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.
In the section of selecting the appropriate type of transportation the camel, "el Camello" can go in trains, bus and subway :) Is a mix between all of them. Its long enough to compete with a train wagon, it carries as much people as a Metro and has rubber wheels as a bus.
If U plan to use one of these, be sure not to take anything with some importance. Take only the 20 cents U need to pay the camel. Inside is like hell, smelly, dirty, crowded, noisy...as cubans are.
There are 7 different lines, each one crosses havana from one part to the other. Usually they take up to one hour to go the first stop til the last. The first one created was the M3, that goes from Alamar until Ciudad Deportiva, across the Cerro, Luyano, 10 de Octubre, Regla, Guanabacoa, San Miguel and Alamar. The 3 first municipalities are the most populated in Havana.
Cost: 0.20 cents of cuban peso
Cuban railways has seen chronic under-investment for years. Cuba seems to buy all it's stock secondhand from anyone who is willing to sell, apart from the US because of the trade embargo and the UK because ours stock is used until even Albanian railways would not accept them as a free gift.
Train 1 & 2 are very smart (ex French stock), but all trains are prey to long delays for any number of 'operational' reasons (the wrong type of sun or something).
A trip back from Matanzas a few years back took us six and a half hours (it should have been less than 2), which included long periods in total darkness.
The Cubans took it all in their stride and saw it as an excuse for an impromtu party, the British cracked jokes about how it was still better than Virgin Trains and the Germans just looked utterly confused.
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.
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.
Cars, buses and scooters. There are 17 airports in the country, 10 of which are equipped to cater for international flights, in addition to an extensive network of highways and roads linking the main cities and towns with tourist resorts and places of interest. There are companies providing domestic charter flights and “air taxis” within national territory.
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
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
Wilber Wright said : "If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds."
On the other hand if you actually look at tables of safety records (how trainspottery can you get ?) you will find that Cubana, the national airline regularly finds itself at the bottom of league table.
There are various statistical methods, but 'accident rate' measures reported safety problems per 100,00o flights. Most first-world airline have a figure under 1, but Cubana comes in with a whopping 24, over twice the figure of any other national airline.
It also seems to beg the question of how many 'accidents' are not reported.
Having said all that you are still travelling on a safe form of transport compared to Cuban roads !
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.
Some ten years ago there where no camels, and the tranportation was a hell, as usual. The usual bus we had where red buses, usually donated from the ex-socialist countries. As U can see in the photo, to get on one of them was a only done by the most enthusiasts and brave citizens... ;) It was a nightmare, U can be sure. I went from one place to other in this crowded buese. Nowdays, there is the camel and the old cars as taxis.
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.
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 (!).
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!!!
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.