Declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site in 1982, there is no better way to experience the grandeur and history of Old Havana than walking through the many plazas and experiencing up close the many cathedrals, museums and residences.
This glorious island became stuck in time in the 1950s with the rise of Fidel Castro. The smell of sea water, colorful buildings, and old cars give this city a character like no other place in the world. Simply put, Havana is one of the most beautiful cities, with friendly people, and tireless energy.
Havana, or what is considered Old Havana today, was founded in 1519 by the Spanish. By the 17th century, it had become one of the Caribbean's main centers for ship-building. Although it is today a sprawling metropolis of more than 2 million people, its old center retains an interesting mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments, and a homogenous collection of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards.
During the tour, you will explore Old Havana, walking down popular streets and checking out the street art and architecture with opportunities to buy local handicrafts. Stop by La Bodeguita del Medio for a mojito and see some of the main sights including, Cathedral Square, Plaza de Armas Square, Old Square and finish in the San Francisco Square (in front of the Cruise Terminal).
Enjoy a lunch stop at a private restaurant (Paladar) before you end the day walking back to your ship and the port area.
Important Information for Guests Cruising to Cuba: People-to-people travel is one of the ways for Americans to visit Cuba and gives you an opportunity to discover Cuba through its people and from a local perspective.
All guests must complete a certification form which sets forth and confirms that they will be participating in OFAC compliant activities. These activities may include excursions arranged by guests themselves or provided by the cruise lines.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (OFAC) administers and enforces the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR). Please be advised that guests will not be able to board their vessel without having first completed the form.
A valid passport is required for all guests to travel to Cuba. We recommend guests review the passport requirements of travel to Cuba from their home country and that the expiration of your passport be greater than six months from the date of your voyage.
A link will be provided to you with the form upon booking your excursion, full details will be provided with your electronic ticket.
Reviewer: Paul Hennessey
We thoroughly enjoyed the walking tour through Old Havana. Our guide, "Ida" was pleasant, patient and knowledgeable. She gave us interesting facts and showed us many things I am sure we would have missed if we did it on our own. The meal and entertainment during lunch were superb. I don't know if we will get back to Havana but if we do we will definitely take another of your tours. Thank you.
Reviewer: Bill Connelly
We were fortunate to have a small group and a guide who made the tour most memorable. This was an excellent way to get some insight into Cuban life and culture, not only from the old town architecture, but the vivid history and story telling by our guide Mercedes. She made our tour the highlight of a great visit. Highly recommend this tour.
Reviewer: Patricia McCaffrey
Shore Excursions Group always supplies the best tours! This tour in Old Havana gave a nice overview of the history and culture of Cuba. We went to lots of beautiful historic sites. Our tour guide, Mercedes, had a wonderful personality and she was well educated and informed. She took excellent care of us trying to protect us from the sun. We had a delicious full course meal at lunch time which was included in the meal. Lovely restaurant, live music and the meal began with a cocktail, full meal of authentic Cuban food and Flan and Cuban coffee. We would highly recommend this tour.
Reviewer: Faith Bevan
I had taken a tour booked thru the cruise line the day before and it was not anything I would recommend. When I met for our Walking Tour we were greeted by Mercedes from Ricana Tours, an intelligent, engaging, interesting, caring and warm guide. While she shared with us the history, the present and thoughts of the future, she was honest and kind, passionate with what she does and proud of who she is and being Cuban. the 4 other people with us agreed as we saw each other on the ship afterwards and had similar disappointment on our first cruise sponsored tour but overwhelmed with joy and feeling so fortunate for this opportunity. Mercedes and the walking tour was truly the "person to person" of our Cuban visit, and also gave us an opportunity to see a welcoming engaging city and its people.
Reviewer: Rosemary McKay
We had a fantastic experience! Our guide was perfect, an English professor that catered to all our needs! He was informative, patient, kind, flexible and full of knowledge! We had the most magnificent tour and lunch!