Help: Rio de Janeiro to Havana

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Help: Rio de Janeiro to Havana

1. Posted by kody (Respected Member 234 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

I'm trying to plan my South America trip come this year end.
I'll be flying in to Santiago from London and will be doing an overland to Rio.

I'm looking for a flight from Rio to Havana,Cuba unfortunately I couldn't find any flights. I do not mind transits, but still fail to find any.
Any advice would be much appreciated ;)


2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5778 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I checked the
Rio airport wikipedia page
, and it seems that the only route that seems realistic is with Copa Airlines to Panama City and onwards to Havana.
Don't know about prices etc. but you could give it a try

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Jul-2009, at 10:58 by Utrecht ]

3. Posted by kody (Respected Member 234 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi Utrecht,

I managed to find it from
and just like what you said, it'll need to transit in panama city via Copa Air.
Not sure whether transit involves any visa... hmm need to check.

Anyway, thanks for the info.


4. Posted by malasue (Full Member 5 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi Nick

I had the same problem when I traveled from Brazil to Mexico - Cuba few years ago.
I thought that once I will be in Brazil I will find some cheap opption which is not on the net but I was wrong. I had a ticket from Cancun to Havanna with Cuban Airlines quite cheep I think for £100 return but to Cancun I had to take a flight from Sao Paulo via Panama with Copa Air what was around $600 one way and I bought it week in advance what might be the reason why it was so expensive.
You dont need any visa for the transfer just make sure that you change your time once you are there because I forgot about it, had a nap and nearly missed the flight.
Hope that will help and if you have any other questions let me know. I went from Buenos Aires down to the south of Argentina, took Ruta 40 to Iguacu falls from there by bus to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, flew to Mexico - Cuba, travel around the island ( quite extraordinary experience) and back to Mexico, from Tulum, Merida, Palenque, Villahermosa to Mexico City.

Take care,


5. Posted by kody (Respected Member 234 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi Sue,

I've checked the air fare, and it's really expensive flying from Rio to Havana.
In this case, I might be changing direction where I'll be flying in to Havana from London first, and make Rio as my final destination.
Just a quick question since you've been to Cuba, I'm planning for a good 15 days in Cuba and I'm not too sure whether it's sufficient. Also, I'm on a shoestring and do you know anywhere I can get a cheap and basic accomodation i.e. hostel or some guest houses? I know 14 nights for a room gonna cost me a bomb!

Nick ;)

6. Posted by malasue (Full Member 5 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi Nick,
I spend in Cuba 2 weeks and I really love the time over there. However you need to understand that Cuba is 3rd world country and there is not much to see. I have a feelings for that country and its people and that was the reason why I went there, to see the regime and compare it with communism we had in Slovakia.
I arrived to Havanna and spend there first 2 days from where I went to Cienfuego, Trinidad, Santa Clara, Matenzas - Veradero, Playa del Oeste and back to Havanna. The city life is very poor if you dont have money (what I didnt have) and your are out of Havanna. The best way for travelling around is to rent a car and you can pick up local people and help them to their destination and they are the best guides for travelling however if you are not driver (what I am not) you will need to take a bus and that is a hassle. There is one bus company which is for tourists and that one is quite expensive and then you have a company for local people which is very cheep but there are only 2 seats for tourists and you are not able to book them in advance. The buses are usually running once a day so make sure you dont miss yours. Another option which I used quite often was to use a local taxi. You need to speak Spanish if you want to get around with them because it is illegal to take a tourists but they do anything for money and you have to bargane with the drivers. It was difficult to get out from Havanna but once you are in a smaller city everything is much easier.
Regarding the accommodation that is was will be your greatest expense. You dont have a hostels in Cuba but private rooms in peoples houses which are called Casa particular and most of them cost around $30 per night with breakfast and you can try to bargain with the owners. The owners of the casa have contacts to other people offering accommodation in other cities and they are more than happy to give a call to someone who they know and book an accommodation for you. This is the way how I did it without a worries and waisted time for looking for a casa or you can just walk around the city and casas are usually labeled )i.e. Casa Pilar ... ) with the names so you can just knock on the door and ask if they are free for the night and how much it is. For additional money the owner can cook for you a dinner what will be around $10. I never tried this food but if the portions are as big as the breakfast than you should really go for it. I used to eat in the restaurants for local people where you pay by Pesos Cubanos and you find them only when you ask some locals and the dinner is usually round $1 or you can survive on local fast food which is a bread roll with some ham (if you are lucky pork meet from the grill) or pizza with tomato sauce and cheese. In small places locals are selling cakes from the windows so if you see a chair with a plate of cakes you can call for the women and buy it from her. As you see it is very important to speak to people and if you Spanish is not very good dont worry they are more than happy to chat with you.
Another very important thing in Cuba is that everything is very slow and there is no point to be in a hurry. Most common word I got from the people was ...tranquillo ... and took me a while to get use to it.
If you have any questions please let me know.


7. Posted by Jorgeguide (Budding Member 17 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Malasue: “..However you need to understand that Cuba is 3rd world country and there is not much to see.”

I have to say that I have serious discrepancies with this statement. For many 2 weeks will not be enough to see, enjoy and learn everything Cuba has to offer.