The Malecon, Havana
If you have seen the movie Buena Vista Social Club, you surely remember the waves crashing down on the Malecon in the opening scenes and the first thing you'll probably want to do upon arriving in Havana is go for a walk on the Malecon. The Malecon is a huge sea wall that extends from the Vedado area to La Habana Vieja. On sunny days, you'll see old men fishing and young couples cuddling and kids waiting for the waves to come. On the other side of the street, you'll see some of the old beaten down villas that used to belong to rich American tourists (and mobsters). Of all the places we've been to in Havana, the Malecon is the only place where we didn't get hassled - people just go out there to relax and enjoy the view, and so should you!
The Malecon is a 7-kilometre sea wall in Havana Bay that runs along one of the main arteries of the city. It is an absolute must-see because it is so important to and ingrained in the pysche of Havana's residents. It's often called the "soul" of Havana.
The Malecon is exactly how fiction and non-fiction books describe it. Lovers sit cuddling together, locals play and fish, husslers hussle saying "Hey man, where do you come from?" , teenage jineteras cat-call and make dreamy eyes at tourist men (whether the guy's with his girlfriend or not!). One nasty girl in cutoff jeans spread her legs wide as I walked by. Yikes!
We sat down for a few minutes and enjoyed the incredible view of the bay. It's a strange, fantastic place. How can somewhere seem so dangerous and peaceful at the same time?
During the winter the sea breaks against the wall can crash water up over the wall onto the sidewalk.
The building of the Malecon was started in 1901 and parts were gradually added until 1923.
Locals use the Malecon a place for a quick swim, somewhere to fish, somewhere to party, and some still bring offers to the ancient gods. Kids play on the rocks between the wall and the ocean. Lovers use it as a romantic meeting place to sit, look out across the blue, watch the ships and the sunset, and relax.
I would sugest strolling on the malecon during daylight as the level of hustle for tourists is the highest from our experience...plus might be dodgy and u might meet plenty of cuban enjoying plenty of bottles of rum at the star&moonlights..
great spots to take amazing pics with Vedado and Nacional.
The Malecón runs for about five kilometers, from the entrance of the Bay of Havana - in the east - to the west, with a capricious design parallel to the irregular coastline, which is bathed by the warm waters surrounding the island. In addition to its beauty and centennial history, Havana's Malecón is a major element in the city's road order, since its six lanes (three in each direction) allow for a fluid circulation of vehicles. Contrary to winter seasons in Cuba, when the sea jumps over the wall, a true avalanche of people invades the Malecón in Carnival times, expressing their happiness and enjoyment, so typical of people who love their culture. For many, the place is considered the true pulse of the city, a loyal reflection of its inhabitants' life, loves, games, sadness and meetings, all these in a strip that is just a few kilometers long.
During the early years of the 20th century, the Malecón was an area of public baths, where the city's dwellers enjoyed the warm seawaters, keeping the strict reserve between men and women dictated by the customs of the epoch.Along the Malecón, people can enjoy the sight of buildings and statues that have become landmarks in the island's traditions, such as the Riviera Hotel and the monumental Nacional Hotel, or a place dedicated to the memory of Calixto García, an outstanding figure during Cuba's war for independence in the 19th century.
For both visitors and locals, the Malecón wall is also a favorite place to escape from the night heat that characterizes summers in the largest Antillean island, where thousands of people go to enjoy the sea breeze or just spend a pleasant time outdoors.
Many families go to the Malecón to look at the blue waters and the many ships crossing over the horizon or entering the Port of Havana, with no other purpose than letting time pass in the company of the charms of the famous road.
Walking along the Malecon you see this equestrian statue, a monument to Calixto Garcia. The statue was erected in 1959 and it honours a Cuban general which fight in 1898 independence war. Around the statue there are 24 bronze panels which tell all his battles
Paseando a lo largo del Malecon se puede ver esta estatua ecuestre, un monumento a Calixto Garcia. La estatua fue erigida en 1959 y rinde honores a un general cubano que lucho en la guerra de la independencia de 1898. Alrededor de la estatua hay 24 paneles de bronce que cuentan todas sus batallas
Something that cannot not impress you in Havana is its malecon, it's so long, with the sea at one side and all colonial architecture on the other one.
Swimming here is just dangerous as it's full of rocks and the sea is usually not quiet, but naturally locals do swimm and fish and have a pic nic in here.
All in all one of the place where to have a great view of the city.
Walk down this long road along the sea and take in the views.
I got to stay at a house on this road when I was in Havana and had a wonderful view of it from the balcony there, while got stories of life from the father of our host family.
Many people hang out around here (especially in the Havana vieja part), having fun, fishing, etc...
Walking along the Malecón you will see that many houses are being repaired. Perhaps you will not see any activity at all, as the work is progressing slowly. The main cause is of course lack of money, although there are programs for renovating the city, but there may be shortage of materials and construction people too.
But you will clearly see that this town has its beauty!
When you are in Havana, you have to take stroll over the Malecon, breath in the fresh air from the sea and look to the buildings at the other side.
Feel the life and the joy of the Cubans who are passing by and maybe you are lucky to see some fishermen who catch a shark and bring them to shore.
Or you can have a swim with the Cubans or try one of the peanuts that they sell, delicious, but above all relax and breath the atmosphere.
Thats our favourite and themost romantic place in Havana. The Malecon- seafront promenade winds for 7 km alongside the city's historic quarters, from the colonial center to the skyscrapers of Vedado.
The Malecon is lined with buildings whose pastel hues have faded in the sun and saltu air. Its ashamed that nobody is renovating them. We could see the staircase, because one of the buildings was missing a front wall.
Malecon is a place where locals are mixed with tourist. Fishermen we met were very friendly. It was the most romantic sunset we have ever seen. Malecon will always stay in our memories as a place our love grow up and our first vacation together came true.
Ah! The Malecón. If the buildings on that street could be fixed it would rival the Champ Élysés of Paris. This is my spot. I could live there. I could die there. It's the closest thing to heaven. A view on the sea and the ships at large or arriving in Havana. A little restaurant with all the drinks you need on every third street corner. Plenty of life at night during the summer vacation (July and August). The music, the chicas.
You want to find a cuban friend you know. Just walk around his or her favorite spot and if you don't find that him or her, you'll find someone who will get him for you. And if you are with your cuban friends, nobody will bug you. Actually, it's the only way to go anywhere in Havana without beeing annoyed by anybody.
P.S. You will see a lot of yellow busses on that street. They were school busses given by my Quebec government to Cuba. For once my government did something positive.
Malecón, the avenue that runs along the sea front is worth a leisurly walk. It is bordered by some of the most impressive colonial architecture. Unfortunately, facing the sea front, those building tend to be in a sad state of disrepair. What looks like wave breakers along the Malecón are in fact the foundation of buildings that were originally built right on the sea shore and got destroyed a few years later by a hurricane.
This oceanside pedestrian walkway stretches all the way from the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta in Habana Vieja to the Almendares River that separates Vedado from Miramar. No trip to Havana is complete without at least some time spent strolling and lingering along the Malecón, which is the social center for a wide range of Cubans. Throughout the day, you'll see children swimming and men fishing off the coral outcroppings that border the walkway, and at night you're sure to see lovers entwined on cozy perches and groups of revelers all along the seawall.
This oceanside pedestrian walkway stretches all the way from the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta in La Habana Vieja to the Almendares River that separates Vedado from Miramar. No trip to Havana is complete without at least some time spent strolling and lingering along the Malecón, which is the social center for a wide range of Cubans. Throughout the day, you'll see children swimming and men fishing off the coral outcroppings that border the walkway, and at night, you're sure to see lovers entwined on cozy perches and groups of revelers all along the seawall.
The section fronting Centro Habana is perhaps the most picturesque, with the crumbling facades and faded paint of neoclassical and neo-Moorish buildings and apartments lining the avenue that separates the Malecón from the city. If you've got the legs and time, a walk from the Hotel Nacional to La Habana Vieja (or vice versa) is in order, and should only take you about 20 to 25 minutes
The Malecon, or the sea wall, was built along the northern coastline of Havana during the American occupation in early 1900s.
The Maelcon is a favourite hang out place for the locals, especially on a hot day. Ppl like to socialize along the rugged coastline and swimming in the ocean or in the banos de mar (square baths) in between the sea wall and the shoreline rocks.
There are many great colonial style buildings facing the ocean, some are renovated recently, and many are still in a poor state as the weather takes its toll on these buildings. It is possible that the water can go over the wall in very bad weather.