The best photo and video spots in Havana
This post is sponsored by Riva fashion.
Havana guide is in progress don’t worry… I have so much to tell you about Cuba and Cuban people! And I can’t wait for the video to be live, and you will see all theses spots and more. Omar did a wonderful job! He never ceases to amaze me, every video is better than the one before.
As you may know we went to Havana to make a video for Riva Fashion. So we had to do a lot of research about the best photography spots in order to be efficient and do Havana justice. Adding to that, we only use natural lighting, so we film on early mornings or right before sunsets, so it’s mandatory to optimise our time.
Honestly, in Havana it’s not hard to snap a good picture just take out your camera and shoot. But we didn’t want to go for the obvious only. Of course, we wanted the iconic colourful walls, the vintage cars and the colonial architecture, but there is more to Havana and we’re going to share it all.
I will also share the Riva looks that I wore in the video. I understand why they accepted my Cuba proposal right away, because this collection is made for Cuba! Exotic prints, off-shoulders, palazzo pants, bright colours and breezy tops. I am so happy to have this amazing travel capsule, because after Havana we still have some more adventures awaiting. As for now, we are still in Mexico city.
By the way, I have a promotion to share with you if you like the Riva collection. It’s the best to travel with style, and so breezy and comfortable.
15% off on all products with the code: OMG15
Callejón de los Peluqueros
Translate: Hairdressers street. This street is not very iconic Cuba, but it’s the most charming and artsy place in Havana. It’s Home to Arte Corte, a vintage hairdresser museum. Well I wouldn’t call it a museum, since it’s still a hairdresser shop, and we when walked in we felt like intruding in someone’s house. We also had to check out the place 3 or 4 times, before someone opened the door. The street is full of hairdressing related art, graffitis and cute cafés.
Made famous by the movie Fresa y Chocolate, it’s a picture perfect old building with antique giant chandeliers and an outstanding architecture. The whole place is picture perfect, and don’t miss the view from the rooftop overlooking the city.
It’s a little bit far from the touristic part of old Havana, but I would advise you to walk there instead of taking a taxi. Because it’s located on a very typical local neighbourhood and it’s interesting to see how it’s different from the aseptized touristy part. Adding to that, it’s a beautiful neighbourhood for pictures as well:
Apart from the architecture and the famous Cuban characters, La Guarida also has a well renown gastronomy restaurant and a roof top bar. We only had drinks and tapas on the roof, but from the tapas I can already vouch for the restaurant menu. It’s on the pricey side though, so be prepared!
Vintage cars… and vehicles
Havana is full of them, just wander the streets and pick your style background and colour. But if you want more variety or don’t have time to randomly walk the streets, go the Parque Central square. It’s a taxi parking, but prepare to be hassled to get into a taxi. The best is to pick your favourite car, ask the driver if you can take pictures and tip him for the “effort”. They are usually very open-minded about pictures, as long as you don’t shove your cameras into their faces disrespectfully. I opted for the randomly found vehicles and I managed to get an outfit picture with a vintage military truck and train wagons.
It’s an 8Km long sea side boulevard, starting from the San Salvador fort to downtown. The best way to get a picture is to book a vintage taxi and enjoy the sea breeze with some latino music if your driver is cool like ours. The vintage taxis are more expensive than the regulat ones. It will cost you around 30 USD per hour. The price point of those cars is insane, it costs more than a house starting from 60k USD. For a picture purpose, we asked our driver to stop at so we can shoot details of the car.
Otherwise, the esplanade is a good sunset spot either for pictures or to chill while mingling with locals.
Prado & Paseo de Marti
It’s a long boulevard, from El Malecon to San Salvador fortress. It’s the linking boulevard of all the main points in Havana and it divides Old Havana (the touristic part) from Centro Havana (where Cubans actually live). In the middle of the boulevard there is a promenade area (Paseo de Marti) that I love, and where locals come to unwind after their days: dancing, chatting, flirting… living. On weekends there is an ephemeral art market that can make for an amazing set if you’re looking into taking human shots.
Along side the Prado, you can find beautiful colonial building of different colours.
The design is not very Cuban, but the mauresque tiles combined with the pink coloured walls and the beautiful light in the patio, makes for an amazing shooting set. Take a break after for a cocktail, a yummy Cuban espresso and enjoy… the wifi. You still have to buy an hourly card at the reception, but it’s much more comfortable than sitting on a stair surrounded by a wifi hotspot crowd.
If you’re looking into dramatic architecture shots, look no further. El Capitolio is a huge construction, for me it looks very Antique Rome, but you can never know. So many cultures mixed in Cuba and that what makes its beauty. It’s located right in the middle of the Prado, you can’t miss it. The dome is under renovation now, but your can still play with angles, or keep it real I like and show the construction work.
View from the stairs of the Capitolio
A vintage theater with a giant “AMERICA” inscription. No need to say more. The neighbourhood around is very local and not full of tourists if you want to add more lively street shots with a rustic vibe, this should be your area of preference.
It’s the typically touristic area of old Havana. It looks more like Spain than Cuba to be honest, but it’s still an amazing photography set. And this architectural and ambiance diversity is a part of Cuba. You will often find students in their cute uniforms on an excursion to the catedral or on a lunch break. You can also find European looking cafés for lifestyle shots.
For me it’s the perfect mix of local and touristy. This street is home to the famous Floridita, a favourite of Hemingway back in the days and the place where the daiquiri cocktail was invented. Otherwise, one of my favourite streets is located on Calle Obispo, Barrio de Arte.
Fruit and vegetable stalls in the background are amazing, but you need to ask permission first. I hate when tourists take pictures of locals, like in some sort of zoo without asking. Otherwise I’ve been advised to go to San Juan market, but it’s not visually striking. Luckily, I stumbled upon a vintage book market that suited me much more content-wise. (102 Av. Del Puerto)
Santa Maria beach
It’s a little bit outside of Havana, but it’s unbelievable that just a couple dozen of kilometers away, you are merged in a true Caribbean paradise, with crystal cyan water, white sand and lush coconut trees. If you want to experience it as a local, go there on a Sunday.
Let me know what you think of those spots and the … outfits! If you’ve already been to Havana, I would like to know YOUR favourite spots.
And finally, my gift for you if you like photography, work in the visual content market, or just want some beautiful Instagram pictures to make your co-workers jealous… a map with all those spots. Of course there are a lot more, and you will adjust while exploring. But if you’re short on time, this map should take you all over Havana and give you a little bit of direction. Long story short, I wish we had a map like this before the the trip, it would’ve saved us hours of research and mood boards creation. Meanwhile, don’t get so soaked into the pictures, leave your camera once in a while, interact with locals, smile to people, have a pack of peanuts on the Prado promenade and enjoy Havana!
xo xo Dalal
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