When you think of Havana, the first things that jump to mind are smoke-filled bars, vivacious and colourful streets and energetic music pulsating through every nerve in your body.

There is a certain charm to the place and a feeling that has you encapsulated. Although, you may struggle to find a bank, store or WiFi signal, what you will find is neighbours out on their stoops laughing and chatting with each other. A warm welcome can always be expected.

You are never far from been offered a cool beer out of the back of a locals ice-box for a few pesos or a hot meal offered from a window. The streets are a cacophony of noise with people hanging from the balconies, cigarettes in mouth shouting and laughing with each other.

As well as the eternally endearing locals, Havana lives and breathes its colonial past of Spanish and brief British stints, all of which is displayed through the striking architecture. The shabby art-deco buildings, some taking on a charming yet disrepair state, offer a cultural insight into Havana’s eclectic heritage and shows why Cuba is vast becoming increasingly popular for an alternative tourist spot. The Bacardi Building, which was fled by the Bacardi family during the Cuban revolution, was completed in 1930 and is a prime example of the stunning buildings you can find in this wondrous city.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Havana’s city life, you can visit John Lennon Park located in the Vedado district. Here you can watch the local kids playing football in the cool of the afternoon sun. Although Lennon himself didn’t actually visit the park itself, it turns out that the man Fidel Castro was a big fan of the former Beatle. You can find a statue of John Lennon in the park which is in the District Devado.

The nightlife is just as enthralling, you never know what you may find around each corner. Walking with beer in hand, sight taking in the warm glow of the setting sun over the tops of the houses is an utter joy. Turn a corner and you may find a crowd of people moving to the beat of a local salsa band. Or later on, everyone falling out of the bars arm in arm to hit one of the late night clubs that stay open till the sun wakes.

You will also find a varied selection of clubs, pubs and music venues in the Vedado district. From the swanky to the seedy it is the place to be for tantalising cabaret acts and happening discos.

Also the main strip of Calle Obispo is the place to be to bar hop around old town where street bands soundtrack your evening with free entertainment to groove to.

For the clubs the Cubans have a strict dress code, so make sure you scrub up well. that is a night on the tiles means serious sartorial grooming and most clubs have a smart dress code, strictly enforced by the door staff. In theory, no one under 18 is admitted, although many places are frequented by jineteros bringing a less than wholesome feel to the proceedings.

So, if you are looking for a city that has a unique identity and a past to go with it, head over to Havana enjoy the stunning and happening city with a bottle of rum and great tunes.

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