The train stations are often dirty and chaotic places, where the information is basically non-existing. The national company is Ferrocarriles de Cuba. Their trains have bad reputation:
- They break down frequently.
- Schedules have nothing to do with reality because of delays and because they change continuously.
- The railway network is extensive but the frequency of trains is scarce.
- At night you should keep an eye on your belongings, and it is convenient to bring a flashlight.
As for the price and duration of the routes, an approximate rule applies: if it takes the same as the Viazul bus, it will cost the same as the bus; if it takes longer, it will cost less. In very few cases the train will be faster or take the same as the bus. Keep in mind that there is a price for the locals and a more expensive one for tourists.
The only train recommended, both for quality of service, and for punctuality, was the French Train, bought to this country. It covers the route Havana – Santiago on alternate days. It is the only one in which food and drink is served, although in the others they usually street vendors go up. The problem is that it has not worked since 2014.
All this is being tried to improve. The central station of Havana is undergoing renovations, and shows an impeccable appearance. Hopefully the improvements, will also apply to trains in the future.
There are 10 airports in Cuba. The local companies are Cubana de Aviación, Aerogaviota and Aerocaribbean (low cost subsidiary of Cubana):
- It’s the most expensive way to get around, but we’ll save a lot of time. Each trip, regardless of where it is, usually costs around 100 $ CUC.
- There are no daily flights everywhere.
- Buying tickets online can be an odyssey, since the websites of Cubana and Aerogaviota are basically useless, an example: flying is the only way to get to Cayo Largo del Sur; however, neither of the two websites allows us to select it as a destination from Havana. Since there are usually available tickets, it is preferable to buy them through your hotel or a travel agency once you arrive in the country.