Let’s explore Havana’s forest green landscapes by bike. In the heart of the city, along the Almendares river, we will find an enchanted forest, which has practically fallen into oblivion. It is known as the Great Metropolitan Park, designed by Jean C. N. Forestier, the landscape architect of the Eiffel Tower’s gardens. We will start the journey with a famous love story. A legend which shows us the extravagance of early 20th century Havana and its forest.
In 1925, Forestier moved to Havana for five years. He collaborate with architects and designers of landscape. He designed the gardens for the El Capitolio. He worked on the master plan of Havana city. His aim was to create a harmonic balance between classical forms and the tropical landscape. He connected the city’s road networks while accentuating prominent landmarks. His influence has left a huge mark on Havana’s Forest.
We will ride through Vedado neighborhood into the forest. After a few hills, we will reach the river. Once Havana’s economic backbone. This river was essential in Havana’s forest growth at the turn of the century. A hidden path will take us to a Moorish castle, beer gardens, surreal Gaudi-style landscapes, natural amphitheaters and huge walking trees like in Barcelona’s Güell Park. We may also come across devotees practicing Santeria rituals. Learn how the Havana’s Forest area has become a natural sanctuary for them.
To finish, we will have a break at a open air bar for a chill time. Enjoy a tropical fruit juice and seafood tapas with a splendid view of the river.
The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century. Due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the Americas, becoming a stopping point for treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning to Spain. The King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city. The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana’s Forest in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish–American War.