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An overnight especial train runs between Havana and Santiago (once daily in both directions), with stops at Las Tunas, Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Santa Clara, and Matanzas. Santiago is the only stop the train makes in eastern Cuba; nightly departures are at 9:35 pm. (Santiago's modern train station, the Estación de Ferrocarriles, is on the harbor, six blocks west of Parque Céspedes.) The trip takes about 15 hours and costs 40 cuc; payment is accepted only in cash. It's best to buy your ticket as far as possible in advance. The older European-style coaches have air-conditioning and reclining seats. Although a food cart trundles by twice on the trip, you'll definitely need to bring food and bottled water.
Besides the especial train, a 31-cuc, non–air-conditioned train leaves from Santiago at 5 pm on odd-numbered days of the month and arrives in Havana at 7 am. There's also rail service between Havana and Holguín, Bayamo, and Guantánamo. Most train stations are near a city's historic center. The one exception is Holguín, whose station is 15 km (9 mi) to the south in the town of Cacocum. Tickets can be bought at train stations.
Estacion de Ferrocarriles. Av. Jesus Menendez, Centro Historico, Santiago. 22/62-2836.
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