The best way to get around old Havana is on foot. However to explore more of the city or if your hotel is not in the city centre you'll need some type of transportation.
Whilst there I was offered rides in Rickshaws, Horse drawn vehicles, 3 wheel yellow cocotaxis & regular taxis. I saw plenty of buses but they were always packed & there were long queues at all the stops.
Whilst in old Havana I walked, but as my hotel was in Vedado I used taxis to get me there & back. The two taxi firms I used were Ok Taxi & Panataxi, both could be hailed in the street or found outside hotels & attractions. Ok Taxi cabs were modern air conditioned Peugeots, on getting in you stated your destination & were given a price. The most I was charged from Vedado to old Havana was 5CUC. The taxis belonging to Panataxi were old Ladas, these had no air con, but had a meter. The cost in one of these from Vedado to old Havana was about 4CUC.
No airco - no stereo - no brakes - Kidding!
One of the coolest things about Havana is seeing the funky old American cars driving around. Some you can rent and some are used as Taxis. TAXIS ANTIGUOS.
What a neat way to see Habana Vieja. Most of the Taxis used are simply beautiful. For instance, the pink one featured here was awesome.
They were everywhere, especially along the Harbor area where the old Fort is.
Keep in mind that Legal taxis use meters.
What a lovely and romantic way to see colonial Havana. Throughout old town you will see many going by HORSE & CARRIAGE. With open-air carriages, you can definitely take in the beauty that surrounds you, while your horseman tells you all about his wonderful city.
An interesting way to get around Havana is to go by BICYCLE TAXI. You can see these three-wheeled, two seater passenger bicycles zipping around town. The bicyclist will take you around Havana Vieja for a few CUC pesos.
The young man pictured here even had a boom box attached at the back of the bike. Cool or what!!!
Undoubtedly this is one of the funniest things I saw in Havana. When our tour guide told me about them and I saw one for the first time, I let out a loud shriek of laughter.
The CAMELLO or Camel Bus got its name from the two humps on this huge bus. This super-bus is hauled by a semi and can carry up to 300 passengers at a time. It is cheap to ride ( 20 centavos ) but they always seem to be overly crowded. They run quite frequently (every 15 minutes), so if crowded, it might be wise to step back and take the next one. I'm always fearful of pickpockets when on a crowded bus.
A fun way to get around Havana and from the Varadero Hoteles District to downtown Varadero is by COCO TAXI. They are the funniest looking little things. They are yellow, egg-shaped, 3-wheeled vehicles and zip around all over the place in Varadero and in Havana. They look slow but actually they go very fast.
Always negotiate a price before you get in. It was about 8 pesos ( $9.00 CDN ) to go from our Hotel to downtown Varadero, which is about 10 km.
After the Revolution many of the streets in Cuba were renamed, and some of the streets retain the old names' signs so finding your way around can be somewhat confusing. Some people, maps, books, etc. also still refer to the old names, as some have remained more popular.
New name> Old name
Avenida de Antonio Maceo> Malecon
Avenida de Simon Bolivar> Reina
Brasil> Teniente Rey
Maximo Gomez> Monte
Paseo de Marti> Paseo del Prado
San Martin> San Jose
Getting around Havana and other large Cuban cities is easy using the coco taxi. It's a little daunting at first wizzing through traffic only cm's from other cars, but after a few trips it all seems to make sense in the Cuban way of life.
For only a few peso's the trip across to Casablanca is fast and well worth it to visit the historical Morro and Estatua de Cristo.
Cath the ferry from Casablanca Train Station or near the end of Santa Cruz. (Cruise Ship Terminals.
Its quite common to find a Cubans waiting at traffic signals looking for a lift across the city. After all, communism is about sharing, and most motorist are quite friendly and will let you in. It almost seems customary for motorist give lifts at traffic signal. I wish that was the case everywhere in the world, its such an amazing yet simple concept. And it works!!
taxi from airport to centre of havana about 20-25 cuban convertible pesos. Check with tour guide at your hotel for return trip to airport as it was much cheaper 14 cuban convertible pesos, and the car was much more comfortable!
Metered tourist taxis are readily available at all of the upscale hotels, with the air-con Nissan taxis charging higher tariffs than the nonair-con Ladas.
Two-seater bici-taxis will take you anywhere around Centro Habana for one or two dollars for a short/long trip, after bargaining. It's a lot more than a Cuban would pay, but cheaper and more fun than a tourist taxi. A recent law prohibits bici-taxis from taking tourists and they may wish to go via a roundabout route through the back streets to avoid police controls - a cheap tour! If they get stopped, it's their problem, not yours.
Havana's local bus service is either improving slightly or going straight to hell, depending on who you ask. Regular city buses are called guaguas (pronounced 'WA was'), while the much larger Metro Buses are camellos (camels) for their two humps.
Guaguas (city buses) are sometimes called aspirinas, indicating that their rare appearances relieve the pain of long waits in lengthy lines. Within the city the fare is a flat 20 centavos in a camello, and 40 centavos in a regular bus, which you must toss into a box near the driver or pay to a conductor. Unfortunately, no bus-route map is available.
The camello is known as the 'Saturday night movie' because it contains sex, violence and adult language
It can be intimidating at first. Expect to be crushed by the crowd. It's imperative that you move toward the back exit doors as soon as you get on because you're not allowed to exit through the door where you boarded. This can be a real problem (but not impossible) if you're only going one or two stops and can't reach the exit. Be alert to pickpockets who may spot you at the bus stop and get on right behind. Before boarding, empty your pockets into a handbag you can clutch in front of you. If the bus looks impossibly crowded, just step back and wait for the next, as they run every 10 minutes and the next one may be less crowded (ha!).
More about the transport on main page of Cuba
Yes... coco-taxi. We only use it in Varadero. You have to know that is a kind of transportation which only use tourist, so... you can imagine it is not really convenient. But, if you travel with children, they will like to see them at least. But I recommend taxis as a much better way of transportation.
Si... coco-taxis. Solo los usamos en Varadero. Debeis saber que es un medio de transporte que solamente usan los turistas, asi que podeis imaginar que no es muy conveniente en realidad. Pero, si viajais con ninhos, seguro que al menos les gustara verlos. Pero recomiendo los taxis como mejor medio de transporte.
I really, really enjoyed traveling by Coco-Taxi! They're quite easy to spot and they cost the same as a regular taxi - but they're way more fun! It usually costs 6 or 7 CUC to travel from the Vedado area to La Habana Vieja. Just ask for the price beforehand and you're good to go, the drivers are very honest.
A nice alternative to the Coco-Taxis are the funky old American cars that are now being used as taxis. It's also possible to deal a city tour at a pretty reasonable price. The nice thing about going on a city tour by taxi, especially in the Vedado area, is that you avoid getting hassled by some of the locals who want to trick you into exchanging your CUC for Cuban pesos...
You might also see some people hanging out by the taxi stands, offering you a ride in their private car. Just so you know, it's not exactly legal for them to do so and they usually overcharge you so it's much better to go by regular taxi.
I was a bit surprised when I realized that I would be traveling from Montreal to Havana with Cubana. I'd heard a few horror stories about that airline and really wasn't sure what to expect so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that I would be traveling on an Airbus 320. I'm not sure what it's like for national flights but for international flights, you've really nothing to worry about. The airplane was in great condition, the staff was very kind and professional, and meals were better than what you get on most Canadian airlines (!).