Getting Around Havana
Walking is the greatest method to get around Havana. Many of Havana’s most prominent sites are within a mile of one another, including Habana Vieja, El Malecón, and the Museo de la Revolución. Taxis are ubiquitous and a fantastic mode of transportation, and tourists will almost certainly be unable to resist them. Those vintage American cars you’ve probably seen in Havana photos and videos are actually taxis that tourists can employ. Local buses are best left to individuals who speak Spanish fluently, and while hitchhiking is a totally legal and popular way for Cubans to move around the island, travel experts strongly advise leaving it to the locals.
The best way to get from José Marti International Airport (HAV) to the city’s heart (Old Havana, some 15 miles north) is to take a cab, which can be obtained outside the terminal.
There are direct flights between the United States and Cuba. Although most of the cities that offer Havana flights are in Florida, Alaska Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, and United all fly there. Under the people-to-people tourism category, just one American cruise line, Carnival, is now authorised to conduct cruises to Cuba. Fathom is also the only Carnival cruise ship that is permitted to sail to Cuba from Miami.
The Cuban government recently granted Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, including its three brands Norwegian, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, permission to conduct cruises from the United States, with itineraries set to begin in April and May 2017.
Traveling by foot
Because Havana is Cuba’s largest city, you won’t have to travel far to see the country’s most important sights. All of the city’s most popular sights, as well as many of its top dining and entertainment options, are located in and around Old Havana (Habana Vieja).Travelers consistently praise the neighbourhood as the most attractive part of the city, and its colourful buildings and different architectural styles have earned it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Furthermore, the neighbourhood is essentially flat, making it easy to navigate in the sweltering heat of Havana.
The streets of Havana are densely packed with a variety of cabs. Cubataxis are modern, well-marked vehicles. These cabs are only for visitors and are not shared like colectivos. Colectivos are simple to spot: they’re Havana’s signature early-twentieth-century American automobiles. Rather than transporting one customer anywhere he or she wants, colectivos follow a set itinerary and only leave when the taxi is full, so you can end up sharing a journey with some Cubans. Simply name the street you want to go to in a colectivo, and the driver will let you know if it’s on the itinerary.
Gran Cars are a happy medium; old-fashioned automobiles designed for tourists, but with a higher price tag. Standard taxis are metered and typically start at 1 convertible peso ($1) for the first kilometre, then range from 0.50 to 1 convertible peso for each successive kilometre. Don’t be alarmed if drivers opt to forego the metre and negotiate a fare ahead of time; it’s a typical practise in this area and isn’t usually a ruse to deceive visitors. It’s worth noting that the taxi firms Turistaxi, Transgaviota, Taxi OK, and Panataxi are all part of the Cubataxi family and offer identical rates. It’s also worth noting that by law, Bicitaxis, or rickshaw-style taxis, are not permitted to transport tourists.
Taking public transit in Havana, like on other Caribbean islands, can be difficult for visitors. The public buses (guaguas) are overcrowded and run on erratic schedules. They’re also hotspots for pickpocketing, according to the US State Department. Typically, international visitors will not be allowed to ride on these local buses. The ideal way to see the city is to take a Habana Bus tour hop-on, hop-off bus, which caters to tourists and has routes that take you to various areas of interest.
Renting a car is superfluous and ill-advised in Havana, which has pedestrian-friendly streets and taxi fleets. Because many roads and city streets are unlit, it can be dangerous, especially at night. Even during the day, Havana’s streets can be difficult to traverse due to a lack of signage and vague vehicle restrictions. If you do decide to rent, keep in mind that you must be 21 years old and have a valid driver’s licence with at least one year of driving experience. A daily insurance premium must also be factored into your budget.