Regla, a working-class barrio on the eastern shore of Havana harbor, evolved in the 16th century as a fishing village and eventually became Havana’s foremost warehousing and slaving center. It developed into a smugglers’ port in colonial days, a reputation it maintained until recent days, when pirates (who made their living stealing off American yachts anchored in the harbor) were known as terribles reglanos. Havana’s main electricity-generating plant is here, along with petrochemical works, both of which pour bilious plumes over town.
The slaves who settled here infused Regla with a profound African heritage. Regla is a center of santería; walking its streets, note the tiny shrines outside many houses. Calle Calixto García has many fine examples. Many babalawos (santería priests) live here and will happily dispense advice for a fee; try Eberardo Marero (Ñico López #60, e/ Coyola y Camilo Cienfuegos).
The Museo Municipal de Regla (Martí #158, e/ Facciolo y La Piedra, tel. 07/797-6989, Tues.–Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.–1 p.m., entrance CUC2, guide CUC1), two blocks east of the harborfront, tells the tale of the town’s santería associations. Other displays include colonial-era swords, slave shackles, and the like.
Ferries (10 centavos) run between Regla and the Muelle Luz (Av. San Pedro y Santa Clara) in Habana Vieja.
Bus #6 departs for Regla from Zulueta and Genios in Habana Vieja; bus #106 departs from Zulueta and Refugio.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition