Varadero Beach, Cuba

The Malecón is a five mile long seaside esplanade that stretches from Havana Harbor in the east to the western edge of Vedado. It’s cordoned off from the ocean by a crumbling, mildewed seawall that overlooks jagged, barnacled rocks swimming in the surf below.

Interestingly enough— though not in the least surprisingly— the Malecón serves as a microcosm that represents Havana as a whole. In fact, pretty much anything you can see in Havana, you can also see along the Malecón. Modern art installations line the sidewalks, old men fish off the edge of the seawall, wedding caravans screech down the street in classic Chevrolets, drunken old ladies wander the length of the promenade at night asking for rum… It’s all here in one form or another. During the hotter hours of the day, hop in a classic car and cruise down the street and enjoy the breeze. In the late afternoon, a lengthy stroll from one end to the other isn’t a bad idea. And at night, grab a bottle of rum and find a good spot to people-watch from the wall. In the end, if you haven’t spent more than a few hours along the Malecón by the time you leave Cuba, you haven’t done the country justice.

El Malecón: Paradise by the Sea was last modified: November 17th, 2015 by Zeb Goodman