10 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Malecón, Cuba at Least Once in Your Lifetime

The Malecón in Havana, Cuba
The Malecón in Havana, Cuba | © LaughingRaven / Pixabay
Jack Guy
21 May 2018

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.

The Malecón, Havana | © neiljs / Flickr

It’s great for people watching

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.

You can meet the locals

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.

Cars on the Malecón, Havana | © Niek van Son / Flickr

It’s the top after-party spot

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.

The Malecón at sunset | © Pedro Szekely / Flickr

It’s perfect for stretching your legs

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.

The Hotel Nacional looks down over the Malecón | © momo / Flickr

You can watch the fishermen

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!

The sunsets here are breathtaking

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.

The Malecón, Havana | © Bryan Ledgard / Flickr

You can ride in a classic car

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.

Diving displays are par for the course

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.

A view from Morro Castle from along the Malecón | © skeeze / Pixabay

The historic El Morro castle is an impressive sight

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.

It’s culturally significant

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.