Introducing Havana in an “almendrón”

images-3A unique way to get to know Havana city and it´s people is by taking an almendrón, a sort of collective taxi with a determined route at a very cheap price. They are restored old cars that still survive after more than 50 years of exploitation.

taxi
Classic rental car

Be careful. Do not mistake a classic rental car with an almendrón. The last ones are old machines, less glamorous than the first ones and in not so good shape. But their beauty relies on the people you find around them, specially the drivers and the passengers.

 

images-18The Fraternity Park, besides the Capitol, is a sort of almendrón Terminal. Almost every ride begins and ends there. Another popular corner to get one of them is the corner of Prado and Neptuno, near the Central Park.

Almendrones have a very wide net of transportation trough the city. For example, with only 0.50 cuc (10 pesos) you can go from Old Havana to El Vedado. If you are going to Playa, then there would be 1cuc (20 pesos). The ride to Alamar (East Havana) is 1cuc (20 pesos). If you are going to the beaches on the east of the city (Santa María or Guanabo), the taxi can cost up to 5cuc (120 pesos).

Here is a list of the most usual routes:

  • Fraternity Park – Boyeros (to Altahabana): 0.50 cuc (10 pesos)
  • Fraternity Park – Boyeros (beyond Altahabana to the international airport José Martí): 1 cuc (20 pesos)
  • Fraternity Park – 10 de Octubre (to La Palma): 0.50 cuc (10 pesos)
  • Fraternity Park – 10 de Octubre (beyond La Palma): 1 cuc (20 pesos)
  • Prado y Neptuno – Alamar: 1 cuc (20 pesos)
  • Prado y Neptuno – Plaza (on 23th street to Almendares bridge): 0.50 cuc (10 pesos)
  • Prado y Neptuno – Plaza (on 23th street beyond Almendares bridge ): 1 cuc (20 pesos)
  • Prado y Neptuno – Playa (Línea street to the tunnel): 0.50 cuc (10 pesos)
  • Prado y Neptuno – Playa (Línea street beyond the tunnel): 1 cuc (20 pesos)

Keep in mind that 1 cuc = 24 pesos, so you can expect a 0.25 cuc (5 pesos) change.

images-22If it is another province you are trying to get to, almendrones can be from 5 cuc the nearest ones up to 20 or 30 cuc the farthest ones. Unless you are in a hurry or really want to live the experience, I recommend you to travel by Viazul bus. It is the safest way.

 

If all info this iimages-12s too much to keep in mind, you can always ask the “buquenque” next to the almedrones. “Buquenques” are sort of passenger’s helpers that shout out loud the destination and the price of the collectives taxis. They will tell the “chofer” the exact place you are going and make sure you get there well. It is custom for the drivers to tip them with 0.25 cuc (5 pesos).

 

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