Day trip Varadero to Havana. Experience first hand these beautiful colonial buildings and the ambiance of the Cuban capital.

3 Easy Ways To Make A Day Trip From Varadero To Havana By A Local (2024)

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? Would a day trip from Varadero to Havana be a good idea?

Well, as a frequent Cuban traveler for five years, I would not recommend spending only one day in Havana; there is so much to see and do in the Cuban capital.

But yes, it is possible to do a day trip to Havana; Varadero is just over two hours away in a taxi that has no other stops. There are several ways to do a day tour from Varadero to Havana, so if that is what you want, let me show you your options.

Affiliate disclosure: I only recommend tours, services and purchases I know and love on this website.

Plan A Varadero To Havana Day Trip!

The impressive white Capitolio building with the famous white dome against the blue sky in Havana
Visit the Havana Capitolio

If you choose to do a day trip from Varadero to Havana, you should prepare for a long day in order to make the most of your day in the Cuban capital.

The first and easiest option for a day trip to Havana is to book a seat on an organized tour.

Secondly, you can book a taxi, either a taxi privado or a taxi collectivo (a seat in a taxi you share with other travelers), and create your own itinerary for your day in Havana.

The third option is taking the Viazul bus back and forth. This is also very easy, but the departure times might not be day-trip friendly. If you make it a two-day, one-night trip, it will work like a charm.

One thing you should not do, in my opinion, is book a rental car. I will explain why I have that advice for you at the end of the article, but let’s dive into the three main options.

1. Organized Day Tour From Varadero To Havana

The stunning white sands of Varadero Beach, with palm trees, bushes, and people heading for the crystal clear water.
Stunning Varadero Beach

If you opt for an organized day tour from Varadero to Havana, booking a tour that picks you up at your hotel, creates your itinerary for you, and takes you back at the end of the day is super convenient.

This day tour with Civitatis gets an overall high review for this short day tour. The ones that have “complaints” about the tour say that one day really is not enough to experience Havana.

And I could not agree more.

However, if you have limited time to visit the unique Cuban capital, this day trip to Havana from Varadero will get you the city’s highlights in a flash and safely back to Varadero in the evening.

Pre-Booked Transport Round Trip Varadero – Havana

Charming narrow streets in Old Havana with colonial buildings, green plants, and lots of decorative ornaments on the facades.
Charming narrow streets in Old Havana

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 Varadero to Havana round trip, there are no organized activities in Havana, so you can create your own itinerary.

The advantage is that you can plan your perfect Havana day, be picked up at your preferred time in Varadero, and return from Havana at your decided time as well.

This pre-booked one-day return trip in a normal car for two passengers costs around €280 (2024).

2. Taxi Trip From Varadero To Havana

Pastel colored classic American convertable cars lined up in Havana seen from above on a sunny day.
Classic cars in Havana

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

A private taxi is 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 or hotel staff can help you book this trip, as everyone in Cuba 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; this price also fluctuates a bit.

The vehicle could be a normal car with room for four people, a Classic American car, or something bigger like a minibus.

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

Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, cuba, Che Guevara depicted on a large building wall litt in the evening blue light
Che Guevara on Plaza de la Revolucion Havana

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.

EpicNomadLife Tip: Three Top Tour Choices In Havana

πŸ“ Classic Car Tour of Havana
πŸ“ Day Trip from Havana To Vinales Valley
πŸ“ Classic Car Beach Day Trip

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

The Havana Malecon boardwalk around sunset with people walking in the golden light
The Havana Malecon boardwalk

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.

If you choose to stay a night or two in a classic Havana casa particular, the Viazul bus is suddenly a great option to take you from Varadero to Havana and back.

Remember that you can not book things online from within Cuba without a VPN.

Therefore, it is smart to make these bookings beforehand or download a good VPN before your trip, like ExpressVPN (my savior working online from Cuba).

The Morro Lighthouse seen from across the bay, from the Prado Evenue on a sunny summer day.
El Morro From El Prado avenue 4

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.

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).

Fusterlandia Art Neighborhood outside Havana, with tiles in all colors
Fusterlandia Art Center

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.

You can experience Havana in a done-for-you way with organized tours or just walk the streets and discover the plazas, parks, and fascinating details of the old city.

Find a rooftop terrace for an afternoon mojito, and take a taxi to the old fortresses of Havana for the guard-changing ceremony at 9 p.m. every night.

Or why not take a Kizomba or Salsa dance class before you hit the city night?

The view of Parque Central in Havana from Iberostar Parque central rooftop bar and restaurant, on a bright sunny day.
Parque Central Havana

Take a walk up to the Parque Central, down to the Plaza Vieja and Plaza de Armas, and visit the Havana Cathedral 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!

Among the best restaurants in Havana is La Guarida, with two rooftop terrace seating areas that are stunning
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.

If you want an easy start to your day, you can have a nice breakfast at your casa particular the following day.

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

The viazul bus goes between a variety of destinations in Cuba, including between Havana and Vinales

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).

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, you can not use US credit cards in Cuba), and the best part is that the return ticket is only $18 per person.

If you want to stay at a really nice hotel in Havana instead of a casa particular, my city escape when I need some peace and quiet in Havana is the Iberostar Grand Packard.

If you want to add the Cuban cigar capital to your itinerary, check out how to get from Havana to Vinales.

FAQs Day Trip From Varadero To Havana

Note that American travelers can travel legally to Cuba, but not as normal tourists. Check out the Cuba restricted list, and choose the pre-approved reason for Cuba travel: “to support the Cuban people”:

Can Tourists Go From Varadero To Havana?

Yes, tourists can easily go from Varadero to Havana, and there are several ways to do it. You can take the Viazul bus or book a private taxi or a taxi colectivo, a taxi that you share with other travelers.

You can also book a private transfer from Varadero to Havana, which you can book online or through your casa particular or your hotel.

How Much Is The Bus From Varadero To Havana?

The Viazul bus from Varadero to Havana is 9 euros or just under 10 US dollars.

You can book the ticket online on the Viazul home page or on the bus station with a credit card (not US credit cards). You can not pay for the Viazul bus in cash.

How Much Does It Cost To Get From Havana To Varadero?

The bus from Havana to Varadero is also 9 euros or just under 10 US dollars.

A seat in a taxi collective from Havana to Varadero should be around 25 US dollars, but prices fluctuate due to inflation.

Wrap-Up Day Trip From Varadero To Havana!

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

Once in Havana, there are a myriad of activities, tours, and excursions to keep you busy and fascinated. Whether you like this city or not, you will not forget it any time soon!

If you decide to stay in Varadero and prioritize exploring the area more thoroughly, there are plenty of tours and excursions available in the City and its surroundings.

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

So I am glad you want to experience Havana while you are visiting.

Related blog posts:

Easy Havana Tour Guide: 8 Best Havana Tours By A Local

Is Female Solo Travel In Cuba Safe? A Local Woman’s Advice

Cuba Trips From US: How To Travel To Cuba From US

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