10 More Photos of Havana, Cuba

A woman dressed in all-white, the mark of a Santeria initiate, walking along the Callejón de Hamel in Santiago. The Callejón (alley) is known for its Sunday Santería sambas, and the press of every tourist in the city crowding into the tiny space to watch the dance and drink the beers. Hard to tell whether it's real or put on for the tourists. But either way, the beer is cold and the fun is loud.

Looking back on all the photos I made while we were in Cuba, I wish we'd stayed longer, and that I'd made even more. It's a fascinating place, and visual in the extreme–especially the people and the colors. We'll be going back, and seeing more. Soon I hope. In the meantime, hope you like these.

america theater havana
I'm not sure if the America Theater was a cinema or live theater. But I was struck by how many people were hanging around waiting for it to open. Or maybe they were just hanging around. There's a lot of that in Cuba.
hair salon havana
I took a long walk along Calle Neptuno from our Central Havana neighborhood to Old Havana. Not a tourist in sight, but a lot of Cubans living their daily life in their homes and tiny shops on the street. Like this hairdresser waiting for a customer, with her neighbor and baby.
girls in the window havana
In this part of Havana, there aren't any porches, or anything resembling plazas were people can just sit. So, you see a lot of folks in their homes or shops, just looking out the window at whatever's passing by.
wash day havana
Or staring out the window and wondering when the wash will be dry. In the Cuban sun, not long.
woman in window havana
Sometimes, being behind that window to the street can seem a bit like being locked in somewhere and the street is just a dream.
four young guys havana
Hey, you a photographer? Take our picture! Take our picture! Calle Neptuno has all types.
fuck fidel havana
The Malecón, the sea wall bordering Havana, is a nice promenade in the sun. And it's the only time in our two weeks in Cuba that we saw any overt mention of Fidel that wasn't the most reverential.
tourists in car havana
And the tourists in the old cars drove along the Malecón too, which to me sort of misses the point of a nice seaside walk. But at least this guy got the picture–of me taking his picture, probably. And maybe some sea.
no fishing no swimming havana
Of course, there's no swimming or fishing from boats allowed on the Malecón. Probably because after painting anti-Fidel graffiti, you would swim or row to Florida. You might note here, too, that the Malecón sea wall was constructed by the American military ruler of Cuba in the year after we took over Cuba after the Spanish-American War.

This post is part of a series that won the Bronze Award for General Excellence in photography from the North American Travel Journalists Association for 2018. See the other posts in the series posts here:

10 Photos of Cuba
Havana at Night, A Dozen Photos

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24 thoughts on “10 More Photos of Havana, Cuba”

    • Thanks, Corinne. Cuba is nothing if not colorful. Although I think all the paint sometimes is there as an attempt to cover over some inherent despair. We met lots of happy people, it’s true. But many others seemingly caught in a national tendency toward depression. The smiles at times seemed painted on as well.

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  1. Terrific photos of Havana Tom. We visited before it was open to more tourism. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens now that Fidel’s gone and more people will be visiting.

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  2. Love your photos. They are just so real life and evocative.The one of the women looking out of the window and the blue blue wall hit me first, then the one of the vintage cars – I could just feel the breeze :)

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    • Sadly, I think you’re right. If only Florida didn’t have electoral votes, we probably would have reached an accommodation with Cuba long ago. I don’t understand how we can have relations with many countries that are probably worse, but Cuba is mostly off limits.

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  3. You’ve captured such a slice of real life in Cuba. I had the chance to visit in 2016 and loved every minute. I couldn’t get over the creative streak that runs through the country. A dance performance moved me to tears and the artwork was inspirational.The colors and spirit you’ve captured is wonderful.

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