While Havana’s Jose Marti Internacional is a comparatively modern and well-organised airport, like airports throughout the world it can be confusing for those who haven’t been there before. As Cuba’s main international and domestic gateway, its likely you’ll enter its confines at some point during your Cuban adventure, so here are our Havana airport tips to make your passage that little bit easier!
Havana Airport Tips - Arrival
Jose Marti has five terminals, although most international flights arrive into terminal 3. Some flights coming from the United States also berth at terminal 2.
Having departed the plane, you’ll need to join the short queues at immigration. Officials will want to see your passport together with your Cuban Tourist Card. Officially, they should also ask to see proof of health insurance valid for the country, although this doesn’t always happen. If you don’t have insurance you will be asked to go to a special desk to purchase some from the local provider Asistur.
We do recommend organising your health insurance in advance of traveling to Cuba, to avoid the delays and stress in purchasing it on arrival.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuba requires travelers to bring proof of vaccination against COVID-19. You must also present a negative PCR test within 72 hours from the arrival date (12 years and over).
Passengers could be made to undertake medical screening on arrival along with a COVID-19 PCR test.
All passengers arriving in Cuba must confirm they have submitted a sworn declaration about their biographic data and COVID-19 vaccination status.
Passengers may complete the confirmation form online before they travel at:
They will then receive a QR code that can be presented to Cuban immigratio officials upon arrival.
Next you can make your way to baggage reclaim. Don’t be surprised if your checked luggage doesn’t arrive as quickly as you’re used to at other airports – it can take some time to complete in-country checks before it arrives at the carousels – on rare occasions, up to three hours!
You should still have hold of a Customs Declaration Form, also given to you during your flight, and on leaving the baggage reclaim area is the time to hand it over to officials. These officials will also check the airline tags attached to your luggage, and may ask you to open them (especially if you’re carrying expensive electronics such as laptop computers).
You will then be free to enter the main Arrivals Hall!
Havana Airport Tips – Leaving the Airport
Jose Marti is located 15 km southwest of Havana, meaning getting to the Cuban capital from the airport is never particularly arduous. That said, departing from the airport is limited to a pre-arranged airport transfer (one of our top Havana airport tips) or by the yellow tourist taxis that wait for customers outside the Arrivals Hall. No official (tourist-friendly) buses run to or from the airport. The benefits of opting for a pre-arranged transfer if that there will be no concerns over payment as this is already been covered, and you also get to ride in one of Cuba’s famed vintage vehicles.
By contrast, the tourist taxi fleet is modern and air conditioned, and uses meters to calculate the fare. Don’t be surprised if the journey takes 30-40 minutes dependent on the traffic and time of day. The cost should be somewhere in the region of 25 Euro's. Make sure you have the address of your hotel or casa particular clearly written down, in case the driver’s English is limited. Excellent service can be rewarded with a small tip of a few Euro's
It has been known for some unscrupulous taxi drivers gaining commission from a specific casa particular to take tourists there instead of the casa they have booked. It is therefore best to check the street name and number if possible, and confirm you have reserved the room before settling down and unpacking.
Havana Airport Tips – Tips for Departure
Though you’ve already successfully passed through Havana’s airport without issue on your arrival, we also have a few Havana airport tips to ensure your departure is just as smooth.
Catching a taxi from the centre of Havana back to the airport is generally a little cheaper than in the other direction, due to a number of different factors, but you should still expect to pay between 20 and 25 Euro's for the journey.
Once inside the Departure Hall, check into your flight in good time, as you would anywhere else in the world. We recommend being at the airport at least two and a half hours before your scheduled departure time. There is now no airport departure tax to worry about.
However, you should ensure you have used up any remaining CUP's in your possession before passing through security. Not only do the shops and cafes on the other side of security refuse to accept CUPs as payment, but since it is illegal to export CUPs, it is within the rights of officials to confiscate any they find without compensation. The same rules apply whether the CUPs are found on your person, in your carry-on luggage, or in your checked bags.
In both terminals 2 and 3 there are a number of stores selling refreshments and souvenirs that accept CUPs before security. If you have large quantities of CUPs remaining and would rather exchange them into exportable currency, this can be done at the CADECA exchange desk before security too. CUPs can be exchanged for Canadian dollars, Euros, and British Pounds Sterling.
As we have already mentioned, stores beyond security do not accept CUCs. They do accept Cuba’s other ‘local’ currency, the CUP, as well as the major international currencies mentioned above. Options for food and drink at the airport is very limited, so the last of our Havana airport tips would be to eat something before traveling to the airport.