Getting to Cuba, & Getting Around Once You're There

Plane, bus, train, bicycle, motorbike, coco-taxi, classic car or shared taxi… You name it and you can probably ride it in Cuba. Our partners Goats on the Road share their essential tips on arriving in and getting around Cuba.

Getting to Cuba

Americans, rejoice! It’s now possible to travel from the United States to Cuba from one of these cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.

In order to travel legally to Cuba, citizens of the United States must be traveling based on one of 12 official reasons. If you plan to travel to Cuba as a “tourist”, technically this isn’t allowed.

For all other nationalities, you can use “tourism” as your reason for traveling to Cuba, and you don’t need to fill out any visa forms, just a straightforward Tourist Card which can usually be purchased at the airport before boarding your plane to Cuba.

Flights

From Central America: Copa Airlines flies via Panama to Havana, while AeroMexico flies from Mexico City to Havana.

From Canada: American Airlines and Air Canada fly to Havana, while WestJet flies to Varadero (and other cities), but not Havana.

From the USA: Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, United, American and others fly from one of the above listed cities to Havana. 

Insurance

You will also need to have travel insurance in order to be allowed to enter into Cuba. If you arrive and you don’t have proof of travel insurance, you will receive the one on offer - for $5 / day!

Make sure to get insurance coverage before you leave for Cuba.

Renting Cars in Cuba

Having your own wheels to explore a destination is something we always advocate. Being able to pull over where you want to, take that random dirt road if you feel like it, and get off the beaten path – it’s what travel is all about!

Unfortunately, in Cuba it costs quite a bit to rent a car - around US $80 per day, and because rentals are government-run, they are the same price all around the country.

Rental bike in Vinales. Photo credit: Goats on the Road

A cheaper option is to rent a motorbike for US $25 a day. Us $20 if you rent it for 3 or more days.

Viñales is a great spot to have a motorbike. You can head out to the San Tomas Cave, drive somewhere for sunset, or venture off on the two-hour trip to Cayo Jutias, a beautiful nearby beach!

You can also hire a driver for the day, or for an hour or so, to take you around in one of Cuba’s famous classic cars.

Transport Options in Cuba

For tourists, the most common form of inter-city transportation is the bus.

Viazul is the tourist bus on offer and it’s actually quite decent.

In my experience, the bus runs on time and was clean and comfortable. 

You can purchase your Viazul bus tickets at the bus station, or check with an Infotur office.

Viazul tourist bus in Cuba. Photo credit: Goats on the Road

Some example journeys and costs:

  • Havana to Viñales: $12
  • Viñales to Cienfuegos: $35
  • Cienfuegos to Trinidad: $6
  • Trinidad to Camagüey: $15

Another option for traveling between cities is a shared car. These can be arranged at Infotur offices, and at your casa.

It’s basically just a normal car or van that can fit about 5 people. You’ll be picked up at your casa, and dropped off at the next one. Door to door service!

The cost is the same as the bus. For example: from Trinidad to Havana, expect to pay around $35.

Local Busses

Local busses are always very full, and very cheap (US $0.04), paid for using CUP. 

Coco-Taxis

In Havana, there are round tricycles that resemble a yellow coconut. This is a very gimmicky way to get around, but fun nonetheless. 

Coco taxi in Cuba. Photo credit: Goats on the Road

Hop-on/Hop-Off Bus

In Havana, you can jump on this bus at Parque Central and take a tour around the city. 

We suggest getting on at Parque Central and hopping off at Playas del Este beach, which is 20min outside of the city!

Collectivos

Collectivo cars run on set routes around the major cities. Tell your casa or hotel your destination and they should be able to help you with what number of collectivo to take and how much the price should be.

The cost is very low at US $0.50 / ride. Paid with CUP currency.

Bicycle Taxis

This manpowered mode of transport is affordable and good for a quick ride.

Taxi

Old cars are used as taxis in Cuba, whether it’s for an intercity trip, or a local journey, you can find yourself in a car that’s much older than you are!

Classic Cars

The touristy way to get around! Tour rides in a shiny car are about an hour and cost US $15 or so.

Trains

There are some old locamotive trains putting around Cuba, but for the most part, you have to be pretty patient to be a train traveler on this Caribbean-paced island.

Even though there have been improvements to fuel supply and the rail fleet, the trains are still often unreliable and not the most comfortable, so most travelers opt for planes, buses, cars, and taxis.

Enjoy the Ride!

Cuba has some of the most interesting transportation options in the world. From classic cars to coco taxis, it’s always an experience getting around. While Viazul buses do run on a pretty reliable schedule, it’s always worth keeping in mind that you’re in the Caribbean! Things may not run like they’re supposed to, so keep a relaxed attitude and enjoy the ride.

Heading to Cuba? Download our FREE Insider’s Guide!

Put down the cigars and step out of the vintage cars! Explore historical sites of revolution, taste peso food, or go diving among vibrant marine life.

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