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The Viazul Cuba bus station in Havana is the pits!

The Viazul Cuba bus station toilet in Havana is slummy … an insult to customers who are forced to pay to use it.

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After 2 days of the meanest diarrhoea in my life we were taking two bus trips to get to Cienfuegos. Vinales to Havana and Havana to Cienfuegos. A total of nearly 10 hours in a bus with a very delicate stomach.

I decided to use the toilet at the Viazul bus station in Havana as an insurance of no disaster to Cienfuegos.

The toilets are disgusting. Amongst the worst I’ve experienced. First you pay CUC0.50 (USD0.50) to use them. As you walk in there are 3 basins with two toilet rolls and a bar of soap on a piece of folded paper. Behind are 4 toilet cubicles and a space that should be a shower.

Cubicle one has a door with a gap of about 30 centimetres (a foot) from the door to the wall so does not close.

The next three have no doors and I assumed one was out of service as it had an upturned bucket inside the bowl. None have toilet seats.

Finally the shower with no shower head. Water dripped from the pipe. No space for a shower anyway as this is now the storage areas for buckets and mops.

All the walls were grimy.

There was no way I was going to use this disgusting facility. I decided to take my chance with the next bus trip.

As I was leaving I took a photo. It was actually quite mundane but triggered an explosive outburst of Spanish from the Amazonian female attendant/cashier.

The Confrontation!

Not thinking too much about it I went and sat down ... contemplating the 6-hour trip ahead. All of a sudden I was confronted by a large aggressive man. Standing over me and babbling in Spanish.

I was aware of his objective. But I couldn’t speak Spanish, didn’t know who he was, where you could or could not take photographs (we had been warned about the police or army) but didn’t know whether this extended to toilets I just stared at him. 

His penny then dropped “no speak Espanol?” My quizzical look must have made him come to that conclusion. His speed of comprehension became apparent later.

He emitted a grunt that sounded like “no photograph”.

I had no idea of my rights but as I didn’t like the possibility of spending a night in some Cuban jail. Where in comparison the bus station toilets would probably be like a 5-star hotel.

By then I had my phone out and was deleting the innocuous picture. He was satisfied and swaggered away his strong man task complete.

Until he loaded our bags in the bus to Cienfuegos.

  • Lessons for Viazul Cuba Bus Company

  • Foreign tourists are a valuable source of income for Cuba and Viazul.
  • Bus travel is a total experience
  • Filthy, free toilets are just disgusting ... filthy paid toilets are an insult to your customers.
  • Grungy toilets and aggressive thugs are not a good long term solution for a successful business.
  • Shabby, dirty buses will also drive away customers.
  • With the virulent stomach bugs that exist in Cuba toilets like these are a real health hazard.

About the Author Patrick Millerd

On a mission to help others expand their horizons. Who knows where they can end? Passionate about learning and embracing the changing world. Adventurous and skeptical but optimistic!

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