Ferry to La Isla de Juventud


Getting to La Isla de Juventud the tickets for the faster Soviet-made Kometa hydrofoils are sold at the NCC kiosk in the main bus station in Havana near the Plaza de la Revolucion, where you can pay for both your bus transfer and ferry reservation altogether for just CUC$13.

Due to the recent popularity of Isla de La Juventud it is wise to make a reservation in person one or two days in advance at the NCC kiosk though, oddly, return tickets off the island are not available here or anywhere else in Habana. In terms of getting back you’ll have by the ticket in Nueva Gerona where you can easily purchase a return ticket on arrival.

It’s advisable not to show up independently in Batabanó with the intention of buying a ferry ticket direct from the dock. Although technically possible, a number of travelers have had issues here, being advised, more often than not, that the tickets have been sold out days or weeks in advance through the NCC booth in Habana. You are therefore advised to not take the risk and wherever possible book in advance.

Getting back to Cuba’s mainland is as easy as buying your ticket at Nueva Gerona’s Naviera Cubana Caribeña (NCC) ferry terminal (Phones 32 49 77, 32 44 15) This is very easy to find on the corners of Calles 31 & 24 in the city center and right beside the Río Las Casas. The locally known kometa leaves for Surgidero de Batabanó daily at 9am (CUC$11), but you’d be better off getting there at least two hours beforehand to tackle the lengthy and disorderly queues…

A connecting bus from from Surgidero de Batabanó should cost CUC$2 and you will need to make a reservation as you buy your ferry ticket. If you find yourself stranded, large passenger trucks with solid wooden benches often wait for the ferries at Surgidero de Batabanó, charging 10 pesos per person to go to the Habana bus station. It isn’t comfortable, but you will get there, albeit somewhat tired and shaken.

As with most tings in Cuba, there are no printed schedules for the boat or ferry crossings to and from La Isla de la Juventud. Supposedly the kometas are thought to leave Nueva Gerona at 9am and dock in Batabanó at noon, returning back to the island at 1pm. But don’t take this written schedule as fact until you have booked your ticket. The Isle of Youth ferry crossings, rather like Cuban trains, have a maddening propensity of being late, breaking down or getting completely cancelled.