The Viazul BusOne of the cheapest and most convenient ways of getting around Cuba is to travel on the Viazul buses. These air conditioned coaches will take you between most of the island's main towns and cities as well as to the most popular resort areas of the island.
There are a number of featured routes on the Viazul website which are the most popular routes taken by tourists. Popular routes run from Havana to Varadero, to Vinales and to Holguin and you can also get easily from Havana to the other major settlements of Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba. Also featured are the routes between the most important tourist areas on the island, Varadero and Trinidad and also the one between Varadero and Santiago de Cuba. Finally, the last featured route runs between Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa. It should be noted, however, that these are just some of the routes you can take on these handy and affordable buses.
Local Buses and AlmendronPeople living in the bigger cities of the island such as Havana and Santiago de Cuba will ride on local, regular bus services. However, if you are a tourist and choose to ride on these local buses then you should be aware that you run a risk of being robbed. Petty theft is common and some locals may not appreciate your presence. While most of the time travel in Cuba is very safe for foreign tourists, standing out too much amongst people who probably have far, far less than you do can open you up to small pick-pocketing incidents. It is always advisable to watch your belongings, carry your wallet or money in zipped pockets or pouches and be observant of your immediate area.
Outside of the main cities, the public transport infrastructure is patchy and not as well-run as it would be in a developed country. However, it is entirely possible to rely on public transportation for locals, especially if you have the benefit of a local friend or guide to show you how things really work.
One public transport option that you may wish to try out while in a city are the Almendron – classic 1950s cars that act like buses, going, unlike taxis, on fixed routes between neighborhoods. Independent travellers and backpackers often find these are one of the best and cheapest ways to get around within the cities. Though on a fixed route, they will stop on demand. It might take a while to get to your destination but you will be able to see a slice of Cuban culture and a big helping of real Cuban everyday life along the way.