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Havana Carnival, Cuba

La Ceiba de Plata y La Espina de Oro son los bandos que compiten en las Charangas de Bejucal
Charangas de Bejucal, Cuba
Las Parrandas de Punta Alegre es una celebración de 100 años, la gente la celebra con grandes carrozas y bailes
Parrandas de Punta Alegre, Cuba

 

What is the Carnival of Havana?

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The Havana Carnival is one of the most important and oldest festivals of the island of Cuba, celebrated every year during the month of August. The carnival festivities have a long tradition, having been officially celebrated for more than a century.

The Havana carnivals in Cuba are a celebration that takes place over two weekends, including different cultural activities, food fairs, children’s carnivals and parades. Everyone waits anxiously for the Carnival festivities to see the dozens of comparsas crossing the malecón with all the dancers and musicians that brighten up the city of Havana.

 

 

Some of the comparsas ofHavana with the longest trajectory are El Alacrán, Los componedores de Betea, Los Guaracheros de Regla and La Federación Estudiantil Universitaria. These groups have become the most popular due to their choreographies and decorations that captivate the spectators during the parade. Each grouping is judged by a panel of professionals to declare the comparative winner.

 

The Havana Carnival is a celebration with an important historical trajectory and every year it is celebrated with more strength

The Havana Carnival is a celebration with an important historical trajectory and every year it is celebrated with more strength

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When is the Carnival of Havana?

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Carnivals in Havana will take place from approximately July 18 to July 27.

 

 

History of the Havana Carnivals

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Carnival in Cuba, particularly in Havana, dates back to the first arrival of African slaves, more specifically in 1550. However, theparties were limited and mostly private.

Some cabildos or religious figures held certain parades or precessions on holidays of major religious importance, when they took advantage of the occasion todisguise themselves with masks, feathers and other accessories. In addition, some celebrations also occupied the days prior to Ash Wednesday, calling them carnival.

During the 17th century, different groups of Africans and mulattoes congregated during the initial dates of carnival, being allowed by the slavers. These groups carried with them certain clothing and gave way to what is known as comparsas today.



In the 18th century, processions began to be present in the various localities and thoroughfares of the city and during the 19th century, music and instruments began to emerge during parades. However, during the early 20th century, carnivals were banned in the city.

The carnivals came back to life a few years later, with a greater integration ofAfrican and Cuban roots, as the population began to be included in the festivities. From then on Africans were allowed to play music in the streets. Likewise, the government began to restrict and regulate the festivities, incorporatingmilitary elements, floats and Carnival Kings.

Later on, the carnivals had a period of intermittency where they were prohibited for a while and celebrated again in the middle of the 19th century, when the comparsas were definitively integrated to the festivities. Since then, the carnivals have been in development, integrating new elements and contemplating the activities that take place today.

 

Where is the Havana Carnival?

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The Havana Carnival is held in the city of Havana, island of Cuba. The parades take place on El Malecón, starting from La Piragua and ending at Calle Marina..

 

Havana carnival dancers wear colorful costumes full of glitter and feathers

Havana carnival dancers wear colorful costumes full of glitter and feathers

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How the Havana Carnival is celebrated

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Once the Carnival Festival in Havana begins, a large number of events are held to celebrate the festivities. Some of the celebrations include folkloric dances, music groups and urban dance, salsa and conga. Likewise, the different activities for children take place, along with thechildren’s carnivals.

The city has severaltents and kiosks where you can buy traditional food of the city and the country, as well as buy handicrafts and souvenirs.

Finally, we cannot forget the celebration that takes place on the Malecon with dozens of comparsas, floats, dancers and musicians. The dancers of the comparsas cross the streets filling them with color and joy, while performing different choreographies to the sound of the conga.

 

Tips for going to the Havana Carnivals

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If you wish to attend the Havana carnivals, we recommend you plan your trip in advance, make an itinerary with activities you want to do during your trip and book your accommodation preferably a few months in advance.

We also advise you to refrain from talking about political issues, as this is a sensitive topic.

If you want to know more about tourism in this country, I recommend this guide:

 

Events at the Havana Carnival

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The Havana Carnival is full of diverse cultural activities, entertainment, food fairs and of course, the Carnival parades with allegorical floats.

During the days of celebration, you can witness dance shows, both folklore groups and urban dance groups. Likewise, there are carnival nights, live conga concerts and children’s carnivals with activities for children.

 

 

During the carnival parades, you can appreciate the comparsas, which are accompanied by large floats and multiple colors that compete before a jury to award the winner of the carnivals.

Finally, the carnivals have dozens ofkiosks where different traditional dishes, drinks and desserts characteristic of the city and the country are offered.

 

Havana's carnival troupes wear themed clothes

Havana’s carnival troupes wear themed clothes

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Havana Carnival Parades

 

The parades take place on weekends and cross the Malecon of the city. On the streets you can watch the hundreds of participants dancing, parading, playing music and celebrating. Each comparsa adds its touch of magic to the celebrations. On the sides of the street are the boxes with the spectators who watch with pleasure the whole show from the best seats..

 

Parade route

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Las comparsas recorren el malecón durante el carnaval de La Habana

Las comparsas recorren el malecón durante el carnaval de La Habana

 

Usually the parade takes place on the city’s Malecon. However, its route is from the Piragua culminating in Calle Marina. The route is about 8 kilometers where all the comparsas and floats parade.

 

Ropa vieja is a typical dish of the island composed of larded meat

Ropa vieja is a typical dish of the island composed of larded meat

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What to eat at the Havana Carnival

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One of the typical drinks of the locality as the Daiquiri, a drink that is composed of white rum, lemon juice and sugar. Also, to eat you can try Ropa vieja, which consists of shredded beef and accompanied with tostones or rice.

Some of the options that the city ofHavana offers are: Mojito-Mojito, Habana 61 and Más Havana.

 

Daiquirí is a typical drink of the island

Daiquirí is a typical drink of the island

 

Travel Insurance

 

From Carnavalesdelmundo.org we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurances. Read more information about all insurance offers here:

 

 

What to see and do inside the Havana Carnival

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During the carnival you can attend the different tents or kiosks where you can buy handicrafts or local food and drinks and also attend the different live music shows and concerts accompanied by hundreds of dancers from the city. You can’t miss the parades that fill the city of Havana with excitement, with hundreds of dancers and dozens of floats that travel along El Malecón, filling with joy all the public that watches the show from the boxes.

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world

 

What to see and do outside of Havana Carnivals

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Some of the attractions that the city of Havana has to offer you are:

 

Old Havana

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It is the historic center and the old part of the city. It occupies about 5 kilometers inside the city. Here you will find different historical buildings such as the Gran Teatro, La Catedra, El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and many more buildings of great historical value.

 

Havana’s Malecon

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It is an avenue that runs along the coast of the city, extending for about 8 kilometers. It was built in 1901 by the U.S. government.

 

Grand Theater of Havana

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It is one of the most important cultural monuments in Havana and the country. It was built between 1906 and 1914.

Also if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting

 

Safety in Havana Carnivals

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The city of Havana is relatively safe. In addition, during carnivals there are deployments by the authorities to strengthen the security of the precinct.

If you visit the city, just practice the same precautionary measures you would take in your hometown. Also, we recommend the following products to store your items safely:

 

 

Weather at the Havana Carnival

 

Havana’s weather during the festivities is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 24 to 32 degrees Celsius.

 

Las comparsas usan disfraces o trajes temáticos durante sus presentaciones en el carnaval de La Habana

Las comparsas usan disfraces o trajes temáticos durante sus presentaciones en el carnaval de La Habana

 

How to get to Havana Carnival

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How to get there by plane

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The city of Havana has its own airport called José Martí International Airport, it receives a large number of international flights. Once you arrive here, you can transport yourself to the center of the city through different means.

We recommend buying airline tickets through Kiwi.com or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review Kiwi.com..

 

How to arrive by cruise

Havana has a port where it receives several vessels from all over the world. You can arrive at the Sierra Maestra Cruise Terminal.

 

How to get there by bus

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From the airport you can take a bus to the city center. The trip takes 35 minutes.

 

How to get there by car

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From the airport take a cab or private vehicle to the city center using Avenida Universidad. The drive is 25 minutes.

 

Where to stay at the Havana Carnival

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Booking.com

 

Hotel Plaza

4-star hotel 400meters from the city center. Rooms have satellite TV and private bathroom with shower and hairdryer. Facilities include airport transfer, free wifi, bar and restaurant.

 

Yagrumas

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2-star hotel 400 meters from the city. Rooms are air-conditioned and have private bathrooms. The hotel has an outdoor pool, free wifi and parking, restaurant and bar.

 

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

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5 star hotel 2.5 km from downtown. The hotel has a swimming pool, wifi and free parking and bar.

We recommend you use Booking.com to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.



 

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