Friday, 19 June 2015

Cuba: Habana Bus Tour: Las mejores vistas

The Havana tourist bus from the roof top bar of the Hotel Inglaterra 
If you are a traveller, intent on an 'authentic' travel experience, you might be rolling your eyes at this bright red, open-topped bus that screams 'tourist' around every corner it travels.  I understand your reluctance.  This bus is full of foreign travellers just like me!  There will not be a Cuban in sight, except for the driver and conductor, of course.

But it delivers on its promise. You get some of the best views around the city from the top deck.  I would recommend it, especially early on in your stay.  It helped us orientate ourselves.  

It's good value as a means of getting around the city.  5 CUC buys you an all day ticket. You can hop on and off as much as like.  Treat it like a taxi to get you to key places of interest or travel the whole route: the choice is yours.  They give you a ticket as you get off the bus, proof that you've paid when you hop back on later.
Plaza de la Revolucion with the Jose Marti Memorial
There are two routes.  The one we took was from Parque Central, past the Revolucion Museum, along the glorious Malecon, into the Vedado and past the Cementerio Christobal Colon, around the Plaza de la Revolucion and on to the Miramar.  It stops at many of the key hotels like the Havana Libre. The whole circuit, if you ride it without interruption, takes around two hours. The other route takes you to Playa del Este.  I didn't go and I'm still dreaming of that beach!

Cimenterio Christobal Colon
There are a few things to point out about the bus.  It is a tour in the broadest sense, ie. you ride around a circuit which includes key sights and there are bus stops to allow you to get on and off as you please.  The bus does not wait for you, it carries on along its route.  You don't have a tour guide explaining everything or a recorded commentary. Places are announced as you approach them but up on the top deck you don't hear much.

Now for the health and safety announcements.
A fellow traveller assists with the safety drill!
This one speaks for itself.  As you drive along, there are some very low overhead wires.  My advice is to stay firmly in your seat while the bus is moving.  That way, you keep your head!  Along the verdant streets of the Vedado, there are also overhanging trees and you will need to duck regularly!
And here our model, your very own wind swept hopeful traveller, is demonstrating all of the safety equipment you require on top of an open topped bus in blazing hot sunshine: hat, sunglasses, a bottle of water and sun cream.  

 Hold on to your hat!


  1. I am unashamedly IN LOVE with open bus tours! I've been in Oxford, London, Bath, Berlin, Denmark.....
    Happy travelling Kelly! xx

    1. Such fun and a great way to get a bird's eye view.

      They didn't have them when I went to Berlin - could that be a legitimate 'excuse' to go back!

      Keep on adding to that list Louise xxx