The Cuban capital is an ideal place to enjoy its charm, as well as you take part in the city’s marathon on 19th of November.
Participating in the 37th edition of the Marabana – Havana Marathon is much more than just enjoying running 42, 21, 10 or 5 kilometres through the Cuban capital. In fact, between the months of November and April, it is considered the best time to travel to this city, avoiding the season with the highest temperatures as well as the rainiest and most inclement weather.
For this reason, we bring you 4 tips to make the most of your visit to this city, full of beauty and paradoxes that will make your stay here to run its marathon an unforgettable experience:
- Make the most of the mornings for sightseeing in Havana’s must-see places
One of the best things to do in Havana before you lace up your trainers is to go and see how daily life in the city goes by walking around the areas of Habana Vieja, Vedado and Centro Habana: Habana Vieja, located in the east of the city facing the bay, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There you can see the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de La Habana, the Convent of San Francisco de Asís or the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, as well as the Port of Havana, where you can take a ferry to the Historic Military Park of Morro Cabaña to visit its old colonial defensive buildings and find an incredible panoramic view of the city. Vedado is home to the majestic Plaza de la Revolución and a commercial and cultural centre with large buildings, very different from the rest of the Cuban capital’s landscape, also ideal for touring in one of the beautiful American cars from the 1950s with your hair in the air. Finally, Centro Habana is the most colourful and lively part of the capital and home to some of the most emblematic buildings and places in the country, such as the National Capitol of Cuba, the Museum of the Revolution, the Paseo de Martí, the Paseo del Prado and the famous Malecón de la Habana.
2. Recharge your protein and carbohydrate reserves by sampling typical Cuban dishes
Typical Cuban food, apart from being delicious, is useful to recharge your body (in moderation, as always) for your big challenge next 19th of November in the Marabana with proteins and carbohydrates, while tasting the local gastronomy of Havana. The dishes you can’t leave Cuba without trying are: the typical arroz con pollo, ropa vieja (a portion of stir-fried vegetables, rice with black beans and fried plantain), grilled lobster, picadillo a la criolla (beef, pork, ham, onion, pepper, garlic, tomatoes, sultanas, olives, capers, cumin, laurel, and other ingredients served with white rice and fried ripe plantains), the Cuban sandwich (pork with vegetables) or a Moors and Christians (black beans with white rice and/or lentils) or yucca with mojo if animal protein is not your thing.
3. Jogging along the Malecon
For those of us who run as a daily activity that we don’t want to give up for a single day, the best running track that Havana has to offer is its incredible Malecón, which is also part of the Marabana route, in all its available distances. Running in front of the sea is a unique experience. The sound of the waves and some distant music of its neighbors, as the only companions on a run along a special route. The Malecón describes all the history and daily life of Havana, undoubtedly the best expression of the life of its inhabitants. And to do it in the afternoon so that, at the end of the training, we can fall in love with the Havana sunset.
4. If you have thought about it, try Cuban cigars and rum after the Marabana
It is well known and a wish fantasized by many to make to reality trying a Cuban rum drink or a Havana cigar in Havana, on site. But as tempting as it may sound to do it on the spot, if you really want to enjoy Cuban rum or cigars, do it once you’ve returned home. Especially on the days before and immediately after making a great physical effort, in this case running a marathon (42 kilometres), it is advisable and sensible not to drink alcohol or smoke. Because, apart from having a negative influence on your sporting results, it can be tremendously harmful to your health and increases the chances of you not being able to enjoy running the race and even making it difficult for you to participate, when the main purpose of coming to Havana is to take part in its marathon. So, if you really feel like it, you’d better save yourself for tasting Havana cigars and Cuban rum after you’ve overcome your challenge in the Marabana, when you return to your routine, as a reminder of the great moments you’ve had in the experience of coming to the Cuban capital to get to know it and take part in its great sporting festival.