As we were a little wary of the collectivo taxis we initially used the Viazul bus service for our Cuba transportation. But after using a collectivo we preferred them to the bus.
Our Cuba transportation itinerary was Vinales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara, back to Cienfuegos and finally back to Havana.
The ticketing is a 2 step process. First you make a booking and then 30 minutes before the bus is scheduled to leave you get a ticket. These tickets are marked with seat numbers but seating on the bus is “libre” (sit anywhere!).
Another anomaly is that the seat numbers are like aircraft seating but the bus seat numbers are numbered sequentially!
The waiting rooms have the customary Cuban lines (queues) which can be a bit confusing. All announcements are made in Spanish so you have to listen for your destination name. Or the final destination if your destination is en route.
The buses are Chinese made. They are as comfortable as you’d expect with Chinese made buses on poorly maintained Cuban roads.
Seating works if everyone is sitting up. With a seat reclined there is very little leg room for the passenger behind. You feel like they are lying in your lap! Another issue is that some seats are damaged and the recline is involuntary … the mechanisms have long since failed.
The interiors of the buses are grubby.
This extra charge seems to have been introduced sometime during our travels. This was the history.
These are characterised by poor signage, people with bad attitudes, toilets you have to pay for, announcements you can’t understand and staff who care less about any customer service.
No, or inconsistent, systems. Very complacent disinterested staff. The toilets are horrible!
We took a “collectivo taxi” from Santa Clara to Cienfuegos and then from Cienfuegos back to Havana.
We were warned that we should only pay when we arrive at our destination. However in one case we paid 50% upfront and 50% when we arrived.
The advantages are a faster door to door trip. In addition you don’t have to go through the hassle of negotiating taxi rides to and from the bus stations or paying their inflated charges.
The price is negotiated and agreed up front. It’s important to clarify this so that there is no aggravation later.
From our experience – recommended.
From our experience – the second choice.
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