Let me start this post with a hard truth: if you want to go directly from Havana airport to some other province other than Havana immediately after your arrival, you will need to spend lots of money because the ONLY option is to catch a private taxi.
Okay, that is not totally true, otherwise this post wouldn’t need to exist. What I will do is give you a few MORE AFFORDABLE alternatives to get to your first destination in Cuba right after you arrive in Havana airport, other than private taxi; that is because a private taxi is the most expensive option.
First let’s see what I mean with private taxis being expensive. Here are some referential prices of private taxis in Cuba from Havana airport to some destinations in the island:
Prices of private taxi from Havana airport to different destinations in Cuba:
- Havana airport – Viñales: 120 cuc
- Havana airport – Varadero: 120 cuc
- Havana airport – Trinidad: 150 cuc
- Havana airport – Cayo Santa Maria: 230 cuc
All prices listed are for a taxi up to 4 passengers, and are only referential; you might find slighlty lower or higher prices.
If you want to do some extra research about private taxi prices in Cuba, you can ask multiple drivers directly at YoTeLlevo, a community of private drivers who work for tourism here in the island:
While having a taxi wait for you at the airport right when you get out is amazing, it could turn out to be too expensive for you.
Also, you need to take into account that if you pre-book a private taxi to wait for you at the airport, some charges might apply for extra hours of waiting, etc.
Of course, you could be lucky enough to be able to use a couple tricks that might work:
- If you travel with friends and you are up to 4 people total, you could split the total cost and hire one taxi for all of you.
- You could find other people needing the same ride as you, and talk them into sharing a taxi with you and split costs. You could do this during your flight or once you arrive in Havana airport.
Sharing a taxi with other people right from the airport to your destination is THE CHEAPEST option you will be able to find. Period.
Every private taxi can take up to 4 passengers and the total price is always the same.
If you can do it, GO AHEAD without thinking about it! If you are 2 people and can find other 2 people, do not hesitate to share a taxi among the 4 of you. It will be the cheapest, quickiest and most comfortable way.
If you can’t manage to achieve that or think it is risky to wait till you are at the airport to try to find other people, then you should use the next cheaper options available.
What are those next cheaper options? How do you go straight from Havana airport to your destination on a budget, even if you don’t have fellow travelers to share a taxi?
In this post I will explain 3 alternatives you can use to save some money in your ride from Havana airport to your destination.
So, let’s go ahead and describe each one of those alternatives:
1 . Combine a Taxi from the airport to Havana city with a Collective taxi from Havana city to your destination
Budget you’ll need: 25 cuc (taxi from airport to Havana) + price per seat in a collective taxi from Havana to your destination.
- Havana airport to Trinidad: 25 cuc (taxi at airport) + 35 cuc per person. If you are 2 people, budget is 25 + 35 x 2 = 95 cuc
- Havana airport to Varadero: 25 cuc (taxi at airport) + 25 cuc per person. If you are 2 people, budget is 25 + 25 x 2 = 75 cuc
- Havana airport to Cayo Santa Maria: 25 cuc (taxi at airport) + 50 cuc per person. If you are 2 people, budget is 25 + 50 x 2 = 125 cuc
Those are a lot better than 150 | 120 | 230 cuc in a private taxi, right?
How to do this?
We at PickoCar offer collective taxis to many destinations in Cuba. The most common departure times from Havana to those destinations are 8 AM and 2 PM (Viñales is only available at 11 AM).
I guess you won’t be able to catch a taxi at 8 AM, unless you arrive in the airport super early, say 4 AM.
So let’s work with the 2 PM departures.
To be able to catch the taxi in Havana at 2 PM, you will need to arrive in the airport at 10 AM or earlier.
The general rule is to arrive 4 hrs before the established departure time of the collective taxi.
You have some margin, but if you arrive later than 11 AM, then you most probably won’t be on time to catch the taxi in Havana. It will take you from 1 hr to 2 hrs only to be able to leave the airport due to the slow Customs lines.
You should be able to go outside the airport by 11 AM – 12 noon.
Right outside the airport is where you catch your first taxi, the one that will take you to the city. The regular price of this ride is 25 cuc, but maybe you can do it for 20 cuc if you can negotiate.
It will take you 30 – 45 min. to arrive in Havana and be dropped off at your place.
How do you catch the taxi to your destination at 2 PM, then?
What we do at PickoCar is indicate our customers a place where they should catch the taxi in Havana.
This is the place you should tell your taxi at the airport it should take you to.
If we indicate you catch the taxi at El Floridita bar in Old Havana, you tell your taxi driver at the airport to take you to El Floridita bar. Simple!
We always indicate a place that is very centric and is inside the best areas in Havana. That is because we want you to not get bored as you wait for the taxi, and because that’s how you begin your vacation enjoying Havana from the start!
Also, the driver will find YOU, not the other way. The place will be a place that’s easy to find people, so you should not be worried.
We will let you know the place as soon as you book.
To book a shared taxi from Havana to any other destination, do it here:
This is not a super comfortable way because you need to take 2 taxis, but you will be able to save between 50 – 100 cuc and also get relatively fast to your destination.
Be wary of these:
- If you are not at 2 – 2.30 PM at the designated place, the taxi will leave and you will need to catch another taxi by yourself.
- If you arrive much earlier than 2 PM, you will need to wait for the taxi until it arrives.
- Most agencies which offer shared taxis do not have routes beyond Trinidad from Havana, including PickoCar. That means that if you are going directly to, for instance, Cayo Guillermo, probably there is no shared taxis for it.
2 . Combine a Taxi from the airport to Havana city with the Viazul bus to your destination
Budget you’ll need: 25 cuc (taxi from airport to Havana) + price of the Viazul bus from Havana to your destination.
- Havana airport to Trinidad: 25 cuc + 25 cuc per person. If you are 2 people, budget is 25 + 25 x 2 = 75 cuc
- Havana airport to Varadero: 25 cuc + 10 cuc per person. If you are 2 people, budget is 25 + 10 x 2 = 45 cuc
- Havana airport to Viñales: 25 cuc + 12 cuc per person. If you are 2 people, budget is 25 + 12 x 2 = 49 cuc
Wow! Those prices are even better than taking a collective taxi!
How to do this?
First you will need to look into the Viazul website and check the available departure times for the destination you want to go to. This is important because combining 2 rides (taxi from airport and then Viazul) takes synchronization.
The general rule to combine your arrival at the airport with the Viazul bus is to arrive in the airport 5 hours prior to the Viazul bus you booked’s departure time.
That is very important because besides the time it will take you to leave the airport and arrive in the Viazul station, you will need to check your ticket with a Viazul official 1 hour prior to your departure, so you will need to be at the station at least 1 hour earlier.
So, what you will do is once you arrive in the airport, you will catch a taxi to Havana city and indicate the driver to take you to the Viazul station. Just say “Viazul” to the driver and that’s it. This ride costs 25 cuc.
And that is pretty much it. You just need to get to the Viazul station on time to catch your bus!
You may or may not buy your Viazul tickets before hand. You always have the option to get in the waiting list for the buses that depart.
What you DO NEED to know is the buses’ departure times so you can synchronize your arrival in the airport with the bus and know if you can do it.
Be wary of these:
- If you pay your Viazul ticket in advance and you don’t get to catch it (i.e. you arrive late to the station) you will lose your money. If you don’t buy the tickets you risk there is no seat for you.
- The Viazul bus is slower and can take very long to get to your destination.
- The Viazul bus does not cover some destinations, like some popular resorts spots (Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, etc.)
3 . Combine a Taxi from the airport to Havana city with a Collective taxi at the Viazul station
This is the way to go if you are a person who doesn’t like to have things booked before hand.
Or maybe you want to save 5 cuc. Collective taxis at the Viazul station might be a little bit cheaper than our prices at PickoCar or other agencies, and they could be negotiated -say, you could be able to catch a taxi to Trinidad for 30 cuc per person instead of 35 cuc.
Also, this is the most flexible method regarding your schedule; you can arrive in the Viazul station pretty much at any time during daylight and find collective taxis there.
Budget you’ll need: 25 cuc (taxi from airport to Viazul station) + price per seat in a collective taxi from Viazul station to your destination.
Prices are similar to Alternative #1 described here. You might find prices slightly cheaper (5 cuc cheaper), but avoid any price bigger that the prices listed at PickoCar.
How to do this?
You tell your taxi at the airport to take you to the Viazul station. That’s it! The price should be the same, 25 cuc.
When you arrive, you start looking for a collective taxi. They are parked in the front area of the station. Or maybe you won’t need to look. Most probably as you enter the station you will be approached by a couple taxi “coordinators” who will ask where you are going and may be able to offer a shared taxi immediately.
They will just ask “Taxi?” and you just need to name your destination: “Trinidad” or “Varadero” or other.
This is a very nice and easy way to do it, but you need to take into account that you are running into a place you are not sure you will find a taxi.
And since it is also at the Viazul station, you can always check if Viazul has availability for you 🙂
Be wary of these:
- You might find that there are no taxis to the destinations the Viazul bus does not have routes (i.e. Cayo Santa María, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo). Also, if your destination is further away than Trinidad, it is more difficult to find a taxi there.
- You might need to wait for the taxi to be filled up before it departs.
- The taxi might not be a very comfortable car. At the Viazul station arrive all kinds of cars, so you may find a nice car or a bit cranked old american car. You choose if you take it or wait for another one.
- It is very likely that you will find a taxi going to your destination, as there are many going to different places in Cuba all day long. But you might be so unlucky not to find your taxi there
As you can see, all the alternatives include managing to get to Havana city in a taxi from the airport, which is a very easy thing to do and it has a fixed price no matter how many people you are (up to 4 people): 25 cuc.
From there, you can choose which is the option that best suits your needs to go from Havana to your final destination.
Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages:
- Collective taxis at PickoCar depart mostly at 2 pm (there are other departure times), so you NEED to land at the airport at least 4 hrs earlier. If later, you risk not being on time to catch the taxi and end up being on your own.
- Viazul bus has great prices and multiple departure times, but takes longer to arrive, does not cover some routes and you need to pay in advance at the risk losing your money if you don’t catch your bus.
- Collective taxis at the Viazul station are nice and flexible as they arrive there at multiple times, but your risk is not finding a taxi to your destination, and the quality might not be the best.
Are you super creative and have done this on a lower budget or in a better way? Please feel free to share how you did it with fellow travelers in the comments. I will add the good ideas to this list. Thanks!