José Martí International Airport
José Martí International Airport (switchboard tel. 07/266-4644, www.airportcuba.com) is 25 kilometers southwest of downtown Havana, in the Wajay district. It has five terminals spaced well apart and accessed by different roads (nor are they linked by a connecting bus service).
Terminal One: This terminal (tel. 07/275-1200) serves domestic flights.
Terminal Two: Charter flights from the U.S. arrive at Terminal Two carrying passengers with OFAC licenses. Occasionally other flights pull in here, although outbound flights will invariably depart Terminal Three.
Terminal Three: All international flights except United States–Havana charters arrive at Terminal Three (tel. 07/642-6225 or 266-4133 for arrivals and departures) on the north side of the airport. Immigration proceedings are slow. All carry-on baggage is X-rayed. Beware porters who grab your bags outside; they’ll expect a tip for hauling your bag the few meters to a taxi. A 24-hour Infotur (tel. 07/266-4094) tourist information office is outside the customs lounge. Check in here if you have prepaid vouchers for accommodations or transfers into town. A foreign exchange counter is also outside the customs lounge.
Terminal Four: This terminal serves the military.
Terminal Five: Aero Caribbean flights arrive here.
Getting into Town
There’s no public bus service from either of the international terminals. A public bus marked Aeropuerto departs from Terminal One (domestic flights) for Vedado and Parque Central (one peso). The bus is intended for Cubans, and foreigners may be refused. It runs about once every two hours.
Alternatively, you can catch Metrobus P12 (originating in Santiago de las Vegas) or Ómnibus #480 from the east side of Avenida de la Independencia, about a 20-minute walk east of the terminal—no fun with baggage. The bus goes to Parque de la Fraternidad on the edge of Habana Vieja (20 pesos). The journey takes about one hour, but the wait can be just as long; the bus gets incredibly crowded and is renowned for pickpockets.
Cubataxi taxis wait outside the arrivals lounges. Official rates are CUC15–20 to downtown hotels, but most drivers will not want to use their meter and may ask you how much you’re prepared to pay; quote below the fares given here and expect to bargain. Avoid private (illegal) taxis, as several foreigners have been robbed.
These companies have booths at Terminal Three: Cubacar (tel. 07/649-9800), Havanautos (tel. 07/649-5197), and Rex (tel. 07/266-6074).
These have booths at Terminal Two: Cubacar (tel. 07/649-5546), Havanautos (tel. 07/649-5215), and Rex (tel. 07/649-0306).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition