Guide to Viazul bus Cuba

Guide to Viazul bus Cuba

by cubapura

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Cuba has many bus lines, but the biggest difference is who the clients are. Viazul buses are mainly meant for tourism and are relatively modern air conditioned European/Brazilian/Chinese buses.

On the other hand, Astro buses are only for Cubans (you will be asked to show ID).

Like many things in Cuba, getting a bus ticket on Viazul can be more complicated than you’re used to.

Viazul Timetable 2019: up to date schedules

The best place to look for timetables on Viazul Routes is the Viazul website. The website is fairly simple to use to find the timetables.

Booking on it however, is slightly more complicated…

Fortunately, Viazul goes pretty much everywhere and the prices are relatively friendly for all but the most budget-conscious travellers in Cuba. It is worth checking the timetables though. For example, if you want to leave Varadero at night you with Viazul you might not be able to.

Update: Cuban Fuel Crisis 2019

As of September/October 2019 Viazul buses are running on a limited schedule.

This means that buying Viazul bus tickets is harder than usual.

Online bookings are reduced, and often you’ll have to buy the ticket in person. We recommend to book colectivos ahead, which have a similar price.

Viazul bus prices 2019

Travelling via Viazul is cheaper than via private taxi, comparable to the colectivo prices and more expensive than travelling via camion.

The prices for popular routes are:

  • Havana – Viñales (or viceversa) for 12 CUC
  • Havana – Trinidad (or viceversa) for 25 CUC
  • Havana – Varadero (or viceversa) for 10 CUC
  • Havana – Santiago (or viceversa) for 51 CUC

How to Book a Viazul Bus Ticket Online

You should first check the Viazul website if you want to book a Viazul ticket online. If you find availability when you want to go.

You will have to register with your passport and some other information.

Viazul Online Registration

Then you will be able to buy the Viazul bus ticket online using your credit card.

Help, I can’t book on the Viazul Bus website!

Unfortunately, booking on the Viazul website isn’t always straightforward. The reasons for this are:

  • Viazul only opens up a small percentage of tickets to be booked online.
  • Viazul blocks several dates on its website. If you want to book transportation for within the next 10 days or too far in advance, it won’t let you book.
  • Last minute bookings are not possible on the viazul website.

In this case you have several alternatives: you can either book a different mode of Cuban transportation, you can book a Viazul bus in person, or you can book a Viazul bus on ZunZunCar.com

Booking the Viazul Bus in person

Getting the ticket in person is fairly straightforward, but somewhat time consuming. Just show up at the local Viazul bus station and buy the ticket. You can ask your hosts where the Viazul station is, or look it up on Maps.me (or any of the other essential apps for travelling to Cuba).

If you are travelling in high season (November – March) we recommend you try to buy your ticket a day in advance,  depending on the route. You can always try to book it on the day, but you might be unlucky and not get a seat. If you do try to book it on the day, make sure to get to the Viazul bus station early.

If you try to buy the ticket in the morning of the day you want to travel and you cannot get a ticket, do not despair! There is still a chance you can get on the last minute list.

Booking a Viazul Bus on ZunZunCar.com

Because Viazul has made it relatively difficult to book online, several agencies offer to go and buy it for you. One of these agencies is ZunZunCar.com, which also sells private taxis and colectivo shared taxis.

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They will charge you 10 USD more for each ticket, and for this they will send someone to buy the ticket in person at the Viazul office and deliver it to your Casa or Hotel the day before if you are travelling from Havana, or via e-mail if you are elsewhere. Generally, it is preferable to have a physical ticket.

Keep in mind that they literally send someone to buy it at the station,  which means that they cannot actually guarantee availability (they will not charge you if they don’t get you a ticket). As they generally need a day or two to get them and deliver the tickets, we wouldn’t recommend booking last minute trips Viazul trips on ZunZunCar for this reason.

Things you have to know about travelling on a Viazul bus

The “last-minute list” on Viazul

The last minute list is a piece of paper the Viazul operators will have with people who do not have a ticket but want to get on a bus. If someone with a pre-booked ticket does not show up (because of a delayed flight or food poisoning or whatever reason), people on the last-minute list get to board. You don’t have to pay to get on the last minute list, so it is worth a shot if you’re desperate.

Get to the Viazul station 30 minutes early

Once you arrive to the Viazul station with your reservation, you will be given your boarding ticket. This takes time. If you fail to get there on time, you might lose your ticket to some lucky guy on the last minute list. You will need your reservation and your passport to board.

Luggage allowance is 20kg

You’re entitled to put a 20kg bag in the luggage storage bit of the bus, although in practice they rarely check the weight unless you have some sort of outlandishly big bag.

Bring some warm clothes

For some reason Viazul bus drivers like to have the AC on full blast, which means that you’ll probably be cold if you’re only wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Avoid sitting in the area near the toilet

This is general advice for travelling on any bus with a toilet. The toilet may or may not work. Viazul buses do stop for toilet brakes every now and then, but be prepared to “tip” for some toilet paper.

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