The Malecón Havana Cuba

Along the Malecón: Facing the Sea

Construction of Havana’s iconic Malecón began in 1901. This famous five-mile long promenade and sea wall was built primarily to protect Havana from the crashing waves and weathering from the sea. The Malecón is one of the most popular places to be in Havana and it is a wonderful place to take a walk or run, catch the sunset or hang out with friends and family. Sadly, like most of Cuba the Malecón is showing her age. The sea walls are rapidly deteriorating and decaying with big chunks falling into the water and other parts turning a brownish-green. Yet the promenade itself remains in good condition. On hot summer nights the Malecón becomes a lively “living room” for Cubans as they all head outside to escape the heat and their tight living arrangements. Live music is played, couples walk arm and arm and teenagers swarm in groups. Meanwhile, retro 1950s American cars cruise along the Malecón enjoying the refreshing ocean breeze. It is the place to see and be seen as the sea crashes against the shore.

Here are some pictures of the seaside of the Malecón.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro overlooks Havana Bay.

The Malecón Havana

A Testament of the Cuban Revolution: Along the Malecón

The most well-known spot in Havana is the famous Malecón, a five-mile long esplanade, street and seawall which stretches along the coast in Havana connecting the mouth of the Havana Harbor in Habana Vieja, passing through Centro Habana and ending in the more upscale Vedado neighborhood. Known by locals as the “big sofa” or the “living roomthe Malecón is a testament of el Triunfo de la Revolución (the triumph of the revolution as Cubans say) and is awash with the sheer irony of the Cuban revolution.

The Malecón Havana

The start of the Malecón in Old Havana

Built at the start of the 20th century, the main purpose of the Malecón was to protect Havana from the ocean waters pounding against her shore. As the Malecón was developed, glorious 19th and 20th century structures were built and lined the Avenida de Maceo (the street along the Malecón). Over time as the effects of el triunfo de la revolución slammed into Cuba, the Malecón became run-down, weathered and in a huge state of deterioration and decay. It is a tragedy to see how these buildings, which Cubans still live in, look today.

Yet the Malecón continues to be the most popular promenade in all Havana where teenagers, lovers, families and friends spend their evenings hanging out along one of the world’s most dilapidated “back porch”.  A sunset ride along the Malecón inside a 1950s convertible is the way to see it all in style! Sadly, it rained the one night we had our cars booked so I had to do it the old-fashioned way: Cheap taxi and walk.

Take a ride with me along the Malecón, Havana’s biggest living room and see how the days of the Cuban revolution have weathered this once spectacular place. Check out the old cars along the way too which are seen throughout Cuba.

The Malecón Havana