The buzzing and exciting city of Havana is not only the largest city in Cuba, but also in the whole of the Caribbean. With 2.1 million people living there in 2010 it is a densely populated city, and the commercial center of the country, its major port helping to contribute to the entire island’s economy. Havana is also the capital of Cuba and a hub for tourism, architecture, and culture. Since the city re-opened its doors to tourists back in 1990, it has become a hugely popular destination. Unfortunately, it is still difficult for US citizens to obtain permission to travel to Cuba, due to the complicated history between the two countries.
Cuba, as Havana in general, has a tropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Rainfalls are at their worst between June and October when the temperatures are high. Fortunately, coastal breezes keep the summers bearable for expatriates who are not used to the heat. The winter is pleasant with little rainfall, lower humidity, and the temperatures rarely dropping below 15°C. Sunscreen is essential all year round. While hurricanes are rare, they do hit the island at times.
Finding accommodation in Havana is notoriously difficult. The old colonial buildings have not been well maintained. These crumbling properties and apartment blocks throughout the city are uninhabitable, which means that they are taking up space within the city but are not fit for purpose. This has created a very expensive housing market where finding rented accommodation as an expatriate is a challenge.
By Cuban law, foreigners are not allowed to buy property on the island and as most Cubans own the property that they live in, rented accommodation is in very short supply. The city mainly extends to the west and to the south, which is where cheaper accommodation can be found. However, the lack of available housing often puts expatriates off moving to this vibrant city. If you are moving to Havana for work, then your employer will need to help you to find a place to live.