There is a host of different taxi cars with modern fleets geared toward the tourist trade. They have all been reunited under Ministry of Transport management and, although they continue to carry the names of the previous companies such as Panataxi, Taxi OK, and Transgaviota, they are now all called Cubataxi and can be called on a central number (tel. 7/855-5555-59). All tourist taxis have meters. (Taxi drivers claiming their meters are broken are gearing up to rip off tourists.) Rates vary somewhat, but most of the meters start at CUC$1 for the first kilometer and then charge between CUC$.50 and CUC$.85 for each additional kilometer. The most economical cabs are the yellow old-style Panataxis without air-conditioning, followed by the new yellow models with air-conditioning. Other options include horse-drawn carriages; the so-called Coco Taxis (tel. 7/873-1411), yellow, round, open-air two seaters powered by a motorcycle; and antique cars that range from a Ford Model T to a 1957 Chevy. Both the horse-drawn carriages and Coco Taxis cost from CUC$5 to CUC$10 per hour, with a minimum of around CUC$3. Gran Car (tel. 7/881-0992) is the only agent for antique-car rentals. Gran Car rates, with a driver, run CUC$25 per hour or CUC$125 per day, or CUC$30 per hour and CUC$150 per day for convertibles. A four-day trip (with 100km per day maximum) works out at between CUC$110 and CUC$135.
Peso taxis, bicitaxis (bicycle taxis), and freelance taxis are lesser options for most tourists. All are illegal for tourists, although it's the driver, not the rider, who is at risk. If you choose one of these options, be sure to fix your price beforehand, and don't be surprised if the driver is somewhat paranoid about the money transfer, and/or refuses to drop you off right at your hotel.
Havana is a great town to walk around. It's almost entirely flat (although you need to keep an eye on the sometimes rough pavement) and safe (although there have been reports of muggings and pick-pocketing in Centro Havana). Early morning, late afternoon, and early evening are the prime times to walk. High heat and heavy humidity can make long walks, particularly around midday, a little uncomfortable. La Habana Vieja is best explored on foot, and a walk along the Malecón is obligatory. Attractions in Vedado and Miramar are a little spread out, making them less desirable to explore on foot, although a walk along La Rampa in Vedado, or Quinta Avenida (Av. 5) in Miramar, are both rewarding.
There's really no reason for tourists to rent a car to explore Havana. Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Moreover, streets are poorly marked and it's a confusing city to navigate.
One exception would be to rent an antique car from Gran Car (tel. 7/881-0992). Gran Car's fleet runs from restored 1930s open-air Ford cruisers to classic 1950s Chevys, Buicks, De Sotos, and Studebakers.
If you do want to rent a modern car while in Havana, there is a host of options, including Cubacar (tel. 7/273-2277; firstname.lastname@example.org), Havanautos (tel. 7/207-9898; email@example.com), and Rex (tel. 7/835-6830 or 7/683-0303; www.rex.cu). All three are run by Transtur (tel. 7/862-2686 or 7/861-5885; www.transtur.cu). Micar (tel. 7/204-7777 or 7/204-8888) and Vía Rent a Car (tel. 7/861-4465; www.gaviota-grupo.com) are also options. All of the above companies have desks at the airport and at a host of major hotels around Havana.
In general, traffic is much lighter than you'd find in most major urban areas. However, you do have to pay more attention to a wide range of obstacles, from pedestrians and bicyclists to horse-drawn carriages. While most roads in Havana are in pretty decent shape, it's not uncommon to come across huge potholes or torn-up sections of road with no markings or warnings. Moreover, street markings and signs are minimal, making navigation challenging.
For all intents and purposes, Havana's woefully overburdened urban bus system is not a viable option for tourists. Routes are overcrowded, and there are no readily available route maps and schedules.
Truly hearty travelers and independent souls can give the local buses a try. Your best bet is to query locals about routes and hours and where to find the appropriate stop. A large number of metro buses either originate or have a stop at the Parque de la Fraternidad, a block south of the Capitolio. A new bus service, known as taxi rutero, has begun, costing five Cuban pesos. Most buses are entered from the front, although some are still entered from the rear and use an honor system of passing your coins forward. Some have separate lines for those wanting a seat (sentado) and those willing to stand (parado). Fares run around 40 centavos to one peso in Cuban pesos (moneda nacional).
Transtur runs the red HabanaBusTour coaches (tel. 7/261-9015; www.transtur.cu) on two routes with a hop-on/hop-off service. Route T1 starts at Castillo de la Fuerza in La Habana Vieja and terminates at Restaurant La Cecilia (5th Avenida between Calles 110 and 112). T3 runs from Parque Central to Playas del Este. One ticket is valid for the whole day. Bus T1 costs CUC $5 and Bus T3 costs CUC$3. Children 5 and under travel free (one child per adult). Buses run daily from 9am to 7:30pm. All schedules are marked at the bright red bus stops.
Visitors can rent mopeds (motos) to tour the city. This might be useful if you want to explore places that are off the beaten track or visit numerous places in one day. A one-day rental costs CUC$24, and a 5-12 day rental costs CUC$21 per day. Moto rental centers can be found at Galiano and San Rafael, Centro Habana (tel. 7/866-8634); Avenida Malecón and C, Vedado (tel. 7/834-6544); and Calle 3ra and 30, Miramar (tel. 7/204-0646).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.