3 Days in Havana, Cuba: Your Ultimate Itinerary

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect visiting Havana, Cuba for the first time. Mostly I imagined lots of shiny 1950s style cars, colorful buildings, and heaping servings of tamales? Accurate? Somewhat…but the description doesn’t quite capture the eclectic culture of Havana. I’m going to go out on a limb, channel my residual mojito buzz, and let you know that Havana is one of the most unique places in all of the Caribbean. You have a blend of typical Caribbean life with some Spanish flavor, and a dose of African spice thrown in for good measure. In any case, the city is definitely worth a visit; here’s how to make the most of your 3 days in Havana, Cuba! If you’re looking for travel tips, make sure to check out these 15 things to know before visiting Cuba.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba! #havana #cuba #travelcuba #malecon #elmorro

Before we begin, remember there are restrictions for Americans traveling to Cuba, so please remember to follow all the rules! Check out the US State Department for the most up to date list of restrictions.

Day 1, Morning | Explore & Drink Mojitos

So our flight left Florida at 7:00AM (read: be at the airport by 5:00AM), but this meant we were happily wheels down in Havana at 8:15AM with a full day in front of us! First up, we checked into our Airbnb, which had these drop dead amazing views of the city.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

Next up, we wandered around for a bit, but our first real stop was La Bodeguita del Medio, aka home of the mojito. This was our first of many Cuban mojitos, and I’d recommend trying them all. If there’s one thing Cuba does right, it’s rum.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

Drinking and wandering in 87 degree heat can spark your appetite, so plan in a lunch break next. Cuba has soooo many little places to eat, but for lunch we chose La Makina (recommended to us by our Airbnb host.) The restaurant has a quaint little terrace and the ropa vieja was out of this world—or I was just insanely hungry. In either case, I definitely recommend the food here. The one thing to note: make sure to read your bill carefully. Our bill had CUCs, CUPs, Euros, and US Dollars, so it can get a bit confusing.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Day 1, Afternoon | Walking Tour & Classic Cars

After lunch, we got down to business with an Afternoon Delight tour through Locally Sourced. The excursion included a walking tour, convertible ride, and a mojito making lesson. They seriously could not have planned a better afternoon for us! First up is the walking tour—you have to pre-walk off those mojitos for later. Our guide was super knowledgeable, and not only showed us the main tourist sites, but gave some great insight into life in Cuba. He showed us his ration card, explained how the internet does/doesn’t function, and even how you would go about getting meat from the butcher. A huge perk of this tour is getting the kind of insight only a Cuban would know.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

On our walking tour, we visited Plaza de la Catedral.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

The church is beautiful, but make sure to sneak around the side and check out this amazing mural too!

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

Next up we visited Plaza de Armas and Plaza de San Francisco de Asis, both of which had some amazing history. After working up a sweat, we moved on to the convertible portion of the afternoon – my fave!

Raúl picked us up in a sweet red Chevy Buick and chauffeured us through Old Havana, Central Havana, and Vedado to get a taste of life throughout the city. We cruised by Revolution Square with the enormous images of Che Guevara and José Martí.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Day 1, Evening | Mojito Making

After our convertible excitement, we moved on to mojito making at Casa Alta, this picturesque rooftop terrace overlooking Old Havana. The mojito expert taught us the secrets of making the best mojitos (hint: the secret is in the mint stems), and honestly, I think his mojitos were the best I had in all of Havana. We tried quite a few, so I now consider myself somewhat of an expert.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

After his lesson, it was time to make our own! My goals were to not poison myself and hopefully to at least make a drinkable mojito. I guess something in the lessons worked –I am now a master mojito maker and putting my skills to use at home.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

If you’re in Havana for less time than 3 days and want to consolidate your activities, try just taking a Havana walking tour –you’ll get the highlights, but miss out on mojito making, which would obviously be sad.

In any case, catch a beautiful sunset over Havana’s colorful buildings, and go on your merry way. Since our morning had started at 4AM, our merry way took us to dinner at a paladar (basically a restaurant in someone’s house) and then to bed.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Day 2, Morning |El Morro

Wake up bright and early, because you’re off to El Morro (that fort across the water from Old Havana) for the second of your 3 days in Havana, Cuba. We took a tourist bus from Central Park for 5 CUC for a day’s ride—this also included our trip to the beach, so pretty cheap. Though the busses are cheap, they’re not overly convenient; they only run every 40 minutes, and don’t necessarily stick to a schedule.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

In any case, it was 3 CUP to enter the fort (basically 12 cents), and it was definitely not what we were expecting…instead of cool history inside, it had been turned into a flea market? We were not sure about this, so departed pretty quickly to explore the outside area of the fort. The outside section we were at was pretty cool, with ancient walls and cannons, but we didn’t explore too far since there seemed to be a giant fair happening at the other end.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

Overall, this might be a very different stop when an enormous fair isn’t taking place, but with the circumstances, there were WAYYYY too many people. Plus, waiting 30 more minutes for our bus in the heat was not my favorite.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Day 2, Afternoon | Playas del Este

Fortunately, the bus came and we were off to Playas del Este. I don’t know anyone at the Cuban tourism board, but 12/10 this is the ocean they use on all their posters. No joke, I kept taking my sunglasses off just to double check that the water was in fact that blue. (It is–I promise!!)

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

After you get off the bus, all you have to do is hop across the street and you’re at the beach. As a forewarning, the beach looks super busy and packed with umbrellas when you first arrive.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

I’d recommend simply strolling past this to a nice empty section…literally 2 minutes walking and a million times better. Just relax, frolic in the water, and chill for the afternoon before catching the bus back. However, remember that the last bus departs around 6PM, so you better be on it, unless you’d like to buy a taxi back.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Day 3, Evening | El Malecón

El Malecón is quintessential Cuba—picture a walkway along the water with 1950s cars zipping past, and there you have it. El Malecón is a social event in the evening, not to mention a beautiful sunset spot, so you 100% need to do this at least one of your nights in Havana.

After sunset, try a paladar along the water or if possible, save some time to participate in an authentic Cuban Cooking Experience…you can visit local markets and learn to prepare some of Cuba’s most famous dishes. (Hello ropa vieja!) If you’re feeling a little lazier, you can always just find ropa vieja at your neighborhood paladar too!

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Day 3, Morning| Old Havana

For the last day of our 3 days in Havana Cuba, we spent our time exploring some areas we hadn’t seen yet. If you haven’t visited it yet, walk down Paseo Prado – a pedestrian friendly walk through Havana. You get some beautiful buildings on each side of you. Plus, day or night, Paseo Prado always seemed to have something happening from art markets to dance-offs.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

Head up toward El Capitolio to get up close and personal. Unfortunately, there was scaffolding on it while we were there, but you have to make the most of it!

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!
Some days the Capitol is open, but it didn’t seem to be when we were there. There’s also not a set schedule, so just keep your eye out in case you can actually go in!

In the same area is the cutest restaurant called El Asturianito. For me, the area looked exactly like a Cuban postcard, so couldn’t help but go a little crazy with photos here. Conveniently, there’s a median in the street for silly tourists like myself to stand on out of the way of traffic.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

Those were just a few of the areas we hit up, but go crazy on your last day and make the most of Havana!

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Day 3, Afternoon | El Floridita

We saved the best (daiquiris) for last…El Floridita. The bar is said to be one of Ernest Hemingway’s frequent haunts, and their daiquiris are pretty good too. One of its main draws for us…the air conditioning. Sometimes after a few days of sightseeing, all I want is a coconut daiquiri and air conditioning.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

With More Time…

Don’t we always wish we had more time? I know I certainly wish I had more than 3 days in Havana, Cuba. With some additional time, consider checking out the following:

  • Viñales day trip – Oh, Viñales was calling my name, but I had to ignore it (for this trip at least!) On a day trip from Havana, you can see coffee and tobacco plantations, ride horses, and see how Cuban cigars are made. This is definitely on my list for our next Cuba trip!
  • Cabaret Tropicana – Visit this historic cabaret that highlights Cuban culture. Dating back to 1939, the venue is known for being a paradise under the stars.
  • Hemingway Tour – You can follow in the footsteps of this historic author through his old haunts (aside from just El Floridita.)
Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

Where to Stay in Havana

Well, the list for places Americans CAN’T stay is exceptionally long, so we played it safe and went with a casa particular. This setup basically lets you stay with local Cubans, and there are some amazing options in the heart of Old Havana. You can book through Airbnb (use my link for savings on your first stay!) This is a picture of our street below.

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

After landing at the Havana airport, you can either hop in a cab to your Airbnb or book in advance. It’s about 25 CUC – 30 CUC at the airport, but this airport transfer to Havana will save you some $$$ if you book in advance!

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba!

 

And there you have it folks, an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba! Have you made it down to Cuba yet? What are some of your top tips?

P.S. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba! #havana #cuba #travelcuba #malecon #elmorro

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba! #havana #cuba #travelcuba #malecon #elmorro

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba! #havana #cuba #travelcuba #malecon #elmorro

Plan an epic 3 days in Havana, Cuba! #havana #cuba #travelcuba #malecon #elmorro

23 thoughts on “3 Days in Havana, Cuba: Your Ultimate Itinerary

  1. Dan says:

    Hey Melissa! (this is Dan and Danielle from the Cozumel cruise in January, where we kicked some trivia/quiz game butts together). We actually were just making plans to go to Cuba with some friends in May, so this guide came at the perfect time. It looks like you had a lot of fun, and you have given us some GREAT ideas of things to check out! 😀 Thank you so much, great guide, and we hope you’re doing well!

    -the floriDans

  2. Dan says:

    Hey Melissa! (this is Dan and Danielle from the Cozumel cruise in January, where we kicked some trivia/quiz game butts together). We were just making plans to go to Cuba with some friends in May, so this guide came at the perfect time. It looks like you had a lot of fun, and you gave us some GREAT ideas for our trip, so we really appreciate it! Thanks again, we love your guide, and hope you’re doing well! 😀

    -the floriDans

  3. I stayed 4 days in Havana and I totally loved it! Can’t wait to be back and follow some of the highlights you’ve pointed out – as I had a stomach situation my days there were cut in half! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I love Havana & Cuba is my favourite country in the world! Great post & some excellent ideas here – a walking tour & classic car ride are definite must dos! Viñales is must for next time! Just beautiful!

  5. Love Havana & Cuba is my favourite country in the world! You definitely made the most of your 3 days but MUST add Viñales to your trip next time. Just beautiful! Great post!

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