Malecon Photos – Iconic Havana

Every tourist visiting Havana comes back with Malecon photos. Photos of the sea crashing against the seawall; photos of classic American cars cruising the boulevard; and of course the great old mansions lining the strip, grandiose in the fading colors and advanced decay.
The curving seawall and boulevard that protects the older parts of Havana from the sea is the iconic image of Havana…El Malecon. See my Page. This 8 km strip was built to protect the city from the sea, but has become Havana’s playground. It is also the stage where much of Havana life is played out.

The Malecon changes hour by hour. See it from one end to the other.

Malecon Photos Change during Day

Malecon photos change with the time of day. As the sun sinks lower and the sunlight changes color, the old buildings change color too.

Your first view of the Malecon is most likely going to be entering the city from the harbor tunnel. It is shocking to come up and see the bright blue sea along a long, curving boulevard. Classic American cars are whizzing by, tourist and locals walk along the seawall and serving as the background are old crumbling, pastel mansions.

Malecon photos during day, Havana
The Malecon during the day. Blue water, bright colors, lots of classic cars and tourists

This curving boulevard is about 5 miles long; stretching from the historic Habana Vieja at the harbor entrance, along Centro Habana, out to the neighborhood of Vedado. The Hotel Nacional anchors the end of this seawall. The photo below was taken from the Castropol restaurant, a perfect place for drinks or meal

the Malecon from the terrace of Castropol restaurant
Looking down at the Malecon from the terrace of Castropol restaurant

As the sun sinks, the atmosphere changes. The “golden hour” changes the color palette. The water becomes a silvery reflection and the old buildings glow. The photo below is from the Malecon in Habana Centro. It is looking away from the old part of the city. The far tip of the curve has Hotel Nacional.

Malecon photo late day
Malecon photo late day

The National Hotel offers great evening views of the Malecon and great drinks, a perfect combination. Taxis are lined up at the hotel to take back to your hotel or casa, but it’s cheaper to walk back down to the boulevard and catch one on the street (3 CUC vs. 10 CUC asked at the hotel).

The curving Malecon from Hotel Nacional , Havana
The curving Malecon from Hotel Nacional nearing sunset

When the sun goes down in Havana, it is still hot as hell here, even in September. It is especially hot if you are walking to experience the city and interact with people. Head down to the seawall and feel the breeze. It is amazing how the sea breeze feels so much better than indoor air conditioning. Take a drink with you.

People will come up to you and chat. Some want to meet Americans; most want to hustle you. The hustling though is done mostly in a low-key way. Can they get you a drink, can they be your guide, can they get you cheap cigars, perhaps a gorgeous girl? They have to make a living, so I don’t mind. If they bug you too much, just wander down the seawall and find another place to sit.

The Malecon at night, Havana

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