Jose Marti International, named after a famous poet and Cuban patriot, is the main airport serving Cuba and its capital city Havana, which is located 15 kilometres away from the passenger terminals. It is used as operational base by Cubana de Aviación, Aerogaviota and AeroCaribbean, three airline companies handling domestic flights within the country as well as connections to the rest of the Caribbean. As of today, about 25 international airlines also operate flights to Havana airport, with routes from destinations in the United States, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia (Beijing) and Africa (Luanda).
Where to book flights to Cuba
The following airlines offer either connecting or direct flights to Havana from a variety of destinations across the globe: Aeroflot (Moscow Sheremetyevo), Aeromexico (Cancun), Air Canada (Toronto Pearson), Air Europa and Iberia (Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas in Spain), Air France (Paris Charles de Gaulle), Corsair (Paris Orly), Air Italy (Milano Malpensa), Alitalia (Rome), American Airlines (Miami), Delta (Atlanta, New York JFK), Edelweiss (Zürich), KLM (Amsterdam Schiphol), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul Atatürk) and Virgin Atlantic (London Gatwick).
Do I need a Visa to travel to Cuba?
The great majority of travellers only need an official Cuba tourist card provided by authorised entities like local consulates and embassies, travel agents or airlines. The average fee should not exceed 75 USD. The tourist card to visit Cuba allows you to stay in the country for a maximum period of 30 days, or 60 in case you wish to extend it. Be prepared as you might be required to show proof of having purchased a return flight, a confirmed reservation from a hotel in Cuba and, sometimes, a health insurance covering the length of your trip. You will be asked for the tourist card upon arrival at Jose Marti International airport to get it stamped or torn; make sure you keep it in a safe place during the entire stay, as you must give it to the airport immigration officers before departing.
If you are a national from the United States intending to enter Cuba, consult your embassy about the current restrictions, since travelling as a tourist might not be possible. Nevertheless, you can still apply for a travel visa if you fit into any of the permitted categories. Travellers from countries being required visas to Cuba include those from India, Philipines and Bangladesh, among others. On the other hand, the ones flying from Barbados, Macedonia, Belarus, China, Serbia, Malaysia and Singapore are granted free entry.
Terminals of Jose Marti International airport in Havana
Freight and cargo operations aside, activity mainly takes place in 4 terminals of Havana international airport. While terminal 1 is designated for the domestic flights of Cubana de Aviación and Aerogaviota, terminal 2 only sees the takeoff and landing of chartered jets, usually transporting authorities of high rank and VIP personalities. Since 1998, terminal 3 has been the international terminal from which passengers depart to and arrive from overseas destinations, and terminal 5 is home to AeroCaribbean and Aerotaxi exclusively. A shuttle bus service connects all the terminals.
Terminal 3 of Havana airport comprises the largest number of passenger services, thus catering to the needs of foreign visitors. Payment internet booths are on high demand as there is no WiFi available in the terminals. Besides, visitors find tourist information offices, ATMs, smoking zones, car rental counters (both inside and outside the arrivals buildings), a pharmacy, VIP lounges, 24-hour restaurants and bars, souvenir stores and duty free shops.
Jose Marti International does not have any kind of airport hotels or accommodation for passengers in transit nearby, so we advise you to book a hotel in Havana.
Transport from Jose Marti airport to the city centre
Unless you are relying on private transfer services, you will need to commute from the airport to downtown Havana after landing in Cuba. The journey to Old Havana takes about 20 minutes by car, and there are taxi ranks outside the arrivals hall in each terminal. By taking a cab at these ranks you make sure you are getting on an official vehicle you can trust. Fares are somewhat flexible and you and the driver will normally agree on a price before setting off.
Some VIAZUL public bus lines operate from terminal 1 of Havana airport, but you need to have Cuban National Pesos to pay for your ticket in cash. As an alternative, you may ride a taxi to the central bus station in Vedado district and then take the Viazul bus that will get you to your final destination. If you want to save time, the public transport company has counters at the arrivals hall of terminal 3, where you can get information and purchase tickets using other payment methods without any trouble.