Modern Day Travel within Cuba

Old Nov 27th, 2023, 10:00 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Modern Day Travel within Cuba

Hola people of the forum.

In less than a couple of months I will embark on another Cuban trip. This one will be a bit different than all of the others as I plan to land in Havana and travel across much of the country and then fly out of Holguin.
Never mind that there is a fuel crisis going on, a heap of hydro problems plaguing the country and whatever else that is ailing the good folks of Cuba these days, it is too late to worry any about that. Jajajaja!
My usual mode of transportation has been the Cuban taxi of some sort but that could be a costly adventure in itself this time around. I am looking at the bus situation as being my best option. I have taken Viazul before but not in the last decade, I believe.

Here are some questions;

1,
For the Viazul bus are ticket purchases by their website the only option these days? Is it highly recommended to have that bus pre-booked? How easy is the process of booking on-line?
2, Is the Cubanacán/Conectando bus still an option these days? Purchase at any Cubanacan desk, I presume?
3. What other options (no not train or bici-taxi) are there? Is it recommended to hop in a cab with a bunch of other folks for a long drive? Safety?

The itinerary so far is Havana - Cienfuegos - Holguin. I am not sure at this point where else. I don't mind following a timetable if I end up pre-booking bus tickets though I am a bit concerned about cancellations and delays.

That's it for now,
C. Waters
CubanWaters is offline  
Old Nov 29th, 2023, 03:04 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CubanWaters
Hola people of the forum.

In less than a couple of months I will embark on another Cuban trip. This one will be a bit different than all of the others as I plan to land in Havana and travel across much of the country and then fly out of Holguin.
Never mind that there is a fuel crisis going on, a heap of hydro problems plaguing the country and whatever else that is ailing the good folks of Cuba these days, it is too late to worry any about that. Jajajaja!
My usual mode of transportation has been the Cuban taxi of some sort but that could be a costly adventure in itself this time around. I am looking at the bus situation as being my best option. I have taken Viazul before but not in the last decade, I believe.

Here are some questions;

1,
For the Viazul bus are ticket purchases by their website the only option these days? Is it highly recommended to have that bus pre-booked? How easy is the process of booking on-line?
2, Is the Cubanacán/Conectando bus still an option these days? Purchase at any Cubanacan desk, I presume?
3. What other options (no not train or bici-taxi) are there? Is it recommended to hop in a cab with a bunch of other folks for a long drive? Safety?

The itinerary so far is Havana - Cienfuegos - Holguin. I am not sure at this point where else. I don't mind following a timetable if I end up pre-booking bus tickets though I am a bit concerned about cancellations and delays.

That's it for now,
C. Waters
1. You can but the Viazul tickets at the terminus. Problem is that sometimes there will be no availabilities, others is that the system to process the credit card does not work (sometimes it's true, sometimes it's just so you pay cash and they pocket the money).

imo, it's way better to buy in advance on the website, even if it's only 48h. To purchase them online while you're in Cuba, you will need a VPN.

2. Yes and Yes. But routes are limited due to the fuel crisis. So you would have to enquire way in advance.

3. Shared taxis can be an option, but Habana-Cienfuegos and Cienfuegos-Holguin are not itineraries that are in high demand, so it's probable that you will not find many offers. But if you are flexible on the day of departure, it could be an option.

how long are you going to be in Cuba for?
GengenCuba is offline  
Old Nov 29th, 2023, 07:08 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1. So it looks like buying on-line beforehand is the way to go. Just a matter of booking and then printing out the ticket, I reckon, or is a copy of it on my phone good enough? Anything tricky about booking on the Viazul website?

2. Not sure if I want to take a chance on getting that bus or not. Pre-booking Viazul could be less stressful as long as there are no cancellations.

3. Not sure that I want to risk relying on the shared taxi option either. I have had some weird taxi experiences in Cuba before. Let me tell you.
And that darn train has a reputation of being days late. No, not hours but....days.

Jus a couple of weeks. I doubt that I will stop in Camagüey. I prefer this trip to stay in places that I have never been before (like Ciego de Avila) if I am going be sleeping around.

CubanWaters is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2023, 11:38 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1. You can buy at the terminal. I've bought online for family recently, rather than go to the station and enter that tedium.The main difference now compared to pre covid is reduced frequency on less popular routes, yet on the long Havana to Santiago, the frequency has increased.Also, they add routes from time to time. Most recent I recall is Trinidad to Camagüey. I think Trinidad to Varadero was added some time back.Completely cancelled is Santiago to Guantánamo and Baracoa. This route is now served by a weekly Transtur bus.

2. Yes - but as per Gengen, limited routes. Also check with Transtur offices. Locally, they seem to put on some routes.

3. Shared taxi/colectivo - people do it. Not my preferred option. I'd rather get on a bus (or train), rather than crammed in a car or pisicorre.I don't know what sort of prices they charge tourists these days. Holguín uncle paid 1200CUP for a pisicorre from Calle 4 in Santiago to Holguín about a week ago.
There is also the flight option. Limited to handful of routes, all emanating from Havana. Havana to: Santiago, Holguín, Nueva Gerona, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo. I think the last two can only be booked in situ in Cuba. Maybe even Nueva Gerona. Not sure.
YaHez is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2023, 07:42 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1. If I have to pay by card at the station then I might as well buy on-line from home. Does the ticket need to be printed out or is a digital; copy on the phone good enough?

2. Better not risk counting on it but good to know that it is there.

3. pisicorre is a term that I haven't heard in a while. I used to take one of those from the center of Santiago out to the burbs for visits. Can not remember what I paid for a ride but I remember that it was dirt cheap.

Having to pay on my own for taxis across the country would be a small fortune these days, I would imagine and being stuffed in the back of a camion for a small fee could turn out to be a real bummer as well.

Flight is not an option for me as I am doing this trip to do stops and explore in-between Havana and Holguin.

Gracias Gengen and Yinkx and Yahez
CubanWaters is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2023, 07:56 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You can have the ticket on your phone, no problem.
GengenCuba is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2023, 04:38 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@ #5 Pisicorres used to be 5CUP per person - Pre Covid, Ordenamiento - for the set routes running from town to the nearer outskirts, so I wouldn't be surprised if they're 50CUP+ now.

At Santiago Viazul station, when you check in an hour before your bus departure, it's at an office you access from outside the station. You show your ticket on your phone or printed off, they check it on the system and give you a "boarding card" - distinctive paper slip - which you show to the security guard to get into the station.
YaHez is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2023, 11:56 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I can remember being at the Santiago, Bayamo and Holguin Viazul bus stations but it has been so long ago that I do not remember the procedure. I do know that I have never pre-booked on-line before.

I do remember my galpal of yesteryear in Santiago complaining to me that I paid less for taxis and pisicorres that she did. I told her that she needed to set the price before leaving. Funny, but I remember Johnabbottsford in Bayamo telling me that I should just give the money and not ask the horse-carriage guy "how much" when the ride was over.

Thanks again Yahez. I just might know what I am doing now.
CubanWaters is offline  
Old Dec 4th, 2023, 09:14 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2023
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
CW, I booked Viazul online for a transfer between Bayamo and Holguín Airport, and when I checked in for the bus at the station, I was asked to show my passport. The check-in guy was not interested in seeing the ticket/reservation confirmation that I had on my phone (I didn't print it out). I assume he used my passport number to validate my booking and issue the boarding pass.
Lebay is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2023, 05:49 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Lebay. I will register for Viazul.
I am getting in the loop but a bit worried that there are no buses showing going eastward in January from Cienfuegos for the dates that I have in mind. Hopefully that will change.
CubanWaters is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2023, 08:17 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CubanWaters
.... a bit worried that there are no buses showing going eastward in January from Cienfuegos for the dates that I have in mind. Hopefully that will change.
By eastward, I presume you mean to Holguín? I don't think you can do that direct. Try Cienfuegos to Santa Clara, then Santa Clara to Holguin. From that area (Cienfuegos and Trinidad) I think the options are towards Havana and Varadero.
There is also a new route Trinidad - Camagüey.

YaHez is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2023, 09:30 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2023
Posts: 39
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's also been many years since I took the Viazul. For a set itinerary though, it's probably the best option. Let your casa host know soon after you arrive where you plan on going next. They may know of someone going to your destination on the same day. I was thinking about mailing you my leftover CUP from my last trip CW. But what I have left isn't worth the cost of a stamp.
SimonT is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2023, 08:08 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
...I don't think you can do that direct. Try Cienfuegos to Santa Clara, then Santa Clara to Holguin....
Yahez, I see what you mean now. It appeared that I could not go eastward at all but now I see that I need to get back on the correct direct trail (bus route) first, then head east. Yes, for instance to go to Holguin from Cienfuegos, I would have to go to Santa Clara or Trinidad first, then head east on that other route. This trip will be a learning experience for me for future cross-country Cuba trips.

+=+=+=+=+

Simon - I will probably take the bus the whole way east. Still not sure exactly where I'll be staying in-between though. Those bus times are not particularly ideal for me (or anyone?). I mean, who wants to catch the bus at 3 in the bloody morning for crying out loud. Haven't even had my night-cap by then!
CubanWaters is offline  
Old Dec 27th, 2023, 08:52 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just booked everything that needs to be booked. The website is pretty straightforward but with a few snags.
The verification code to sign up kept going to my "junk folder" therefore I had about 20 of them in there until I figured out what was going on.
Like I said before, some of these bus times are in the middle of the night but if you need to get to where you want to go..........
The payment process took a few tries (everything must be filled in correctly). I will check with my bank soon to see if all was legit.

I received an itinerary and receipt by email but strange thing is, when I go to "Detalles de los Viajes" on the "My Travels" page of the website, there are 2 of the exact itineraries, one marked paid and the other marked "to pay". Anybody know what is going on there?
CubanWaters is offline  
Old Jan 1st, 2024, 08:47 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2023
Posts: 39
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Were you billed on your credit card correctly CW? Send me an email if you can while in Cuba.
SimonT is offline  
Old Jan 1st, 2024, 09:21 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Simon, it seems to be correct. I was billed the proper amount. 48 Euro came out to about 72 CDN, exchange, fees and all.
That 48 Euro/72 CDN is the cost of what travelling from Havana - Santa Clara - Cego de Avila - Holguin is over a few days.
Been to Santa Clara before but never Ciego de Avila. A little something new to look forward to.
CubanWaters is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2024, 12:20 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The whole process of; booking on-line before coming to Cuba, getting to the bus station at least an hour beforehand and getting my on-board slip from Viazul personnel was fairly straightforward and doable.
There was one dame somewhere that demanded that she keep my print-out paper for her records. Not sure if she would have been satisfied with a digital copy or not. She was a growler and screeched like a cat!

I would definitely use Viazul again. Overall quite satisfied.
CubanWaters is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2024, 08:25 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 24
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Was always happen with Viazul!
Johnabbotsford is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 07:06 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2024
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Don't forget to take a light jacket or hoodie. Cold as Siberia on many ViaAzul busses
candicevelichka3917 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2024, 07:52 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Recently I was reading on another travel forum that service has been decreased and fares have risen for the VIAZUL bus.
Hopefully any decreases in service are only temporary and what had cost me 48 Euro on my trip stated earlier in this thread, the cost has now risen to 50 Euro. Whipty fricken doo da............what is that roughly 4%?
CubanWaters is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
maitaitom
United States
2
Jan 8th, 2019 07:26 AM
JulieVikmanis
Europe
10
Sep 4th, 2018 07:40 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -