Vedado is located west of Central Havana. It is the largest neighborhood in the
city and is generally considered the richest. It is peaceful and safe, while still of-
fering a lot of attractions. One of the best things about Vedado is that it is relat-
ively ignored by tourists. Although its popularity has increased markedly over the
last years, it is still uncommon to find large gatherings of tourists like you might
encounter in Central or Old Havana.
The University of Havana is located in the eastern part of Vedado. This means
that there are always lots of young people in the neighborhood and there is a high
concentration of cheap restaurants, street food vendors and fun bars and clubs.
The main hospitals in the city are also located beside the university.
In the western part of Vedado, there are many government buildings and foreign
embassies. This area is generally calmer and quieter, especially at night.
The poorest area of Vedado is located beside the Malecon, where there are many
large housing projects. This area is also one of the most interesting because it
has many cheap markets, state discount stores and low priced restaurants.
Places of Interest
La Rampa - Also called Calle 23, La Rampa is a busy road which cuts across the
Vedado neighborhood from east to west. It is the most popular street in Vedado,
both for traffic and shopping. It is a main reference line for orienting yourself in the
El Malecon - The Malecon runs along the northern edge of the city but it is
busiest in the Vedado neighborhood. During the day, it is a popular meeting spot
and a common place for locals to come to relax. Many Cubans also fish and swim
in the coastal waters. In the late evening and at night, particularly on weekends,
thousands of locals flock to the Malecon, sitting down on the wall and chatting
with friends, playing music and drinking. It is a cheap form of entertainment and
an excuse to leave the house, especially on hot nights. The main gathering point
is near the corner of the Malecon and La Rampa. Even in a city with so many en-
tertainment options, spending a night sitting on the Malecon is still probably the
best way to have fun and interact with locals.
Habana Libre Hotel - The Habana Libre Hotel is located at the corner of Calle 23
and L. This is one of the busiest intersections in the whole city. The area near this
corner is a major traffic hub both for buses and communal taxis. At any time
throughout the day, thousands of people are gathered around this area. You will
surely find yourself here often if you are going to use public transportation or taxis
to explore the city. The large Cinema Yara is directly across the street from the
hotel and it has a pavilion in front which is a very popular place for young people
to congregate and wait for friends. Just on the opposite street corner, there is the
massive Coppelia ice cream parlor, which occupies almost a whole city block.