Take a tour of these vibrant architectural wonders — in a country where time stood still.

Author: Tisha Leung | Photography: Getty Images


When looking for the brightest hues as inspiration for an interior or exterior, consider the unmistakable palette found in Cuba. As an antidote to neutrals like gray and beige, a touch of brilliance can go far in transforming a room or an architectural element such as a stairway or door. The colors seen on these 14 buildings range from cobalt blue, banana-leaf green, and the occasional chocolate brown to sun-bleached yellows and pinks. They defy definition—they’re not quite primary, and yet they are more luminous than the pastels found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Cuban culture relishes the pure and saturated pigments covering entire façades and other large edifices. Let these historic buildings inspire you to bring a certain luster into your own home.

A bar of modern design is nestled between Art Nouveau buildings along the Malecon, also known as Avenida de Maceo, in Havana.

Photography: Natalie Grono/Getty Images

A colorful house in Trinidad, Cuba, shows off ornate architectural details.

Photography: John Elk III/Getty Images

A shoeshiner works his trade in Baracoa in front of a building that mixes ocean blues and oxblood red.

Photography: Andia/UIG/Getty Images

A man carrying a songbird in a cage rides his bicycle past a building painted a variety of blues. In Cuba songbirds are believed to bring good luck and are found in many homes.

Photography: Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

A view of homes on a street in Trinidad.

Photography: Adam Jones/Visuals Unlimited, Inc./Getty Images

Brightly painted colonial-style buildings on Paseo de Marti, or Paseo del Prado, in Havana.

Photo: Mark Williamson/Getty Images

A street in Old Havana is lined with buildings covered in understated colors.

Photography: Elisabeth Pollaert Smith/Getty Images

A toy dog sits in the doorway of a washed-out pastel façade.

Photography: Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images

Havana City’s Parque Central, or Central Park, is filled with landmarks and historic colonial buildings with arches and balconies.

Photography: Roberto Machado Noa/Getty Images

A cobalt-blue 1950s car sits in front of a series of chromatic colonial houses.

Photography: Lee Frost /robertharding/Getty Images

Buildings of vivid color lead to Saint Francis’s church and monastery near Plaza Mayor in Trinidad.

Photography: Clement Chan/Getty Images

A bass player walks with his instrument along Calle Heredia in Santiago de Cuba past a blue building with white stripes.

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A splashily colored vintage car parks in front of faintly tinted homes.

Photography: David Henderson/Getty Images

A cluster of buildings in a range of subtle hues.

Photography: Nikada/Getty Images