Tourism in Cuba, which has a strategic geographical location in the Caribbean region, is based on the island nation's natural, cultural and historic wealth.
In addition to dozens of excellent beaches distributed throughout the Cuban archipelago, the island boasts a rich architectural heritage influenced by the Spanish presence during colonial times and European culture during the time that followed the colonization of the island.
Precisely, that element turns the Cuban capital, one of the first seven villages founded by the Spanish conquistadors and initially called San Cristóbal de La Habana, and especially its historic heart, into a key element in many tourist programs.
Havana's historic heart, declared Humankind's Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), holds most of the city's museums, churches, cultural centers and buildings from the Spanish colonial period. Old Havana covers an area of 4.5 square kilometers and has a rich colonial architecture and centuries-old customs and traditions.
For those who want to stay in an environment full of centuries-old memories, the company Habaguanex S.A. runs a broad network of hotels in Old Havana.
The heart of the Cuban capital consists of a series of castles, fortresses and highly valuable buildings constructed around a system of squares, monasteries and temples.
Those open spaces, especially the Arms, Cathedral, Old, Cristo and San Francisco squares, marked the design of the so-called inner city.
Called at the time the Fortified City of the West Indies and the Key to the New World, Havana is at present a living museum showing a wide range of architectural styles, as a result of the different stages of the development of the city.
Among the establishments in Old Havana is the Beltrán de Santa Cruz Hotel, which offers 11 rooms and is housed in an elegant 18th-century mansion near the Old Square.
The building welcomed world-famous personages who visited Cuba at the time, including German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, as well as the Count of Beaujolais and the Dukes of Montpensier and Orleans, princes of France.
Another famous establishment is the Santa Isabel, which is housed in the former house of the Count of Santovenia, built in the early 18th century and later sold to an US businessman, who turned it into a hotel that operated from 1867 to 1887.
The hotel's 27 rooms, including ten junior suites, are decorated with Spanish colonial furniture, including iron-wrought beds. The rooms on the third floor have small terraces.
However, the hotel's best attraction is its privileged location, as it is at walking distance from the place where first mass was held and the first town council was established, two events that marked the foundation of the Village of San Cristóbal de La Habana.