See you at the Malecon

Every guidebook talks about the famous Malecon in Havana. In my head this was the center of life in Cuba, with people catching up, music playing and full of life. I expected the Cuban version of a street along one of the beaches in the Costas in Spain. I expected restaurants and bars. I expected people playing salsa or reggaeton blasting from speakers.

My casa was on the end of the Malecon where the sad looking American embassy is, hidden by a bunch of empty flag poles. The Malecon stretches all the way to Havana Vieja, so I often walked along it to get back and forth. The Malecon is basically the biggest street of Havana with crazy traffic. Just crossing the street was a challenge. On the sea side is a pedestrian area. Sure, it’s a place where people hang out at night or go for a stroll, but I was slightly disappointed.

This was not the place that I had imagined, but because it was a ‘must-do’ I spent some time on the Malecon. We took a few drinks, sat on the wall and enjoyed the fresh air. At least it was refreshing here, with stormy winds gusting through this open space. I might not have found as much culture as I expected, but it was still a fascinating place to people-watch. The people passing by were a mix of Cubans and tourists. Besides that, it is a popular place for the classic American cars to drive.

Instead of the party central that I had expected, I found a bizarre mix of real life and tourists doing photoshoots from colorful cars. There was a fisherman quietly sitting on the wall, people out on the rocks, kids playing, tourists taking photos and families out for a walk. Cars were passing by, trying to convince us to take a ride with them. But I just sat and watched, quietly. The Malecon is a typical Cuban thing that you find in many cities, although I haven’t seen any as busy as in Havana. Why they don’t do more with a gorgeous location like this is a mystery to me.

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One thought on “See you at the Malecon

  1. Pingback: Cuba, making an itinerary | Pretty Packed

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