Getting There

Unless you’re on a charter flight you’re likely to fly into Havana’s Jose Mari International airport, 15 km southwest of the city. Virgin Atlantic  and Cubana de Aviacion fly direct from London to Havana. Iberia flies via Madrid. There are plenty of flights from Mexico, Canada and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Other international airports include Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba and Varadero.

You’ll need to pay CUC$25 departure tax when you leave.

There aren’t any scheduled ferry services to the island and due to the US embargo no American cruise shops will dock there. However non-US cruise ships do call at Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and coastal resorts such as Cayo Coco.

Getting Around

A domestic flight is a good idea if you want to start in eastern Cuba and work your way back to Havana. Cubana de Aviacion and AeroCaribbean are the main carriers, operating flights between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Guantanamo, Bayamo and more. These flights take between 2-2.5 hours.

Cuba might have been the sixth country in the world to develop a rail network but these days the system isn’t the most reliable. The best routes for tourists run from Havana to Santiago de Cuba or Santa Clara. You can also take the Hershey Train, an electric railcar originally built by the chocolate empire that runs from Havana to Hershey and Matanzas. Find out more from The Man in Seat Sixty-One.

If you’re not on an organised tour, buses are a good option for exploring the rest of the country. The two main bus companies are Viazul (more expensive, air-con and used mainly by tourists), and Astro (cheaper, less comfortable and used more by locals).

Nothing beats whizzing along Havana’s Malecón in a Coco taxi, but make sure you haggle for a price. If you want to go farther afield hiring a car is an option though this will be a lot easier if you speak Spanish. Make sure you buy a decent map as road signs are scarce.

Providing you take all your kit with you, biking in Cuba is easy thanks to the lack of traffic and a bike lane on all roads, even highways.