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An Evening Stroll in Colonial Havana
hrs Estimate Duration
Discover Colonial Havana at night and enjoy one of the oldest and most famous bars from around the world in Havana.
Before departing the pier, you will see the historic Plaza de San Francisco de Asís, created in the 16th century when Spanish galleons stopped by at the harbor on their passage through the Indies to Spain. The plaza underwent a full restoration in the late 1990s and is most significant for its uneven cobblestones and the white marble Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of Lions) carved by the Italian sculptor Giuseppe Gaggini in 1836.
Then you will continue on to Havana’s Old Square. This architecturally eclectic square, where Cuban baroque meets Gaudí-inspired art nouveau was first built in 1559 and was originally named Plaza Nueva (New Square). The square was initially used for military exercises but later served as an open-air marketplace, where you can now also see bars, restaurants and cafes. The square has its own micro-brewery, the Angela Landa primary school, a beautiful fenced-in fountain and, on its west side, some of Havana's finest stained-glass windows. Plaza Vieja has had various uses, the last of which was an underground parking lot, but when the city of Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982, the square was restored to the historic plaza it is today. While in Old Square, you will have some free time to walk around and take pictures.
Your last stop of the walking tour will be at Cathedral Square, the last of the main squares to be created in one of Old Havana’s most beautiful spots. Originally named Plaza de la Ciénaga (Swamp Square) because of its muddy terrain, it later became one of the city’s most important squares after it was drained and paved and wealthy families moved into the area and began building their mansions there.
The square’s main attraction is a Cathedral, notable for its two unequal towers and its framed theatrical baroque façade designed by Italian architect Francesco Borromini. Known as one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas, the building was finished in 1787 when the diocese of Havana was created and the church became a cathedral.
Later on, you will take a short panoramic bus tour through the rest of Old Havana.
Your final stop for the night will be at the historical Sloppy Joe’s Bar, which re-opened in 2013 after being closed for 48 years. Many say that the well-known Sloppy Joe sandwich is an American staple, while others argue that it came originally from Cuba.
You will have the opportunity to learn the history of the place told through its employees.
According to some, the name of the bar comes from their staple sandwich made with ropa vieja (shredded meat), which literally translates to “old clothes.” Also, many of the bar’s English-speaking customers nicknamed the owner, Jose Garcia, Joe.
The bar was frequented by many famous figures like the American novelist Ernest Hemingway, the Australian-born actor Errol Flynn and the English novelist Graham Greene.
After an enjoyable evening and lively music at Sloppy Joe’s, you will return to the pier.
Need to Know:
Note: This tour involves approximately 45 minutes of walking mostly in asphalt and cobblestone. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests. Guests are advised to bring their camera. This tour is OFAC compliant.
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Scenic & City Tours
Tours with this activity level involve a considerable amount of physical activity such as substantial walking over cobblestone streets, uneven or steep terrain, climbing stairs, or extended periods of standing. Not recommended for guests with physical limitations. Comfortable, sturdy shoes are recommended.
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