Welcome to Havana! From the moment you touch down at Jose Marti Airport, you know you've entered another world. Cuba's vibrant capital, Havana, is everything you ever dreamt it would be: an explosive, sultry step away from real life where Latin and African influences mingle together. Soak up the unique atmosphere of a city in which most of the cars are 50 years old (sometime even more) and the buildings are crumbling, yet the locals are charming, if keen to part you from your pesos. For an authentic musical experience, go to a matinée at the Casa de la Musica, where up-and-coming stars make their debuts. There are plenty of short tours to help you make the most of your time, from cigar hot spots to Ernest Hemingway pub crawls. Wander the city's side streets admiring the Art Nouveau shops and cafes, then take a slow, cheap cab ride along the seafront to the Hotel Nacional, a one-time hang-out of cocktail-swilling film stars and gangsters. For dinner with a difference and some authentic Cuban cuisine, ask at your hotel about the paladars - dining rooms in people's houses or gardens.