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Know Before You Go
- There is little to no internet access in Cuba so do your research beforehand. Make notes of places you want to visit, download maps for offline use or travel old school with a paper map or guidebook.
- Havana has very few ATM's, and hardly any restaurants will accept credit or debit cards. Make sure you sort out currency at the airport and have enough cash for the duration of your trip.
- With the current tourism boom in Havana, accommodation is booked up months in advance. Hotels can be expensive, so if you are on a budget book a room in a privately owned B&B called a casa particulare.
- If you want to escape the city, a short 30-minute drive will find you at Santa Maria beach. It's a beautiful part of Cuba and only a CUC 25-30 taxi ride away.
- Outside of your hotel and Old Havana, you'll battle to find locals that speak English. Learn some Spanish phrases beforehand and download a phrasebook to help you if you get stuck.
Getting Around Havana
- If you love walkable cities, you'll love Havana. Most of it's biggest attractions are within walking distance, and it's hard to get lost with the streets organised into grids.
- If you want to get around faster than your feet can take you, renting a bicycle is a popular choice. Just make sure you lock your bike up and keep it within eyesight as bicycle theft is common.
- Hitchhiking is a common way to get around as cars are rare in Havana. While it is a safe way to get around, trust your gut and if someone looks suspicious avoid getting into his or her car.
- If you want to visit many places in one day or explore places that are off the beaten track you can rent a moped for the day. Rentals start at CUC 24 for one day or a 5-12 day rental costs CUC 21.
- For the adventurous traveller, you can try the local bus. But be warned buses are often crowded, and there are no route maps or schedules available.
- Another way to get around is with a taxi. Rates are affordable starting at CUC 1 for the first kilometr and then CUC 0.50 to CUC 0.80 for every additional kilometre.
When is The Best Time to Visit Havana?
The best time to visit Havana is between January and February. It's the island's winter and dry season, meaning temperatures are comfortable, and there is little chance of rain. It's also considered to be high season during this time, so make sure you book your accommodation a few months in advance otherwise you will struggle to find an empty room.
From April to June, you'll find cheaper accommodation as the high season starts to die down. However, it is the beginning of a short rainy season with June seeing the highest precipitation.
Another popular time to visit Havana is during July and August. The chance of rain decreases, temperatures are at their hottest, and it's Carnival. Expect the city to be full of locals and tourists and stay hydrated while experiencing the biggest party of the year.
September to December is hurricane season, and the city sees hardly any tourists. If you don't mind the high chance of rain, temperatures begin to cool down, and hotels drop their rates for the low season.
Airports in Havana
José Martí International Airport
José Martí International Airport is an international airport 15 km from Havana. It is Cuba's main domestic and international gateway serving more than 25 international airlines and flying to 60 destinations worldwide. The airport is also a hub for Aerogaviota and Cubana de Aviación.
Getting to and from José Martí International Airport
If you don't have a prearranged transfer, there are only two ways you can get from the airport into Havana.
Taxis will be available outside the terminal building. It costs CUC 20 - 24 one-way and takes 20 - 30 minutes. Make sure you agree on the fare first as the taxis rarely switch their meters on.
Car rental agencies are located outside of the Arrivals terminal. With only a limited amount of cars, it is recommended to book ahead especially if you are travelling during high season. Prices start from CUC 50 and insurance costs CUC 15 per day.