Old Havana (Habana Vieja) is a unique hostage rescue map as it has three hostage rescue zones scattered across the map. Due to this, Havana generally favors the Counter-Terrorists unless they were unable to successfully breach the upper floors of the compound where the hostages are located. Meanwhile, the Terrorists will have a harder time to guarding all of the rescue zones if they have to prevent the Counter-Terrorists from successfully rescuing all of the hostages.
In fact, there are many infiltration routes that can allow the Counter-Terrorists to surround the Terrorists from nearly every section of the map. However, the Terrorists can position themselves in the upper floors of the courtyard and the atrium with sniper weaponry to maintain control of their territory. Despite this advantage, the Counter-Terrorists can retaliate with close-ranged weapons (including shotguns and submachine guns) after throwing a smoke grenade or a flashbang.
Snipers may struggle in this enclosed sections of the map although they can have some advantages in the atrium, courtyard, and in the alleys. However, upon firing their first shot, a player armed with a sniper rifle, such as the AWP, that player should strafe and constantly find cover while shooting back at groups of enemies.
Because of the intense action occurring throughout the map, Havana requires an immense amount of skill and practice.
These areas contain snipers on the upper floors, waiting for enemies to reveal themselves from the lower areas. However, the courtyard and the atrium offers very little protection from numerous amounts of enemy fire and insufficient escape from approaching assailants. Due to this, expert players from the terrorist force will generally attack with sniper weaponry and quickly move to another angle as a temporary retreat or attempt to suppress the opposing forces while the Counter-Terrorists can quickly sweep through the areas with large amounts of players to intimidate enemy snipers.
Despite these tactics, it is rare for players to remain in these sections for long periods of time since the upper floors and the hostage rescue zones normally contains the most amounts of intense combat. Furthermore, the gunfight that occurs in the Courtyard and the Atrium tends to happen within the first minute of the round and does not happen again when time is running out. To be sure, if you do suspect an enemy player who is hiding to take you and your team down, it is recommended to throw a flashbang or a smoke grenade to cover up your movements and remain hidden.
HE grenades are not normally recommended as it could attract attention from enemy players, even though the grenades may serve as an excellent decoy and make eliminating opponents easier. Furthermore, it can injure the hostages easily since the grenade explode radius can penetrate walls.
Be sure to be very careful in how your traverse your way through the stairs in these areas. Enemies can easily shoot you down before you can identify the opposing force and launch a counter-tactic. Sometimes, assailants will camp in the upstairs that contains the hostages thus making the situation harder for players to shoot back.
Primarily, a few Terrorists can jump across a stairwell in the atrium and can ambush CTs. They can also guard the hostages somewhat more easily as well. However, this tactic sacrifices cover for the element of surprise.
This is where the hostages are found and are the main focus for the Counter-Terrorists. However, it is also where the Terrorists can hide and arrange an ambush around the corners. Moreover, the upper floors (or known as the balcony and windows) contains frequent "wallbanging" (the act of shooting through a wall to eliminate an opponent) that can occur to flush out enemy players.
Because of this, the tactical shield can be used although it may not be helpful in some situations. It is very likely that silencers will be used to decrease the chance of the user being discovered so be alert for footsteps and the lack of activity whenever possible. Excluding HE grenades, players will use smoke grenades and flashbangs to make infiltration more stealthy and take down opposing team members.
To counter this, make sure that you are not alone and have a few allies with you to guard the hostages (as a Terrorist) or barge in through the rooms (as a CT). Finally, this is also where combat is very dense since, after all, guarding the hostage rescue zone is normally mundane and harder to do.
Note: It is important to note that there is a hole, located close to the hostages, that can allow a CT to escort all the hostages and win within a matter of seconds, if there are no patrolling Terrorists. Sometimes, a Terrorist can camp at the bottom and wait for victims but leaving the player to becoming a victim himself if he gets blinded by a flashbang, if someone threw it down the hole.
Hostage rescue zones/Apartments
This is where the action tends to become fierce when the duration of the round has clocked close to the end of the round. If there are surviving Terrorists, they may have decided to camp nearby the hostage rescue zones and will attempt to stop any Counter-Terrorist in escorting all of the hostages. This occurs frequently especially when the CTs are unable to find any more Terrorists and thus become more focused in rescuing all of the hostages.
Since the rescue zones do not offer adequate cover, the Terrorists will chose to camp in the apartments and wait to ambush their potential victims. Experienced players are always alert for this and they will walk instead of running hastily. Flashbangs and HE grenades are utilized to clear out concealed enemies and close-ranged weaponry is extremely deadly in the enclosed areas thus explaining their usage from numerous players.
Sometimes, sniper rifles can be used in the sections with the rescue zones although it is not observed very often. Instead, assault rifles and machine guns are the best choices to intimidate opposing team members from achieving their goal.
Counter-Strike: Source version
In Counter-Strike: Source, two pathways are randomly closed at the beginning of each round, as well some apartment doors windows are randomly either open or closed. This feature makes the gameplay more nervous and focused, but with less involvement of infiltration and global tactics .
Terrorists must quickly find the closed routes to go back and prevent the CTs in invading the building. On their side, Counter-Terrorists should check open passages and consider an attack plan from the very beginning of the round. They must keep the current configuration of the map in their mind to escape with the hostages.
Even if the general feeling of the map is different compared to the GoldSrc versions, Havana is still one of the hardest official maps to master.
Note: Bots can sometimes become stuck if they try to walk through a closed window.