Airport transfers in Cuba
While airport transfers are usually included in vacation packages, individual travelers have to make their own arrangements for the trip to and from the airport. Public transportation is not existing in most Cuban airports. Only at the airports of Havana and Varadero there are busses that run several times a day. Keep on reading to find what options tourists have in terms of airport transfer and what prices can be expected.
If you plan to stay in a casa particular, you can ask the owner, if they can arrange an airport transfer. Mosts Casas know a driver to pick you up after arriving at the airport. Since the driver has to wait for a while at the airports, you should calculate the price of a ride in an official taxi (see below). The owners often organize a classic car on request. But you should know that a lovingly cared for classic car may cost a little more than a regular taxi.
Leave the airport on your own
Most individual travelers will take a taxi directly after leaving the airport. The modern and comfortable taxis (taxis in Cuba) are sufficiently available at all airports at any arrival time. The drivers offer their services, but they are not invasive like in other countries of the region. So good news: you don't have to worry about difficulties getting a taxi or being harassed by intrusive drivers. The taxis operate at government-regulated fixed prices. Depending on the number of travelers, there is then an average fare per passenger.
Backpackers who want to get away from the airport at a lower price can try to get a place in one of the tour buses of the tourists package. They are waiting in the parking lots in front of the airport buildings and usually serve the most important routes. From Varadero Airport, for example, buses leave to Havana or Varadero.
For trying this way, the best is to ask the bus drivers or tour guides waiting in front of the terminal. If there are vacancies, it is often much cheaper to get to your destination than by taxi. This is especially the case if you are traveling with few people or alone. Going in one of these buses will save you a lot of money on longer journeys, and you can also get a very comfortable and reliable means of transport.
To know the details about transport possibilities and its prices at the airports, take a look to the corresponding section.
Havana Airport – José Martí (HAV)
Havana Airport has three terminals, but only terminal two and three are used for international flights. The bus company Viazul has a route that connects travelers from the terminal 3 of the airport to the Terminal Nacional in Havana. It usually leaves four times a day: 5:00 am, 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and the ride takes approximately 1 hour.
If you have not arranged for a pick-up in advance, you will most likely take one of the state taxis. All day long you have in front of all terminals enough drivers waiting for passengers. The ride to Havana takes around 30 minutes depending on the terminal, traffic and location of the accommodation. The trip to the city center is offered at a fixed rate
The official price for a taxi from the airport is 24 USD. The fee is flat, independent of where you want to go in the city. Only when the destination is more than 30 kilometers from the airport then it becomes more expensive. Sometimes the official fare can be negotiable. If you want to go to the closer parts of the city, such as El Vedado or Playa, it is common to find drivers right away that take you for 20 USD.
The transfer between terminals costs a flat rate of 4 USD. In theory, drivers can be paid with a credit card, but you should not necessarily rely on it. To find more information about payment with foreign currencies in Cuba you can check the article about money & currency.
Visitors traveling in a low-budget can try to find a cheap ride at the parking lot or make the way to the main road Boyeros. Terminal 2 is about 5 minutes and Terminal 3 about 20 minutes walk from Boyeros avenue.
If you arrive at Terminal 1, you can also take a taxi to this road for 4 USD. From there, you can take a shared taxi to center for around one USD (25 CUP). If you stop a classic car, you should ask for »Habana«. The bus stop can be reached by walking about 100 meters towards the north-west of Boyeros.
The P12 city bus also runs along this main road and a ride costs only 2 Cuban pesos. During rush hour, the buses are often hopelessly overcrowded. But if you go in off-peak times, they are definitely a viable means of transport. Shared taxis and the P12 go to the inner city center, to Parque de la Fraternidad, and pass the central bus station on the way.
Varadero Airport - Juan Gualberto Gómez (VRA)
Most individual travelers arriving at Varadero airport have to take a taxi. The 30-minute taxi ride to the hotels in Varadero Beach costs a flat rate of 36 USD. Longer distances - for example to Havana - are also offered at state-regulated fixed prices (get the details in the article Taxi).
If you arrive at the right time, you can also take a Viazul bus. Viazul busses drive to Varadero and Havana, but only two to three times a day. The trip to Varadero costs 6 USD per person. Departure times are daily at 10:45 am / 2:45 pm. The bus has no other stops, so the journey time to Varadero is around 30 minutes - as with a taxi. But don't forget, that you still have to reach your final destination in Varadero. To get to your accommodation you will find enough cabs available at the Viazul terminal in Varadero.
The buses to Havana go three times a day. The departure times are at 8:25 a.m. / 1:35 p.m. / 6:25 p.m. The travel time to the Cuban capital is about 2.5 hours and cost 10 USD. If you want to take the bus, you should definitely reserve online in good time. Get the details about the route in the Viazul article.
When traveling with these buses, you should definitely plan a sufficient time buffer. Usually processing at the airport takes around an hour, and you should also expect delays in the plane or in baggage claim. In case you miss the bus, you often only have a cab. For going to Havana, you will have to pay 88 USD for the 2-hour trip.
If you consider it too expensive, you can try to talk to one of the bus drivers waiting to take package tourists to Havana. Generally the price is between 15 and 40 USD, depending on the time and the mood of the driver. The tourist buses also go to Varadero, usually for about 10 USD.
Santa Clara Airport - Abel Santamaría (SNU)
The price for a taxi to Santa Clara city center is around 15 USD. If you are going to the Cayos (Santa Maria, Ensenachos & Las Brujas), for the approximately 90 minutes’ drive you have to calculate with 50 to 60 USD.
Holguín Airport - Frank País (HOG)
The ride to the center of Holguín costs 10 USD. If you want to continue to Guardalavaca, you should calculate 40 USD for a taxi. As an option you could ask one of the bus drivers who take tourists to Guardalavaca if you can join them. Usually they take travelers for 10 to 20 USD.
The road (Carretera Central) passes near the airport. Low-budget travelers can try to get to Holguín by bus or shared taxi for a few pesos. From Holguin, Guardalavaca can be reached with the shared taxi for one USD.
Santiago de Cuba Airport – Antonio Maceo (SCU)
From this airport the 10 km taxi ride to downtown Santiago costs 10 USD. Except for a car rental there are no alternative means of transportation due to the isolated location.
Baracoa Airport – Gustavo Rizo (BCA)
If you fly from Havana to Baracoa, you can take a taxi to the small town for around 5 USD. The journey takes just a few minutes.