The Malecon

Juddering Cadillac and Buick, saltwater-sprayed blasts of salsa or regaeton cruise the Malecon. Somersaulting boys screech from rock to surf; strumming guitarists dodge slap footed joggers; the whispered giggles of Havana’s young lovers; vendors cry snacks, popcorn, pasta and peanuts sizzling on the shore line. Five-miles of coastal cacophony, the most famous Pregón, or 'street call', in Havana.

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A Changeless Square

Plaza Cathedral in Old Havana is a most exquisite colonial creation, described by writer Alejo Carpentier as 'music set in stone'. Jesuits started construction on the wonderful high-baroque cathedral in 1748. A beautiful bell tower, visible from countless city rooftops, dominates a cobbled domain where fortunetellers and cigar sellers mingle with tourists and serenading són musicians.

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Sporting Hits

Cubans are mad for baseball, boxing, volleyball and basketball. For boxing, Sala Polivalente Kid Chocolate is electric. For basketball, watch Havana's team 'Los Capitalinos' at Sala Polivalente Ramón Fonst. Baseball is mainly at Estadio Latinamericano, the season running November to May. Havana's 'Los Azules', The Blues, are the top dogs that every child likes to mimic.

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Havana's Beaches

To visit swathes of white-sand dotted with plump palms, lapped by pale turquoise water, head to Santa Maria del Mar, the most honky-tonk family-happy beach in Havana. Eat lobster with fried plantain from beach shacks, dance to strains of són, or join the colorful kite surfers and cool off with coconut water served with a slosh of rum by a passing vendor.

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See and Be Seen

"Welcome to my hideaway... not everyone is welcome here" is how indi cult movie Fresa y Chocolate introduces La Guarida, a buzzing candlelit paladar, or private restaurant, teetering on the second floor of a fabulously faded, romantically ruined palazzo. This is the Havana of your dreams, wedding an architectural gem with a decadent mélange of nueva cocina and European culinary excellence. The walls are peppered with celebrity signatures, ranging from Stephen Spielberg and Natalie Portman to Pedro Almodóvar, Beyoncé and the Queen of Spain.

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Your Private Spa

On a quiet beach west of Havana we have a beautiful little wooden beach house in an artists' community frequented by Cubans in the know. An expert masseuse, reflexologist, mani-pedicurist and facialist will pamper your body and soul while you lie back and listen to the lapping sea. Local fisherman drift by and when you are hungry we whistle them over so that you can choose your catch, cooked up by your own private chef.

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The Right Night

Navigating Havana's vibrant bar and club scene can be tricky. There is no 'Time Out' and the bars are scattered. We will make sure that you hit the right club at the right time so you will be just where you need to be when the best bands start playing. Tour the town by moonlight in your own chauffeured vintage car in the company of a knowledgeable and specialist concierge.

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Wild Beach Days

While in Havana, if you want a sunny sandy day without the crowds, we will chaperone you to one of the wild beaches west of Havana. Mostly empty during the week, you can have a whole little bay to yourself. We will provide a strong tent or sun shelter, luxurious mats and a cool icebox lunch, including refreshing beers.

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A Private Art Collection

For a true aficionado of the arts we will open the doors to the restored mansion of a prestigious collector of Latin American art, where you will find rooms populated with Cuban and associated art from the Vanguardia era onwards. These wonderful pieces range from the likes of Sandú Darié to the current darling of the contemporary Cuban art world Juan Roberto Diago.

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Informed Retail Therapy

Forsake designer labels and go for true originality instead. We will take you to antiquarian jewels where exquisite handmade leatherwork or Murano glassware lies hidden in the midst of market stall tat. The best vintage revolutionary posters and bottles of 25-year-old aged rum are there, waiting to be discovered.

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Rumba Magic

During 400 years of Spanish rule, African cultural practices were banned so people danced in secret, or surreptitiously mixed their traditions with Spanish ones, playing the caja (box) of flamenco, instead of tambors and congas. On a private city rooftop watch two of Havana's best dancers as they unfurl a stunning rumba and learn about the Afro-Cuban heritage from the dancers themselves.

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Havana Retreats

Stay in Havana's Unesco-protected old quarter and bask in architectural delights. Choose from a delightful pied-a-terre with exquisitely arched stained glass windows opening onto a colonial square or a colonial home, now meticulously renovated as a next-generation guesthouse. There is a private boutique hotel with Carrara marble-encrusted walls and even a chateau-style folly, built by a Spanish count in the 1930s.

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Pas de Deux

We can arrange for you to go backstage at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and watch the prima ballerina and her leading man give a private performance for your eyes only. We can do the same with Cuba's leading female flamenco star or a contemporary dance troupe.

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Feel the Love

Visit the Asociación Quisicuaba in a gritty corner of Centro Habana, an extraordinary social project that combines the study of Cuban religions rooted in African traditions such as Ifaismo, Palo Monte, Spiritism, Abakua and Santeria. Here you will find an amazing diversity of social work, from AIDS and transgender workshops to support for addicts and the preparation of up to 450 meals a day in the center's soup kitchen.

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Dream Events

Cuba Private Travel knows how to curate an occasion, be it a simple celebratory meal, a birthday party or a wedding. We can turn your villa into a party venue and arrange for Cuba's only Michelin-starred chef to prepare beautifully roasted pork or ceviche dishes, while the best musicians, such as trumpeter Yatsek Manzana or Dayme Arosena, Cuba's answer to Erykah Badu, serenade your party.

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Fiesta!

Cuba hosts some of the most exciting arts events in the region. The Havana Bienniale is a world-renowned month-long series of art exhibitions. In April remote coastal Gibara hosts Latin America's coolest indie film festival, the annual Festival Internacional del Cine Pobre. Holguin celebrates local musicians, actors, artists, writers and dancers with the Romerias de Mayo, led by the Hermanos Saíz Association, and in Stantiago the vibrant Manana Cuba fiesta twins Afro-Cuban Folklore music with incomers from electronica and dubstep.

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People to People

As Cuba opens up to the world we pride ourselves on delivering the most surprising, eye-opening and nuanced programmes for intellectually curious Americans travelling on U.S. Treasury-compliant People-to-People exchanges. Depending on your interests you will be paired with Cuban stars in art, history, music, dance, architecture, baseball, boxing, black history and more, helping you to discover a pantheon of emerging Cuban talent.

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Jet In

Bring your private jet to Cuba and we will take care of the paperwork. We have arranged a number of private air expeditions into the country for clients with their own planes, and the possibilities are endless. Cuba has more than a dozen regional airports that open up the island, many of which connect into American cities.

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