Viazul-bus-ultimate-guide

How to Book the Viazul Bus in Cuba in 2021– [Viazul Bus Cuba Guide]

As a tourist in Cuba, one of your main modes of transport is likely to be the Cuba Viazul bus network.  The Viazul Cuba Bus network is specifically designed for Cubans and tourists to get to various points around the country.  Viazul has recently revamped their service, (there are now even buses from the airport!) though not necessarily their buses and while the number of services has not increased from previous years there are now claims that increased demand will provide increased services too.   Our 2021 guide to the Viazul Bus service includes prices, timetables, how to book the Viazul Bus service and what to do if there are no seats available. Here’s our ultimate guide to the Cuba Viazul Bus Service.

To make your life easier we’ve gathered the entire Viazul Bus Timetable and prices – and will send it to you in an easy to read format.  Click Here to get your copy.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED AND AFFILIATE LINKS. MORE INFORMATION IN OUR DISCLAIMER

The Ultimate Viazul Bus Cuba Guide

You can visit the Viazul Bus Cuba website and see all their Cuba bus routes – or Click here and we’ll send

  • A list of the Viazul Bus stations
  • The detailed price list of Viazul buses
  • A full copy of the current Viazul timetable
  • A copy of this guide on how to use the Viazul Bus Network

Booking your transport is one of the things that you’re going to want to do before you arrive in Cuba.  (here are some other things you’ll need to look at too)

Want the Viazul Bus Timetable? And all these details? You can download our full Viazul Bus Guide here

A reminder you’ll want this timetable well in advance of your visit to Cuba and you’ll want to try and buy tickets beforehand too.  It’s always good to know what your other Cuban transport options are too.

Viazul Bus Services and Covid 19

The Viazul Bus Services is now running, however, there are sanitary measures in place to help protect against Covid-19.  The measures being taken are as follows.

  • Wearing a mask is mandatory (in both terminals and buses)
  • Hand and Foot disinfection stations are in use
  • A required 1 metre of social distance is required in terminals

How to Book Viazul Bus Cuba Tickets

It is imperative to make Viazul booking in advance.  Unless you are very, very lucky you will be unlikely to get a seat if you just turn up.   If you are trying to book a bus with FOUR (4) days or less notice you are unlikely to find a seat. 

Last minute tickets on Viazul Bus can be booked – but you must buy them at least two hours in advance of the trip.  In reality, there are highly unlikely to be any seats left that late in the day. So read on for everything you need to know about the Viazul Bus service in Cuba in 2021.

It is imperative with Viazul to book in advance, the further ahead of time the better.  So, one of the first things that you should do when planning your trip to Cuba is to get on with booking a Viazul bus.  Here’s how:

How to Book Viazul Bus Tickets Online with Viazul

The simplest way to book your Viazul bus is to do it online.  The website is available in English and Spanish and works pretty well.  That said, Viazul Cuba only releases a small number of tickets for each route online.  If you can’t see availability that does NOT mean that the bus is sold out, it just means that the online allocation has been sold.  If you’re booking ANY tickets online you really should fire up a VPN before putting any of your personal details into any site.  And especially if you’re using a public wifi connection.

Get the best VPN that we’ve found – that works very well in China, Turkmenistan & Cuba.  This link gives you up to 49% off RRP as a reader of Cuba’s Best. You can read more about VPNs in Cuba here.

Register on the Viazul Website

While you can see some availability of tickets on the site, you must create a registration on the site to attempt to book the tickets. 

You need to input your passport number and details into the website to create a login.   The website is available in both Spanish and English, but the registration process occurs mainly in Spanish.

First, click here to create an account.

Viazul Registering

Then once you’ve input your details you’ll be sent a validation code.  The email that you receive will be in Spanish.

Viazul Registration

Copy and paste the code back into the Viazul page and you’ll have created your account.  The Viazul Site will then redirect you to a (logged in) home page.  And you’ll also get a confirmation email to say your registration has been successful.  The emails are all set up in Spanish.

Viazul Registration site

Create Your Profile on the Viazul Website

The first thing that you’ll need to do – if you’re planning on booking tickets – is to update your profile on the Viazul website.   To complete the form in full you will need

  • Name
  • Address – the address fields are pre-populated with dropdowns for Cuban addresses – this is not a required field
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex
  • Place of Residence
  • Nationality
  • Email
  • Document ID (passport or ID card) (including issuing country, expiration date and document number)

Note that the ONLY required fields on this form are

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Document ID
  • Document Number
  • Document Issuing Country
  • Document Expiry Date

There are (some) dropdowns but the pre-filled content is in Spanish.

You will at this point be putting in your date of birth and passport details.  We strongly advise you to use a VPN while doing this.  DEFINITELY if you are using a public wifi connection. Protect Your Data With a VPN – get 3 months for FREE with this link

Add Frequent Passengers to your Viazul Profile

When you’ve saved your profile, then the Viazul site will take you straight to the Frequent Passengers option.  This requires the SAME information that you’ve just put into your profile, but it does not auto-populate this form, so you will need to enter it again.

Complete the details.  The required fields for adding frequent passengers on Viazul are

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Document ID
  • Document Number
  • Document Issuing Country
  • Document Expiry Date

Click save and then add any other members of your party requiring Viazul tickets as further “Frequent Passengers”.

Check Availability on Viazul

To check the availability of Viazul buses and to book tickets, you’ll need to either click on the logo on the top left of the screen or click on Destinations from the drop-down menu on the top right toolbar.  A search bar is also available on the home screen (you’ll likely need to scroll).

Search results for Viazul buses will show the available seats and the price of the ticket.

Viazul SEarch

All ticket prices are listed in US Dollars.

If there are seats available you can pay online, print your tickets and then turn up for the “check-in process”.

You MUST check in at least ONE HOUR before the bus departs to confirm your seat.  If you do not get to this check they may not allow you on the bus.

Booking your Viazul Bus at a Viazul Bus Station

You’ll probably arrive in Cuba by way of Havana or Varadero.  And it is most likely you will want to travel from Havana to Varadero or Varadero to Havana at some point in your trip.  This is the Viazul Bus route with the most options – and the most taxis waiting outside the Viazul bus stations too!

We recommend that you download maps.me for your trip to Cuba, the locations of the Viazul bus terminals are accurate on the app and you don’t need to have data or wifi to access the maps once they’ve been downloaded.

We bought Viazul tickets at the Havana Viazul Bus Station and the Varadero Bus Station too.

So if you arrive in Havana, get yourself to the Viazul bus station, Havana and book your tickets in person. (it’s easier to take a taxi to get there).  ASAP.  They’re generally open to sell tickets from 0830 until 1630 – you can see the opening hours of the Viazul Bus stations in our downloadable guide here  Be prepared to stand in a line.  It will likely be noisy and unless you’re proficient in Spanish, it will be stressful.

VIazul-Bus-Line-for-TIckets-Havana

To buy your tickets, your best bet is to write down the following

  • The route that you require
  • Date (and time) that you require
  • Number of tickets
  • Full name of passengers (per passport).
VIazul-Bus-Write-down-your-booking-1-e1498401399241-361x481

You will be asked for your passport.  If the ticket seller speaks English it will be very limited.  So embrace your Spanish and if all else fails, write it down!

Viazul Bus Tickets Prices:

Viazul clearly outlines their prices.    If you use an intermediary – like your Casa Particular owner or a travel agent to buy your Viazul tickets for you there will be an additional fee.

We’ve outlined the prices for the tickets for Viazul buses in US dollars.  For the full list of prices – Click Here to get your copy. and we’ll send it to you. 

  • Jose Marti Havana Airport to Havana – US$6
  • Viazul Havana to Varadero –  US$9
  • Viazul Havana to Viñales –  US$12 > check out our guide of what to do in Vinales here
  • Viazul Havana to Trinidad – US$21 > read about things to do in Trinidad here
  • Viazul Havana to Playa Giron – US$14 (dive the Bay of Pigs from here)
  • Viazul Havana to Cienfuegos – US$16
  • Viazul Havana to Holguin – US$48
  • Viazul Havana to Camaguey – US$35
  • Viazul Havana to Sancti Spiritus  – US$23
  • Viazul Havana to Santa Clara – US$18
  • Viazul Havana to Santiago de Cuba – US$56
  • Viazul Vinales to Trinidad – US$32
  • Viazul Baracoa to Santiago de Cuba – US$15
  • Viazul Cayo Santa Maria to Trinidad – US$12
  • Viazul Varadero to Trinidad – US$16

How much are Viazul Bus Tickets?

Viazul publishes the ticket prices on their website.  A shared taxi (colectivo) will cost around about the same amount as a Viazul bus, but budget another 25%.  Shared taxi costs are usually per person unless you negotiate for the whole car.  If you’re concerned about negotiating or worried about the costs you can always prebook transfers – we use and recommend Civitatis for transfers in Cuba and you can check prices and options here.

Viazul Bus Timetables

The timetables online are accurate.  Uncannily the buses run to time, so you can generally rely on getting in when it says it will.   There will also be a timetable displayed in each bus station that you go to, printed or handwritten.  They are posted up in prominent places and they don’t change very often.  Timetables for Cuban buses will detail the options from that particular office.  This is the timetable posted in the Viazul Varadero office.

VIazul-Bus-Timetable-Varadero

If you’d like a full copy of Viazul Buses Cuba and timetables, then use our sign up form and we will email it to you – when the updated Viazul Timetables are published we’ll also send you a copy of the new timetable.

Viazul Bus Seat Reservation & Selection

Your ticket does not give you a specific seat on a Viazul bus. You simply get a seat on the bus.  Or the floor if it is full.  You’re likely going to spend several hours on this bus that you’re getting onto.  So follow our guidelines on how to pick your seat.

Viazul Bus Seat Reservation & Selection

Your ticket does not give you a specific seat on a Viazul bus. You simply get a seat on the bus.  You’re likely going to spend several hours on this bus that you’re getting onto.  So follow our guidelines on how to pick your seat.

Viazul Bus Check In

You cannot board the bus unless you have checked in.  We recommend that one person in your group checks in (take the tickets and the passports) and one person stands in the line to board the bus. Depending on the bus station there may also be a separate line for handing your luggage that goes in the baggage compartment to the staff.  You CANNOT put your bags into the baggage compartment yourself.

How to pick a seat on the Viazul Bus

  • Get to the front of the line.  If you are not travelling solo, split up, have one person check-in and one person join the line for seats.
  • When you get on the bus check the seat that you get is not broken and doesn’t just fall back into the lap of the person behind. Many are.
  • Check that the seat in front isn’t broken and doesn’t fall into your lap
  • Avoid the area around the toilet. Just because.  We had one bus in four weeks with a working toilet (only pee), but they all stank horribly.
  • Avoid the seats near the TVs. They’ll be on a lot of the way and you get less headroom.  (Invest in earplugs if bad movies aren’t your thing).
  • The first row of seats will be allocated for the drivers (there are two drivers on each bus) and their friends.

When you get on the bus do a quick count of the number of rows on EACH side of the bus. Seriously, trust me on this one.   Some buses have more rows on one side of the bus than the other.  You will thank me for this when you realise that fewer rows mean more legroom.    These buses were not designed for anyone over 1 metre 60 centimetres in height. 

And just because the person in front is short, doesn’t mean that they don’t recline their seat FULLY into you as soon as they feel your kneecap starting to crack.  My experience is that the shorter the person the more full reclined the seat will be.

VIazul-Bus-inside-the-bus

Viazul Bus Reservations List

If you can’t buy a ticket, then you might get on the list.  Each bus station office maintains what they euphemistically call a “reservations list”.  This isn’t what you and I would deem a reservation.  They will take no money for the reservation.  They will scribble your name on a piece of paper.  (literally) You will turn up an hour before the bus is due to leave and attempt to pay for your ticket.  If there’s a seat available they will let you pay.  If not, then you’re not getting on the bus.  Being on the Viazul reservations list does NOT guarantee you a seat.  Book your tickets early!  Or you’ll end up in a different location, or a colectivo.

Or, of course, you can skip all the lines and use a pre-booked transfer – check prices and book Cuban transfers here.

What to do if there are no tickets left on the Viazul bus?

This is especially key if you are buying tickets in person in Cuba. 

If there are no tickets available on the particular Viazul bus route that you want to take, then this is when you need knowledge of the alternative buses that you can take.  It is extremely unlikely that the information on when the next available seat or an alternative route is going to be given to you.  You will have to ask specific questions.  You’ll have to ask when the next free seat is.  Or if it’s possible to go to a different place.  

The reason for this is that the person on the other side of the ticket counter doesn’t have the data in front of them about what is available.

Each time they want information about seat availability, they have to input codes to ask about a specific time and route.  It’s horrific.  I’m amazed these people retain their sanity.  Mind you I suppose it’s job security.

Here’s what their screen looks like.

VIazul-Bus-Ticket-Seller-Screen-e1498401498543-361x481

So that’s why you need to know what your other options are.  So you can reel off another 6 different options.  And that’s why you need to book your tickets as early as possible.

Our Experience Booking Viazul Bus Tickets

A successful experience booking Viazul Bus Tickets

On arrival on our trip to Cuba in April 2017, we went in person to the Viazul offices in Havana (having already explored the sold-out tickets online while in Mexico).  We had three lots of buses mapped out – all within the following two weeks – we got tickets for all the buses that we wanted.

A frustrating experience NOT booking Viazul Bus Tickets

Ten days later in Varadero, as we were about to bid goodbye to our family and continue our exploration of Cuba we headed to the Varadero Viazul Bus Station again.  Our family decided to take a taxi as the Varadero to Havana bus was full. We spent 90 minutes in the bus station, going through every possible option to get us from Varadero to Baracoa.  In the end, we lost two days because we had to hang around.  (We headed to Matanzas for this time).

Our final route from Varadero to Baracoa involved getting to Matanzas, then Matanzas to Havana and then Havana to Baracoa, although we did book all the Viazul tickets we required in Varadero for that second leg of our trip.

The moral of the story is to book early and online if possible!  Don’t spend all that time on your trip to Cuba in a line in a Viazul office!! Or book a transfer.  It’s so much quicker and easier!

FAQs about the Viazul Bus Service in Cuba

Got questions about the Viazul Bus Service in Cuba? Or want to know details on Cuba’s Viazul Bus Service and we haven’t answered your questions?  Check out our frequently asked questions about the Cuban Viazul Bus below, or ask us yours in the comments.

Can you get Refunds on Viazul Buses?

Yes.  You can request a refund of a Viazul Bus ticket, but only up to 72 hours before the scheduled departure.  You’ll be charged a rate of 10% of the reservation amount.

What is the Viazul Bus Check-in Process?

There is a strictly followed procedure for check-in on all Viazul buses.

You are to arrive at least an hour before the bus is due to depart and form a line.  You then hand over your tickets.  Your details are input into the system and you’re presented with “boarding passes”.  They will all have a seat number on them.  The seat numbers are completely irrelevant.

Next, you need to take your luggage and your boarding passes to the luggage counter, where your luggage will be tagged and loaded onto trolleys to be taken to the bus. You’ll likely be asked for a tip.  You cannot load your own luggage onto the bus.  You do not have to tip.  The service won’t improve if you tip.  It can’t get any worse if you don’t.

Now you need to line up to get onto the bus. Remember I said that the seat numbers on your boarding pass are irrelevant?  That’s why you need to line up.  If there’s more than one of you, you should have split up at the check-in process and got into any of the relevant lines.  The seat allocation is a free for all.  And not all seats are equal.

VIazul-Bus-Check-in-Havana

What does a Viazul bus ticket look like

Here’s what a ticket looks like when you buy a Viazul Bus ticket in person.  Check your ticket carefully!  And keep it safe.  If you lose it you’re stuffed.  You may be able to get it reprinted if you can prove that the ticket is for you.  There may be a fee. Or you may just end up buying another ticket.

VIazul-Bus-Ticket

If you’re buying multiple tickets at the same time, they will scroll forward the paper but you’ll probably end up with multiple bus journeys on the same piece of paper.

You will also get a boarding pass (once you have checked in)

VIazul-Bus-Boarding-Pass

Is there Luggage Storage on a Viazul Bus?

Yes.  There is a baggage compartment on Viazul buses. Once you’ve checked your luggage into the “under the bus storage” you’ll get bag tags for it.  You need to retain them. You *may* need them to retrieve your bags.  Equally, you may not need them.

VIazul-Bus-Luggage-Tags

Keep your valuables with you, although we didn’t find any problems with petty theft in Cuba, it’s a good habit to have.

There is overhead storage inside the bus and a decent sized day pack will fit up there.

On arrival at your destination (the drivers will call out where you have arrived at), just go to the under bus storage area and point out your bag and hand over your tags.

Where is the Viazul Bus Station in Havana?

The Havana Viazul Bus Station is in Plaza de La Revolution Havana.    The address of the Viazul Station Havana is Estación central de ómnibus Nacionales, Ave Independencia #101, esq. 19 de Mayo, Havana.

Where Do Viazul Buses Stop?

Each bus has two drivers, so one will drive and one acts as a conductor of sorts.  They will *usually* stop every two hours or so and let you off to stretch your legs, get something to eat or drink.   When the stop is at a major town, you will be UNLIKELY able to get off.  The bus won’t be stopping for long unless the driver specifically tells you so.

These stops on the longer journeys are at specific roadside cafes.   There is PLENTY of time to get something to eat and drink.  There’s always a toilet.  You’ll always have to pay for the toilet.  Keep your smallest, smallest change for this.

VIazul-Bus-Stop-En-Route-1
VIazul-Bus-Stop-En-route-Menu-and-Prices

What Do I do if the Viazul Bus is Full?

Don’t worry if there are no tickets on buses going to where you want to go.  There are other Cuban transport options and other Cuban buses too. There will be a bunch of colectivo drivers standing around outside the bus station, suggesting that they can take you.  It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll find someone in Havana who will be prepared to take you to Baracoa at the other end of the island, but Santa Clara or Trinidad is on the way and, well once you get there you can try again for the bus.  Or find a colectivo who is likely to want to go further down the island.

Your alternative, of course, is to prebook a transfer. We use and recommend transfer booking in Cuba with Civitatis – get a quote and book here.

So there you are.  Our Ultimate Guide to Viazul buses in Cuba.  We hope you’ve made it this far and that you’re already logged onto their website and are booking buses left right and centre.  Let us know if we missed anything.  And after your travel let us know how it was!  Did you spend 18 hours with someone reclined into your lap?

Final Words on The Ultimate Guide to the Viazul Bus in Cuba

The Viazul Bus network is a great way to travel around Cuba.  It does, however, have its quirks and idiosyncrasies despite being specifically designed for tourists to get to locations around Cuba.   We hope you’ve found this Viazul Bus network guide useful and that it helps you to plan your trip to Cuba.

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