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Havana

El Capitolio, Havana

Practical Info about Havana

Getting around the city

Cubans rely heavily on an unreliable bus system that is cheap but overcrowded and slow, with long queues and inconsistent routes and schedules. Large buses called camellos (camels, for their two humps) are pulled by truck engines and are particularly crowded, but very cheap (20 centavos). Most visitors to Havana avoid the buses and rely instead on numerous, inexpensive taxis to get around the greater part of the city. Renting a car is not the best option as car hire is expensive, roads are not well sign-posted, and numerous one-way streets make driving a real challenge. Different types of taxis cruise the streets, including tourist taxis, two-seater bici-taxis, colectivos (classic vintage cars) and the yellow scooter coco-taxis. Most tourist taxis are air-conditioned, metered and well maintained and charge in Convertible Pesos, but there are also vintage car owners who operate as unofficial taxis, although a rate should be negotiated beforehand as passengers are likely to be overcharged. Bici-taxis, coco-taxis and colectivos are officially not supposed to take tourists. A couple of vintage cars can be hired by tourists for tours around the city and can be found outside main tourist attractions like the Revolution Museum or the Capitolio. It is not generally difficult or expensive to get around in Havana, and it is a wonderful walking city when it comes to shorter distances.

Time

Local time is GMT -5.

Electricity

Most older hotels use 110-volt power, while newer hotels use 220 volts. A variety of outlets are in use, but the flat and round two-pin plugs are most common.

Currency

The official currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP), divided into 100 centavos, but the 'tourist' currency is the Peso Convertible (CUC), which replaces the US Dollar as currency in tourist-related establishments like hotels, restaurants and so called 'dollar shops'. US Dollars are no longer accepted as payment.

Communication

The international access code for Cuba is +53. Cellular phone companies have roaming agreements with many international cell phone companies, but not the United States. A GSM network covers most main towns, and cell phones are available for rent. Public telephones are widely available for domestic as well as international calls, but international calls are expensive. Pre-paid phone cards are available. Internet cafes are located in the main towns and cities.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 26811

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
Liberation Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Victory of Armed Forces Day 2 Jan 2 Jan
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
National Rebellion Celebration 25 Jul 25 Jul
National Rebellion Day 26 Jul 26 Jul
National Rebellion Celebration 27 Jul 27 Jul
Anniversary of the 1868 War of Independence 10 Oct 10 Oct
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec

Climate

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The Cuban climate is tropical and temperate with cool trade winds to provide relief from the heat and humidity. Havana's weather is typical for Cuba; it is generally sunny and hot year-round apart from when it is stormy, which is why it is considered a year-round tourist destination. There is not much variation between day and night temperatures along the coast, and average sea temperatures are 77°F (25°C). The rainy season, from May to October, is also the hurricane season, but most hurricanes strike between August and October, while the wettest months in Havana are May and June. Hurricanes are usually more of a problem on the south coast of Cuba and Havana is typically safe from the worst of the tropical storms. Summer temperatures average around 81°F (27°C) with humidity at about 80 percent. Temperatures of about 68°F (20°C) are usual in winter. The temperature very seldom drops below 50°F (10°C) in Havana. The most popular time to visit Havana is in the winter months of December and January but, although avoiding the hurricane season is probably wise, Havana's weather is pleasant for travellers all year.

Jose Marti International Airport

www.havana-airport.org

Getting to the city

Buses depart the airport for Havana every 30 minutes from 10am to 10pm.

Car rental

Transtour, Rex, Via, Fenix, and Cubanacar operate car hire facilities at the airport.

Airport taxi's

Official taxis are available outside all terminal buildings; a trip into Havana's city centre will cost around 20-25 CUC.

Transfer between terminals

A bus services the four terminals.

Facilities

Airport facilities include VIP lounges with business facilities, banks and currency exchange, disabled assistance, a lost and found, and a variety of shopping and dining options.

Parking

There is short and long-term parking available roughly 500 feet (150m) from the terminal buildings.

Internet

Wifi is available in Terminal 3 for a fee.