Day trip from Varadero to Havana - can it be done? Here a photo from the capitolio just before sunset.

Are you planning to stay in Varadero for your upcoming Cuba holiday, but really don’t want to miss out on the infamous capital Havana? Wondering if a day trip from Varadero to Havana is a good idea?

Well, we can discuss whether a Varadero to Havana day trip is a good idea (I am biased, having lived in Havana for years), but is it possible?

Yes, it definitely is, Varadero is just over two hours away in a taxi that does not break down! But there are various ways to do this tour from Varadero to Havana, let me show you your options!

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Varadero To Havana Day Trip!

Start from these stunning Varadero beaches in the morning, and head for buzzing Havana.
Start from here in the morning and head for Havana

When you are planning a day trip from Varadero to Havana, you should prepare for a long day, start early, and get back late, in order to make the most of your day.

The various options you have for a day trip to Havana from Varadero is to book a taxi, either a taxi privado or a taxi collectivo (a seat in a taxi you share with other travelers).

The second option you have is to book a seat on an organized tour, where you will be picked up at your hotel or casa in the morning, and drive off to Havana.

In the capital, you will have partly planned activities and partly free time to explore on your own, before you are brought back to Varadero in the evening – a super easy package deal.

The third option you can choose is taking the Viazul bus, which is cheap, but incidentally, I do not recommend it for a day trip. But, if you make it a two-day one-night trip, that will work like a charm!

1. Taxi Trip From Varadero To Havana

Your taxi from Varadero to Havana could easily be one of the old classic american cars still roaming the streets of Havana, here in front of the Malecon.
An old classic American taxi car on the Malecon

If you go for a taxi transport from Varadero to Havana, a private taxi will be around €160-200 each way. The price fluctuates a bit, as Cubas’s private services weirdly are based on strict capitalist principles.

A private taxi is really convenient if you are 3-4 people. This will be around €40-50 per person each way, and you are taken easily from door to door!

Your hotel or casa particular host can help you book this taxi trip, as everyone knows someone who drives a taxi, either if it is a private one, or a collectivo.

The price for a seat in a collectivo to Havana one way will be around €30-50 in January 2023, this price also fluctuates a bit. It could be a normal car with room for four people, or something bigger.

Plaza de la revolucion in Havana and the Jose Marti memorial tower!
Plaza de la revolucion in Havana

A taxi Colectivo will drive around in Varadero to pick up all the passengers before departure, so you will be given time to be ready to go – and probably have to wait a bit for your pick-up.

The same procedure will take place in Havana for drop-off, and also for pick-up in the evening.

You might be able to book a return trip with the same driver and car, ask your hotel or casa in Varadero if that is possible, if you prefer this option.

Remember that taxi drivers prefer to be paid in euros in cash, and you can read about why that is in this article explaining all about money in Cuba.

2. Organized Day Tour From Varadero To Havana

Streets and traffic in Old Havana
Streets and traffic in Old Havana

If you opt for an organized day tour from Varadero to Havana, this day tour with Civitatis gets an overall high review for this short tour.

The ones that have “complaints”, say that one day really is not enough to experience Havana! And I could not agree more.

However, if you do have limited time to visit the sizzling Cuban capital, this day trip will get you the highlights of the city in a flash, and safely back to Varadero in the evening.

Pre-Booked Transport Round Trip

Art along the Malecon with a view over to El Morro fortress in Havana Cuba.

If you want more freedom to plan your day in Havana as you wish, you can also book a semi-organized tour in a sense, a private transfer from Varadero – Havana – Varadero!

On this round trip, there are no organized activities in Havana, so you have to fix that yourself.

On the bright side, you can plan your perfect day, be picked up at your preferred time in Varadero, and return from Havana at your decided time as well!

This pre-booked return trip in one day in a normal car with two passengers is around €260 (January 2023).

3. Take The Viazul Bus To Havana And Stay The Night In A Casa Particular!

the narrow streets where indoors is outdoors, in Old and Central Havana! Make sure you have at least one day to experience it.
The narrow streets in Old Havana

Because of departure times, a day trip from Varadero to Havana and back in one day with the Viazul bus is really not a great option.

But, if you should choose to stay the night in a classic Havana casa particular, the Viazul bus suddenly is a great option!

Remember that you can not book things online from within Cuba without a VPN. Therefore it is smart to do these bookings beforehand or download a good VPN before your trip like ExpressVPN (my savior working online from Cuba).

If you catch the 12:55 bus in the early afternoon from Varadero (you have to be at the bus station one hour prior to departure), you will arrive in Havana just before 4 pm.

Fusterlandia art center east in Havana, a project that has been built over 30 years!
Fusterlandia art center in Havana a neighborhood covered in mosaic

Get a taxi from the bus station, and go to your (pre-booked) casa particuar in Old Havana (have the address and Cuban phone number available in case the taxi driver needs it).

Then set out to explore the city, there are so many things to do in Havana you are going to have to prioritize hard for only 24 hours!

Parque Central as the night falls with the Capitolio behind the Grand Theater

Take a walk up to the Parque Central, down to the Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas, and the lively district of the old city with a myriad of restaurants and bars to refresh yourself with a Cuban mojito!

Make sure you find the best places to have a quick snack, and the best paladares (privately owned restaurants) for your Havana dinner experience!

The rooftop terrace at La Guarida in Central Havana
The rooftop terrace at La Guarida in Central Havana

Not to mention that you will also get to experience Havana by night, and do not have to skip off just as the music pumps up the volume.

The next morning you can have a nice breakfast at your casa particular.

Or go out and find some of the best breakfast places in Havana before you still have hours to explore the city.

The viazul buses are quite comfy, and only three hours for a day trip from Varadero to Havana!

The bus back to Varadero leaves from the Omnibus station in Havana at 6:40 in the afternoon (remember to be there one hour before), and you’ll be back at your resort before the all-inclusive dinner closes!

You can book your return Viazul bus ticket online (unless you are American), and the best part – the return ticket is only $18 per person!

Wrap-Up Day Trip From Varadero To Havana!

El Morro fortress across the Havana bay! From here  you have a perfect view of the old city, the Havana bay, and all the way over to Varadero!
The tower at El Morro across Havana bay

Here you have got a few different options on how to do a day trip from Varadero to Havana, or even a one-and-a-half day trip, which you probably will not regret either!

I wish you had more time to spend in Havana, but I get it – holidays are for relaxing as well and do not come with infinite time available.

So I am glad you at least want to experience Havana while you are visiting!

Happy Travel Planning,


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