How to arrive or leave the airport in Havana, Cuba (Jose Marti)

Aeropuerto de La Habana en CubaJosé Martí Airport in Havana is the main gateway for most tourists to the island, so sometimes it may appear a little chaotic and the exit process or luggage collection may take longer than expected. We recommend grabbing a bottle of water in case you need some while you wait. This is all part of the adventure so welcome to Cuba! It is also advisable to change some of your money into CUC (convertible pesos) in the exchange houses (CADECA) at the airport before traveling to the city especially if you’re arriving late at night.

Next we look at the most popular and convenient options for getting to and from the airport and Havana city -  a distance of 18 km.

Taxis owned by the government: These are always parked in long rows at the main airport exit just to the left. It is easy to recognize them because they are all painted in white with touches of red and blue or just yellow. The price from the airport to Havana downtown ranges from 25 to 30 CUC. The journey takes between 20-30 minutes. Prices can vary depending on destinations in Havana, so it is recommended to fix a price before setting off or request your driver uses the meter before departing.

Here’s a very rough price list for some of the most popular destinations in Cuba as of July 2015:

  • Varadero Airport - 79.00 CUC
  • Varadero - 94.00 CUC
  • Havana - 25.00 CUC
  • Cienfuegos - 162.00 CUC
  • Trinidad - 206.00 CUC
  • Santa Clara - 171.00 CUC

Payment is accepted only in cash or CUC.

Do note that some taxi drivers will offer the possibility to take you to a different accommodation to your proposed destination. Cubasolidays advise you decline any offers and remember the houses may be illegal.

Taxi privado en CubaPrivate Taxis: Private taxis are not allowed to make airport pickups unless there is some family relationship, work or friendship with the traveler(s) which can be verified by the authorities. However, there are always private taxis in the parking areas and many offer cheaper transfers than official government taxis. With a little bargaining your transfer to the city can be haggled for between 15-18 CUC and your driver will take you to the door of your requested accommodation. Should you be surprised by the airport police, the worst that can happen is that you’ll be forced to take a government taxi.

Airport pickup by prior arrangement: Especially common if you have privately booked accommodation and usually arranged in advance by your hosts. Most offer this service to ensure that guests arrive without getting ‘diverted’ and fulfill their bookings, while also providing an excellent service. They do this in several ways, either with a private chauffeur, who becomes responsible for the airport collection and transfer or with government taxis, which they contract to handle the service. The price is usually between 25 and 30 CUC, like a standard taxi.

Caminando hacia la habanaTaking local buses and shared taxis or "máquinas": At the time of writing there is little in the way of public transport from the airport to Havana city. The closest avenue with running buses is Avenida de Rancho Boyeros which is located around 2km from Terminal 3 and 300 mts from Terminal. Once in Boyeros, you have two choices, first take the local bus with the number P12 and P16 both heading into the city centre at a price of 0.50 per person. The second option is a collective taxi, usually the familiar large American-style cars from the 40s to 60. The price into the city centre is 1 CUC per person with most journeys terminating in the Havana Capitolio area. These taxis have a pre-set route and pick up or drop off passengers on request.

For those who choose this possibility it is not advisable to make this journey on foot at night because there is no lighting, sidewalks or lodging and the trip by road is shared with other vehicles.

Car rental without driver: Another possibility is to rent a car at the airport by submitting your passport, driving license and a refundable deposit of 200 CUC. José Martí airport has two car rental offices: Havanautos and Cubacar with the option to hire classic and modern cars.

La Canchanchara - The Flavour of Cuba
Accommodation in Havana Vedado or Havana Miramar