The residential district of Miramar lies roughly 10 miles west of Havana on a coastal strip that begins west of the Almendares River. Before the revolution, this area was home to many of Havana’s elite. Spectacular mansions flank tree-lined avenues on a thoroughfare that dates back to the country’s capitalist era when the wealthiest families in the capital moved west. Today, Miramar is the economic capital of Cuba with beautiful villas, exclusive hotels and restaurants, upscale shops, large supermarkets, banks, investment firms and foreign embassies. The district revolves around tree-shaded Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) and has a distinctly Miami-like feel because of its postmodern architecture.
While visiting Miramar, don’t miss the Maqueta de la Habana, a small-scale replica of Havana City. This meticulously made model consists of cedar buildings and paper streets. It mirrors Havana and its suburbs ambitiously, stretching out as far as Cojìmar and the airport. An upper viewing gallery with two telescopes helps viewers appreciate the details that are otherwise difficult to see in the center of the model.
Another popular attraction in Miramar is the Acuario Nacional de Cuba, the national aquarium, which hosts an outdoor marine park that showcases sea lions, a popular dolphin show and other marine wildlife.
Mostly, Miramar is an ideal place to enjoy a peaceful walk and appreciate the view of the sea for which the neighborhood was named.
Text by Lise Waring
Photo by Robin Thom
insight CUBA, June 15, 2015