A Walk Up La Rampa

A Walk Up La Rampa

Heritage & Traditions

While this part of Havana is now officialy referred to as the Municipality of Plaza (after the Plaza of the Revolution), everyone calls it Vedado. Vedado is the modern and urban part of Havana - with wider streets and more trees than Central and Old Havana, it is more crowded and active than Miramar and Playa. While there is no actual "downtown" in Havana, one major thoroughfare would have to be 23rd Street and when it slopes up from the Malecón it is known as "La Rampa."

A Walk Up La Rampa1-Starting at the bottom, this is one of the busiest sections of the Malecón. On warm winter evenings, hundreds of Cubans may congregate down here to enjoy the cool breeze coming off the ocean, to listen to wandering troupes of guitar players, and maybe share a plastic cup of Cuban rum. Above the fountain at the corner, you can see the imposing Hotel Nacional rising above the stone escarpment. Enjoy a Mojito on their beautiful rear terrace.

2-On the left hand side while walking up, there is the large green building that used to be General Motors headquarters in Cuba before the Revolution, before the Revolution, and now houses the Ministry of Foreign Commerce.

 3-On the right hand side is many of the airline offices including Air Canada. If you need to purchase or change a ticket, drop in on Amada Diaz, station manager, or Rafael Morales.

A Walk Up La Rampa 4-Continuing up past 0 Street, you will see the Cafe Sofia and the Zorra y Cuervo. The first place is an entertaining bar to have a drink in the evening with a noisy crowd and a live band, The latter is one of Havana's top jazz clubs where Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove have played — the tiny club is in a basement and fills up with smoke but the ambiance is a throwback to another time.

 5-Continuing up on your left is an artisan's fair with everything from tourist trinkets to homemade shoes to paintings‘ This is a good place to praciice your negotiation skills.

 6-At the top of the hill at L Street, you will find the Habana Libre Hotel on your left - formerly the Hilton that was taken over by a triumphant Fidel when he came into the city. Check out the 1960's mod lobby and eat at the Polynesian Restaurant with its unusual Bogart Bar if you want a break from Cuban food.

 7-Kitty corner to the hotel is the famous Coppelia Ice Cream Parlour — easily identifiable since it is in the middle of a large park and there are always long lineups of Cubans waiting to enjoy their favourite treat at a few Cuban Pesos per scoop. The price is many times higher for foreigners who are expected to have their ice cream in a small patio absent of both Cubans and crowds but the ice cream is worth it.