BBC explores the quirky differences between taking a cab in New York and Havana
A recent documentary carried out by two BBC reporters highlighted the vast differences between getting a taxi in Havana and New York. Beyond the dismal differences in fare prices, the comparisons ultimately showed how travellers can get really varied and unique experiences from hailing cabs in different parts of the world.
A short BBC documentary explored the differences between taking a cab in New York and a privately-owned taxi in Havana. Far beyond the obvious cultural and political differences, the reporters found out the significant difference in the cost of going for a ride in these two cities.
While in New York hundreds of taxis can be seen overflowing the traffic-jammed streets and it's very easy to hail one whether it involves physically signalling for it or making a quick call to request one, in Cuba it's an altogether different and more picturesque story.
Nowadays in Cuba, more and more privately-owned taxis are hitting the streets and providing the easiest and fastest mode of transport under the capital's sizzling heat. The alternative is waiting for hours under the scorching sun for a bus (there is no underground in Havana) or going for a rather expensive state-owned taxi service that charges in Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) instead of the more accessible national currency (CUP) in which most Cubans are paid their salary.
It might not be that simple to spot a private taxi in Havana's busy streets but if you know what to look out for you can travel in style for a very cheap fare. Most private taxis in Havana are classic cars like 50s Chevrolets with a (often hand-written) cardboard sign that reads "TAXI" in capital letters, and they certainly offer a unique experience. You get to step back in time while you enjoy unique views of Havana's kaleidoscopic landscape.
In New York, however the process it's pretty straightforward, you see one of the unmistakably free yellow cabs, make a signal, hop in and enjoy the ride. While the chat with the driver might not be as insightful or candid as a Cuban driver, you'll be comfortably placed to admire all the sky-scraping beauties.
Now the biggest difference here really lies in the cost. While a nine-mile ride down Manhattan can fare up to around $60.00 dollars for the same 15-kilometre journey down Havana's music-filled streets will set you back 20 pesos – a mere $0.80 cents (or around 50p!).
But of course, that only applies if you brush up on your Spanish skills before heading to your Cuba holiday and try to pass for a local, otherwise once they realise you're a tourist carrying CUCs the rate will invariably be much higher but still far cheaper than that of a typical New York cab.
Talk to a specialist
Call 020 7644 1770 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.
Opening hours 09:00 - 21:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Cuba Browse all
Dive into the warm water of Varadero beach and relax under the caribbean sunshine
- Book now and benefit from huge savings with the launch of the new Virgin Atlantic to Varadero offer!
- Suites feature a separate living area and Tropical suites feature breathtaking views of the sea
- Golf lovers can play on the nearby Varadero 18 hole golf course
Enjoy a wide range of added values, fun activities or relax and lie under the sun on exclusive private beach area in Varadero
- Never waste a minute of your holiday and enjoy all fun activities from waters sports to golf lessons at Breezes Bella Costa
- Experience Varadero to the fullest with fantastic options for couples, families or singles as there is something to suit everyone
- Memories Miramar Hotel has a fantastic location and is only a 5-minute walk from the nearest beach
Combine colourful and vibrant Havana with a relaxing summer 2017 beach holiday in an award winning resort on the shores of Varadero
- Book early and benifit from huge early bird summer discounts!
- Discover Havana by day visit the historial sites and by night you can listen to live music or dance to the Salsa beat
- Enjoy complimentary pool-based dive courses on offer for beginners and experience one free daily dive at the Royalton Hicacos
- Three freshwater pools including four whirlpools and signature swim-up pool bar at Royalton Hicacos ensure an unforgettable holiday
The unlimited heaven of tranquility in a perfect setting
- Well located in the heart of Havana's historic Old town, close to Central Park and minutes away from the National Theatre, the Capitol and Hemingway's favourite bar, the Floridita
- Iberostar Parque Central is a great base to discover all this unique city has to offer
- Activities throughout the day at Iberostar Varadero such as erobics, archery, basketball, beach volleyball, football, kayaking and much more.
Varadero is a showpiece of Cuba's natural beauty; stunning white beaches, turquoise waters and clusters of lofty palm...
Get the best of Havana and Varadero with this fabulous combination of city and beach in two of Cuba's finest hotels, the...
Discover the cultural and historical treasures of Havana as you're treated to 5-star service at the Iberostar Parque...
Are you searching for an adventurous holiday filled with culture, authenticity and charm? Then why not enjoy a twin...
Fancy a charming and adventurous holiday? Why not try our twin centre package that allows you to explore the contagious...
Beyond its sober elegance of Mudejar roots and the presence of round arches and red clay tile roof, it is known for its...