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
With great watersports galore, your winter-sun holiday can be one to remember in Cuba
- Try your hand at some adrenaline-pumping water sports including sailing, windsurfing and diving
- If you’re not up for a night on the tiles you can simply chill out at the resort and enjoy the evening’s entertainment
- If you’re a night-owl you won’t be able to resist Varadero’s buzzing nightlife
Ideal for trendy couples - stay at a chic and sleek hotel in the heart of vibrant Havana and then Stay next to Cuba's famous Varadero beach
- Virgin Atlantic Sale, huge reductions sale ends 08th Feb
- Exclusive Couples offer - Welcome Cocktail, 1 hour free Wifi Access in Havana plus a bottle of wine on arrival, 30-minute massage and a Romantic Dinner in Varadero
- Blau Varadero offers something for everyone with as little or as much as you want to do on offer including a spa
- Be swept away by the amazing views of Havana from Capri's rooftop pool
Fall in love with Havana and its captivating heritage before being dazzled by the pristine shores of Varadero
- This package offers little touches to make your holiday extra special including a Welcome cocktail and a bottle of cava on arrival in Havana and Varadero
- You will be staying in luxurious hotels in both Havana and Varadero that combine perfectly and offer the best of both worlds whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation
- Experience the best of the world famous Varadero Beach where white sand is lapped by the clear waters when staying at Melia Varadero
Combine exploring the iconic and pulsating city of Havana with a relaxing retreat to the stunning Varadero beach
- A Luxurious and comfortable stay with 5* amenities
- A Complimentary shuttle to the iconic city of Havana
- The plethora of activities and classes that will cater for every taste
Combine exploring the old dimes of Havana with a refreshing beach retreat in Vardero on an unforgettable twin centre...
If you want to really feel Cuba's beating heart and pulsating rhythms, this is one of the best for an unforgettable...
Start your holiday at The Melia Habana Hotel, located in the heart of the elegant Miramar district, overlooking the sea....
Are you searching for an adventurous holiday filled with culture, authenticity and charm? Then why not enjoy a twin...
Villa Romero is beautiful in its design, and its comfortable rooms are pleasantly decorated to a high standard, offering...
Beyond its sober elegance of Mudejar roots and the presence of round arches and red clay tile roof, it is known for its...