Transport in Cuba can seem intimidating and difficult to arrange when initially researching a trip. Cuba after all is 1250kms long and I know we wondered how we would visit all the places we wanted to, particularly Trinidad as it is 315kms from Havana where we begun our journey. Due to the relative scarcity of WiFi in Cuba we were sceptical of booking anything online before we went. We found a multitude of options however after a lot of research and hopefully this will help you to plan your own adventure to the amazing country of Cuba.
The major cities in Cuba such as Havana, Trinidad, Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Varadero and more all have airports for internal flights. Cubana airlines, Aerogaviota and Aero Caribbean all operate internal flights which can be booked online or through a travel agent. Flying can greatly reduce your travelling time between cities especially if you are on a tight time frame. We did not fly during our time in Cuba as we felt driving or using the bus would allow us to see more of the countryside.
There are a number of car rental companies in Cuba such as Cubacar and Havanautos. When doing our research on renting a car in Cuba we found a lot of information on Cuba Junky, a site that also allows you to book a car through them. If you are booking a car it is recommended to book at least 2 months in advance due to their limited availability, not great news for anyone who spontaneously books last minute! Renting a car can lend a great freedom to travelling however after doing some research on other blog posts we learned that the roads in Cuba can often be in a state of disrepair and people were warning to be very careful of other drivers. We decided against this option as we didn’t feel confident about it but it is an option for the braver among us and would give you the freedom to stop where you wanted.
The majority of our travel were through taxis as they are so readily available. On our first day in Havana we had organised an American car tour which is a must and deserves its own blog post. We had read in several places about organising a taxi from city to city. During our tour with the American car we spoke to the driver and were able to arrange a car for our trip from Havana to Trinidad. This was a 5hr car journey but it was so comfortable to be in your own space with air conditioning and a driver that knew the roads. We soon saw how difficult we would have found it to drive ourselves due to the erratic nature of some drivers. Prices can vary from 100-250CUC so it is best to look around and to haggle. A very comfortable option and you can stop where you want, we stopped for ice cream!
Buses are very well organised in Cuba and are comfortable and air-conditioned which is a must in the 35degree heat! Viazul is the main bus operator for tourists and there are bus stations in all of the big cities. Prices are very reasonable and any of the buses we got were very punctual and on time. We travelled from Trinidad to Varadero which was 20CUC each for a 5hr journey including a stop for lunch and from Varadero to Havana for 10CUC each for a 3hr journey. Our experience with the bus was extremely positive and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough. A cheap and easy way to travel just be prepared for some early starts as our bus from Trinidad left at 7am!
Darragh and Kate