Cuba — Transportation
Cuba Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis are useful for inner-city travel in Cuba and can be flagged down on the side of the road. Cabs with blue license plates are government-owned and generally go wherever the passenger requests, while taxis with yellow license plates are operated by private companies, work on set routes and are shared.
Taxis can also be used for going longer distances between cities, but this is quite a costly mode of transportation. Prices are negotiable and may be reasonable if you can find enough people to split the cost with, but otherwise this is not the most economical way of getting around Cuba.
The car rental companies are all government-owned and prices are not too negotiable. The vehicles provided are in good condition, but the process of acquiring one may be quite inefficient. It is often cheaper and faster to plan car rental through a tour operator in your home country before departing to avoid exorbitant fees and administrative hassle.
Cuba Trains and Buses
The main train line runs from Havana to Santiago de Cuba, but there are several branches which go to smaller cities like Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus and Manzanillo. The network used to be far more extensive, but many have been shut down due to weather damage or lack of maintenance. Ferrocarriles de Cuba is the national rail company. Trains are not always on time, but the journey is a scenic one. The safest and most reliable route is the Tren Frances which travels overnight on the main line. This is the only train which has air conditioning and serves refreshments.
There are two major bus companies in the country which travel between regions on the island. Buses run by the Viazul Company are by far the most efficient and comfortable offering air-conditioning, washrooms and, on long distance trips, televisions. Viazul buses are more expensive so few locals use the service. The other company is Astro, which is used by most Cuban people. The fares are cheaper and the coaches just as comfortable. Astro also offers more routes than Viazul, reaching more remote areas of the country.