Geographically, Havana is a large city spread out over several kilometers. There are three main areas tourists generally gravitate to: Old Havana, La Rampa (the street in the area know as Vedado where the Habana Libre and Hotel Nacional are located) and Miramar (luscious, tree-lined streets and home to many of the best hotels and most of the embassies). However, getting from one area to the other via taxis can begin to add up over the course of a week.
As an alternative mode of transportation, to get from one end of the city to the other, I recently discovered the city’s ‘Hop on, Hop Off’, bright red, double -decker bus that runs continuously every day of the week, from morning to dusk. For 5 CUCs per day you can hop on and hop off this sightseeing gem as often as you like. It is perfect for those staying in Miramar who want to take in La Rampa and Old Havana in one day, and see all of the sights in between such as the Cementerio Colon, the University of Havana, Revolution Square, the neighborhood of Kohly, and drive down the Rampa (also knows as Calle23 until it goes steeply downhill toward the Malecon and the water), along the Malecon and up the Prado stopping at Parque Centrale. From here you can walk down Obispo Street and be in the heart of Old Havana in minutes.
Buses swing by along the route every fifteen minutes or so.
The ride includes a tour guide who will announce the main landmarks along the way and will also broadcast the main stops. If you want to get off at a certain spot be sure the guide knows, as they will not formally stop unless someone wants to hop on or off.
Riding on the upper deck gives riders a unique perspective and allows photographers to get some great shots. But BEWARE of standing up to get those photos because there are many low lying electrical and phone wires perfect for decapitating the uninitiated!
Below are some of AJ’s fine photos from the second deck!
A.J. Twist is a Montreal-based travel writer and photographer.