So you've landed in Cuba, now how do you get around? Want to rent a car? Rock public transit the whole trip? Chill out in the back seat of a taxi? Here's the scoop on transportation in Cuba.
Once you give the article a read feel free to message a local expert in Cuba if you have more specific questions about transportation in Cuba.
Colectivos, or as some Cubans call them, , are shared taxis that travel along a fixed route. You'll find these mostly in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. They are usually colorful, old cars from the 1950s with a taxi sign in the window. If you're new to Havana, it will be difficult to utilize them, since it helps to have a sense of where you're going, but for seasoned Cuba travelers or those who speak Spanish, it's a great way to move around—especially if you're spending a few days in Havana—for cheap. Here are a few tips for using :
Here's a map of the Havana routes.
There are many types of private taxis in Havana. These are the ones you need to know about when traveling:
When you work with one of our local Cuban trip planners they can help you plan a route, arrange a day trip, and provide detailed directions to a specific spot if needed. They also can arrange taxis between cities or find alternatives that save money and time.
Taking a private car between destinations in Cuba can be convenient enough to be worth the steep price, especially on short trips. Hiring a private car typically costs the equivalent of $50-60 USD per hour, so it is one of the most expensive options for transportation in Cuba. At this rate, a three-hour trip from Santiago to Baracoa will probably cost the equivalent of $150-200 USD. But, this allows you to be completely flexible with your itinerary. Plus, you get door-to-door service instead of taking a taxi to/from the bus station on either end.
These are the best options for hiring a private car:
In some cities, particularly Havana and Camaguey, you might spot pedicabs/bicycle taxis. They're obviously slower than riding in a car, but they can be a fun way to do a little sightseeing in Old Havana. If you see one, just flag it down. Your ride will probably cost just a few USD depending on how far you go. As with all other taxis, ask for the price before getting in.
Buses between cities are run by two companies: Viazul and Astro. Travelers generally choose Viazul. Viazul buses are safe, reliable, air-conditioned, and cheap by tourist standards. You can check schedules, make reservations, and pay for buses on Viazul's website. Here's what you need to know to successfully use Viazul in Cuba:
Locals tend to take the intercity buses run by Astro. They're cheaper than Viazul buses, but our Heroes don't recommend using them if you're on a short trip with a full itinerary. Astro buses are hard to get a seat on, aren't air-conditioned, break down often, and are unreliable.
Avoid Transgaviota buses as these are affiliated with the Cuban military tour company and Americans are not allowed to spend money at businesses affiliated with it.
Metro buses (pronounced ''gua-gua") cover the majority of areas in Cuban cities. In Havana, they cover Old and Centro Habana, Vedado, and Miramar; there are 17 main routes, all with a P preceding the number from 1 to 16, and one named P-C. They run about every 10 minutes in peak hours. They're super cheap—they only cost 1CUP (about $0.05). But you'll have to deal with some inconveniences if you choose this method of transportation in Cuba. These buses are very crowded, there's no A/C, and pickpockets are common. You're going to stand out as a foreigner so keep a close eye on your bags and know which stop you need before getting on.
Here's the Havana bus network map.
Still not sure which bus is best for your trip? Our Cuban travel expert Maurice can offer guidance.
Large trucks are a complement to the public transit system in Cuba. Because public buses can be unreliable, there are plenty of trucks running similar routes both within and between cities. The trucks are usually hot and uncomfortable, but they're popular transportation in Cuba. Some even have their own schedules. Costs vary and their target market is locals, sometimes you'll even encounter a truck driver who won't let non-Cubans on board.
Only 10% of travelers end up renting cars so this can be an adventurous and unique way to explore the country. Why don't most people rent a car? Car rentals are often expensive ($50+ per day) and you run the risk of them breaking down because many have mid to high mileage. Since there are so many other options for transportation in Cuba, most people don't want the hassle of a car. But if you think having your own car will be fun, here are just a few things to keep in mind...
Yes, you can fly between cities in Cuba. Domestic airlines like Aerocaribbean fly between Havana and other cities throughout the island like Holguin and Santiago de Cuba. Almost all flight routes depart or arrive in Havana, the heart of air transportation in Cuba. Flying between Santa Clara and Baracoa, for example, is not possible without a transfer to Havana.
need to book your flight to Cuba? You can fly directly from New York, Miami, LA, Atlanta, and Orlando, as well as a few other airports in the US. Use Flighthub to browse your different options and book a flight.
Taking the train when you travel to Cuba can be just as much of an adventure as renting a car, maybe even more so. It's hard to find an accurate schedule and to purchase tickets. Trains are slow and unreliable. Plus, it's generally a 'bring your own toilet paper' situation. Overall, it's not the best form of transportation in Cuba. But if you've got the time to travel slowly, it's a unique, safe way to travel with locals. The train travel situation changes quite frequently, for the most up-to-date information, check out Seat61.
Locals hitchhike all the time in Cuba. Hitchhiking gained popularity as a mode of transportation in Cuba in the early 1990s during the gasoline shortage when the state required all private vehicles to stop for anyone asking for a ride. While people are no longer obligated to stop, hitchhiking is still common. Here's what you need to know:
Have more questions about transportation in Cuba? Here is a list of our local Cuban travel experts who can help you or you can message us any questions you have. And before your trip, make sure to check out: