El Malécon, Havana - Stein Travel
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El Malécon

A five-mile (8km) esplanade, roadway and seawall, running between the harbour in Old Havana and the historically Russian area of Vedado, El Malécon is the perfect place to start your Havana adventure. The two-hour walk, described by many as a cross-section of Cuba's history, begins in Habana Vieja - where the buildings have had their famous pastel colours faded by the sun and the salty sea-wind - and goes past various monuments to significant figures in Cuba's struggle history (including Máximo Gomez and Calixto García), before ending up in the area of Verdado, a funky downtown district with great sights and vibrant nightlife. Celebrated by locals and tourists alike as the best way to gain an insight into the soul of Havana, travellers are strongly advised to begin their Cuban holiday with a walk along El Malécon.

Information & Facts

Address

Between the harbour and Vedado, Havana

Language

The official language is Spanish, but English is spoken in the main tourist spots.

Money

The official currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP), divided into 100 centavos, but the 'tourist' currency is the Peso Convertible (CUC), which replaces the US Dollar as currency in tourist related establishments like hotels, restaurants and so called 'dollar shops'. US Dollars are no longer accepted as payment, and a 10% commission or more is charged to exchange them, therefore the best currency to bring along is Euros, the British Pound or Canadian Dollars. The CUC is almost equal in value to the US Dollar. Some places only accept Cuban pesos and others only Pesos Convertible (usually tourist related establishments). Money should only be changed at official exchange bureaux or banks to avoid scams confusing the two currencies. Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted only in major cities and hotels as long as they haven't been issued by a US bank; Diners Club has limited acceptance, and American Express is not accepted anywhere on the island. Travellers cheques are less readily accepted than credit cards, but all major currencies are acceptable, except for US bank issued cheques. No US-issued credit or debit cards will work in ATMs, but those holding other cards issued in other countries should be able to get pesos at most major tourist destinations. Euro or Sterling travellers cheques are accepted at Cuban banks and Bureaux de Change.

Time

Local time is GMT -5 (GMT-4 from the second Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

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