Cuba, Havana, North America

Getting Lost in the Streets of Old Havana.

May 3, 2011
A random street in Old Havana, Cuba.

I like to walk. I like to take photos. Combining the two into a “photo walk” couldn’t make me any happier. It’s one of my favorite ways to explore new places whenever I travel.

While in Havana, Cuba in March 2011, I explored the city on foot without my usual map and trusty Lonely Planet guidebook.  I didn’t go inside museums, churches or castles. Instead I walked for hours and hours, taking photos of the baroque and neoclassic architecture and seaside landscape.

A random street in Old Havana, Cuba.

I first found inspiration while walking along The Malecon. Next, I fell in love with La Habana Vieja” or Old Havana. This UNESCO World Heritage Site full of approximately 3000 buildings, some in the process of being restored and others falling victim to decay and neglect, is a photographer’s dream.

While many opt stay on the main streets to take in Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes Cuba, Plaza De San Francisco or El Capitolio (all of which you certainly must see), it’s sometimes fun to walk away from the popular tourist areas, “get lost” and explore residential neighborhoods.

Explore I did and there was a delightful surprise awaiting me. While wandering down a cobble stoned street, I came across this alleyway full of pretty flowers, old pastel colored buildings, an art gallery and people going about their everyday business.

Residential street in Old Havana.

Don't try driving down this street.

Pretty in pink.

Decay and neglect.

Street art pointing the way to a gallery.

Old Havana.

Sometimes a balcony will fall off the side of these old buildings.

Not much of a security system.

If I ever return to Old Havana, I doubt that I’d be able to find this street again. An unfortunate result of getting “lost“?!

A Cheap Way to Explore a City

This is one of my “travel on the cheap” tips for Havana. Leaving the other tourists behind and going off on your own to explore a city is a fun way to have a unique experience while traveling.

Just remember to be safe and stay away from bad neighbourhoods and dangerous situations.

Have you ever gotten “lost“? Did you get a great photo opportunity or have an unexpected experience? Tell me (and my readers) about it by leaving a comment below.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista May 4, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Thank you for posting these great pictures of Old Havana! I really enjoy old buildings too.

    I too enjoy just walking around looking at all the eye catching sights and, hopefully, getting “lost”. Your idea of a pictorial essay is interesting too!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard May 4, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      Thanks for your kind words. I had such an amazing time that day walking around … Wish I was there right about now. We still haven’t felt spring in Toronto just yet.

  • Reply earthman June 12, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    I knew these streets as a child, when owners kept them fresh, before communism ruined everything.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard June 12, 2011 at 3:30 PM

      I was quite taken with Havana, especially Old Havana. It’s still very very beautiful and I certainly hope that Cuba will find itself in a better position someday free of Communism and cruel American foreign policy.

  • Reply A City By Day: Szczecin, Poland. | cherylhoward.com November 6, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    […] the time I wandered through the streets of Havana, I opted not to bring a guide book or map and walked through the streets of Szczecin with no plan […]

  • Reply 2011: A Year In Review For cherylhoward.com. | cherylhoward.com January 7, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    […] highlights included watching live rumba music in a ghetto neighborhood, walking along the Malecon, getting lost in Old Havana and taking in the beauty of Plaza De San […]

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