Cayo Hueso neighborhood, tradition and identity.
We start the Zentrum tour cycling directly to Cayo Hueso, one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city. Even today the origin of the name is not clear. One version of the story relates it to Key West in United States. Plenty of Cuban cigar makers returned from exile in Tampa and Key West and settled down there. A second version, on the other hand, relates the name to an old cemetery that used to be inside its limits (Hueso means Bone).
You will hear from the tour guide about excellent musicians who lived once in this neighborhood. Also about Afro-Cuban religion, present in almost every house. All the life of Cayo Hueso revolves around Parque Trillo. Being one of the oldest ones in Havana, this park has witnessed multiple social and historical events. The park is, without a doubt, the community recreation ground. Kids and adults get together every day to just play games or discuss daily life topics.
The Chinese presence and a 360° view in the Central Park.
Havana’s Chinatown will be on our route. We will look especially at its main alley, full of restaurants decorated with oriental and national ornaments. In the past, this was largest settlement of Chinese immigrants in Latin America. In contrast to that, very few descendants live there today. Next, we visit the Central Park. This is probably the most well-known park of the city. It is surrounded by several architectural icons of Havana City. For instance, the Capitol of Havana, recently renovated – the old and beautiful Great Theater of Havana, the National Museum of Fine Arts; the brand-new Hotel Manzana Kempinski and the first hotel of Havana, Hotel Inglaterra.
Unraveling the domestic economy, and finally a colorful tour closing.
Opportunities to interact with locals will not be lacking. With this in mind, the Zentrum tour stops at places like an “Agro-market”, a puncture repair Shop, and a cooperative of various small businesses. Understanding the Cuban domestic economy is a whole topic! Why two currencies? How hard is to start a business in Cuba? Reusing, repairing and reinventing. The Cuba creativity, true or myth? Before leaving this busy area we will have a juice or a coffee -our invitation-.
Last but not least, we stop at the colorful Hamel’s Alley. In barely 200 meters long, Art, Tradition, Religion, Music and Dance are mixed. The short walk, bike in hand, will reveal sculptures, installations, graffiti and evocative murals. We will hear of Afro-Cuban religions deities. The alley and the whole neighborhood of Cayo Hueso are historically linked to folk music and dance.
Take this tour to: Visit relevant communities with strong folk culture. Approach to Havaneros’ lifestyle, customs and entertainments. Have meaningful interactions with local people. Learn about how private businesses and associations operate in Cuba.
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