Local Tour Guide @ Havana Urban Adventures. Passionate reader, history lover, cultural explorer and minimalist.
Not too long ago, watching the World Cup in Havana wouldn’t have been an option, unless you had access to a broadcast feed coming in from the USA. Football (or soccer) has only recently become a popular sport in Cuba. Because it always had to compete with the national sports of baseball and boxing — which were promoted and supported by the State — football never obtained the fandom you might expect from a Latin American country.
But today, football has surpassed baseball as the national sport, with more and more Cuban children following the games and learning to play. No surprise, then, that many hotels in Havana are now offering viewing parties for the World Cup.
Our local Havana tour guides all named the following places as the best ones for watching the 2018 FIFA World Cup; these are places where not just tourists, but locals as well, will go to watch international futbol games.
At hotel bars in Havana, large TV screens are set up and the bars are open all day, offering classic Cuban cocktails like mojitos, Cuba libres and daiquiris, along with beer, soda and tropical fruit juices, as well as Cuban sandwiches.
Come dressed in the gear and colours of your favourite team and gather with both locals and travellers to debate the best players.
Here’s where to gather this year:
- The hotels around Central Park: Hotel Parque Central and Hotel Telegrafo. Location: On the corner of Neptuno and Prado Streets in Old Havana.
- El Bar del Hotel Habana Libre. #localsknow fact: This is where the fan cub of Real Madrid is based. Location: L street between 25th and 23rd streets in Vedado.
- El Sport Bar del Hotel Meliá Habana. Location: 3rd street between 78th and 80th streets in Miramar.
- Bar Bilbao. Note that coverage at this bar will depend on whether the national network is airing it, as the bar doesn’t have cable. The matches may not be live, but there will be a great vibe. Location: O’Reilly 302 in Old Havana.
- The mezzanine lobby bar of Saratoga Hotel.
Havana’s often described as being trapped in a time warp, thanks to the cool retro cars prowling the streets and the crumbling mix of colonial and art deco design. But while we love the vintage vibe of Havana, the city also has so much more to explore in the here and now. Take a Havana city tour that will expose you to Afro-Cuban religion, show you the broken beauty that defines the city’s spectacular, UNESCO-designated architecture, and teach you about what remains today of la Revolución. Then finish it all off, of course, with a mojito in la Habana Vieja.