For Valentino, who said, “It is forbidden, but…”
Or, this way:
short guide to Havana’s castles
In Old Havana:
La Punta, or Castillo San Salvador de la Punta: boooring. You’ll probably walk past it as you meander the Malecon, but don’t make a special trip. What? Fine. Go. Then tell me I’m right.
El Castillo de la Real Fuerza: in the heart of Havana Vieja, next to all sorts of other touristy things, this is the one you will probably visit. It’s old. It’s ok. It’s not as good as what’s across the bay.
On the other side of the Harbour:
Castillo de los Tres Reyes Del Morro: Everyone just calls it Morro. Amazing views! Usually hosts a featured artist & art exhibit in one of its chambers–don’t miss that! You’re not supposed to climb into the lighthouse but it can probably be arranged, wink, wink. Nobody cares if you climb on the roof and cannons or into the moat.
Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña: Fucking huge. I mean–ENORMOUS. It just doesn’t end. Much less exciting than the smaller Morro… unless you accidentally climb onto the roof. Which might happen, because there are no signs. And no one will stop you. Also, make sure you find your way underground–highlight of the adventure for the kids. Biggest mystery: why and from where did they get the giant pink tongue slide AND WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING?
How to get there: $5-6CUC taxi ride from Old Havana OR catch a bus going across the Harbour from Parque Fraternidad–ask which bus will take you to El Morro, a kind stranger will show you–OR (best choice) take the little so-cheap-it’s-free ferry from Old Havana to Casablanca, climb up the stairs from Casablanca into the park that abuts that giant Casablanca Christ statue (Christo de la Habana), peek into (or not) Che Guavarra’s house, and then follow the road first to Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña and then Castillo de los Tres Reyes Del Morro. It is walkable–even with three children–if you run out of steam, a taxi, a horse-drawn buggy, or a local with a car will inevitably offer you a ride. My recommended way of doing the circuit: take a taxi to El Morro, and then walk your way towards the ferry, and take the ferry home. It’s nice to end the day with a boat ride.
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LANDED here for the first time? Let me catch you up:
Series 1 of Postcards from Cuba is now fully live. Check out the annotated table of contents for a tour, or, if you prefer, hop over to the chronological table of contents.
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