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Air

Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport is 20km from central Varadero toward Matanzas and another 6km off the main highway. Airlines here include Thomson Airways from London; Cubana from Buenos Aires and Toronto; Air Berlin from Düsseldorf, American Airlines from Miami; TUI Airlines from Amsterdam; and Air Transat and WestJet from various Canadian cities.

Transport Options

Varadero and Matanzas are each about 20km from the spur road to Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport; it's another 6km from the highway to the airport terminal. A tourist taxi from the airport to Varadero/Matanzas costs about CUC$35/30 respectively (20 minutes/30 minutes). You can arrange through most casas particulares for a (cheaper) pick-up.

All five Víazul buses bound for Havana call at the airport, leaving at 8:20am, 12:25pm, 2:25pm, 4:20pm and 6:20pm and arriving 2¾ hours later. Tickets cost CUC$10. Three buses go in the other direction to Varadero (CUC$6, 25 minutes)

Bus

The Terminal de Ómnibus has daily air-con Víazul buses (www.viazul.com) to a few destinations. Warning: they fill up fast. Book ahead!

Havana

Cost (CUC$)

10

Duration (hr)

3

Departure time

8am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm

Santa Clara

Cost (CUC$)

11

Duration (hr)

3

Departure time

7:25am, 9pm

Santiago de Cuba

Cost (CUC$)

49

Duration (hr)

15¼

Departure time

9pm

Trinidad

Cost (CUC$)

20

Duration (hr)

Departure time

7:25am

Viñales

Cost (CUC$)

22

Duration (hr)

Departure time

8am

All five daily Havana buses stop at Matanzas (CUC$6, one hour) and Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport (CUC$6, 25 minutes).

The Trinidad bus stops in Cienfuegos (CUC$16, 4½ hours).

The Santiago bus also stops in Santa Clara (CUC$11, 3¼ hours), Sancti Spíritus (CUC$17, five hours), Ciego de Ávila (CUC$19, 6¼ hours), Camagüey (CUC$25, eight hours), Las Tunas (CUC$33, 10 hours), Holguín (CUC$38, 11¼ hours) and Bayamo (CUC$41, 13 hours).

For Cárdenas, you can go on local bus 236 (CUC$1), which departs every hour or so from next to a small tunnel marked Ómnibus de Cárdenas outside Varadero's main bus station. Don't rely on being able to buy tickets for non-Víazul buses from Varadero to destinations in Matanzas Province and beyond: the official line is tourists can't take them, and tourists in Varadero are generally recognizable from Cubans. With decent Spanish you could get lucky.

Cubanacán's Conectando runs a handy bus service between hotels in Varadero and hotels in Havana (bookable through hotel receptions). There's also a daily service between Varadero and Trinidad via Cienfuegos. Prices are similar to Víazul. Book tickets at least a day in advance through Infotur.

Car

You can hire a car from practically every hotel in Varadero, and prices are pretty generic between different makes and models. Once you've factored in fuel and insurance, a standard car will cost you approximately CUC$70 to CUC$80 a day.

Aside from the hotel reps, you can try the Cubacar office in town or car rental offices at the airport.

There's a Servi-Cupet gas station on the Autopista Sur at Calle 17, and another at Calle 54.

If heading to Havana, you'll have to pay the CUC$2 toll at the booth on Vía Blanca upon leaving.

Taxi

With Víazul buses in high demand, colectivo (shared) taxis are picking up the slack. You can book one directly by phoning Cuba Taxi, asking at your casa particular, or hanging around at the Víazul bus station. There are usually other passengers seeking lifts when fully booked buses are due to leave, so you can club together.