Urban Taxi in Cuba: Discover All Your Options

urban taxi cuba

At CubaNews.today we have prepared this guide on urban cab in Cuba to help you enjoy your trip to the fullest.

If you are planning an adventure on the island, there are many options for getting from one place to another. From modern cars, antique cars and even bicycles. In this post we tell you everything you need to know to choose the right means of transportation. 

Urban cab in Cuba: Discover all your options

Foreign travelers usually choose to rent a car or use a cab to move around Cuba. 

Both of these options are convenient and easy to use. However, it can be difficult to choose the best means of transportation if you are not familiar with the cab culture on the island. And believe me, it is quite particular. 

If you plan to travel to Cuba and use cabs, it is important to know that the cab culture on the island is different from what you are used to. 

Instead of the yellow cabs common in other countries, in Cuba you can find modern and classic cars, share cabs with locals, or even take a ride in a Coco-taxi or a bicitaxi. Very peculiar!

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that it is common to negotiate the price with the drivers. Although some cabs are metered, drivers are often willing to accept a fixed price. Don’t forget this tip and you will save, perhaps, a good deal of money.

Also, the attitude you adopt when taking a cab in Cuba can make all the difference.

Yes, some drivers may be reserved, while others may act as if they were your best friend during the ride. 

Take advantage of this opportunity to get valuable information about interesting places to visit, places to eat and much more. Cuban cab drivers know more and better than any guidebook or tourist map.

State cabs for tourists

If you are planning to travel to Cuba, it is important to know that “turitaxis” are the official state-run cabs for tourists. 

Most are yellow and offer amenities such as air conditioning and seat belts. Drivers pay a monthly rental fee to the state for using the car.

You are likely to find such cabs at the airport when you arrive on the island, especially if you arrive via Havana.

The cars range from Lada models (from the Soviet era, although they are less and less seen in tourist transport) to Mercedes-Benz. 

The minimum price they expect is 5 USD, but you must take into account the distance you will travel to get a fair price. 

For example, a trip from the airport to Havana can cost around 30 USD. Keep in mind that sometimes you will get very different prices for similar distances. You have to negotiate and sometimes ask more than one cab driver.

For families traveling with children, state cabs are an excellent option for their comfort. However, it is important to remember that the price can vary a lot and that it is common to negotiate the price with the drivers.

Private taxis

In Cuba, driving cabs is a profitable industry, especially due to the growing tourism sector that is slowly recovering after the pandemic hiatus.

Private cabs are cars owned by private individuals. Although they are not official cabs, the drivers are usually licensed, so you don’t have to worry about that.

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Most private cabs are modern or classic American cars, and that does not necessarily mean that they are cheaper than regular cabs.

The fares are usually similar between the two options. As in the case of turitaxis, it is also common to negotiate the price with private cab drivers.

You can find private cabs outside restaurants and tourist sites.

Be sure to discuss the fare before getting into the car to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Classic cars

If you want to experience a ride in one of Cuba’s famous classic cars, you can do so in Havana or other cities on the island. 

Some are owned by the government, while others, most of them, belong to private individuals who offer quality service.

Although some travelers rush to take this type of cab in Havana, it is possible to find classic cars in other Cuban cities at lower prices.

In addition, there are companies that offer services with these cars and allow you to book in advance and online to better plan your experience in Cuba.

Collective cabs

Collective cabs in Cuba are shared by several people, which means that the price is divided among all passengers.

They have fixed routes, and travelers can get on at any stop and ask the driver to drop them off at any point along the route.

These cabs in Havana are commonly used by locals to get around the city and usually have a minimum fare of 50 Cuban pesos. 

However, prices can vary and go up to more than 100 Cuban pesos, depending on the destination of the trip. For example, a trip from Vedado to Old Havana could cost 100 pesos at the present time (2022).

They usually use Cuban pesos, as this is the currency with which Cubans move on a daily basis. Although the dollar and other foreign currencies such as the euro, Canadian dollar, Mexican pesos, etc., are increasingly in circulation. 

To find a collective cab, you can ask at your accommodation or at the nearest bus or train station. 

Collective cab rides are usually cheaper than other options and allow you to get to know the local culture of Cuba.

The cars used in these collective services, also known as “almendrones”, are old American cars that have gained fame for their lack of safety and comfort.

Gazelles (Metrotaxi)

The state-run collective cab service in Havana is known by Cubans as “Gacelas”. This name is related to the brand of vehicles used for this service (Russian GAZ vans).

These cabs have fixed routes and also fixed boarding points, as if they were a bus.

Although computerization is advancing slowly in Cuba, it has borne some fruit, such as the official MovilWeb Rutero application.

This mobile application allows users to access information on the itineraries and routes of rutero cabs (known as “gazelles”) that circulate in Havana. In addition, it allows users to visualize the location of these vehicles in real time.

MovilWeb Rutero is designed for phones with Android operating system and requires an Internet connection to show the location of the vehicles in real time.

Cocotaxis

Cocotaxis are a type of urban cab in Cuba that takes its name from the coconut fruit due to its peculiar shape.

This vehicle can carry three people, very tightly packed, plus the driver, who sits in front.

You can see them all over Havana, although they are not very comfortable for long trips.

They offer a unique experience worth trying. They charge around 1 USD per kilometer. 

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Locals rarely use cocotaxis, as they are more of a tourist option.

In Havana, the cocotaxis are easily recognizable by their bright yellow color. They do not usually travel faster than 30 km/h, which makes them an ideal option for those who want to enjoy a leisurely ride around the city and take photos and videos.

However, despite their simplicity, the prices of cocotaxis can sometimes exceed those of other types of cabs.

Cocotaxis usually circulate exclusively in Havana, although they can also be found in the beach resort of Varadero.

Bicitaxis

Bicitaxis are another option for getting around Havana. They are three-wheeled cycles built to carry up to two people in the back seat.

It is a touristy way to tour the city without rushing, perhaps after a long day of walking.

One U.S. dollar is the minimum price usually charged by bicycle cab drivers, at least in Havana. In the interior of the country you may find more affordable prices. 

Tip: be sure to agree on a price before taking a ride in this type of vehicle.

It’s a fun way to get to know Old Havana (Havana’s most historic, touristy and beautiful area) from a different perspective and, without a doubt, an option you’ll love to explore during your stay on the island.

Uber in Cuba

In Cuba it is not possible to use Uber or similar apps, as the Internet is still slowly developing on the island.

Cuba is a country under U.S. sanctions, which prevents many U.S. companies, such as Uber and the like, from operating in the country. 

On top of that, there is the fact that Cuba puts a lot of hurdles and involves a lot of risks for foreign investors.

If you are in a private home, you can ask the owners to help you find a cab.

Cuban entrepreneurs have created over time several apps and services similar to Uber that work in the local Cuban environment.

Some examples of transportation services that can be found in Cuba are Sube, Bajanda and La Nave. We could also mention Happy Taxi, a service that we have tested and that works very well.

Transfer from the airport

If you book an airport transfer in advance, you can be sure that you will have a private cab available upon arrival in Cuba.

You will not have to wait or queue, as your driver will be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it and will help you with your luggage on the way to the car.

If you arrive without a reservation and your flight is delayed, you will have to queue for a cab, which can take more than an hour.

Some tips for taking a cab in Cuba

If you are planning to travel to Cuba, it is important to keep in mind the following tips for taking a cab in the country:

  • Learn to negotiate: don’t be afraid to ask the cab driver for a discount if you think the price you are being asked is too high.
  • Be careful if you are traveling alone: women traveling alone in particular should be careful, especially if traveling at night.
  • If you are taking a collective cab in Havana, be sure to ask the price and share it with other passengers. You can identify a collective cab when you see a group of people getting in and out of a vehicle together.
  • Keep in mind that as a tourist, you will pay almost the same in any of the cab options available.

We hope these tips will help you prepare for your next trip to Cuba.

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