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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. The new modern city buses cost 1 peso a trip, 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, 50Hz, while newer hotels use 220 volts, 50Hz. 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. Travellers cheques are less readily accepted than credit cards, but all major currencies are acceptable, except for US bank issued cheques. No US-issued credit or debit cards will work in ATMs, but those holding other cards issued in other countries should be able to get pesos at most major tourist destinations. Euro or Sterling travellers cheques are accepted at Cuban banks and Bureaux de Change.


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: 106

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

2015 2016
Liberation Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Victory of the Armed Forces Day 2 Jan 2 Jan
Good Friday 3 Apr 25 Mar
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
National Rebellion Celebration 25 Jul - 27 Jul 25 Jul - 27 Jul
Anniversary of the 1868 War of Independence 10 Oct 10 Oct
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec



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 normal 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

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 CUC 20-25.

Transfer between terminals

A bus services the four terminals.


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.


Wifi is available in Terminal 3 for a fee.