There is no Uber in Cuba but Cuba does have La Nave. The La Nave mobile app has a similar user interface and feels just like Uber.
Here’s how you can get La Nave and save on transport costs around Cuba. For all other questions about Cuba you should see my Cuba FAQ page.
How to use La Nave
Download La Nave
La Nave is available from both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. And you will need a VPN to access either store when in Cuba.
You can find La Nave at https://lanave.app
Once you have accessed the La Nave app and have it on your device you will notice it looks exactly like Uber. Cuba has no copyright laws and they simply don’t hide the fact they’ve copied Uber.
La Nave is the sole mobile app for transport in Cuba. The former mobile app for Cuba was Bajanda. But Bajanda no longer functions in Cuba and has shut down after its owners fled from Cuba.
Nevertheless La Nave has a more intuitive (Uber copy) GUI and is much easier to use. It also has more drivers available at all hours of the day.
With the exception of a major festivity like New Years Eve or New Years Day you will not have to wait long for a La Nave.
Get A Cuban Mobile SIM Card To Use La Nave
La Nave works off mobile data and gps. Just like Uber. La Nave will not work for you if you do not have a Cuban SIM card and a local mobile phone number.
Go to your nearest Cubacel store and purchase a Cuban mobile SIM card for your phone. Mobile SIM cards in Cuba are cheap. And Mobile data is competitively priced.
At current rates I pay approximately $5.50US for 16gb of data on Cubacel. And Cubacel features fast 4G LTE. We upload 4K video to Youtube from a Cubacel 4G LTE connection and have no speed issues.
Once you have a local SIM card and phone number you will need to use that number to sign up. The sign up process will require your phone to receive a verification text message to your Cuban cell phone number.
It’s free to sign up. And payments to drivers are made in cash. You will not need a credit or debit card.
Using The Cuban Uber To Get Around Cuba
Just like the original Uber you’re familiar with, La Nave will use GPS to determine your pickup location and require you to set your destination. It will then state the prices and give you 4 vehicle options.
The options are basic, comfort, basic XL and comfort XL. The prices will reflect the vehicle type and category with a standard ‘Basic’ Lada being the cheapest option.
Yet using the Basic option I more often get cool old cars. This is because almost everyone using the mobile app to get around Cuba only selects basic and aren’t willing to pay more. Therefore the ‘comfort’ options often turn up when ‘basic’ is selected.
You should also not expect a very modern or ‘comfortable’ vehicle when selecting the ‘comfort’ option. Often the difference is that the Lada that arrives when you select ‘comfort’ has a functional exhaust or 3 out of 4 wheel nuts for your safety.
All transport options in Cuba will result in rickety old s**t boxes arriving to pick you up. Personally I just shrug and chalk it up to Cuba. I just accept whatever vehicle turns up when I select ‘basic’.
A basic La Nave from Vedado to Old Havana (Habana Vieja) should cost little more than 400CUP. Which is roughly $2.4 US but all payments are in the local currency. Tips are not expected and tipping cab drivers in Cuba is not part of the culture.
Alternatives Mobile Applications
There are no functional mobile applications that offer alternatives. You can try your luck flagging down a taxi and will likely be ripped off and end up paying double what a La ave would cost.
Or you can pack onto the bus or into a collectivo. But you should be warned that scabies are endemic in Cuba and these transport options are where I’ve had friends get scabies.
If you’re happy to spend a portion of your holiday looking for parasite meds on the black market, feel free to use these transport methods often. Personally I would just pay the $2-3 for a La Nave.
You will also find that buses, collectivos and more expensive taxis prevent you from seeing certain places. Either because they don’t go the way you want or are prohibitively expensive.
For example, we paid roughly $12 to get to a Finca in Guanabacoa for a YouTube video. A cab was the only other option and it would have cost more than $100.
You can see videos of us using La Nave and the places we go on our YouTube channel – an example of one such destination is below.
Finca Vista Hermosa in Guanabacoa – You won’t get here without a La Nave
Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?
I’ve made a Cuba Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page available on this website. And I would strongly advise you to read it before travelling to Cuba.
My Cuba FAQ page will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared.
Read the Cuba FAQ page here.