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Cuba travel: How to get around

Bicycles remain island's most popular mode of transport

photo
(Associated Press)


HAVANA – Without access to a Global Positioning Service, a detailed map is essential for travelers unfamiliar with Cuba. 

The National Geographic Store's "Cuba Adventure" map was developed in cooperation with Cuban agencies and is updated regularly for accuracy. 

Cuban authorities will confiscate a GPS, as it remains prohibited to the general public on the island. 

OPEN TOP CLASSIC CAR

The 1927-1959 options include Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, Mercury, Oldsmobile and Pontiac models.

A tour can cost from about $30 to $300 Convertible Cuban Pesos depending on the length of the tour.  A round trip tour from Havana to Varadero can last about 10 hours and cost some $300 CUC. 

 Old Car Tours, The Havana Tour Company and Urban Adventures are among the companies offering online reservations.

Individual drivers such as The Havana Vintage Car Tours' Nelson Pinero, who can be reached at nelsonpineroalonso999@gmail.com, also offer services.  

TAXIS

Cuban authorities only allow tourists to use specific taxis. 

Grancar: It's the most comfortable option and prices are negotiable before the ride begins. 

Cocotaxi: The top of the two-passenger vehicle mimics the shape of a coconut and are common in Havana and Varadero. These are cheaper than taxis. The Business Insider's Graham Flanagan described it as a fun and quirky alternative.

Yellow taxis: The Russian Ladas are the most inexpensive option. 

Colectivo: The shared cars have a fixed route. 

 

BICYCLES

It is the most popular mode of transportation on the island. Bike Rental and Tours Havana offer reservations online and charge about $15 CUC for a day rental or $25 CUC for a guided city tour. 

 

HORSE CARRIAGES

There is a multitude of companies offering tours in Old Havana. The Havana Unique company offers online reservations for their historic daily 3-hour tour at $35. 

 

HOP ON HOP OFF BUS

The Habana Bus Tour offers three routes in Havana with about 60 stops. Tickets are about $10 Cuban Convertible Cuban Pesos per person and they don't provide headphones and the audio system is weak. 

 

CAR RENTALS

Care rental companies are still government-operated, so they are not competitive. The Cuba Travel Network aggregates the options and allows online bookings in Havana, Jardines del Rey, Holguin and Villa Clara. 

They only offer compact cars and luxury sedans. The cost of the rental is paid in full when booked. The insurance and a full gas tank are paid on site. 

Rental cars have a distinctive license plate, so authorities ask drivers to take precautions when it comes to criminals targeting tourists. 

 

BUS SERVICE

Viazul is the Cuban government's bus company.  The buses are air-conditioned. Dirty restrooms on the bus and in the terminals are a problem. Some will charge coins for toilet paper. 

Viazul asks passengers to provide an identification and be at the terminal about 30 minutes before the time scheduled although they are not always on time. If the ticket is purchased on the web, the company warns it needs to be done at least a week in advanced. 

A 3-hour bus ride from Havana to Varadero can cost about $10 per person. For more information, e-mail the company at sales@viazul.com


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