Havana has become one of the most popping destinations for American tourists, and let’s face it — with its vintage cars, smooth sands, and Spanish colonial architecture, Cuba is hot. Less hot? Confusing diplomatic relations and expensive plane tickets. Luckily, Floridians can officially skip all of that drama, because this park in Tampa will let you wander a slice of Cuba without a passport.
Parque Amigos de José Martí is a dreamy park on the corner of 8th Avenue and 13th Street. The land is the actual property of the Cuban state and has been ever since a Havana couple donated the land in 1956, just three years before the end of the communist revolution.
Grab your bestie, your partner or your whole squad and go for a chill stroll through the park. As you roam around, you will spot some historical gems, all while literally stomping on a sliver of foreign soil.
In the center, you’ll see an enormous, white statue that pays tribute to José Martí, one of the island’s most famous poets. Beside the statue, you can snap photos of a giant Cuban flag.
This will basically be a weekend trip that you can enjoy over the course of a single afternoon. Can you say "vamos?"
As you saunter through the natural beauty of the historical garden, you’ll feel yourself sinking further and further into those Havana vibes.
And there is plenty to explore!
If you head behind the statue, you’ll notice a gorgeous mural with the words Isla de Cuba (“Island of Cuba”) painted in huge, colorful letters. This is the perfect spot to pose for pictures, soak up a bit of ambiance or simply sit back and admire the dark green foliage that crawls over the back wall.
For folks who want to learn more about the park’s history, there is a shaded bench beside a golden plaque full of extra information.
Just make sure to keep an eye on the time! The park is only open from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The window of time is really short, but it will make your experience all the sweeter.
If you still feel like you haven’t gotten a full taste of Havana, your afternoon doesn't have to end! Florida’s oldest restaurant, Columbia, serves up yummy Cuban food and Flamenco concerts, less than a mile away.
Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in a new culture or simply soak up the sun in a unique and interesting spot, Parque Amigos de José Martí is the perfect place for you and your favorite people to mix things up.
Parque Amigos de José Martí
Where: 1303 E. 8th Ave., Tampa, FL
Why You Need To Go: You can literally have an abroad experience without having to leave the country and without a passport. Gather your favorite people and check out gorgeous flora, mural artwork, and even a historical statue. You'll literally fit an entire weekend getaway into a single afternoon.