Cuba Transport

Get in

Air

Jose Martí International Airport outside Havana is the main gateway into Cuba and is served by major airlines from points in Canada, Mexico, and Europe. There are also regional flights from other Caribbean islands. While Havana, is by far the most popular port of entry, There are also flights available to Antonio Maceo Airport from some of Cuba's nearest Caribbean neighbours, Jamaica, and Haiti.

Cuba's national carrier is Cubana de Aviacion, connecting the island to a handful of destinations in Mexico, South and Central America, Canada and Europe. There are also regular holiday charter flights to resorts such as Varadero, and these can sometimes be less expensive than those going to Havana.

An official taxi to Havana central costs CUC25. There is a new bus service from the Terminal One (domestic flights) to La Habana Centro. So if you arrive in Cuba before 20:00 you can ask the taxi driver to bring you there and wait for the bus.

Ferry

Private vessels may enter at Marina Hemingway in Havana or Marina Acua in Varadero. There are no visa requirements. Expect to hand out several USD10 bills to facilitate your entry.
Get around

Air

The fastest and most comfortable way to cover larger distances is on either of the Cuban airlines, Cubana de Aviación, Aero Caribbean or Aerogaviota. One-way tickets are half the price of round-trip.

Train

The main train line in the country runs between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, with major stops at Santa Clara and Camagüey. Trains also run to other cities such as Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, Morón, Sancti Spiritus, and Pinar del Rio. There is one reliable train in Cuba: the overnight Tren Francés between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, which runs on alternate days. All other trains in Cuba are unreliable. Foreigners must pay much higher fares than the locals.

Bus

Víazul is Cuba's hard currency bus line and is by far the best choice of public transportation to tour the island. They run to most places of interest to tourists. The buses are getting a bit grubby, but they are reliable and punctual. Complete schedules can be found on the Viazul website. Reservations can be made in advance, but are usually unnecessary except at peak travel times. Note that most westbound buses from Santiago de Cuba run overnight.

Astro is the bus line that most Cubans use. It has a much more extensive network than Viazul, and contrary to popular belief depending upon the vendor and your ability to speak Spanish, especially if your destination is not covered by Viazul, it is possible to purchase tickets.

There are also local provincial buses, consisting of overcrowded old beat-up eastern European buses that may or may not be running but they are very very cheap. Each town will have a "terminal terrestre" where buses or trucks serve local destinations and usually neighbouring provinces. They are usually quite easy to find - in La Habana it is found in the Lido, in the Marianao, whilst in Santiago it is found on Calle 4.

It is also possible to travel between some popular tourist destinations, such as Havana and Varadero, on special tourist minibuses carrying 4-5 people. The cost is a few dollars more but highly recommended if you are not planning to sleep the whole distance - plus you can ask the driver to stop along the way. Alternatively there are some collectivos which might acutally be cheaper than the official bus. The advantages of these collectivos is that they bring you exactly where you want, they can be cheaper and they run and stop for a snack when you want them to.

Bike

Calm roads and beautiful scenery make Cuba an ideal country for biking. Roads in most places in Cuba are reasonable, but it may still be a good idea to bring a mountain bike. As casas particulares are available even in relatively small towns it is easy to plan an itinerary.

You will have to bring your own bike as bikes suitable for trekking are not readily available in Cuba. Make sure to bring all spare parts you might need along the way, since they will not be available in Cuba. Food for on the road can often be obtained locally for cheap Cuban Pesos, but make sure if you travel through more remote areas to carry enough food and water.

Car

In Cuba, all vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road. Expect to encounter checkpoints when traveling in the interior of the country. These usually require you to slow down to 40. Respect this or get fined CUC10.

Car rental starts from CUC65 per day (including insurance) plus the cost of a full tank of gasoline. The refundable deposits start around CUC200. Rental cars are for the most part fairly new, imported European or Asian models.