Havana Cuba’s Biennial 2019 – Travel to the Artistic Hotbed of the World

Habana_Bienal_2019_by_Author_Heidi_SiefkasHavana or La Habana, Cuba is my favorite city because of its vibrant people, but also its arts and rich culture. I've been traveling the majority of the last decade to Havana, Cuba. So, I know what I'm talking about when it comes to this unique, one-of-a-kind city, the Rome of the Caribbean. Whether the contrasting colors of classic cars with crumbling buildings or street art made from repurposed car or washing machines parts, Havana is a feast for your senses, especially art lovers. I used to say that Havana, Cuba was the artistic hotbed of the Americas, but now after witnessing the 13th Habana Bienal, the largest visual arts event in Cuba, I have to say that Havana, Cuba is the artistic hotbed of the world.

Cars_on_the_Malecon_havana_CubaBucket List Item – Walk on Havana’s Malecón

One of my top travel tips for Havana, Cuba is to walk the Malecón, the 8km long seawall, which is nicknamed the largest sofa in the world. You can experience the fresh sea air, walk past history like the La Punta Fortress (the late 1590s to 1602) and the Nacional Hotel (1930). You also can people watch from Habaneros fishing, vendors selling mani (peanuts) or granizado (Cuban slushy), and groups of amigos gossiping, drinking rum, and dancing.

Turtle_Sculpture_Habana_Cuba_2019_photo_by_Heidi_SiefkasYOLO Experience – the 13th Havana Biennial or La XIII Habana Bienal

On my last two trips to the City of Columns, I had the unique opportunity to enjoy for my very first time the 13th Habana Bienal, an every-two-year artistic event that showcasing artists from around the world. However, the 12th Bienal was in four years ago in 2015. Because of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, the 2017 Bienal was postponed until this year, an important year for Habana as it turns 500. Watch why you should give La Habana the gift of your visit.

Background of Habana Bienal and Why 2019 is Special!

The Bienal started in 1984 to highlight artists from Cuba, but also across Latin America. Now in its 13th event, it is expanding the exhibits from just in Habana’s galleries, parks, and the Malecón to outside of Habana like Cienfuegos, Matanzas, and more. In this 13th Bienal, there are more than 200 artists participating from over 15 countries. The theme this year is Construction of the Possible or La Constucción de lo Possible. Take a peek!

Face_Street_Art_for_Habana_Bienal_2019_photo_by_Heidi_Siefkas

Hexagon_Sculpture_Habana_Bienal_2019_photo_by_Heidi_Siefkas

Ball_and_Morro_Habana_Bienal_2019_photo_by_Heidi_Siefkas

Supporting_Facade_Habana_Bienal_2019_photo_by_Heidi_Siefkas

NOW is the time to Travel to Cuba

The 13th Bienal will be running until May 12th. If you are unable to attend this year, make plans to visit Havana anyway. There is art around every corner with fabulous street art, community projects like Muraleando and Fusterlandia, as well as sculptures in Old Havana, in particular, Plaza Vieja.

The world is traveling to Cuba, including Americans. You can still travel to Cuba. The announcement of April 17th, 2019 by the Trump Administration has not canceled the OFAC’s 12 legal ways for Americans to travel to Cuba. NOW is the time travel to Cuba! Contact me for introductions to my favorite tour operators, guides, and more.

As always, here’s to looking up!

3 Responses

  1. Ken
    This piece makes me want to go to Cuba. Does the US government still restrict travel to Cuba? Is it best to go through Mexico?
    • Heidi Siefkas
      You can travel to Cuba as an US citizen if you travel under 1 of the 12 US gov't approved ways. These are defined by OFAC in Washington. I would recommend 1) support of the Cuban people for a more independent trip or 2) people-to-people travel with an agency that has a license from OFAC.
  2. This is so fascinating. Cuba has always been on my bucket list. From the cars to the music and overall vibrant culture! I love this article, thanks for sharing!

Leave a comment