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El Capitolio, Havana

Practical info Havana, Cuba

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. The new modern city buses travel to anywhere in the city. Most visitors to Havana avoid the buses and rely instead on the 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, 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. 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.


Local time is GMT -5 (GMT -4 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).


Most older hotels use 110 volt power, 60Hz, while newer hotels use 220 volts, 60Hz. A variety of outlets are in use, but the flat and round two-pin plugs are most common.


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, and a 10 percent commission or more is charged to exchange them, therefore the best currency to bring along is Euros, the British Pound or Canadian Dollars. The CUC is almost equal in value to the US Dollar. Some places only accept Cuban Pesos and others only Pesos Convertible (usually tourist related establishments). Money should only be changed at official exchange bureaux or banks to avoid scams confusing the two currencies. Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted only in major cities and hotels as long as they haven't been issued by a US bank; Diners Club has limited acceptance, and American Express is not accepted anywhere on the island. No US-issued credit or debit cards will work in ATMs, but those holding cards issued in other countries should be able to get pesos at most major tourist destinations.


The international access code for Cuba is +53. Public telephones are widely available for domestic as well as international calls, but international calls are expensive. Prepaid phone cards are available. Wifi availability in Cuba is expanding rapidly but there is still limited connectivity and internet access is often expensive. A prepaid NAUTA internet card is needed; which you can purchase from a ETECSA station located throughout major cities or at upscale hotels. Once you have a NAUTA card you will need to find a wifi hotspot, in a modern hotel or in a wifi park.

Emergency number

106 (Police), 104 (ambulance), 105 (fire department)

Travel documents and health

Everything about travel documents

Everything about health and KLM Health Services

Public holidays


Jose Marti International Airport


Getting to the city

Buses depart the airport for Havana every 30 minutes from 10am to 10pm, but require payment in local currency. Private transport is advisable.

Car rental

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

Airport taxi's

Official taxis are available outside all terminal buildings.

Transfer between terminals

A bus services the four terminals, with the fifth one being a freight terminal and not for passenger use.


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.


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


Internet services are available in Terminal 3 for a fee.