September’s birthstone is vibrant pink sapphire, an eye-catching jewel that supports both the heart and the mind. To celebrate this colourful stone, we explore a cultural Cuban hub that is brimming with energy and soul. With classic cars, colonial architecture and salsa music drifting through its streets, Havana is a truly unique holiday destination. Here’s our inside scoop on what to see and experience in the capital of Cuba.
Take refuge from the Havana heat at La Rosa de Ortega, a family-owned bed and breakfast renowned for its five-star service. Just 10 minutes drive from the centre of Havana this restored colonial house is rich with Cuban heritage, with attention to detail that makes for a truly special experience. Outside you’ll find bushes of bright pink bougainvillaea, and inside archways and exposed brick bring an authentic touch. Vintage cameras and telephones decorate the distinctive interiors, while the refreshing plunge pool overlooks the bustling city. With its characteristic decor and authentic warm welcome, La Rosa de Ortega will ensure your stay is unforgettable.
The Malecón sea wall is a 5-mile strip that’s quintessentially Cuban, and stretches almost the entire length of Havana, A long-favoured meeting place for the residents of the city, it’s an ideal spot to take in the breathtaking sunset, where you can watch the sky painted pink by the Caribbean sun. Enjoy the cooling ocean breeze while the Malecón slowly comes alive, with fisherman, music and dancing filling the street. If you fancy a break from your chilled evening stroll, pop into one of the city's many paladares, private restaurants that sometimes serve food straight from the owner’s front room. They’re one of the best ways to enjoy the local cuisine, offering exciting menus in atmospheric surroundings.
Follow in the footsteps of none other than Ernest Hemingway, and stop off for a drink at El Floridita. Now celebrating its 200th year, this legendary bar and seafood restaurant even has a daiquiri named after the author himself, who frequented the building for much of his life. Steeped in the history of a by-gone era, the bar has something of a unique charm that keeps both tourists and locals coming back for more. With a reputation for serving up seriously good cocktails, El Floridita gives you a real sense of Cuba’s vibrant and colourful past.