In order to get to and from the Havana Airport (José Martí international Airport) you have three (3) main options. Those options are hotel transfer, taxi and La Nave (Cuban Uber).
Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Transport Options Between José Martí international Airport and Havana
Hotel Transfer To And From Havana Airport
If you’re staying in a (good) hotel in Havana they will often offer free transfers between the José Martí international Airport and the hotel.
You should check with your preferred hotel to see if they offer free airport transfers before booking.
Remember, this is Cuba. If you don’t ask for a transfer to and from Havana airport before booking they will likely offer it to you after booking for a fee. And that fee will be equivalent too or higher than our next two (2) transport options.
Taxi To And From Havana Airport
The yellow taxis in Cuba are all government owned and operated. But this does not mean they are like government regulated taxis elsewhere in the world.
The yellow taxis in Havana have no meters. You will need to negotiate a price with the taxi driver before agreeing to ride with them. And the price can change during the trip. It’s also likely that they will try to short change you (scam).
Typically, yellow government taxis make up the price they will charge you based on how much of a foreign sucker you appear to be. They will also want to be paid for your trip to or from the Havana airport in USD or Euro.
The prices I hear most often quoted to tourists range from $25USD to $50USD. But I have heard some prices being quoted as high as $100USD.
Now, none of the prices the yellow taxis charge are realistic prices. You will notice in Havana that none of the locals use the yellow taxis.
The yellow taxis are always sitting around tourist hotspots waiting for foreigners. This is because the prices being quoted are ridiculous.
The sole benefit of the yellow taxis are that they are always around the airport. And you don’t need an operational mobile phone or local currency to get one to Havana. But again, they will try to extract as much cash from you as they possibly can.
I never pay more than the local peso equivalent of $15USD to $18USD for a one way trip to or from the Havana airport. I’ve even paid as low as $15USD for a round trip. I personally use the next option in this article.
La Nave – Cuban Uber To And From Havana Airport
I’ve previously covered La Nave on this website. But here’s how to get a La Nave to and from Havana Airport (José Martí international Airport).
To use La Nave and to guarantee it works you will need four (4) things.
First, you will need a local SIM card in your phone or SIM capable of roaming in Cuba. Second, you will need the La Nave mobile application on your device. The third thing you will need is local currency (Moneda Nacional known as CUP).
Finally, to guarantee that La Nave works for you at all times and does not drop out, you should have a VPN on your device. A VPN for Cuba is optional.
La Nave will work without a VPN most of the time. But on some occasions you will need a VPN to make La Nave work or you will see ‘bad gateway’ and the app will glitch.
But besides La Nave sometimes not working without a VPN, most other foreign websites and apps will not work at all without a VPN. Remember, Cuba is under sanctions and most foreign services including the app stores are blocked without a VPN.
I use and recommend NordVPN for Cuba. But you can use whatever you like as long as you have it on your device before arriving into Cuba. After you arrive in Cuba putting a VPN onto your device is a much more complicated process I’ve detailed here.
My last trip to the Havana Airport from Central Havana (Feb 2023) using La Nave cost me $3000CUP. Or $17USD at peak hour based on the prevailing exchange rate on that day.
La Nave will also email you an invoice. So after the trip you can prove your travel or claim your expenses.
The La Nave invoice comes in useful if you need to prove you avoided Cuban Government hotels and services (Americans) or if you’re traveling for business and need to detail expenses for tax.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cuba
For a list of all the questions I frequently get asked about Cuba, I’ve made a Cuba FAQ page available here. You should read this FAQ page before travelling to Cuba. It will save you a lot of time, stress and money.
Should you have a question that isn’t covered on the Cuba FAQ page you should check out the Cuba section on this site. Or head over to our Cuba Youtube.
And as a last resort you can send the question through to me via the contact page on this website and I will endeavour to answer it and update the FAQ page to cover that question.