Party in Havana, Cuba

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he enjoys the party atmosphere of Havana, Cuba.


There’s nowhere better to party than Havana. The Cuban capital gave the world salsa and mambo, countless cocktails and though it can’t claim to have invented all-night parties, it is one of the best places to have one.

A stroll around the world heritage-listed Habana Vieja (Old Havana) is filled with music blaring from balconies and shop and bar fronts. Everyone’s playing, listening or dancing to something, and chances are it’ll sound wonderful.

How to make the most of Havana's nightlife

Nights out in Havana can take on many guises. You might start with hopping a few bars in the old town, taking in the trumpet-based sound of son, peddled by most house bands. Then head on to a cabaret show that harks back to Cuba’s pre-Castro links with the States, or more specifically postwar Vegas.

Later on, dance clubs playing timba, a modern take on salsa with international influences mixed in, pick up the pace all over the city. Everyone from taxi drivers to street performers will have a tip for you. Ours is to start slowly, dress up smart and be ready for a long night.

Attractions and activities

Of course, Havana has much to offer away from the music. Havana Vieja is one of the world’s great open-air architectural museums and home to the finest churches, galleries and cafes in the Caribbean.

The city is an excellent start to a bigger Cuban adventure taking in other towns and natural parks then taking a few days by the sea to recover. October is the end of the rainy season – the winter sun crowd haven’t arrived yet and the countryside is green. This makes it a great time to go.

Planning your trip to Cuba

Official information can be found at Infotur and Cuba Travel. Travellers’ personal sites make for great reading. Cuba Junky captures the mood.

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