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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Havana

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Havana each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1-2: Triumph of the Cuban Revolution and Victory of the Armed Forces (national)

While celebrating the New Year, Cubans also get to pay tribute to the Triumph of the Revolution of January 1st 1959 which saw the victory of Fidel Castro and the fall of Fulgencio Batista on what became Liberation Day.

May 1: Labour Day (national)

This large gathering commemorates Labour Day on Revolution Square.

May 20: National Independence Day (national)

On 20 May 1902, Cuba proclaimed its independence. On the occasion of the commemoration, infantry, cavalry and military vehicles parade.

July 26: National Rebellion (national)

On 26 July, the country commemorates the failed attack of Fidel Castro against the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba in 1953.

August 1-31: Carnival of Havana (local)

You will come across congas, percussion of all kinds, flamboyant costumes and impressive effigies at the annual carnival in Havana. Along the Malecón , admire comparsas   (troops of dancers), decorated floats and muñecones (papier-mâché giants).

October 10: Grito de Yara or the Celebration of the Ten Years' War (national)

The Ten Years' War began on October 10th 1868 under the leadership of sugar mill owner and lawyer Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, assisted by a group of patriots installed in his Demajagua sugar mill. They demanded freedom and independence.

25 December: Christmas (national)

Christmas is again celebrated in Cuba after being reintroduced as a holiday in 1998. Havana residents gather and march through the streets with maracas, castanets and bells and sing the praise of the Christ Child as they progress along their route.

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Havana

Havana has a tropical climate. Average temperatures range from 22/28 °C (71.6/82.4 °F). The dry season (November to May) is generally considered the best time to visit the Cuban capital.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January 18 / 64.4 26 / 78.8 63 / 2.5 Good period to go Good period to go
February 18 / 64.4 26 / 78.8 68 / 3.1 Good period to go Good period to go
March 19 / 66.2 27 / 80.6 45 / 1.8 Good period to go Good period to go
April 21 / 69.8 28 / 82.4 53 / 2 Good period to go Good period to go
May 22 / 71.6 29 / 84.2 99 / 3.9 Good period to go Good period to go
June 23 / 73.4 30 / 86 183 / 7.2 Not the best period to go
July 23 / 73.4 31 / 87.8 107 / 4.2 Not the best period to go
August 24 / 75.2 31 / 87.8 99 / 3.9 Not the best period to go
September 23 / 73.4 31 / 87.8 145 / 5.7 Not the best period to go
October 23 / 73.4 29 / 84.2 180 / 7 Not the best period to go
November 21 / 69.8 27 / 80.6 89 / 3.5 Good period to go Good period to go
December 19 / 66.2 26 / 78.8 58 / 2.3 Good period to go Good period to go
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JOSÉ MARTÍ INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN HAVANA

The José Martí International Airport in Havana is the largest airport in Cuba. It is located about 15 kilometres southwest of Havana.

  • Four terminals
    • Terminal 1: Domestic Terminal
    • Terminal 2: US Terminal
    • Terminal 3: International Terminal (Air France)
    • Terminal 5: Caribbean Terminal

Travelling between the airport and Havana:
  • By car
    • From the Carretera Central and Calle 10 de Octubre, it takes about 30 minutes to reach the city centre.
    • There are two car parks near Terminals 2 and 3. The Terminal 3 parking lot has a capacity of 750 spaces and the Terminal 2 a capacity of 500.
    • The counters for car rental companies are located in the arrivals hall of Terminal 2 and 3.
  • Bus
    • The Viazul bus company serves Terminal 1.
    • The journey to the city centre costs CUC 133 (Cuban Convertible Peso) and tickets can be purchased directly at the bus station. Departures are every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Before your departure, you can check the schedule on their website(viazul.cu).
  • Shuttles
    • Shuttles can take you or your group to the city centre. You can reserve in advance with your hotel or tour operator
  • Taxi
    • Taxis are waiting outside the Arrivals Hall of Terminal 3. The journey to the centre of Havana costs CUC 20 to 25 and takes 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Services: Bars and restaurants, shops, currency exchange counters and wifi access (for a fee). There is no baggage check.
  • Website: havana-airport.org
  • Telephone: +53 7 649 5777

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GETTING AROUND Havana

Several means of transport allow you to explore the city, but hitchhiking is not recommended.

By Car

Driving a car in Havana is a great way to get around the city with complete freedom. However, note that signage is often insufficient. You should also stay alert and avoid driving at night.

For short distances and under 100 miles, it can be less expensive to order taxis.

Bus

Buses are a reliable and convenient way to travel in Cuba, at least in the most touristy areas. Apart from the Viazul company, there are also local buses called guaguas . Tickets cost CUC 0.40 to 1. Havana was recently equipped with a new fleet of buses (MetroBus de La Habana).

Bicycle

Most roads in Cuba are lined with bicycle paths. You can rent a bike for about CUC 3 per hour or CUC 15 per day. Cubans do not wear helmets, so bring your own. Remember to get a lock as bicycle theft is common.

Taxi

Taxis have a CUC 1 pick-up charge plus CUC 1 per mile. They may also offer you an inclusive fare for the whole trip.

Please note, tricycle-taxis (three-wheel bicycles equipped with two seats behind the driver) are not authorised to take tourists.

Horse-drawn carriages

Horse-drawn carriages (coches de caballo) are available on some fixed routes, for example, between the bus / train station and the city centre, for about CUC 1.

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Visitor information

Once you arrive in Havana, don't hesitate to be in touch with tourism professionals for information and help in organising your stay.

National Office of Tourist Information (Oficina Nacional de Información Turística)

  • Adress: Calle 28 No. 303 e/ 3ra. y 5ta. Ave., Playa La Habana
  • Telephone: +53 7 204 4016 or +53 7 204 6635
  • Website: www.infotur.cu

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel.

All travellers, foreigners and Cubans, are required to present documents proving they have a travel insurance policy covering medical expenses and assistance for repatriation. This certificate is issued free of charge by insurers and payment card companies (Visa and MasterCard).

Vaccination

No vaccination is required to enter Cuba. However, recommended vaccines before departure are:

  • Diphtheria-tetanus-polio
  • Typhoid fever
  • Viral hepatitis A and B.

Air france vaccination centre

For more information, contact the Air France Vaccination Centre:

Food safety recommendations

It is recommended to:

  • avoid ice cubes in drinks;
  •  ensure that foods are sufficiently cooked, avoid eating fish, shellfish and seafood, carefully wash your hands before each meal.

Water

Tap water is not safe to drink. Favour bottled mineral water instead.

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Administrative procedures

Entry requirements for the territory of Cuba

Inquire at the Cuban consulate of the country of residence for your specific requirements. In most countries, a valid passport and a tourist card are sufficient. For more information, you may also consult the official website of the Cuban government: www.cubaweb.cu

 

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Useful addresses

To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Havana, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.

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Essential phrases

Here are a few useful phrases in Spanish for your stay in Havana.

Good morning: buenos dias

Good afternoon: buenas tardes

Good evening: Buenas noches

Good bye: adios

Yes: si

No: No

No, thank you: No gracias

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias

I don't understand: No comprendo

Could you repeat that?: Puede repetir

Please : Por favor

What time is it?: ¿ Qué hora es ?

Excuse me?: Discúlpeme

Airport: aeropuerto

Train station: estación

Taxi: taxi

Hotel: hotel

Hospital: hospital

Bank: Banco

Telephone: teléfono

I am (...) : Soy (...)

I'm looking for (...) : Estoy buscando (...)

How much is it?: ¿Cuál es el precio de (...)

Do you have (...)?: ¿Tiene usted (...)

Where can I find (...)?: ¿Dónde puedo encontrar (...)

Where can I buy (...)?: ¿Dónde puedo comprar (...)

I would like (...) : Me gustaría (...)

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Good to know

00 53 7
+ phone number
-6 : 00
of time difference with
Geneva
Start of daylight saving time: second Sunday in March

End of daylight saving time: first Sunday in November

BANKS

Usually open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Usually open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday.
110 V / 60 Hz

Tipping

It is customary to leave a 10-15% tip in restaurants. For taxis you can also leave roughly a 10% tip unless you negotiated a special rate.