Transportation In Cuba: How To Get Around SafelyOctober 6, 2020
Cuba has some of the most diverse transportation options ranging from private taxis to ox carts. Though there are many ways to get around, you will find differences in price, comfort and reliability. Before you fly off to Havana, it is important to plan and select your methods of transportation ahead of time.
What CUBA CANDELA Travelers Can Expect
Cuba Candela tours include a private, air-conditioned car or van with a professionally trained driver to transport you to all scheduled activities. The driver you have on your first day will stay with you throughout your trip. We encourage guests to get to know their drivers. They truly enjoy meeting travelers and can be a great part of your local experience.
When you arrive in Cuba, you will be greeted outside the airport by your driver who will take you back to your hotel or private villa to get settled. For every scheduled activity, your driver will be there to transport you and your group. There will be times when you will need to arrange your own transportation, for example, after dinner or during free time.
To ensure a smooth trip, it is important that all travelers familiarize themselves with Cuba’s main forms of transportation below.
HOW TO SAFELY GET AROUND CUBA
Walking around in Cuba
Cuba’s infrastructure has improved in recent years, however, always be alert when walking around. Look both ways before crossing the street and watch where you step as potholes and uneven sidewalks are common.
Taxis in Cuba
There are several types of taxis you can take in Cuba: yellow taxis, classic cars and convertible cars. Yellow taxis tend to be more expensive but will usually have air conditioning and seat belts. Classic cars range from beautifully restored to clunky and are priced accordingly.
We recommend using taxis for short distances in Cuba. On average, taxi fares will cost $5-15 per trip depending on how far you are going. A standard rate between neighborhoods in Havana such as Old Havana, Vedado and Centro Habana is $5-10. A trip from Old Havana to Miramar will cost on average $10-15. All fares are paid in the Cuban Peso (CUP). Taxi drivers usually do not use meters so it is best to ask how much your trip will cost before you get in the car.
Hailing a cab in Cuba is no different than in other countries. You can wave at a cab from the sidewalk and one will stop for you. You may find that it is faster to get a cab on popular streets, but prices may be inflated in tourist areas.
Of course, no trip to Cuba is complete without cruising in a classic American car. Take in the sights and sounds of the vibrant city of Havana from the backseat of a perfectly restored 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible. Ask us about our classic convertible car tour and what makes it special.
Buses for travelers
If you are traveling between cities without a tour operator like Cuba Candela, there are bus companies (such as Viazul) designed for travelers that are cheaper than taxis. These buses offer air-conditioning and individual seating making them more comfortable than public buses. A trip to Viñales from Havana is about $12 one-way and Viñales to Cienfuegos is about $35. Check rates, routes and departure dates ahead of time on the Viazul website.
When traveling in Havana, you will see bright yellow and green vehicles with three wheels called “coco-taxis”. These taxis are cheap and fun, however, they do not have doors or seatbelts.
Similar to coco-taxis, bicycle taxis are a unique way to get around Cuba. For short distances, bicycle taxis are a good option.
Methods of transportation in Cuba to avoid
Due to reliability issues, we do not recommend the following transportation options for travelers in Cuba.
Travelers may rent cars to drive on their own, however, it is best to leave the driving to the professionals. Unfamiliar street signage and a lack of mobile data can make navigating on your own difficult. In addition, Cuba’s road conditions vary across the island with rural areas often having narrow, winding roads that are poorly lit at night.
Cuba has its own airline that reaches major cities throughout the island; however, we typically do not recommend taking these flights.