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Jardin Zoologico de la Habana, Havana Zoo, Cuba

Entrance to the Havana Garden Zoo
Jardin Zoologico de La Habana, is located in the Vedado District of Havana, Cuba

The Jardin Zoologico is a Zoo centrally located in the Vedado area of Havana, Cuba. The admission to the zoo is 3cuc, but you may be able to get in for free if it is a Cuban holiday. Don’t go expecting modern facilities or to see extremely rare animals, go because this zoo is frozen in the 60’s, and will provide a really unique zoo experience.

A little monkey munching on fruit
Some kind of primate munching on fruit in his small concrete enclosure

The zoo has a decent selection of animals, but nothing out of the ordinary. The thing that stands out though, is that at this zoo you can get as close to the animals as you want. Unlike other zoos I have been to where there is some sort of barrier and then the cage, here you can get as close to the actual cage as you want, for better or for worse. If you have a child you want to be extra cautious here. There were vertical gaps 2ft wide in the fence around the hippo habitat and I saw a Cuban kid learning over the railing to get a better view of the rhino below.

A monkey pulling a hippos' tail
The monkeys antagonize the slow hippo by pulling its tail, if you cheer, the monkeys love it

You need to be careful here, because I didn’t see any zookeepers or employees around to assist if someone got snagged by one of the chimps reaching through his cage or fell into the rhino pit. There was also nobody to monitor the patrons. I witnessed everything from people throwing fruit at the orangutans, not to them, to a man popping his hand in and out of a pacing jaguar’s cage. Even the animals there were taunting one another. A group of monkeys and a hippo shared a habitat, and the monkeys would sneak behind the hippo and pull its tail to the cheers of the visitors.

A chimp using a stick to snag something outside his cage
The chimp is trying to get some food thrown at him by a zoo patron. There aren’t any workers around to prevent this, or help you if you get to close to the animal cages

The experience is a little depressing, seeing animals in concrete enclosures with nothing around resembling a natural environment, but at the same time it is nothing like any zoo I have ever experienced. If you are really sensitive about animal, which is understandable, I wouldn’t recommend going because you will get upset, but if you want a crazy experience, and possibly a run in with an escaped animal, or just want to see what a zoo looked like in the 60’s, I would definitely recommend this.

A rusted children's park sign at the Havana Zoo
The children’s park sign is very rusted and the park is out of use like a lot of other areas of the zoo
A pig sticks his nose through a chain link fence
You really can get as close to the animals as you want, which sounds nice, but probably isn’t the best in regards to safety
A little raccoon in his concrete enclosure
There are a couple raccoons in a large concrete pit. Few of the enclosures have any sort of native habitat for the animals.

Havana Garden Zoo Map

2 Good comments on "Jardin Zoologico de la Habana, Havana Zoo, Cuba"

  • Free Cuba  @ Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    This is nothing more than an animal prison, and serves as poignant metaphor for the larger national prison that the “Republic” of Cuba has become for its people.

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