Remember those gorgeous Havana beach scenes in the recent James Bond film Die Anther Day? And where Mr. Bond first sees the flawless Halle Berry walking out of the ocean? Well, those famous “Havana” scenes were actually filmed in the equally famous (and beautiful) Cadíz of Southern Spain.
The Bond movie didn’t have to go too far to make Cadíz look and feel like Havana, Cuba. The similarities of Havana and Cadíz don’t begin and end with those few scenes. In fact, Cadíz is known as “Little Havana.” And as you walk through Havana, there is a strong sense of Andalucian influence in the architecture, style and overall feel of the city. The plazas, the streets and cathedrals all have a hint of Spain, especially the historic cities like Seville and Cadíz.
But how did Havana, Cuba end up being a sister city to this quintessential Andalucian town over 4,000 miles away?
Cadíz was an important link between Europe and The New World, with ships of Christopher Columbus and other explorers sailing from there. There became a continuous flow of traffic between the two cities in the 1700s when the Spanish sailed routes between Cadíz, Havana and Puerto Rico. During this time of Cadíz’s “Golden Century” and the growth of overseas trade, the Spanish style and influence was easily transferred to one of their most valuable ports in Havana.
Beyond its influence abroad, the city of Cadíz is said to be the oldest continually inhabited city in Spain. The buzzing, beautiful plazas are an important part of the old town, but the beaches are what really make this city stand out. La playa de la Caleta and street above, which greatly resemble parts of Havana, was used for some of the Cuban scenes in the Bond movie.
As if the seductive beauty of the beaches wasn’t enough, there is a very palpable laid-back, carefree attitude about the city that makes it even more welcoming. You might even find Mr. Bond lounging around sipping one of those “shaken, not stirred” martinis he prefers…
This post was originally published on Andalucia Inside.