Havana City Tours
To get an overview of the Cuban capital, you can choose between two variants of sightseeing tours.
- A Cuban specialty are city tours in classic American street cruisers from the pre-Revolution era. To explore the city in a stylish way, such a tour in a vintage car, which typically last at least one hour. In this comparatively short time, one get a quite extensive impression of the most important sights and neighborhoods of the city.
- Like in many other tourist destinations, one can also take one of the hop-on hop-off buses. If you have a little more time, you can comfortably and inexpensively reach the most important sights outside the city center by taking a sightseeing tour with the tourist buses. Being able to get on and off the bus gives you enough flexibility to visit the various sights that can be seen throughout the Cuban capital.
Classic car sightseeing tours
A local specialty are the oldtimer city tours, which give you a nice overview over Havana. A tour lasts either one or several hours and is priced at 30 USD per hour. Therefore, if you take a tour with several people, it will be cheaper per person.
Most drivers wait at the Parque Central in the historical downtown area and at the new center in front of the Hotel Nacional. Often one find drivers also in front of most other larger hotels.
Since most vehicles are convertibles, one should think of a wearing wind-proof sun protection, at least around noon. However, especially during the summer, sightseeing tours are generally recommended in the early morning or late afternoon. Sensitive people should expect more or less exhaust fumes, depending on the weather and the traffic. Certainly, western air quality standards do not apply in Havana.
Anyone who wants to visit plenty of attractions in one day can make a round trip with the Hop-On Hop-Off buses. The buses run between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at 30-minute intervals and serve three different routes (T1, T2, T3). A day pass for the double-decker buses has a price of 10 USD per passenger and entitles the holder to use all three routes. Children under 6 years of age ride free of charge. The buses are usually accompanied by guides indicating the sights.
You have to expect that the 30-minute intervals are not always kept and that the buses do not run until 9 p.m.. The course of the three routes can be seen in the following overview.
T1: Alameda de Paula <> Plaza de la Revolucion
This route is perfect for getting an overview of downtown Havana. It runs through the neighborhoods of Habana Vieja, Centro Habana and Vedado. The T1 bus starts its trip on the waterfront of the bay of the old town and heads to the Plaza de la Revolution.
From there, it makes a detour back to the Old City, where the trip ends at the boat dock at the port. The route runs along the Malecon. Transfer stops to line 2 and 3 are at Parque Central (T3) and Revolution Square (T2).
T2: Marine Hemingway <> Plaza de la Revolucion
A round trip on one of the T2 buses is ideal to get an overview of the modern part of Havana, as the route passes through the important neighborhoods of Playa (Miramar) and Vedado.
The tour starts at the western end of the Playa district, at the Hemingway Marina. The route first passes by the large hotels in the Playa district. It continues to the bridge over the Almendares River, from where you have a beautiful view over the lush city forest (El Bosque). Later you will pass the most important cemetery in Cuba, the Cementerio Cristóbal Colón, until you reach the Plaza de la Revolucion. On the way back, the route takes you through the boulevard Avenida de los Presidentes, along other parts of Vedado and the Miramar embassy district, before returning to the marina.
T3: Parque Central > La Cabaña > Playas Santa Maria > Parque Central
The T3 line is suitable for visiting the fortresses located on the eastern side of the bay and also the eastern city beaches of Havana (Playas del Este).
If you want to get from the beach to the city in the afternoon, you have to be careful to get a seat. Experience shows that in the late afternoon many people want to return from the beach at the same time, so the buses are regularly overcrowded and have to leave passengers behind. Details on transportation to and from the beach can be found in the Playas del Este article.