After 52 years I returned to my native Cuba and was very fortunate to come across a gem of a gentleman by the name of Rey who became our driver and tour guide throughout Havana and
the rest of the island. Besides being knowledgeable about places of interest and being reliable,
directing us to excellent reasonable restaurants and night life, what my husband and I admired
the most was his fairness and honesty in dealing with tourists.. He made our experience very
memorable and exposed us to the feel of real Cuban life. We recommend him highly. Rey
can be reached at his email firstname.lastname@example.org, cell 282 92 76 or 267 38 92.
From old Habana, near the Hotel Armadores de Santander, you will find the ferry terminal or "lancha" to casa blanca on the other side of the bay.
Even if you don't take the train this boat ride is worth a visit. Leaving every 15 minutes, for 10 centavos, it is a pleasant journey with cuban people.
On your arrival in casa blanca there is the train station.
Three or four times a day this train brings you to matanzas, 90km away, a long 3 to 4 hour trip in the country side. Cost one way 2,80 cuc
Half way, from Matanzas, there are the ruins of the former Hershey sugar reffinery.
With the the level of scamming, deceit and street hustle in Cuba its hardly a surprise that they you need your wits about you to deal with the cabbles. Agree a fare in advance and if you get to the other end and the the previously agreed fare of 4 cuc is now suddenly 14 cuc according to the cabble, tell the cabbie that you want the police. With me the agreed fare of 4 went to 14, then 10, then 5, then 4.
There are lots of ways to get around in Havana. The type you choose depends on how far you are going, whether you want a tour or just transportation, and if you care who gets the money. You can easily tell which vehicles are government owned and which ones are private by looking at the license plate. Government vehicles all have blue plates; private ones have yellow plates. I tried to go with private enterprise when I could.
The horse carriages usually take you on sightseeing tours that last about 2 hours. Some drivers are more fluent in English than others. It's sometimes hard to hear, as the carriage wheels make a lot of noise on the cobblestones, but they are fun.
Bicycle taxis are great for short distances, and they are cheap. Cocos are more comfortable.
A General guide to ownership:
Yellow taxis are government
Old car taxis are private
Bike taxis are private
Horse carriages are half and half—the government owns the carriage and the driver owns the horse—they split the revenues
Cocos are motorcycle powered with a little round shell for passengers. (Coco means coconut, and they look like one) They are government (blue plate.)
Taxi from airport is 20 / 25 CUC
Taxi to Santa Maria in Playas del este is 15 / 20 CUC
Walking is the best way to get around in order to get a real feel for the life in the streets, otherwsie take your pick from bicitaxi, a 1950s amercian car, horse and carriage, bus.
very good advise indeed, call the outfit that sold you the ticket wow great idea
if for some reason cant find it, call Cubana in Havana
ATENCIÓN A CLIENTES ONLINE (customer service)
Dir: Calle 23 No. 64 esq. P Infanta, Vedado, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Telf: (537) 838 1039
CENTRO DE INFORMACIÓN Y RESERVAS (reservations and information)
Dir: Calle 23 No. 64 esq. P Infanta, Vedado, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Telf: (537) 834 4446
hope it helps
One of the most enjoyable ways of getting around Cuban cities is the Coco Taxi. They are so called by the Cubans because they are almost spherical - like a giant coconut. The Coco Taxi can carry three people including the driver. The passengers sit on a seat designed for two people at the back .The driver sits at the front.
You can pick up a Coco Taxi in almost any Cuban city. They tend to flock around the busy tourist areas because they are almost exclusively for the use of foreigners. A ten minute ride will cost you about 5 dollars. You can see hundreds of them in Havana. They are more reliable than the cycle-rickshaws, and far more affordable than regular car taxis.
Using taxi's is pretty easy, just make sure that you fix the price before getting in.
Some prices, Havana Centro - Viazul bus station 10 CUC, Airport-Havana Centro 25 CUC, Havana Centro - Miramar 7 CUC.
Cuba is not in the habit of stamping peoples passport and the custom of even putting a small stamp stopped nearly 10 years ago. you will have no problem as far as cuba is concerned and you will find out that Americans are truly welcomed by the cuban people. They are not stupid to think that individual american people are responsible for their governments policy. if you are just transiting, like the other poster said, there is no problem.
if you wish to book mexicana from mexico to havana, you can do so on their website but choose rest of the world and it is easier if you have a non american credit card. otherwise call them in mexico city and reserve a ticket. and then pick it up at the airport.
when you arrive from mexico city, the usa immigration and customs officials ( which are two separate departments, as is the agriculture) are very rarely suspicious of your visit to Cuba.
The chances of you getting into trouble is very small, but take care not to bring cuban momentos including rum, cigars (even legal travellers are not permitted to bring these).
All the best and welcome to Cuba
i though the best way to see havana is to walk around.and i did get lost sometimes but for that i have seen places i wouldnt have seen otherwise. the coco-taxis are great to for a short ride.also the rickshaws are a great way to get around the place. i dont think i would try the camel-bus to suffocating
There are many, many ways to get around in Havana - on foot, on bicycle, by bus, taxi, scooter, rental car and even on horseback. I have attached some photos of the more interesting modes of travel I have seen in Havana.
It is unbearably hot and this year is worse than other years. you can expect downpours every day after all this is the rainy season.
Casa particular is the private home of a cuban which is licensed by the govt to take in paying guest. it is nice way to see the cubans live but it is also artificial in that the relationship is more money based than friendship based. then again, if you dont speak spanish and it is your first time, casa is an alternative. they range around 30 cuc (which is the currency for tourists an artificial currency but you need it for almsot everything.. it is about 1.20 usd if you are changing usdollars but it is better to bring in euros which has better exchange rate..
no american bank issued credit cards can be used in cuba. even if they are issued in dubai. my friends from thailand couldnt use their american express issued in bangkok
From dubai you can book british airways virgin atlantic airfrance etc to havana they all fly to havana.. air europa also flies to havana.
doha has a cuban embassy if you wish to get information. what nationality are you? almost no one needs a visa to enter cuba only touristcards.. for you it is not possible to fly to cuba from usa.. you can fly from london amsterdam using martinair airfrance from paris iberia and air europa from madrid and cubana from many points and also ba and virgin
if you have any specific questions please do not hesitate to email me. I am leaving for Miami so sorry cannot welcome you personally..
To my knowledge, there are no direct bus services from Havana Airport to Varadero. but from havana bus station there are three buses daily to varadero airport and varadero. you should coordinate your times, since varadero airport is outside varadero.. you could meet at the hotel..
it is possible to take a taxi from the airport in havana to varadero, but it might be a tad expensive.
bus schedules on viazul which is the bus service for people paying in CUC (cook or cuban convertible pesos) www.viazul.cu
If you arrive early enough during the day you might be able to catch the last bus from havana to varadero. always take panataxi which is yellow in colour since they charge the lowest, other car companies charge varying kilometrages..
Cuban collective vehicles are a popular way of getting around town. Most follow a set route that may or may not follow a typical bus route. Many of them are classic cars ('clasicos') with a taxi sign in the front while newer ones are minivan types that can fit more people. Expect to pay 10 pesos (though some routes are now 20 pesos including maquinas from Cristina Train Station to Playas del Este) - this is in nacionales.. Don't try to pay in CUC unless you have a 1 CUC bill.
To flag down, stick out your arm straight and tap thin air with your fingers, the more frantic the better - you will see Cubans doing this everywhere. If you are not sure what route the maquina will take, lean into speak to the driver and name a landmark close to where you are going to see if he is going around there (e.g. Coppelia's for Vedado, Capitolio or Prado for Centro Habana). Get in and ask him to drop you off in the most convenient corner and then pay before getting out (Dejeme en esta esquina por favor).
Traditionally, you needed to be a Cuban or a foreigner with a carnet, to be able to take a maquina. Rules have become more lax within the city of Havana and police are now not as free to stop maquinas on the roads... still, don't speak a ton, seem relaxed and try to fit in. If you are passing through road checks, aka to Playas del Este, it is likely you will not be allowed in the car as a foreigner or asked for your carnet, and then thrown out when you don't have one.
To be honest i did not find Havana a particulary busy city, it's easy to walk around and streets are not that crowded of cars like in other metropolis.
There are many kind of taxis and the more convenient are the yellow ones panataxi, they always use the meter(check anyway to be sure).
It's a pity they are not so many or at least i did never see many of them around.Ofcourse it's also full of taxi "particular" often old car, just be sure to bargain the price as they will try to tell you they are more expensive because their car is historical.
The main picture shows the cocotaxi that, in my opinion are not so convenient, but sure caracteristic.