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Edmonton, Canada
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Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

Hi!

I've been reading the forum threads on getting a private guided tour of Havana...but I'm still a little fuzzy on transport costs and options to get a roundtrip from Varadero to Habana...

Can someone help price these out?

Private taxi - $40 US, one way?

Private Car - was quoted 180 CUCs for the roundtrip, two people

Viazul???

Getting a last minute seat on a tour bus - around $40 each, roundtrip

Going on the pre-selected tourist tour...around $100US each

I'd really rather do a private tour, but am a little confused about the travel portion....it seems like the transport costs more than the guided tour?

Thanks!

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

This question gets asked a lot. Here's a few thoughts...

The "best way" to see Havana is of course entirely up to you and your comfort level off the resort, as well as your budget and whether you can afford to stay over for a night or two.

1.) On one hand you can buy a package tour from your resort. It's simple and hassle free. You get picked up from your front door, taken to Havana and your guide will shepherd your tour group through every step of the way. You are just one of many sheep in the herd though...

2.) On the other hand you can jump on a Cuban bus, go to Havana, do a self guided tour, then catch the bus back to Varadero.

Between those two extremes there are MANY different options and choices. It's up to you to decide how you'd like to handle it.

======================

Transport between Varadero and Havana:

1.) Taxi: Fast, efficient and expensive. Official cost is 90 CUC one way. Travel time about 1.5 hours and they'll take you right to your doorstep.

2.) Viazul Bus: Cost is 11 CUC one way and takes about 3 hours.

www.viazul.cu/asp/reserva/ruta.aspx?id=20

3.) Taxi from the Viazul Bus Station: When you get to the bus station you'll be approached by someone wanting to sell you a seat in a taxi instead. Don't be intimidated, this is a legit enterprise with taxis competing with the bus. They'll offer you a seat for a few more CUCs than the bus costs, but the advantage is that it'll be way faster and they'll take you directly to your destination instead of simply being dropped at the bus station.

A few points to remember... Tell the driver where you're going and confirm that the price includes a drop-off right at your address. Take a look at the taxi and see who else is going... you don't want to be stuck in the back of a broken down Lada between two big guys carrying chickens. Generally though the taxis offer a great alternative service, so check them out before you go inside the station and confirm a bus seat.

4.) Transfer Colectivo: Most tour agencies will run shuttles between some of the Varadero resorts and some of the Havana hotels. It's a few CUC more than Viazul.

=======================

My personal recommendation for a first time visitor who doesn't speak much Spanish would be something like this...

Take the early Viazul bus to Havana and be met by your local guide. Check into your Casa Particular then enjoy a one-on-one tour of Old Havana for a few hours. Have a nice lunch then do a few things that you've asked your guide to arrange in advance for you... maybe it's a visit to a cigar factory, do a ride down the Malecon in a classic convertible, check out the Colon Cemetery, view a Santeria ceremony, do a dance class or visit an athletic facility like a boxing arena. Go back to your casa to freshen up and maybe have a nap, then have a meal at a great paladar (private restaurant) before catching a show at the Gran Teatro (Grand Theatre) then go out and paint the town red.

The next day have a great breakfast and one last walk around Old Havana before splurging on a taxi directly back to your resort.

======================

1.) The best money you can spend before going to Havana is to buy a Guide Book like Moon, Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, etc.

2.) The best money you can spend after arriving in Havana is to hire a local guide, at least for part of the first day until you're acclimatized. There are lots of excellent guides available, but very few of them have an Internet presence. Plunk "Jorge" or "Pototo" into the search engine here and you'll get lots of feedback regarding their particular tourist services.

3.) Everything you need to know about Money Exchange:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g147270-c109329/Cuba:…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147270-i91-k34958…

4.) Steve's great self-guided Havana tour:

www.7daysinparadise.com/smf/index.php…

5.) The Gran Teatro - or for that matter, almost ANY venue in Havana - is (in my opinion) indescribably more "authentic" than the Tropicana which is sold on all the resort excursions. A couple of months ago I saw world class performances of dance, opera, ballet and several music concerts for less money than 1 ticket at the Tropicana. A few ideas regarding arts/culture/music/etc. in Havana:

www.canalcubano.com/ingles/musica/musica.asp

http://www.cubaabsolutely.com/index.htm

http://www.havananightlife.com/

http://www.hellocuba.ca/havana.php

6.) One of my favourite things to do on a Sunday:

havana-cultura.com/INT/EN/cultura.html#/687

7.) Additional Havana info:

www.cuba-junky.com/havana/havana-city.htm

8.) Some great hotels in Old Havana:

habaguanexhotels.com/en/…havana_hotels.asp

9.) Some Casa Particulars (Cuban version of a Bed & Breakfast) in Havana:

cuba-junky.com/havana/havana-casa-particular…

Have fun.

Cheers,

Terry

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

By the way, very funny handle...

Cheers,

Terry

Edmonton, Canada
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727 posts
39 reviews
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3. Re: Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

Oh my goodness! And here I just wanted confirmation on taxi vs. private vehicle LOL!

Thank you SO MUCH for such a straightforward and insightful summary on how to approach the often-discussed Havana trip.

Thanks again!

4. Re: Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

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Newcastle upon...
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5. Re: Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

There are lots of taxis that sit outside the bus station in Havana, all eager to give you a good price for a trip back to Varadero.

Just be picky about the type of taxi you get remembering its a 3 hour drive!!

There are lots of Lada's etc that are not the safest cars on the roads... one we got from Old Havana to bus station we had to hold the door closed the whole way! Lol its part of the charm

Newcastle upon...
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6. Re: Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

Sorry meant to say also that we got the bus back to Varadero at 6pm on a Friday night... this bus was very busy full of locals heading to the coast for the weekend... so if you use it on a Friday get there in plently of time to get a ticket!

7. Re: Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

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8. Re: Day trip to Habana - transport costs?

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