Transportation in Havana

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Tue 26 Apr 2011 13:02

Transportation in Havana:


As in all countries, Cuba has varied modes of transport – but in Havana we experienced some of most interesting I have seen.

Everyone has heard of the old 1950’s cars in Cuba – but what we were not expecting, was the sheer number of them. Every second or third car is a huge classic colourful old American car…and there are lots of cars in Havana! There are Cadillac’s, Fords, Pontiacs, Chevrolets, etc used either as private vehicles or taxis or both. They range from beautifully maintained to absolute wrecks, but all are on the road, and a feast for the eye. These cars have generally not had commercially available spares for over 50 years, yet through sheer determination, necessity and ingenuity the Cubans manage to keep them going.

The other cars one sees are: lots of small old Ladas (Russian), newer small Asian cars e.g. Hyundai and even some Peugeots, but no high-end brands. 



Taxis can be either government metered cars like the Hyundai - the ones that tourists are supposed to use and the most expensive. Next are the ‘private taxis’ where you negotiate a rate per trip. These could be one of the classic old American cars (price depending on the state of the car) and then the cheapest – the total rust-bucket Ladas that zoom around at crazy speeds. They do not seem to have any kind of official taxi license, are certainly not ‘road-worthy’ but the police ignore them. Again a kind of official acceptance of the ‘black market’.

There are tour buses for hotel guests and then government buses for locals that are very cheap (about 2c US per trip). We managed to get a few rides on an air-conditioned hotel buses for a “tip”.

Havana also has the Coco-taxi, a crazy looking yellow egg shaped vehicle motored by a scooter (I think) and taking two passengers. There are also bicycle taxis and horse-drawn carriages. So getting around is pretty easy.

There is no aggression on the roads and the odd hoots are more indicative than anything else.


Today is my birthday and we are heading south to Cayo Levisa.