Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Havana

4.3
Explore a star-shaped fort built in the 1500s at Castillo de la Real Fuerza. Part of a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, this fort was originally designed to defend against pirates during a time when Havana was one of the most active commercial ports in the New World. The fort was reopened in 2010 as Cuba’s premiere maritime museum. The museum today displays a large amount of information from the 16th and 17th centuries as well as showcasing highly detailed ship models. Visitors learn about the layouts of various kinds of ships made and used in the harbor. Use our Havana travel planner to visit Castillo de la Real Fuerza on your trip to Havana, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Castillo de la Real Fuerza Reviews
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594 reviews
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4.4
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  • a really good colonial place to see, the place is in good conditions and the showrooms are pretty cool (they have a replica of the old ships made with amazing details!!!). it have a nice terrace. it's...  more »
  • interesting and beautiful to see, inside the fortress you can buy rum and cigars, the ladies who entered in the book of Guinness World records for the world's longest cigar ... also the cigar. It's worth visiting the place
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  • Is one of the attractions of the square, a beautiful woman who played an important role in the history of Havana
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  • Very disappointing. We were charged for admissions and five minutes later we are being told the place is closing in five minutes. A lady approached us and told us that since we seemed like nice people she would get us into an area of the museum that was off limits. She walked us into a room that had a cord. She removed the cord and asked us to hurry in as if she was doing something wrong. It was all staged. The area is not off limits but they convince you it is. This was in 2012.
  • Very cool mini castle with its own moat. It was set up as one of the defense points for Havana in case of pirates or attempted invasions. Since the city was completely walled in when it was founded. Shows history about how trade was handled and Spanish ships that dominated the carribean during Spanish control of the island.
  • After Havana was raided in 1555 by French buccaneer Jacques de Sores, destroying the original fortress, it was necessary to build a new fort to protect the city from further pirate attacks. Castillo de la Real Fuerza was completed in 1577 to serve this purpose, but soon proved to be ineffective because of its poor position too far inside the bay. No longer useful for defense, military commanders and governors moved in to make the castle their residence. It also was used as a place to safely store treasures brought from America. In 1634, the lookout tower was crowned with a bronze weather vane known as La Giraldilla. It soon became a symbol of Havana, even though there is disagreement about what it represents. Theories range from it being a symbol of victory, a representation of Seville, and a likeness of Ines de Bobadilla, the wife of Spanish governor Hernando de Soto. Today the fortress is a shipwreck museum, displaying jewels, artifacts and a huge model of a naval ship. While the model ship was impressive, the rest of the museum was rather boring. Everything was labeled in Spanish, so we were unsure of the significance of what we were looking at. Our visit was also tarnished by the staff members who persistently hassled us for handouts.
  • Very nice castle with outside display of century old canons including what must be a big bertha of those times.
  • Didn't go in because the museum lady was rude! Asked her a simple question in Spanish what kind of castle it was/what is was used for so we could understand what kind of museum we'd be entering and she rolled her eyes at me and said, "it's a museum, you need to pay."
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Plans to Castillo de la Real Fuerza by other users

6 days in Havana BY A USER FROM CANADA June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 24 days in Cuba BY A USER FROM SPAIN November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Cuba BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Havana BY A USER FROM CANADA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 16 days in Cuba BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Havana BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Cuba BY A USER FROM CYPRUS October, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 16 days in Cuba, Runaway Bay & Kingston BY A USER FROM CYPRUS August, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 4 days in Havana BY A USER FROM MEXICO July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Cuba BY A USER FROM ISRAEL August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Cuba BY A USER FROM ITALY January, culture, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: January, culture, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Cuba BY A USER FROM ITALY January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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