The best way to explore Havana is obviously on foot. But the most interesting areas can be far apart, and with limited time it is best to arrange for your own transportation, to hire a car and driver to take you everywhere. A good alternative however, are the double-decker sightseeing buses of Havana Bus Tour, running all over the city at regular times.They are inexpensive: route T1 is 10 CUC, route T3 is 5 CUC, for a ticket to get on and off all day long. They have numerous stops along the 3 interconnected routes covering Havana from Miramar in the west, through Vedado, to Old Havana, all the way to the beaches outside Havana to the east.
It is important to understand what these buses are not: a dedicated tour of Havana. They do have a guide on board offering commentary on the sights along the way, but the street noise and limited audio make it hit or miss to catch what the guide is saying. The Havana Bus Tour is just a convenient way to take in the sights as you go to different areas of the city: you get off at one point, explore the area on foot at your convenience, and you catch the bus again on any of the designated stops along the route, to move on and visit another area. The upper deck offers a great vantage point to have a panoramic view as you go through Havana and take pictures, just beware the tropical sun and apply plenty of sun screen.
Havana Bus Tour Routes:
There are 3 Havana Bus Tour routes: T1 goes around Old Havana, with convenient stops along the Avenida del Puerto (Seaport Avenue); you can get off at the Castillo de la Fuerza if you want to visit the Plaza the Armas, Cathedral square, and the Plaza Vieja areas, another stop at the Cruise Terminal, and a stop by the Artisans’ Market at Alameda de Paula. On the west side of Old Havana, the T1 route goes to Parque Central and the Capitolio, very convenient if you are staying in any of the many hotels in the area, or if you want to explore that area and perhaps enjoy a Daiquiri cocktail at Hemingway’s watering hole the Floridita Bar. The Havana Bus Tour route T1 goes then to Vedado and Revolution Square, see the map for all the stops.
Route T2 of the Havana Bus Tour starts at Revolution Square and covers the areas to the west: the Cohiba Hotel, the Colon Cemetery, and then crosses over the Almendares river to Miramar, with stops at the City Scale Model (Maqueta de la Habana), the Aquarium, restaurants and shops, to the final stop at Marina Hemingway.
Route 3 departs from Parque Central and heads East to the beaches: crosses the Havana Bay Tunnel and stops at the fortresses across the bay, then heads for Habana del Este, Villa Panamericana, and continues along Via Blanca stopping at several beach hotels with the final destination at Villa Megano, 15 miles to the east of Old Havana.
See detailed timetables and stops of the Havana Bus Tour, click on the pictures of the schedules below: