First obtain a visa for entry into Egypt the window is located directly to the side of the checkpoint windows to enter. The cost is about 15.00 USD There is also a window to exchange currency. Once you are on the other side of the checkpoint you will get your bags off the carousel that have probably going round and round because most times I have gone to Egypt, my bags were there before I cleared customs! If your visit includes a tour guide, don't worry about finding your guide, your guide will find you! Hey, these guys are good! They are usually holding up signs. And they have no problem approaching you asking who you are. You may get asked a few times before you find the right guide but he will be there waiting for you.
You will definitely try to be ripped off when going to and from the airport by taxi. From the central Cairo area to the airport, you should be paying LE30, although you will have to haggle hard for this price. LE40 is much easier to get and realistically isn't that much more than 30. Anything more than 40 though is not on and you shouldn't pay it. There is no need to either, as there are so many taxis on the street. Don't like the one you flagged down? Dozens more pass every minute.
You will have to pay a little extra going FROM the airport though, as there is an exit fee when leaving and you'll be expected to pay it - it's only LE5 though.
The amount of haggling required will depend on the time of day too. If you want to get to the airport in peak hour, you're going to have to pay extra. If your flight arrives at 2am though, the roads will be mostly empty and you'll be able to almost name your price.
To take a bus from Cairo airport to the city center, you can take No. 356 from airport terminal 2 (see pic). From terminal 1, you can take the free airport transfer shuttle to airport 2, where you will see this bus terminal. Bus ride takes about 1 hour and costs 2 EGP + 50p for lugguage (May 2006).
The best way to / from airport is to hire a taxi. You hostel / hotel may arrange one for you. But if you are staying around midan-tahrir, you may take the chance share a taxi with other backpackers. I did the same and paid a fourth of the fare. Remember there is charge of Elbs 5 at airport what you are supposed to pay apart from the usual fare of 40 Elbs. Keep the money apart. OTherwise a bigger note will get you a smaller change as a form of forced 'bakshish' (tips).
In terms of transportation from the airport, we recently used the Cairo Airport Shuttle and highly recommend it. New, comfortable, air-conditioned, seven-seater vans - total cost 80LE. Call +20 22 265 3937 to make a reservation and upon arrival go to the shuttle desk. You will be escorted to your van and driver.
For the return trip, the driver was prompt - to the minute! - and got us to the airport in record time. Best 80LE ($14) +tip I ever spent.
The one experience I keep repeating whenever I am in Cairo is the fact that everyone and their cousin will tell you that there is no free shuttle bus at the airport. That's not true! There is a free shuttle bus and all you need to do is ignore the millions of guys trying to get you to take a taxi and go outside the terminal. Normally as soon as you walk out, you'll see a sign for Terminal Shuttle. The police are normally willing to tell you when the next shuttle will be.
Another option if you arrive at strange night/morning hours like I do is to take one of the airport taxis. You'll find their kiosk right outside the luggage claim area and the price is fixed...and you'll get a receipt :) They even have a special price for acting as a shuttle which is quite affordable, if I remember correctly it was only around 25-30LE. I've included a link to the taxi service :)
Basically I wanted everyone to know that the shuttle bus does exist despite what all the taxi drivers and sometimes security guards tell you!
Last Saturday (Sept 10th 2005) we were dropped at Terminal 1 - Departure International Flights, only to hear that KLM (and Air France and North West) now depart from the brand new Terminal 2 (Hal 2). We had to find transportation again, as the distance is too great too walk, certainly with all the luggage. The directions are poor and there didn't seem to be a shuttle bus....
The new terminal is beautiful, but a bee hive. A man volunteered to push our trolley, but was unable to help us for more than 10 meters. I gave him 1 pound, and he said: "This is a very small amount, sir". I said, "I know, it was only a small trip".
It also took us some time to figure out what line to take, and we were greatly helped by a tour operator who assumed that we were part of his party. We had to queue in a line at the back. After checking in, we had to fill in a form that was stamped by the douane, as was the visa in our passport.
After the customs, it is a bit small. We went upstairs, were there are some tax free shops. I managed to buy some nice Egyptian CD's and got rid of my pounds that way. In the boarding, area were not enough seats and we had to stand for about 45 minutes. Again one has to show one's passport. Have it open on the stamped page.
We were taken by a bus - there were plenty of busses - to the plane. There were two stairs, so embarkation went fast.
Current taxi fare from the Airport to downtown Cairo is 35 to 40 LE. (August 2004). I had to pick people up twice and so the total of the three Airport - Cairo trips I made was about 40 each time, one time got it for 35 as we jokingly started out at 10,000 LE's.
I visit Cairo very often throughout the year - around four to five times. Last time I was there (late April 2004) I realised that the taxi drivers make an agreement with each other concerning the prices they charge to take a tourist to downtown Cairo or other places in the area. So I figured out that the standard price for a "limousine" type taxi is 65 LE, an average, modern taxi charges 55 LE and a normal black and white taxi takes you to the center for 45 LE - all these do not accept a pound less, especially when you arrive in the middle of the night and there's no other way to leave the airport! I have never seen those buses from the center that pass from the Airport, where is the bus stop in Terminal 1? However, I still believe that those taxis are the only efficient way to get out of both Airports.
I landed at Cairo’s international airport in the early hours of the morning when I visited the city in November 2007.
I had booked a hotel in the Zamalek region of the city and, having not pre-booked an airport pick-up, decided that a taxi would be the most feasible way of getting there.
So, at 3 o’clock in the morning, I made my way through the arrivals hall and caught the eye of one of the waiting taxi drivers. At least I thought he was a taxi driver, but when I followed him out into the car park he directed me to a waiting taxi that already had a driver in it. It turned out that I had to pay the first guy before the journey, rather than paying the driver at the end of the journey.
Clearly, this had both positive and negative implications. On the one hand, by paying up front I knew how much the journey would cost and I wouldn’t be hit with a surprisingly large fare when I reached my destination. On the other hand, I was parting with my money before I reached my intended destination – what was to stop the driver dumping me in the middle of nowhere?
I weighed up the alternatives and, mainly due to the fact that there wasn’t really any alternative!, decided that I’d take a chance with this taxi.
I did a bit of research before my trip, so I knew a ball park figure for a taxi fare from the airport to Zamalek, and I suspected that I was being slightly overcharged when I was asked for 75 EGP (7.50 GBP), but I was too tired to bother haggling over a few pounds.
I handed over the cash and in return I was given a receipt. At least I now had some form of evidence if this taxi journey went awry.
After pulling out of the airport car park, the taxi driver pulled in at a security check point. The security guard asked me to sign my name in his official looking book and asked to see my receipt – I handed it over and he kept it. There goes my evidence! The guard also asked for a tip, but after I shrugged my shoulders and pretended not to understand, he soon gave up and the driver was allowed to move on. Welcome to Egypt!
The journey to my hotel took around 25 minutes and, as with every taxi journey that I took in Cairo, involved a lot of near misses, harsh braking and me clinging onto the seat in front for dear life. I don’t mind admitting that the traffic in Cairo is the most frightening thing that I have ever experienced during my travels – I am just thankful that I survived in one piece!
The taxi driver dropped me off outside the hotel and I gave him a reasonable tip. He clearly wanted a much bigger tip, and tried to make me feel guilty by telling me that he would see very little of the money that I had paid to the other guy at the airport.
It is highly recommended to book this service over the internet. It costs about £18. When you arrive at Ciaro and walk outside then you will be hounded by taxi drivers. Also you arrive in the terminal with your VISA and the guide will have your sticker for the passport and speak to customs to get you through the quick route! It is worth it just for having to save queuing for a long time.
I have the number and email of my driver that I used for the week and he is fantastic!! You can also book hotels and tours with him for very little. Very trustworthy and professional.
We always used to use the Limousine service from the airport because it is cleaner, though more expensive. When we arrived at 2am in January 2011 we were offered the usual mercedes but because a friend was with us and we had quite a lot of luggage , the company suggested a minibus instead. This cost us 120 EG Pounds.
Our return to the airport during the troubles was different, we used our old reliable black taxi driver to transport 3 adults and 2 children and 11 pieces of luggage.
Other alternatives are the white cabs, see previous tip, or the Cairo cabs which are yellow.
There is also the Airport Shuttle Bus. I don't know the price for these.