Varadero To Havana: Quickest, Easiest & Fun Ways to Travel

Our family recently took a trip from Varadero to Havana, Cuba. The easiest, and quickest way to make this happen with my then 6 year old, was definitely at the forefront of my mind. If you are anything like me, finding ways to make travel smoother and more enjoyable while travelling, is a big priority.

The easiest and quickest way to get from Varadero to Havana, Cuba is to take a private taxi which costs around $100 – $120 USD one way. The driving distance is 148 km, and takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes by car.

Finding info online was surprisingly difficult and time consuming, so I’ve put together some of our top tips, as well as other travel options should price, time, or experience be factors in your decision.

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How To Get From Vardero to Havana

Planning a trip to Cuba and wondering how to get from Varadero to Havana? We’ve got all the information you need to make the choice that works best for your family, and your travel style.

There are 4 main ways you can get from Varadero to Havana; by taxi, Viazul bus, renting a car or a by tour. It can cost anywhere from $10 USD by bus, on up to $50 – $100 USD / per person by tour. The cost will depend on who you book with, time of the year, and negotiated prices.

  • Easiest and quickest: By Private Taxi
  • Cheapest: Viazul Bus or Hotel Shuttle
  • Most Flexible: Renting a Car
  • Best for Day Trip: Varadero to Havana Tour

1. Varadero To Havana Taxi

There are a few taxi options from Varadero to Havana.

We chose a Private Taxi as it was just our family and the driver. Arranging the taxi was easy from where we were staying and still provided us with enough flexibility for our needs. We just asked our host to arrange the ride for us, and we confirmed the price with our driver.

There was no need to book a rental car months in advance and deal with insurance, car availability, parking, gas or road conditions. Nor was there waiting around in a hot bus station with our luggage and child if the bus was delayed, a distinct possibility in Cuba.

  • Classic cars taxis from the 40’s and 50’s are mostly privately owned, and capable of holding up to 5 passengers. These cars are a fun way to travel short distances, tour a city, or get the quintessential Cuba picture in. We decided to forgo a city transfer with one of these cars as they don’t have air conditioning or seat belts and are quite noisy for longer trips.
  • Mini-Vans are not that common, and difficult to find. They can fit up to 7 passengers. If you have a large family, booking ahead of time through a tour company would be a good option, or use a Shuttle service out of your resort/hotel.
  • Shared Taxi (Taxi Colectivo) is a slightly less expensive option if you have a small family and don’t mind sharing a taxi with 1 or 2 other people you don’t know. These are available in front of the Viazul Bus station and taxi drivers wait around until their car is full to leave.
PRO TAXI TIPS: Always confirm price with your driver BEFORE you get in the car, that way there are no misunderstandings.
Bring cash, as that is how you will need to pay your driver.
Taxi Sign inside a Cuban Taxi, city in background.
From Varadero to Havana by taxi.
Cuban Taxi

How To Arrange Or Find A Varadero to Havana Taxi

Taxis from Varadero to Havana can be arranged through your resort, hotel, or casa. You can also grab one directly outside your resort or at the Viazul bus station in downtown Varadero (36 y Autopista). 

We let our casa hosts know a day or two ahead of time any time we needed a taxi, and they were happy to arrange one for us.

How Much Is A Taxi From Varadero To Havana?

The cost of a taxi from Varadero to Havana ranges from:

  • Private Taxis are one of the more expensive options and generally cost around $100 – $120 USD.
  • Shared Taxis cost around $20 – $30 per person.
  • Classic Car Tour Taxi (depends on # of passengers) – costs between $180 – $195

Tipping: Our research recommended anywhere from $1 to $5 USD per taxi trip. As a family our philosophy is to tip generously when we can, especially if they go above and beyond. Our taxi driver took us to a view point and went out of his way to find our casa particular in Havana, which was very difficult to find, so we tipped more than the recommended $5.

👉 Did you know there are also some great beaches near Havana? Don’t forget to pack all your beach essentials

How Long Is A Taxi Ride From Varadero To Havana?

A private taxi will take anywhere from 2 – 2.5+ hours, to drive from Varadero to Havana. Length of time depends on road conditions, your driver and if you stop to sightsee along the way.

Sightseeing Tip: Take a 30 minute break at the highest bridge in Cuba, the Puente de Bacunayagua. This viewpoint is about an hour outside Varadero, so is the perfect place to stretch your legs, have a drink, a snack and take a bathroom break. The highlight is the gorgeous view of the canyon with ocean on one side and the bridge / inland rolling hills on the other.

Puente de Bacunayagua

Advantages Of Taking A Private Taxi

The advantages of Private Taxis are they can be arranged through your resort, hotel or casa for your preferred day and time.

This is a bonus if your Spanish is limited, as they make the arrangements for you. All you and your family have to do is show up at the designated time and away you go, directly to your drop off destination in Havana.

PRO TIP: Write down the address and phone number of where you are staying on a piece of paper, which you can give to your driver, instead of your phone.

This came in handy for us as we were staying in an out of the way Casa Particular in Nuevo Vedado, Havana. Our taxi driver had to show the paper to numerous people to find the street we were staying on.

👉 Check out all the best things to do in Varadero

2. Bus From Varadero To Havana

One of the cheapest ways to travel from Varadero to Havana is by Viazul Bus.

Viazul is the Cuban bus company that provides an affordable way to travel between Cuba’s main urban centres and tourist areas around the country.

They have buses (with on-board toilets) that travel between Varadero and Havana, or vice versa typically two to three times daily. Check their schedule online to be safe. The bus makes stops at the Varadero Airport, Matanzas and 3 stops in Havana; Old Havana, Vedado, and eastern Vedado. 

How Much Does The Bus Cost from Varadero to Havana?

The Viazul bus costs $9 USD for adults and $6 USD for kids one way from either Varadero or the Varadero Airport to Havana, Cuba. You must use a credit credit card, as cash is apparently not accepted.

Where To Find The Viazul Bus Station in Varadero?

In Varadero, the Viazul terminal is called the Omnibus Terminal and is located at Calle 36 y Autopista de varadero, Phone +53 45614886. 

PRO BUS TIPS: Reserve your trip online through their website at least one week in advance, as buses book up quickly, especially on weekends. For Last Minute tickets (not recommended if possible), you must present yourself at least 2 hours before the scheduled departure of the bus.

Bring a printed copy of your reservation email, and check in / validate your ticket at the desk more than 60 minutes before departure. They close the check-in 60 minutes before, and you don’t want to miss your bus.

How Long Does the Bus Take?

The Varadero to Havana bus trip takes about 3 hours. The most up to date route and bus schedule and can be found on the Viazul website. Here is the latest bus schedule I found on the Viazul website:

Varadero to Havana Bus Schedule, Cuba

VaraderoDeparture12:5516:00
Varadero Airport / Aeropuerto de VaraderoDeparture13:2516:30
Havana / HabanaArrival16:0018:55

Havana to Varadero Bus Schedule, Cuba

Havana / HabanaDeparture8:3016:40
Varadero Airport / Aeropuerto de VaraderoDeparture11:2019:30
VaraderoArrival11:4020:45

Advantages Of Taking The Viazul Bus

The Viazul bus is a cheap, reasonably comfortable way to see Cuba. The bus has multiple stops in different areas in Havana, which would then be a short taxi ride away to your accommodations. It’s also a great way to travel like a local.

👉 More Cuba tips: How to get WIFI & Internet in Cuba

3. Varadero To Havana Tour

Tours are a great way to do a day trip to Havana if you don’t have a lot of time, or if you want to combine some sight seeing activities with your city transfer.

Tour packages or shuttle services (Transfer Colectivos) between some Varadero resorts and Havana Hotels are also offered by a number of our agencies.

CUBA TIP: We recommend spending some time figuring out what you and your family would like to get out of the tour. This will give you a better idea of where to focus your research to find the tour best suited for your family.

Some things to consider when choosing a tour

  • What you would like to see or do?
  • What is your budget?
  • How will this tour fit into your trip as a whole?
  • What is the best tour length for your individual family member needs?
  • How flexible is the tour in terms of timing or activities?
  • Is the tour price all inclusive, or will you have to pay for things like food, museums, attractions separately?
  • Do they have tour guides that speak a language you are fluent in?
  • Are these tours highly recommended?

Personal tours with just your family and a guide can be tailored to your needs, better than a large group tour with a full, set itinerary.

Recommendations from friends, family or acquaintances, or through sites like trip advisor, can give you an idea if the tour is highly recommended, or not.

I like to take into consideration who is making the recommendation. Some of the best gems I’ve found have not been highly recommended by others due to personal tastes, or expecting things to be the same as home.

What Is The Cost For A Varadero To Havana Tour?

Tours typically charge per person and can range anywhere from $55 to $200 USD per person or more, depending on how many people, type of vehicle, length of time, activities and services included.

Shuttles (Transfer Colectivo) between your Varadero resort to a Havana hotel are another affordable option that is only a little more expensive than the Viazul bus at around $20 USD per person. Arrange ahead of time online or through your resort.

How Long Is A Varadero To Havana Tour?

Time will vary depending on the type of tour you take. Options range from 3 hour trips between Varadero to Havana that added in a little sightseeing, to 12 hour day trips return, overnighters or even a few days. The sky’s the limit for your imagination (and budget).

Advantages of A Tour

Grabbing a private taxi tour between Varadero & Havana is often only a little more expensive than just the transfer itself. Tours can often be tailored to your needs, so they provide a fun way to make a city to city transfer or if you are looking for a day trip away from the resort and beach.

Havana is a place full of culture, history, delicious food and interesting architecture. We highly recommend venturing off resort and getting a a taste of the real Cuba.

👉 Grab more ideas with our One Day Havana Itinerary or amazing places to eat in Havana, Cuba that both kids and adults will love.

4. Varadero to Havana: Car Rental

If you prefer travelling independently and having the flexibility to make and change your schedule, this may be the option for you. Right now with fuel shortages, you may find it easier just to pay a local to take you around, than to figure out where and how to buy gas.

Here are some things to consider first:

  • Booking your car online at least 2-3 months in advance is strongly recommended, especially during peak season (November to February). There are relatively few cars for rent in Cuba, so even if you do book in advance you may have to wait a few hours to a day or two extra to get your car.
  • Watch out for online car rental scams
  • Cars are not always well maintained, and manual transmission is more common.
  • Fuel shortages can make filling up a challenge
  • Driving is considered fairly easy in Cuba due to the low number of cars on the roads, but navigation can be a challenge due to the lack of road signs.
  • GPS is not an option with your car rental, so make sure to buy a paper map or download an offline map of Cuba before you go. Maps.me is a good choice.
  • Driving only during daylight hours is recommended due to poorer road conditions, lack of streetlights and the potential for wandering livestock outside of major cities.
  • Don’t leave car parked unattended – park somewhere there is a parking attendant or pay someone a couple of dollars to keep an eye on your car.
  • If you are in an accident, you will likely not be allowed to leave Cuba until the trial is over. This can take 5 months to a year.

PRO TIP: Check out your government travel advisories (Canada, USA) for Cuba before you leave, to get the latest scoop on safety, entry/exit requirements, health, and laws.

Where Can You Rent A Car in Cuba?

There are four main rental companies in Cuba, that are state owned: CubaCar, Havanautos, and REX and Via Rent A Car.

Rex is a little more expensive but generally considered to have a better reputation, keeping in mind all are owned by the same government. You can make reservations online through both Cuban and foreign agencies. Cars can also be rented at hotels and airports.

You can use online travel agencies like Holiplus to rent a car in Cuba.

Cost Of Car Rental In Cuba

Renting a car in Cuba is not cheap. Car rentals start at $50 – $90 USD per day for a basic economic car during low season, up to $200-$300 USD per day for a luxury car. You will also need to pay $20 USD a day for insurance, and deposit of around $200 USD.

Taxis & old cars in front of stone buildings. in Havana.
Taxis along Paseo del Prado, Havana

Advantages Of Renting A Car In Cuba

Renting a car can provide more freedom and flexibility, especially while travelling with children. You can choose your own route, decide when and where you want to go, and change your plans last minute. For some people this is reason enough to rent a car.

It is also a good option if you are bringing a car seat with you.

Other advantages for families include:

  • Seat belts! Buses and many taxis do not have seat belts.
  • Efficient way to store all your gear ( strollers, backpacks, favorite teddy bears)
  • You can go at your own pace and stop to stretch your legs or enjoy the view whenever you want.

👉 Wondering what the car seat situation is like in Cuba? Check out Cuba and Car seats – What You Need To Know.

Everyone has different comfort levels for risk and adventure, only you know what works best for you and your family. There are a lot of great options to make your way from Varadero to Havana.

Have you travelled from Varadero to Havana? What do you recommend? let us know in the comments below or connect with us on social media. We’d LOVE to hear from you!

FAQs

How much does it cost to get from Varadero to Havana?

The cost to get from Varadero to Havana, Cuba depends on what mode of transportation you take, the time of year, and who you book with. Here are the average costs in USD:

  • By local bus – $10 per
  • Taxi (one-way) – From $100
  • Mini Van Taxi – From $135 to $170+
  • Private classic car tour – from $120
  • Group tour – From $55

How much is a taxi from Varadero airport to Havana?

A taxi from Varadero Airport to Havana will cost from $100USD+ depending on the number of people travelling, and what kind of vehicle is used. Generally a mini van that fits 5-7 people starts at about $135USD and can be upwards of $170+ USD.

What is the easiest way to get from Varadero to Havana?

The easiest and quickest way to get from Varadero to Havana, with our without kids is to hire a “modern” private taxi. They can pick you up from your hotel, resort or casa, and then drive you directly to your destination. A private Cuban taxi is also the most flexible, as you can ask your driver to make stops, or do a little sightseeing.

What is the Cheapest Way to get from Varadero to Havana?

The cheapest way to get from Varadero to Havana is to take the Viazul Bus. The bus costs $9USD per person, and takes around 3 hours, stopping along the way at the Veradero Airport, Matanzas and ending in Havana at the Terminal de Omnibus Nacionales, on Ave. Independencia esq 19 de mayo.

how far is varadero from havana?

Varadero is about 94 miles (145km) from Havana, along the gorgeous Via Blanca, which follows the oceanside. The drive takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes in either a taxi or your rental car.

Is Varadero close to Havana?

Varadero, Cuba’s favorite beach destination is fairly close to Havana. It’s approximately a 2 hour and 15 minute drive, and a distance of 94 miles along the oceanside Via Blanca route. While most tourists fly into Varadero for the week, Havana is a popular place to spend a day or two to take in the more cultural sites of Cuba.

Can you do a day trip from Varadero to Havana?

Yes you can do a day trip from Varadero to Havana either on your own, or with a tour. A day trip will allow you to get a good feel for Havana, take a classic car tour, and have time to walk around the Old Havana area. Your excursion can be just for the day, returning in the evening, or you stay overnight, and return the next day.

Hiring a private taxi tour is the best way to go in terms of flexibility, and timing. You can choose when and where to go, but it is the more expensive option.

Is there Uber in Cuba?

No there isn’t Uber or Lyft available in Cuba. Your best bet for transportation are the local taxis, that are easy to flag down around both Havana and Varadero. Or get your hotel, resort or casa host to call one for you.

Related travel articles:

Varadero to Havana

Featured photo: Canva / Getty Images

4 thoughts on “Varadero To Havana: Quickest, Easiest & Fun Ways to Travel”

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