Urban Taxi in Cuba: Guide for travelers
July 7, 2019
In BandbCuba.com we have prepared this Urban Taxi in Cuba: guide for travelers. There is good variety of cabs you can take from one place to another. From modern cars to bicycles, but which one should you take? Read this post to be prepared for your next trip to the island.
Urban Taxi in Cuba: Guide for travelers
To move around Cuba foreign travelers normally rent a car or take taxis, instead of using public transportation. These two options are the most comfortable. But when it comes to cabs, it can be confusing if don’t know what to expect.
The taxi culture in Cuba is very distinct, as is everything else on the island. Yes, you’ll spot yellow cabs, but these are not the only option. Travelers can take a ride in a modern or a classic car, share cabs with locals or experience a ride on a Coco or a bicitaxi.
Also be prepared to negotiate the price with drivers, because even if the car has a metre, some drivers are willing to negotiate a fixed price. It is important to have a good attitude when taking a taxi. There are drivers who won’t chat too much, but some of them will act as your best friend during the ride. They’ll talk about almost everything, and they can be a good source of information about where to go in Cuba, places to eat and many more.
Let’s take a look on the different types of taxi in Cuba. Some of them are just to move around the city, others take travelers from one town to another. Learn what is the best option for you.
These are the official taxi for tourists, mostly in yellow and they are state run. This means that the drivers have to pay the state a monthly rent to use the car.
This is the type of taxi you’ll find at the airport once you arrive on the island. The range of cars goes from Lada to Mercedes. Most of them offer some comfort to the traveler such as air conditioning and safety belts.
The minimum payment they expect is 5 CUC, but you should know the distance you are traveling to get a fair price. A ride from the airport to Havana is about 30 CUC. Be aware that sometimes you’ll get very different prices for similar distances.
For families traveling with kids, this is a great option because it is convenient
Taxi driving is a profitable industry in Cuba, especially now that the tourist industry is increasing. Private taxis are cars owned by private citizens or companies. Even when they’re not the official Turistaxi, the drivers are licensed, so no need to worry about this.
Most of them are either modern or classic American cars, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cheaper than the regular taxis. The prices of the rides are similar between the two alternatives. Similarly, drivers will negotiate a price too.
You can find them outside restaurants and touristy places.
This group includes the famous classic cars in Cuba. You can explore Havana in a 1940 or a 1950 car. Some of them are owned by the government and others by private citizens who offer good service.
Some travelers rush to take this type of taxi in Havana, but in fact, you can find them in other cities. And the ride will be cheaper than in the capital!
There are companies that offer a good service with these classic cars. Booking in advance will help you to to plan your Cuban experience better.
The taxis colectivos are communal taxis, this means that a group of people share the same car and the price is divided between all of them. They have established routes, travelers can take it in any of the stops and ask the driver to leave them at any point of the route.
Typically these are the types of Havana taxi that locals take to move around the city and they charge 10 to 50 CUP for a ride, depending where are you going. They use Cuban pesos, because this is the way Cubans move around.
To know where to find them you can ask at your accommodation for information. Usually they are close to the bus and the railway station. The rides are cheaper than the previous options and they give you more of a local taste of Cuba.
The cars, also known as “almendrones” are old American cars. They have the reputation to be unsafe and uncomfortable because most of them don’t have safety belt or air conditioning. But now there are companies like Book Taxi Cuba which offers a better service, with three categories of modern cars, according to your needs. This kind of service is perfect if you want to go from one city to another.
Traveling in Cuba in taxis colectivos
Imagine you are in Pinar del Rio and want to go back to Havana. If you didn’t rent a car, you could take a bus. But this mean going to the station to buy a ticket, there could be some delays and the trip is slower than going in a car.
These cars can be really safe. Thoughy you might hear some bad opinions about them because sometimes, they can change you to another car en route. This is common, but not all of them do it.
So what are coco taxis – it is an urban taxi in Cuba named after a fruit, the coconut because of its shape. Transportation in Cuba includes these distinct vehicles. They look like a football helmet, but actually it meant to be similar to the coconut fruit. That’s where it names come from. It can take three persons at the time (really tight) plus the driver who will be sitting in the front.
You’ll see the Coco taxis all around Havana. Is not so comfortable for longer trips but they offer a good experience worth trying. They charge about 1 CUC per mile. You don’t see locals taking coco taxis, they’re for tourists.
The last option are bicitaxis. These are bicycles built to take up to two people at the back seat. It’s also a leisurely touristy way to go around Havana, maybe after a long day of walking.
1 CUC is the minimum price they expect to receive. Be sure to agree a price before taking a ride in a bicitaxi. This is a fun way to know Old Havana from a different perspective and,of course, one of the options you’ll probably want to explore during your stay in the island.
Uber in Cuba
Uber does not work in Cuba, and you will not find a similar app which works on the island. You should be aware that the internet is now is developing slowly on the island. Our recommendation if you are in a private home is to ask the owners to help you find a taxi.
If you want to book online we recommend Taxi2Airport.
Transfer from the Airport
Booking a transfer from the airport in advance ensures availability of your private taxi upon arrival at the airport. You will not have to wait or stand in line, since your driver will be waiting for you with a sign with your name and will help you with your luggage on the way to the car.
If you arrive without a previous reservation and your flight is delayed, you will have to queue to take a taxi that can take more than an hour.
Some tips to catch a taxi in Cuba
We’ve already talked about the types of taxis travelers can find in Cuba. Now take note of the following tips, which also will be helpful.
As we said before, it’s important you’ll learn to negotiate. Don’t be shy and be prepared to ask for a discount from the taxi driver if you think the asking price is too high. Actually you can have some fun during the process.
Women travelling alone have to be careful, especially if they’re traveling at night.
If you are taking a taxi colectivo in Havana, make sure to ask the price so that it will be shared with the other travelers. You will recognize the communal taxi when you’ll see a group of people going on and off the car together.
Also, when you are a tourist you’ll realize that you’ll pay almost the same in every option.
We hope this post helps you to be prepared for your next trip to Cuba. Don’t forget to share this Cuban taxis guide for travelers with your friends. If you’re thinking about your next trip, contact us and we’ll help you to get the best accommodation.