How to get around Havana : Essentials
Havana Transportation : How to get to Havana ?
Most airlines are located on the Rampa in the Vedado district.
- Calle 23 n° 64, corner of Infanta
- +53 7 879 7524
AEROPUERTO INTERNACIONAL JOSÉ MARTÍ
+53 7 266 4644 / +53 7 266 4094 /+53 7 266 1133 (flight information)
About ten miles south of Havana.
Good to know: since May 1, 2015, you no longer have to pay the 25 CUC tax at the airport before your return flight, this tax is now included in the price of the plane ticket.
how to get from havana airport to city center ?
From Jose Marti airport, several means of transport can be used to get to the city centre:
Getting from havana airport to city center By bus
There are two routes from the airport to the city centre: from Avenida de Boyeros (Avenida de la Independencia) to the University; from Avenida de Boyeros to Ciudad Deportiva, then Calle 26 and Calle 23.
A bus line mainly used by Cubans provides the connection.
It is paid in national currency, 40 centavos of national pesos, and the journey is not direct.
Take the connecting bus between Terminal 3 and Terminal 1 (domestic flights).
At terminal 1, ask for the omnibus that leads to Plaza de la Revolución.
The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours.
Getting from havana airport to city center By Taxi
By taxi, you will have access to public taxis, yellow cars with the inscription Cubataxi.
Allow 25 CUC to reach the Vedado district or the historic centre, the Habana Vieja.
You can also take private taxis, now legal since Raúl Castro’s 2011 laws.
Ask to see the driver’s license and negotiate, you can easily reach up to 15 CUC the way, while with the taxis of Cubataxi you will not have the choice, because it is a fare imposed by the company that belongs to the state.
Good To Know
all official taxis have blue license plates.
Getting from havana airport to city center by rental Car
By rental car, go directly to the counters of the different agencies represented at the airport.
It is recommended to book before departure.
- Centro de negocios de Miramar
- Calle 23 n° 64 – Between Infanta and P.Vedado
- +53 7 204 6904 – www.aireuropa.com
- [email protected]
- Open from Monday to Friday, from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday from 9 am to noon.
- One daily flight to Madrid.
- Between Infanta and Calle P. Vedado
- Calle 23, n° 64 +53 7 833 2642
- Open Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
- One daily flight to Paris from José Martí airport.
- Duration of the flight: from 8:55 to 9:50.
- At the corner of Infanta and the Rampa
- Calle 23, n° 64 – Vedado
- +53 7 834 4446
- Between Calle 76 and Calle 78 – 5ta Avenida
- Centro de negocios de Miramar, edificio Santiago de Cuba (ground floor)
- +53 7 204 3444 – www.iberia.com
- Open from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm.
- One daily flight to Madrid from José Martí Airport.
Havana Transportation : Getting to Havana by Train
The timetables are unreliable and the journeys are really much longer than with the Víazul buses.
You might as well be warned, don’t have any illusions and Cubans will tell you themselves: the train is the worst means of transport in Cuba.
Electricity failures, train breakdowns, crowded wagons and cockroaches as surprise guests…
You will be entitled to almost anything! The only positive point: it is the opportunity to meet Cubans.
Two types of trains run on the entire railway network.
The tren francés, the fastest, the least uncomfortable (air conditioning, reclining seats) and the most expensive of the trains.
It was sold by the SNCF in Cuba, hence the name “French train”, but it is an old train; nothing like our TGVs.
Also remember to bring water and food, as there is nothing for that on the train.
Another possibility, the so-called regular trains, even slower (this is really a priesthood) and that we advise against.
Estación Central de Ferrocarriles
- Avenida Belgica, corner of Arsenal, Habana Vieja +53 7 861 2959
- Box office open from 8:30 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday, Saturday from 8:30 am to 11 am, closed on Sunday.
- It’s the main train station.
- Reservation and purchase of tickets for tourists at the La Coubre train station, Calle Egido, a stone’s throw from the central station.
Towards Sancti Spírítus: departure every other day on a regular basis.
- Count 13.50 CUC and about 9 hours of travel time.
To Santiago de Cuba: departure every 3 days with the tren francés (air-conditioned cars and comfortable seats).
Count 62 CUC and about 12 hours of travel time.
Stops in Santa Clara and Guantanámo.
With the regular train, daily departure at 8:30 pm.
The journey takes 14 hours and costs 30 CUC.
Stops in Cacocúm (Holguín).
Towards Bayamo: departure every other day by regular train.
Count 25.50 CUC and about 15 hours of travel time.
On Mondays, the train with a departure at 18:45 goes to Manzanillo for 27.50 CUC.
ESTACIÓN DE CRISTINA
- Opposite the Mercado Unico, Centro Habana
- Avenida de Mexico No. 7
The station serves Playas del Este. Terminus in Guanabo
Havana Transportation : Arriving by Bus to Havana
Víazul is the national bus company that tourists can use.
The Ministry of Transport decided in 2008 that the Astro company could no longer be used by foreigners for their comfort .
but they are buses with correct comfort and they are above all much cheaper than the Víazul company’s buses.
For a small extra tip you can try your luck and get a seat.
Compared to Víazul’s prices, you will be a winner when you travel with Astro, even with a small tip.
However, since Víazul’s fares are still very cheap for tourists, the Astro bus solution is only worthwhile if you really have a very small budget.
There is also another company reserved for tourists, Transtur, whose prices are harmonized with those of Víazul but whose tickets can only be booked through local travel agencies.
Only Víazul is represented in the bus stations, but not Transtur, which usually departs from a specific point in the city (address given at the time of booking).
The services are the same, and the agencies will offer you either one of these two companies, depending on the timetable you are looking for.
The buses are comfortable and generally punctual.
It is advisable to buy your ticket at the latest the day before during the holiday season, so that you don’t end up on the road…
You should also be aware that you will need to arrive at the station at least 30 minutes in advance to check in your luggage, which is also a way of confirming your seat…
If you don’t stop 30 minutes beforehand, your seat is usually sold to people on the waiting list at lightning speed!
since 2015, it is now mandatory to show your passport when you buy your Viazul bus ticket; your first and last names are then scrupulously registered on a passenger list.
Without a passport, any sale of bus tickets will be categorically refused.
VÍAZUL ESTACIÓN DE AUTOBÚS
- At the corner of Av. Zoológico, Nuevo Vedado
- Avenida 26 1152
- +53 7 881 1108 / +53 7 881 5652
- [email protected]
- The Víazul company serves most of the major cities and sites in the country.
Tickets can be purchased on the spot one hour before departure or in travel agencies.
Bus from Havana to Santiago de Cuba
3 daily departures to Santiago de Cuba
- 00:30 am, 6:30 am, 3 pm.
- 51 CUC for a one-way ticket.
- Duration: 16 hours during the day and 13 hours at night.
- Stops in Santa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Avila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Holguín and Bayamo.
Bus from Havana to Camagüey
- Allow 16 hours
- 35 CUC.
Bus from Havana to Varadero
- 4 daily connections to Varadero
- 6h, 8h, 13h and 17h30.
- Count 10 CUC one way.
- Duration: 3 hours.
- Stop in Matanzas.
Bus from Havana to Varadero to Viñales
- 3 daily connections to Viñales
- 8h40, 14h and 11h25.
- Allow 12 CUC for a one-way ticket.
- Duration: 3 hours 15.
- Stop in Pinar del Río.
Bus from Havana to Cienfuegos and Trinidad
- 2 daily departures to Cienfuegos and Trinidad
- 7h, 10h45 and 14h15.
- Count 20 CUC for Cienfuegos and 25 CUC for Trinidad, for a one-way ticket.
- Duration: 5 hours 35 for Trinidad.
Getting to Havana by Boat
MUELLE DE LUZ
Between San Pedro and Santa Clara
From this “Quay of Light”, ferries depart for the other side of Havana Bay to Casa Blanca (from there the train from Hershey to Matanzas departs 3 times a day at 6:11, 12:27 and 17:51) and Regla.
Every 20 minutes from 4:30 am to 11:30 pm for one Cuban peso.
Havana Transportation : How to get around In the city
Count between 1 and 4 CUC depending on the race and the distance covered.
With the terrible economic crisis of the 1990s and the shortage of fuel, Cubans have brought back bicycles…
Authorized by the State, these two-seater bicycle taxis, distant cousins of the Indian risckshaw, criss-cross the streets of the capital.
- Calle Lealtad n°16
- Between Animas y Virtudes
- +53 7 866 6133
- Yoandry is a spirited young man who knows Centro Habana like the back of his hand.
Contact him if you want to discover this neighborhood locally.
However, you should know that he only speaks Spanish.
- +53 5 236 6593
- 5 CUC every 30 minutes, 10 CUC per hour.
Alexei knows La Habana Vieja very well and proposes to make you discover it according to a circuit of 30 minutes or one hour.
Dynamic, he also has a small hi-fi system integrated in his bicitaxi, a good way to listen to the latest salsa hits between two visits.
Cocotaxi in Havana
Resolutely original, these motorized tricycles have a rounded yellow shell, the shape of which reminds one of a coconut.
They circulate from 7:30 a.m. to midnight.
Two seats in the back and the driver who is active in front like a handsome devil.
Count from 5 to 6 CUC to connect the end of Habana Vieja to the Vedado.
There are several stations, in front of the Capitolio, in front of Coppelia in the Vedado, around the Cathedral Square.
Official taxis in Havana
All vehicles are equipped with meters.
You can’t be fooled, and the taxis are usually honest.
They park close to main roads, hotels, tourist centres and airports.
As an example, allow 5 CUC for a trip Vedado-Habana Vieja and 20 CUC to reach the Playas del Este.
Private and Individual Taxi
With the massive development of self-employment following Raúl Castro’s reforms in 2010 to boost the Cuban economy, it is now possible for any citizen with a driver’s license and a vehicle to become a private driver.
Or a taxi driver on his own account! They have to pass a specific (but relatively easy) exam and then they are issued a license that they have to display in their car.
Normally, the vehicle is safe because it has been checked beforehand by the relevant authorities.
However, take a look inside the vehicle before boarding and check that it is not too dilapidated.
The advantage of private taxis is that they are often much cheaper than official taxis and you can negotiate the fare much more easily beforehand.
This is an opportunity to ride in old cars that can be superb, like some American models, but also more dilapidated like many Russian vehicles less glamorous (and sometimes less reassuring too).
In these taxis, no license and even less meter.
On the other hand, you will find a fire bomb in case… The police have the right to arrest and punish them.
As a tourist, you risk nothing except being forced to get out and take another taxi.
To avoid confusion when paying, always ask the price of the journey you want to take before you get in.
However, since it has become possible to become an official self-employed taxi driver, illegal taxis are tending to disappear, as most private drivers prefer to have an official licence and work legally to avoid problems with the authorities.
However, since they have to pay a licence fee to the state, some continue to take clandestine taxis to make more money or simply because they cannot afford to pay for the official examination required to obtain the licence.
To find out if you are dealing with a legal private driver, check if he has a license plate that says “Taxi” and ask him for his official license nicely so as not to rob him.
Calle San Juan Bautista n°59
+53 5 283 6178 / +53 7 883 6713
Between Calle 35 and Calle 37.
Airport transfer at 15 CUC, Round trip Havana/Playas del Este at 20 CUC, Vedado-Habana Vieja between 4 and 5 CUC.
Elio is a nice young driver who speaks good French.
He knows Havana like the back of his hand and will be able to advise you for your visits.
He has an official driver’s license and is one of the thousands of Cubans who have turned to self-employment following the reforms of Raúl Castro launched in 2010.
Elio has a fairly old car, a Lada from the 1980s, but it is up to standard and the engine is in good condition.
He took us on a tour of part of Havana in his vehicle and it went very well.
Finally, if you practice kitesurfing, know that Elio has been doing it for years and he will be happy to take you to Playas del Este if you wish.
He also rents with his mother two nice apartments in the Nuevo Vedado.
- +53 7 855 5555 / +53 7 855 5556
- Official taxis.
- 24 hours a day.
- Count 4 to 7 CUC per race in Havana.
Renting Bicycle in Havana
Hotel receptionists, owners of special casas and the Infotur tourist office will be able to give you direct information about possible rentals.
Generally count 3 to 4 CUC per day.
Be careful however when you park your bike! An anti-theft device is not enough because thieves in Havana are very well equipped and your steed would disappear in less than two minutes.
In fact, you must take care to park your bike in parking lots specially designed for this purpose, where a security guard is systematically watching.
These parking areas are generally found near major roads, but ask the locals if you can’t find them.
You then only have to pay the guard 0.25 CUC to watch your bike.
This is the only way to avoid having your two-wheeler stolen, which also avoids having to reimburse the full price to the rental company…
Renting a Car in Havana
The rental system remains relatively expensive in Cuba.
Count between 55 and 100 CUC per day, depending on the model you choose.
For gasoline, the same price is displayed on all pumps in the country.
If you are looking for an agency, do not hesitate to go to the lobby of any major hotel in the city.
Prices are the same everywhere, because Transtur, the government company, manages all the rental agencies on the island.
Three branches of Transtur manage three different categories of cars: economical for Cubacar, more spacious for Havanautos, and more luxurious for Rex.
In terms of infrastructure, you will have no problem to drive around Havana.
The roads are of good quality and the signage is relatively good.
The Cubans will often propose to watch your car for the night for 1 or 2 CUC.
Do not hesitate to accept to protect yourself from theft or damage.
At the time of recovering your car, take your driver’s license, your bank card and your passport with you.
Good to know: if you can’t negotiate prices in Havana, it is possible to do so in other cities of the island, less frequented by tourists.
- +53 7 835 0000 / +53 7 273 2277
Cubacar offers the most affordable prices: Korean cars, Kia or Hyundai.
- Calle L n° 456 between Calle 25 and Calle 27, Vedado
- +53 7 273 2277
This is the intermediate category with brands like Toyota or Nissan Samsung.
- José Martí Airport
- +53 7 642 6074 / +53 7 683 0303
- Offices accessible at José Martí airport in terminals 2 and 3.
Rex only offers large luxury sedans: Seat, Audi, Skoda, BMW… Price accordingly and driver rental possible.