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Compared to other big cities in Latin America, Havana is very safe to walk around at night. Violent crime is rare. In fact, any crime against tourists is punished extremely harsh, and locals know it. However, it is important to always keep an eye on your belongings and remain alert for any suspicious activity.
Located at the eastern edge of the city, you will find the Old Havana or La Habana Vieja, which is the historic colonial heart of the city. This World Heritage Site is a dense collection of colonial-era and neocolonial houses, mansions, churches, seminaries, and apartment buildings speckled by a few charming plazas and parks. Moreover, the bast majority of the city’s greatest collection of museums and attractions are here, as well as a broad mixture of restaurants and boutique hotels. Today, it is one of the most beautiful restored colonial cities in the world.
Centro HabanaPicturesque and charming zone that connects Old Havana and Vedado. It is primarily a residential area, although it does have a high concentration of private rooms for rent. This district is not well maintained, so watch out for large chunks of brick, mortar, and stone that regularly drop off buildings here and sometimes injure passers-by below.
Vedado & the Plaza de la RevoluciónThis is the University/business district of Havana. It is a busy mix of middle- to upper-class houses and businesses. Calle 23, or La Rampa, is the principal avenue that defines this district, and it’s where you’ll find Coppelia, the Tryp Habana Libre (which used to be the Havana Hilton), and the Hotel Nacional. You’ll find here as well the Plaza de la Revolucion where the people of Havana used to gather to listen to Castro speak at annual Communist rallies.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Havana is overall a safe city. Taking normal safety precautions are recommended as you would in any other country. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other country. Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas and protect your valuables.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpocket and bag and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation. The theft of hi-tech items is increasing. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Muggings have happened in urban areas. Though most victims are not physically injured, criminals usually do not hesitate to use force if the target does not cooperate; in case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables. Avoid walking alone after dark.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
As in any other major city, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Bag snatching is common, so make sure you carry your bag facing away from the street and preferably always close to you. If you are booking a car, book it directly with an actual car rental company as there are reports of internet scams. Some rental companies in Cuba are Via, CubaCar, and Rex. Cigars are the most popular product for visitors. Make sure you buy cigars in official shops; do not trust the tobacco factory where you are taken to during your guided visit by your tour guide. Credit card scams are also common. Never leave your card out of sight, and withdraw money from reputable banks or hotels.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
There are unlicensed taxis, so make sure you pre-arrange a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
The hurricane season in Cuba normally runs from June to November. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Terrorist attacks are unlikely in Cuba. However, they cannot be ruled out. Remain vigilant and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Many women travel safely without any issues. Cuba is a country with a high degree of feminine integration into the society and there is little gender discrimination.