Trip to Cuba: Havana Airport

Havana Airport (HAV) is also known as José Martí International Airport.

Terminal 2 has sufficient services and is far away from the rest of the airport.

There are 5 terminals which are not connected. Most flights from the U.S. come into Terminal 3, the international terminal.

Terminal 2 viewed from the tarmac. Arrivals on the left; departures o the right.

However Charlie and I arrived aboard Southwest Airlines at Terminal 2 which is known as “the charter terminal” but now accommodates scheduled flights as well. In addition to Southwest we saw Delta agents and planes.

The front of the stand where Cuban travel cards are distributed.

So when we arrived we first went through immigration and one at a time presented our passports and Cuba travel card (which we had picked up at the desk near our departure gate in Fort Lauderdale).

We were told to take a photo of the sample travel card because we would have to purchase another one if we made any mistakes.

Passports and travel cards were stamped and returned. We were screened through a security station and then we walked passed the guards under the status of “nothing to declare”.

The area in front of Terminal 2 connects the arrival and departure gates.

I had been told that we could only change money at Terminal 3 but we simply walked next door from the “arrivals” building to the “departures” building to a CADECA window where we exchanged currency.

Some currency exchanges have a sign like this one.

We were off on our week-long adventure.

Everyone waits outside the arrival area until airline employees fill the ticket desks.

When we were ready to head back to the airport at the end of our stay, people with more experience than we had tried to convince us we would not be leaving from Terminal 2 because of its reputation for being “charter only”.

Flights leaving from Terminal 2 are listed on the board.

That was not true but our taxi driver waited for us just in case we needed a ride to a different terminal. We arrived 3 hours before our scheduled flight. I went back to the same CADECA to change my Cuban money back to Euros (they did not have British pounds and U.S. dollars have a 10% additional fee).

The Southwest desks inside the departure area of Terminal 2.

We lined up at the Southwest desk to check-in and check our luggage.

Our passports were stamped.

Once more we entered into the immigration cubicle one at a time where our passports were stamped and our travel cards collected. This time they were not handed back to us.

The waiting area was large and more or less full of people which subsided as the day progressed.

We went through a security screening and into the waiting area.

This CADECA was never open during the 5 hours we spent in the departure area. We used the one prior to immigration when leaving.

There were restaurants, Duty Free shops, souvenir stores, bathrooms, and even money exchange windows which didn’t seem to be open.

We had already purchased rum, cigars, and souvenirs which were packed in our checked luggage.

I had read that none of these things existed at Terminal 2.

Our plane was hours late taking off. I was notified by the airline by email which I could not access in the airport.

Our flight left hours after it was actually scheduled but at last  we boarded our flight headed for Fort Lauderdale.

What do you do when the information you need is not available or erroneous?


Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

4 thoughts on “Trip to Cuba: Havana Airport”

  1. That was such an adventure! Sounds like you did very well handling all the challenges and finding good places to stay and visit.

    1. I knew I needed to write about some updated info about Cuba. I did my research but Cuba is changing quickly and US relations are also in flux after decades of being unable to legally travel there. Jo

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