A statue of Cuba’s National Heroe José Martí in the center of the Parque Central.

©Diana Rita Cabrera/Lonely Planet

Parque Central


Diminutive Parque Central is a verdant haven from the belching buses and roaring taxis that ply the Paseo de Martí. Long a microcosm of daily Havana life, the park was expanded to its present size in the late 19th century after the city walls were knocked down. The 1905 marble statue of José Martí at its center was the first of thousands to be erected in Cuba. It's surrounded by 28 palm trees.

Hard to miss over to one side is the group of baseball fans who linger 24/7 at the famous Esquina Caliente (literally, 'hot corner'), discussing form, tactics and the Havana team's prospects in the playoffs.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Havana attractions

1. Statue of José Martí

0.02 MILES

The marble statue of José Martí (1905) in the center of Parque Central was the first of thousands to be erected in Cuba. Raised on the 10th anniversary of…

2. Hotel Inglaterra

0.05 MILES

Havana's oldest hotel opened its doors in 1856 on the site of a popular bar called El Louvre (the hotel's alfresco bar still bears that name). Facing…

3. Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso

0.05 MILES

The neobaroque Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso, erected as a Galician social club between 1907 and 1914, features highly ornate and even exuberant…

5. Statue of Francisco de Albear


Thousands of people pass by his image every day, but few spare a glance for this marble statue of engineer Francisco de Albear, located in a small Habana…

6. Taller Comunitario José Martí


Workshop-gallery of an avant-garde artists' collective comprising around a dozen artists. Enter via the radiant mural in El Prado to admire and/or buy…

7. Edificio Bacardí

0.15 MILES

Finished in 1930, the magnificent Edificio Bacardí, once the HQ of Cuba's erstwhile rum dynasty, is a triumph of art deco architecture, with a host of…

8. Capitolio Nacional

0.16 MILES

The incomparable Capitolio Nacional is Havana's most ambitious and grandiose building, constructed after the post-WWI boom ('Dance of the Millions')…