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Getting Around Cuba
Get a Guide to Cuba
If you are visiting one of the all-inclusive beach resorts in Cuba, you might not need to do any traveling around the island. But if you plan on exploring more than one town or see the countryside, you have several transportation options.
Grabbing a taxi is usually the easiest and most convenient way to get around most Cuban cities and towns, though smaller places are more walkable. There are both licensed and unlicensed taxis, usually in the form of older "classic" American cars. The unlicensed taxis are technically illegal but tourists do use them quite frequently. Though riding around in the vintage cars can be fun, you should try to take at least one ride in a yellow coco-taxi. They're kind of like a big 3-wheeled moped with a round enclosure over the two passenger seats.
Buses are another option in Cuba, though more for getting around between cities as you travel around the island. Havana does have public bus service within the city. Viazul and Astro are the two main bus lines, with Viazul being more expensive and also quite comfortable (even air conditioned). Routes will vary but you should be able to get a bus between Havana, Varadero, Camaguey and down to Santiago. If you are getting off the beaten track a bit more, plan on being flexible as the schedules are less strict.
The train makes for an alternative to the bus for travel across Cuba. There are regularly scheduled routes through the island, and the main train service is run by Tren Frances. The line goes between Havana and Santiago and stops frequently at other towns along the way. The train is cheaper than the bus, but you'll find the trip less comfortable and the schedules aren't as reliable.
The quickest way to travel within Cuba is by plane. There are several airports, especially near the main tourist areas and beach resort islands. There are two airlines operating domestic flights in Cuba: Cubana de Aviacion and Aero Caribbean.
Yes, that's right. It's actually an accepted practice to hitchhike around Cuba. There are official rest-stops, and attendants who will flag down cars heading your way. The system is called "El Amarillo" because of the attendant's yellow uniform. Unlike traditional hitchhiking, you do have to pay a small fee which goes to the attendant rather than the person who picks you up. It's an unusual way to travel, but it can be a bit of an adventure (especially if you don't mind getting a ride in the back of a pick up truck).