As a visitor to Havana, you have several transport options. There are several advantages and disadvantages to each of them. Let’s explore them a little closer.
I need to say this first – to get the most out of your visit, explore as much of Havana as you can on foot. Not only is this the most price conscious transport option, it will also allow you to see places and things you wouldn’t catch from a moving vehicle. But since not everything is conveniently close, you will occasionally need to utilize other means of transport around town:
The Estanción Cristina is only 3 kilometers south-west of central Havana. It’s a good and inexpensive way of getting around greater Havana.
Metro Buses should be tried by a tourist as they are truly an extra ordinary experience. They are those huge buses hauled by trucks capable of carrying 300 passengers.
As of Spring 2008, notorious El Camello busses – those huge careers that look like a two humped camel pulled by a semi truck – have been phased out and are no longer in operation. They were replaced by modern buses from China. One typical part of Havana was history, but was replaced with more convenient and luxurious means of transportation.
Renting a car is certainly the most convenient way to travel as you can set your own schedule and stop wherever and whenever you like. The challenges sneak up on you if you don’t know the area very well. The streets are not marked very well so it’s easy to get lost. Still the best way to travel within Cuba and each time I visit the island, I do pick up a rental.
Getting rentals in busy season can be challenging, however there are plenty of car rental offices in Havana. If one tells you they have no more cars, just move on to another.
Taxis eliminate the issue of getting lost, which can easily happen if you drive a rental car. Tourists are supposed to only ride in official tourist taxi cars, which are modern and air conditioned. Those charge in Cuba Convertible Pesos (CUC) and are not the cheapest.
As an alternative, you can try to hop on a Taxi Collectivo – a taxi for locals. Those are the old American tanks with Taxi symbols on their roofs. The rate is low but tourists are not supposed to ride them.
Another must-try by every visitor to Havana. Coco Taxis are those small things that look like yellow football helmets on scooters. Coco taxi seats two people and is inexpensive.
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