Taxis in Cuba
There is a pretty good long-distance taxi service between all tourist destinations and major cities within Cuba.
Previously, your only option was to take a Government run taxi, (Panataxi being the cheapest).
Since the relaxing of the laws regarding private business in Cuba, many people have now set up as private taxis and are licensed to carry foreigners.
New Private Licensed Taxis in Cuba
The good news is that you can travel in some of those great old American 1950’s cars!
The new Private Licensed Taxis are generally cheaper than the Government Taxis, but generally come with a few ‘quirks’. Some of the interior may be missing, the windows may not wind down, and they may not be as comfortable or as well maintained as the Government Taxis. Most are beat-up old Ladas.
My suggestion is that you ask to see the taxi before you agree to any long journeys.
Long Distance Taxis in Cuba
If you are planning a long trip, I would strongly suggest that you negotiate the price with the driver before starting your journey. You can sometimes get a reduced price, however Cuba is not generally used to haggling, and you should not always expect discount.
If you are travelling in a group, getting a long-distance taxi can actually be cheaper than everyone paying the ViAzul bus fare. Fares are generally about 2-3 times the ViAzul bus price.
Finding a Taxi in Cuba
Government Taxis in Cuba
There is a taxi rank in each town. It may not always have taxis waiting, and the taxi driver may not always want to drive you for a long distance trip. I suggest that you ask a few days in advance and someone will agree to take you.
Private Licensed Taxis in Cuba
Private taxis are not allowed to wait near the taxi rank. Instead, there are usually licensed representatives waiting in the street nearby, whose honest job is to find licensed private taxis for people. These are genuine guys doing a genuine service; they are not touts or jinteros. They have a license and will be happy to show it to you. Again, ask to see the taxi before you agree to any long journeys, just so that you know what you are letting yourself in for!
Collectivo Taxis in Cuba
Even if you aren’t travelling with a group, you can just go to the bus station and talk to the taxi drivers, who congregate there. Ask if there are any other passengers waiting to fill up a car, as they’ll share the cost and pay the same as you, whether they’re Cuban or foreigners.