in Havana, Cuba [Havana Neighbourhoods]

The city of Havana is large and sprawling and you can be forgiven for looking at a map of Havana and wondering where the heck to start with finding a place to stay in Cuba’s capital city.   There are some excellent neighbourhoods in Havana, some glorious casa particulars and some stunning hotels.  In this guide on where to stay in Havana Cuba, we’ll cover the best neighbourhoods in Havana for your stay.  We’ll explain where the main tourist attractions are and what the characteristics of each part of Havana are.   If you want to be close to the nightlife, the history and the culture of Havana, then we’ll cover what Havana’s best place to stay is.

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Most visitors to Havana will stay in Havana for at least 2 or 3 nights.  They want to get a flavour for Cuba’s capital city.  They want to see the main sights and then head off to other parts of Cuba.  And the TLDR for where to stay in Havana is that most people on their first trip to Havana will stay in Old Havana, which is where most of the Havana tourist attractions are located.   Where you stay in Havana is also dictated by how you plan on getting around Havana.  There is public transport in Havana, but it tends to be crowded, hot and slow.  There are hop-on hop-off tourist buses, but they don’t tend to go to some neighbourhoods.  So you’ll need to consider how you plan on getting around the city – and there are lots of options for shared taxis, private taxis, classic cars, and a huge number of people walk too!  So come on in and explore the different areas of Havana.

Where to Stay in Havana, Cuba

The main neighbourhoods of Havana to stay in are

  • Old Havana (Habana Vieja)
  • Vedado
  • Miramar
  • Centro Habana  (also referred to as downtown Havana

Here’s a quick overview of the different Havana neighbourhoods.

Why Stay in Old Havana –  Habana Vieja

The most popular place to stay in Havana, Cuba for first-time visitors to Cuba is Old Havana or Habana Vieja in Spanish.  Old Havana is where the main tourist attractions are located.  There are a large number of pedestrianised streets. 

Old Havana is the most visited part of Havana.  It is Havana’s historic centre.  It’s here you’ll find the majority of the old colonial buildings, many restored, many not.   Cocktail bars like El FLoridita and La Bodeguita del Medio are here.  Havana’s Cathedral and the Capitol Building are in Old Havana too.   If you find a hotel in Old Havana you can easily walk to all of these attractions as well as Old Havana’s glorious five main squares, Calle Obispo, the secondhand book store of Plaza de Armas and the Museum of the Revolution.  In Old Havana, there are bars, restaurants and the glorious sound of Cuban music.  It’s also where you’ll find the biggest concentration of classic cars in, not just Havana, but the island of Cuba – which makes it the best place to take a classic car tour in Cuba.

Old Havana has the newest, plushest hotels in Havana too here you’ll find

  • The Iberostar Grand Packard
  • The Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski
  • The Hotel Inglaterra
  • The Boutique Hotel Saratoga
Hotel Saratoga Havana
Hotel Saratoga Havana

You’ll also find gorgeous casa particulars (read here as to why we think you should stay in a Casa Particular when you travel to Cuba.)

Then there are mid-range hotels, such as the Hotel Sevilla or the Iberostar Parque Central and for those who want shared rooms or more budget facilities you’ll also find great hostels in Old Havana too.

Stay in Old Havana for great accommodation choices and to be at the heart of the action in Havana.

Why Stay in Vedado, Cuba

Vedado is Havana’s most modern district.  It’s contemporary, laidback and trendy all at the same time.  There are lots of leafy tree-lined avenues here.  There’s partying here and quiet too.  While Old Havana has tall towering colonial buildings, Vedado has large open spaces

The most well known of attractions in Vedado is the Malecon – the five-mile-long esplanade that hugs the coast of Havana.   Havana’s Malecon is the prime hangout spot, especially at sunset when the views are glorious.  Stay in Vedado if you’re planning on spending time at the Factoria de Arte Cubano (F.A.C.), one of the most happening places in Havana.  La Rampa or Calle 23 is the main place in Vedado for hotels, shops and nightlife.  It’s also where you’ll find Coppelia – Havana’s most famous ice cream vendor.

Vedado is where you’ll find the legendary Hotel Nacional – where Hemingway, Sinatra and Winston Churchill have stayed amongst other famous folks.  You can book a room at the National Hotel here or simply head there for your favourite Cuban Cocktails on the lawn. 

Hotel Nacional Havana

The other hotels that you’ll find in Vedado of mention are the Tryp Habana Libre and the Iberostar Habana Riviera.  More reasonably priced (and highly recommended) is the Melia Cohiba. – check room rates at the Havana Melia Cohiba here.

And of course – there are some great casa particulares here in Vedado.

Why Stay in Miramar, Havana, Cuba

The neighbourhood of Miramar in Havana is elegant, contemporary and the most refined area of Havana.  It’s also the quietest.  This is the embassy district in Havana.  It’s also where you’ll find some of the most gorgeous casa particulares in Havana – with some stunning facilities, including private pools.  There are parks here, immaculate properties and mansions, definitely mansions.  So if you’re looking for a place to stay that’s quiet, top of the range with lots of space, then Miramar is the place for you. 

In Miramar you’ll find private clubs, incredible paladares for food and for those who want to dance, the Casa de la Music de Miramar is a great option.  As this is embassy country, then you’ll find some of the standard hotels – here you’ll find hotels that have great sea views too, including

But there’s no reason to think you’re cut off here – swanky it may be but all of those hotels have shuttle buses to Old Havana that take about 15-20 minutes.  Of course, you can also take a taxi.    The costs of staying in Miramar are similar, possibly slightly less than old Havana for a similar level of service and luxury, and you’ll play a similar amount in restaurants and bars too.

Why Stay in Habana Centro, Havana, Cuba

Havana Central and Old Havana – Centro Habana and Habana Vieja are often mistaken for each other.  They’re right next to each other and there’s no real defining line between them.    WE’ve stayed in Habana Centro several times and LOVE IT.    If you stay in the right place in Habana Centro, then you’re right on the edge of Old Havana and in easy walking distance of all of Habana Vieja’s attractions.  And you’ll likely get a lot more room and board for your money.  You won’t find many hotels in Habana Centro, but you’ll find some great casa particulares – we loved staying with Rafaela at Casa Rafaela – her breakfasts were amazing.

Colonial House 1922 Casa Particular

Habana Centro is home to some amazing Cuban restaurants – the paladares of La Guarida and San Cristobal are so worth the trip if you get here.  Habana Centro is also home to Havana’s Chinatown, so if you’re craving some Chinese food this is the place to be!  And finally, Centro Habana’s La Casa de la Musica is the better of the two Casa de la Musicas in Havana. 

So if you want cheaper, close to the action and the local lifestyle of the casa particular, then Habana Centro is a great option to stay in Havana – but choose your location wisely.  This is a large area and if you’re planning to use this as your base while you walk to all the attractions of Old Havana, then you’ll need to check the location before you book.

Map of Havana Neighbourhoods

Here’s a map of the neighbourhoods of Havana, Cuba.  Click here to see it live.

Havana Neighbourhoods Map
Havana Neighbourhoods Map

Final Words on Where to Stay in Havana Cuba

The best place to stay in Havana, Cuba really depends on how long you’re staying in Havana and what you want to do. Havana is a great place to base yourself, even if you want to see other places around the area – check out these great day trips from Havana that we recommend.  If you’re a first time visitor, we’d stay in Habana Vieja or Habana Centro (but close to Habana Vieja).   If you prefer hotels to casa particulares, then, however, Habana Centro won’t be for you at this time.     All the neighbourhoods of Havana that we’ve covered are used to international visitors and you won’t feel out of place or unsafe.  Work out your itinerary for Havana, then take a look at the distances and the type of trip to Cuba that you want to have and then get a look at hotels and casa particulares. 

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