Sunday, 28 February 2016

HOW TO GET FROM HAVANA TO TRINIDAD

Viazul

Viazul is Cuba’s bus service that connects Havana with other Cuban cities across the country, including Trinidad.  The bus departs daily from Havana’s bus terminal to Trinidad, at approx. 8am and 1pm.  I have never booked a ticket in advance, neither have I tried to book a ticket online via their website, as I’m not sure if you can trust it quite yet.  

So what I tend to do is turn up at the Viazul bus terminal in Havana at least 1 hour before the bus is due to depart and buy my ticket on the day.  I find that the bus to Trinidad doesn’t usually fill up so there’s no problem in leaving it until the same day.  In fact the only time I couldn’t get a ticket was in July 2010 when I wanted to travel from Havana to Santiago de Cuba for the Festival del Fuego.  We turned up at the bus terminal 1 hour before departure to find out that it was fully booked, so even though we couldn’t travel as planned, we were able to reserve a ticket for the following day.  We didn’t have to pay for our ticket in advance, they asked us to pay on the day of travel.  But even if you do this, I would still recommend that you go to the bus terminal early as you still have to wait in the queue and claim your reserved ticket.    

On the Viazul Bus Cuba


I have asked around each time I go to Cuba to see if there are any agencies or hotels in or around the Parque Central area who sell tickets for the Viazul bus in advance, but all pointers lead back to the Viazul bus terminal.  Hence, when you get to Cuba, if you want to book a ticket in advance you need to travel to the Viazul bus terminal and reserve a ticket the day before you want to travel.  

In order to get to the Viazul bus terminal, I recommend you get a taxi as it is a 5-10 minute taxi ride from Parque Central.  Once you get to the terminal there is a cafeteria upstairs where you can buy food and drink for your journey.  During the journey to Trinidad the bus stops for 30 minutes so you can buy something to eat or use the bathroom facilities.

Transtur

Since I discovered Transtur I have stopped using the Viazul bus so much.  Transtur is a transfer service that picks passengers up from key hotels in Havana and travels to Trinidad.  It is comfortable, reliable and air-conditioned.  I prefer this service because you can reserve a ticket the day before at numerous hotels in Havana.  I usually go to the Hotel Inglaterra or Hotel Parque Central and visit the Cubatur bureau where they sell the tickets.  Also it saves me money as I don’t have to get a taxi to the Viazul bus terminal; I usually walk to the Hotel Inglaterra on the morning of my departure, which is one of the collection points.  The price of the ticket is more or less the same as the Viazul and it is usually quicker than the Viazul.  They usually only have a morning departure from Havana and the final drop off point is Parque Cespedes in the main part of Trinidad. 

The only thing I recommend is that you buy your Transtur ticket before 2pm the day before you want to travel.  The last time I wanted to buy a Transtur ticket I arrived at the Hotel Inglaterra just after 6pm and they told me that the tickets were sold out for the following day.

Transtur Cuba


Shuttle Buses

When I couldn’t get a ticket for the Transtur I telephoned my family in Trinidad and through their contacts they were able to find me a shuttle service travelling the following morning from Havana returning to Trinidad.  Not all casas have such contacts but it’s worth asking.  The transfer is a 9-10 seater air-conditioned mini-van, it’s a door to door service, so they collect you from your Casa Particular and drop you off at the Casa in Trinidad.  They usually charge a per-person rate, slightly higher than the Viazul bus fare, but it’s worth it!  It’s convenient, reliable, you don’t have to worry about getting taxis anywhere or finding your Casa when you get to Trinidad.  

If you want to book a private taxi or a shared taxi service please email us at experiencetherealcuba@gmail.com for a quote.

Taxi

At the Viazul bus terminal I have seen taxis looking to fill up their car with passengers travelling to Trinidad.  They usually charge you the same fare as the Viazul bus, but you have to wait until there are enough passengers to fill up the taxi before you leave.

Trinidad Cuba