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The Malecón seawall in Havana is an iconic spot for both locals and visitors. If you’re planning a trip to Cuba and want to know what makes this stretch a must-see destination for travelers, check out our list of reasons why you have to visit this unique slice of Cuban culture.
Havana locals use the Malecón for all sorts of activities, and it’s a real social hub. Spend a few hours here and you’re bound to see some of life’s small dramas unfolding.
Cubans are generally a friendly bunch, and the Malecón is where many people come to relax. If your Spanish is up to it, it’s a good spot to have a chat while they’re enjoying some downtime.
If you don’t want to be inside a sweaty club, the Malecón turns into a massive open-air bar late at night. Grab a bottle of rum or some beers on your way down and listen to the numerous street performers doing their thing.
Walking the Malecón from the Hotel Nacional to Old Havana means that you’ll pass through the three most central neighborhoods: Vedado, Centro Habana and Habana Vieja. It’s interesting to see how the city changes.
Although it’s illegal, some daring Cubans brave the rough waters off the Malecón to go fishing on small rafts. Others stay on shore and cast lines from rods, which looks a lot safer!
Wherever you are on the Malecón, it’s a great spot to watch the sunset. Looking out over the waters to Florida or along the seawall itself, you’ll see the yellow lights of the classic American cars get brighter and brighter as the sun goes down.
While you can take a ride in a classic car anywhere in Cuba, the Malecón is one of the most iconic spots to do so. At either end there will be drivers looking for passengers. Try to get a ride in an old convertible for the full wind-in-the-hair experience.
If you’re lucky you might see one of the acrobatic diving shows when local kids jump from the sea wall into the waves. There is no schedule per se, so you’ll just have to keep your eye out.
History buffs will be keen to find out more about the lighthouse built inside fortifications at one end of the Malecón. Walk along and visit the onsite museum at El Morro, which guards the entrance the port of Havana, the most important in Cuba.
The Malecón is referenced constantly in Cuban music, art and literature. It has even entered the language in expressions such as ‘hasta que se seque el Malecón.’ The literal translation is ‘until the malecón dries,’ but figuratively it evokes a sense of something that will go on forever, because the Malecón is famously kept wet by the spray from the waves.