Virtual Havana Bus tour!

Join us for encompass tours virtual Hop-on Hop-off bus tour of Havana, Cuba


Got your camera, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, money and maybe a snack??? Yes? “Listo?” Ready? Then let’s go…….
This is your Hop – on Hop – off bus tour of the major attractions of the city of Havana!
Keep your ticket in a safe place, it is valid all day and will be inspected every time you hop on or off!! Remember you can get off at any stop and there will be another bus to pick you up in about 20minutes!!!

As we are staying in a lovely casa (BnB) in Havana Vieja, we are “hoping-on” in Parque Central just opposite Hotel Inglaterra and Café Francesa.  This small park is surrounded by some of the most popular hotels of old Havana. Shiny new ones like Hotel Parque Central and not quite so shiny old ones like Hotel Inglaterra and Telegrafo.

The best seats for city views are on the top deck, so cover up with sunscreen or you will burn quickly in the sun!!

We are off!! Down Prado towards the Malecon, passing the Museum of the Revolution housed in the old Batista palace (recently restored) and a fascinating “must do” visit in itself!

Revolution Museum havana11

The city’s historians have realised the value of the old architecture to the tourist industry and attempts are being made to re build. Restoration of some of the crumbling facades is underway, but for some of the decaying buildings, fronting the malecon, weathered by the sea spray and the winds; it’s too late and they are being torn down. The malecon is always a popular place for Cubans and tourists alike.

Havana roof tops
Our tour bus stops to pick up people from various hotels en route, then we arrive at the first stop of real interest; Plaza de la Revolucion. This expansive plaza was built to celebrate culmination in 1959 of the revolutionary struggle for Cuba led by Fidel Castro.


Plaza de la revolucion

Castro used the plaza to make countless public addresses to the masses in praise of the revolution over the years, but more recently this enormous plaza has been used for non political musical events. Famously the free concert in 2009 given by many of Latin Americas most famous and popular stars. This concert was attended by a staggering one tenth of the population of the island and astounded the authorities who struggled to provided security and support!!!

Next stop the Miramar trade centre with a good view of the coast and National Aquarium!

AquariumHavanaCastro announced the Aquarium would be “the best in the world”, but if you do hop off for a visit you will see it has a long long way to go! It’s mainly a day out for Cuban families who have not heard of animal rights or welfare, and sadly there is little information about the lovely fish that are housed here. Turtles are abundant and there are shows daily of trained of dolphins and sea lions who seem to be well fed!

Winding through busy streets, a bus ride is a great way to see life going on in this extraordinary city where most buildings seem to be half ruined. Everyone going about their business.

The CDR and Huge political hoardings remind Cuban’s to be uphold the revolution and this one at the gates of the cities cemetery Cementario Colon broadcasts the words Jose Marti We can hop off here and explore the maze of magnificent tombs within the yellow walls, but If it’s not your thing stay on the bus!!

Heading back towards the old part of the city our bus returns to the Capitolio (now closed and being restored) and the Gran Teatro de la Habana,  the majestic grand theatre, which is certainly worth a visit. You can take a guided tour for 2 or 3cuc. If you want to come back in the evening to catch a performance that will cost you tourist price of 25cuc upwards great value!

More or less the last port of call on our bus tour is the Castillo de la Real Fuerza. These fortifications are situated at the entrance to Plaza de Armas and were listed in a UNESCO world heritage site as part of Old Havana and Fortifications. If you look up at the watch tower you will notice a familiar figure, La Giraldilla, this one is a copy, but she is the symbol seen now on every bottle of Havana Club!!

In the magic and romance of the old city, maybe it’s time to Hop off for one last time and explore! Find a nice bar to enjoy a cocktail before dinner and digest all you have seen!!

Why not join us for a real tour this year and take your own fotos!

“A Cuban Snapshot”

“Mi Cubita”

Public Art Gift!

La Conversacion! The conversation


A new work of art has proved its own success by exciting much talk among Cubans and tourists alike in Plaza San Francisco de Asisi; one of the most frequently visited plazas in Havana old city.

“The Arts” have always been supported by the Castro regime in Cuba, and many plazas have noteworthy sculptures on display funded or commissioned by the Cuban government!
Plaza San Francisco can boast more than its fair share!
The newest addition to this spacious plaza, was inaugurated on 25th May 2012. It was donated to the city of Havana by one Vittorio Perrota as a gesture of friendship between France and Cuba. The Conversation “La Conversacion” is the work of French sculptor Etienne who was present at the unveiling ceremony along with Vittorio Perrota, the French ambassador and the historiador de la cuidad de la Havana.


The sculpture itself is a beautiful bronze casting of a conversation between two people in an attitude of serious exchange of ideas! It is mounted on a lovely plinth of Cuba’s finest marble and hidden within this plinth is a box containing French and Cuban coins plus a message for future generations!


The importance of verbal, face to face conversation in this age of text messaging and social networking needs to be emphasised. That conversation is an important part of Cuban life can be seen as its a theme that runs through many artworks in Cuba where all have been unable to voice their beliefs and ideas freely since liberation in 1959. The figures have parts missing from their bodies allowing a clear view through to the plaza beyond. The spaces are in many ways the most interesting aspect of this intriguing sculpture, like the things unsaid in a conversation that help us to read between the lines and understand what people really mean to say.

Follow this links to read and see some of the other artefacts adorning the plaza San Francisco in Havana.

And for more conversation themed sculpture in Camaguey

Why not join us and see it all for yourself? If you only have a week then we recommend “A Cuban Snapshot”

If you have more time to explore then “Mi Cubita” would be our choice for you!



Meet the artist!

Street Art of Camguey, Cuba!

Camaguey will enchant and seduce you! It is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the seven founding cities of colonial Cuba. It is also home to some great artists. Works of art are everywhere! Camaguey oozes art! Paintings and reliefs are worked into the walls, and art is embraced by young and old in the many parks and street corner installations.

One artist you will not fail to encounter is Martha Jimenez Perez (b 1948)

Outside her studio, in plaza del Carmen, a number of life size human figures cast in bronze depict life as seen through her eyes. Her open studio is a delightful gallery of both 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional works, spanning many years.

Her life size figures in the plaza are what catch your attention and everyone enjoy the interactive quality of these pieces. Situated in front of the Church of Carmen, where she grew up, her sculptures have become the more popular attraction! Her model for the man sitting reading a newspaper often arrives in person to sits beside his bronze double and of course loves to be photographed adding a 4th dimensional twist to the pose! The group of three gossiping ladies are perhaps a little more discrete, but the empty chairs in this group invite you to join the circle and pass on the local news!!!

Camaguey is famous for its huge water jars and another figure on the street is the old man who delivers water in jars. Sadly he is dead now but his bronze self reminds everyone of their history!

Much of Martha’s work revolves around the role of women in Cuban society and in the world at large. Martha has been honoured by leading Cuban art critics and has received prestigious awards for her work.

The plazas main focus is the twin towered church of Carmen built in 1823 – 1825, and the convent of the Ursulin order adjoining. Post revolution and the banning of religion, all these historic buildings fell into disrepair and ruin. This building and church has recently been restored thanks to the UNESCO award!

You can imagine what a delightful place it is to stop and pose for photos!

The best way to tour this historic city is by bici taxi who will take you to all the historic sites. The winding streets make finding your way around somewhat difficult and your driver will be able to tell you proudly about his home town!

Luckily for us Camaguey received a UNESCO world heritage site status and the historic centre has been improved and maintained to preserve its colonial and pirate past!

Why not book your tour “Mi Cubita” and enjoy Camaguey for yourself
For a shorter tour try our “A Cuban Snapshot” and enjoy Havana, Vinales and Trinidad!

A local view!

Countryside walk in Vinales, Cuba

Sandra meets us in front of the church. She is wearing an old straw hat, a long sleeved checkered shirt, jeans and Wellington boots, ready to take us into the “campo” for a two hour countryside walk in her home ground. She is also wearing a big smile which is her typical expression! “Have you got repellent, sunscreen, sun hats, water, cameras?” she asks!
“Yes!” and off we go, following our cheerful guide who begins to tell us all about the people and agriculture of the area, what the crops are that grow here, how to identify them, and very importantly, how to eat or use them. We are delighted!

Vinales has the best Tobacco growing land in the whole island, and we are to visit a family who have cultivated Tobacco here for generations. We go inside the traditional, thatched, wooden, tobacco drying barn, and learn some of the secrets of the curing process. The farmer invites us into his house to watch him make one of his own Cigars, of which he smokes five a day! The state allows the farmers to keep sufficient Tobacco for their own use, but the rest is taken to the factories where the popular brands smoked by the rich and famous worldwide are created; Romeo y Julieta, Punch, Monticristo, Bolivar, Partagas, La Flor de Cano, El Rey del Mundo, Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey and many more. For Cuba today, Cigars represent hard currency and once labelled and boxed, transform into a “smoke” far out of reach of any Cubans budget!

Having all sampled the “home grown”, we feel in need of some fresh air and our walk continues along the country tracks. We chat with Sandra about her life, family, religion, education, health, happiness, aspirations all the usual topics of conversation the world over. She is more than happy to answer all our questions and give her opinions. 

The sun beats down and we drip with sweat!  We are called into another small house and offered a selection of fruit and home grown coffee.  We consume hungrily in the shade and relax under the trees. The only sounds, apart from our own voices, are those of the birds and the bees. The pace of life is slow. The temperature is rising. Reluctantly we head off, back into town, leaving a small tip for our host who is very pleased!  “Gracias y adios” and Sandra leads us back into the centre of this enchanting, colonial, country town.

Back where we started we are hot thirsty and happy!  We have glimpsed into the simple homes of two typical families and tasted some new and interesting flavours. We have been made to feel very welcome too!

To find out how to enjoy this excursion yourself visit our Tours page and book your place on either “Cuban Snapshot” or “Mi Cubita”.