What You Have To Do in Havana – A Visit To Fusterlandia

There are a few interesting things you can do in Havana. But one thing stands out and that is Fusterlandia. In Fusterlandia, the artist José Fuster has self-realized his vision and designed his house and the entire neighborhood with colorful tiles for the last 20 years.

I don’t like to describe artists by comparison with other artists, but in order for you to imagine what Fusterlandia is, I have to compare. Fusterlandia is like throwing Gaudí, Miró, Sosabravo, Niki de Saint Phalle in a pressure cooker, salting them with a little Picasso and then boiling them until the pot explodes and spreads its contents all over the neighbourhood.

Not only is his house completely encrusted with tiles, but the neighborhood is also infected: many houses, walls and even the bus stop are likewise covered with tile patterns, figures and nice designs, so that the whole area makes an extremely colorful and cheerful impression.

What Is Fusterlandia?

Fusterlandia is just beautiful! You arrive there, passing many mosaics that cover all the walls from the road to Fusterlandia itself – so you can’t miss the area, because art leads you to Casa de Fuster.

Then you enter Fusterlandia and are immediately in a fantasy world. Everywhere colorful tiles, which sometimes form a figure, sometimes a canopy, a staircase or a swimming pool, over which a large Maria throns.

In total, Fusterlandia extends over several hundred square meters, and not only in width, but also up to the 3rd floor. The terrain is labyrinthine, so that new, surprising perspectives emerge behind every corner.

You don’t have to worry about where you can or can’t go. All the zones that you are not allowed to enter are clearly and visibly cordoned off.

Admission Price, Opening Hours, Travel Groups

Admission to Fusterlandia is free. Nevertheless, you should take some money with you to buy some souvenirs or drinks (see below).

Fusterlandia is open daily from 9:30 am to 4 pm (Saturdays, Sundays) and 5 pm (weekdays). Between 12 and 2 pm it can be crowded, as this period is reserved for travel groups. Since we were there in complete low season, we had no problem being there at noon. If you want to make sure that you get, you can call there.

Fusterlandia As The Economic Factor For The Neighbourhood

And not only that: Fusterlandia is an important economic factor. The barrio in which Fusterlandia lies is near Miramar, in Jaimanitas. But while Miramar is a rich district, if you walk around a bit, you can see that Jaimanitas is certainly not a rich district.

Viva Cuba!

But José Fuster is, like we experienced it, the unofficial mayor of the neighbourhood: he takes care and creates jobs. After the last hurricane he certainly contributed to the reconstruction. And he creates actual jobs for the area: opposite Fusterlandia 3 shops sell souvenirs, a trolley sells Pina Colada, an older gentleman offers odes to the respective tourist – for a tip, of course 😉

Souvenirs, Bringaways and tuKola

An diesem Tisch kann man sitzen und etwas trinken

The range of art you can buy there goes from wall-sized paintings for thousands of CUCs to small painted tiles that you can purchase with a budget. We also brought some of them to Germany as souvenirs and presents – the suitcase on the way back is easier anyway, you can transport heavy tiles there as well. 😉

By the way, in Fusterlandia you not only can buy the art of Fuster, but also drinks – at low prices. As there is no other tourist infrastructure in the area, this is a good idea!

How To Get To Fusterlandia

Fusterlandia is situated in Jaimanitas, which is actually inconspicuous, a little further to the west – perhaps 750 metres – is the Marina Hemingway, Havana’s marina. Basically you get to Fusterlandia by turning north from 5nta Avenida, see map:

So kommt ihr nach Fusterlandia (Quelle: OpenStreetMap)

Which Means Of Transport You Can Take

  • By taxi: the easiest way to get to Fusterlandia is of course by taxi, then you can also ask the driver to wait 1-2 hours for you and drive you back. A taxi ride from the centre will cost you about 12-15 CUC.
  • By public bus: as mentioned above, there is also a bus stop decorated by Fuster. But I have no idea which bus goes there – I wouldn’t recommend the public buses for tourists anyway and in September, when we visited Fusterlandia, there were only a few buses going because of the fuel shortage.
  • On foot: one of our colleagues took a nice walk to Fusterlandia – nothing for the hot season, because you have to cover some kilometres.
  • One of the red-blue Hop-on Hop-off buses goes to Fusterlandia. But first you have to take the T1 to Cecilia (the T1 takes the classic route Habana Vieja, Vedado, Miramar) and in Cecilia you change to the T2 which will pick you up after one hour. Or a little later… 😉 Basically the way to Fusterlandia is easy to find from the bus stop: just follow the mosaics! Details about the bus can be found at Everybodyhatesatourist

My personal recommendation to come to Fusterlandia is definitely your own taxi. We had negotiated a good price with our driver and then called him when we wanted to go home again. So you have no time pressure, get directly to Fusterlandia and don’t have to wait, change and walk forever.

Another Project: A Tapas Restaurant

While we were there in October, 100 meters away from Fusterlandia, you could see a building site, a building shell, but with a dome that was already covered with beautiful tiles. The artist told us that he would open a tapas restaurant there. We are looking forward to it because I bet that the interior design will by no means be that of a normal restaurant. And of course the restaurant will be a new employer for the neighbourhood.

The Piña Colada – Exactly The Right Thing After Visiting Fusterlandia

When you leave Fusterlandia, after so much art you feel a certain thirst for some spiritual drinks – at least I do… So it’s a good thing that some resourceful Cubans have set up a trolley with Piña Colada right in front of Fusterlandia, fresh Piña Colada! The inside of the pineapple is extracted and mixed with cream and rum and filled back into the pineapple. A Piña Colada is available for 5 CUC, which is not exactly cheap – but with 3x refill!!! Well, do I have to explain that I really took advantage of that? 😀

Conclusion: Why You Have To Go To Fusterlandia

Fusterlandia is not Disneylandia, but a place of art, which is nevertheless fun – in contrast to some museums I have visited in the course of my life (the last bad museum was the Kolumba in Cologne – but that doesn’t matter now!). Fusterlandia is a living project, not only that the artist himself still lives there, but Fuster’s creation is growing and changing, an ongoing artistic process.

José Fuster hat sich bereitwillig mit uns fotografieren lassen – unter dem Arm trage ich unsere Souveniers!

At the same time, Fusterlandia is a little away from the typical tourist crowds and this is noticeable in the visitors: there was a friendliness and politeness, almost a feeling of being initiated among the people that we met there: we discovered a gem that remains hidden to the typical tourists.

By the way, the art of tiling is widespread in Cuba, José Fuster is not the only one who works with tiles, Alfredo Sosabravo or Fernando and David Velázquez are also well-known tile artists.

I trust you enjoy your visit to Fusterlandia,
Dietmar

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