An expert travel guide to Havana

Telephone code: 00 53 (Cuba) 7 (Havana landline) 5 (Havana cell phone)

Time difference: Five hours

Flight time: 10hrs 30 mins from London

Essential contacts

British Embassy: Calle 34, 702, corner Avenida 7, Miramar; 00 537 214 2200

Police: 106

Fire: 105

Tourist office: cubatravel.cu

Local laws and etiquette

Tipping culture: One or two CUCs could be sufficient in a simple café, but if you are fine dining, international tipping standards apply (10-20 per cent average depending on service).

Public transport: Public transport is very inexpensive and safe, but can be time-consuming and crowded. There is no subway system in Havana. There are communal taxis (colloquially known as almendrones or machinas), but you need to get a gist of the routes and hand signs indicating where they are going and where you want to go.

Taxis: Most cars serve as taxis even if they do not have a taxi sign. Haggling is often a part of the experience, and it’s definitely a good thing to have an idea about how much the ride will cost, since most taxis are not metered. Here are the ground rules: Fix a price before getting in. Havana is divided into four main sectors from east to west: Old Havana, Centro Habana, El Vedado and Miramar (Playa). It costs between 5-10 CUC (£4-8) to get from one neighbourhood to the next. A ride between the city and the airport is about 25-30 CUC (£19-23). And if the price isn’t right, another vintage marvel is always just around the corner.