So, you’ve got your eyes set on a cosy casa particular in Viñales overlooking amazing Cuban countryside and basking in provincial glory. The only thing is you’re not really sure what is the best way to get there from Havana. Well we’re here to let you know of more than one way to make the journey from Havana to Viñales in full comfort, on a budget or in style.
Most people head to Havana first, they book a casa particular in Havana and then take the Cuban capital city as a base from which to explore other popular corners of the island like Viñales, Cienfuegos or Varadero. If that sounds like a good plan or what you had in mind for your next Cuba holiday, then this is the article you should read first, especially if plan to call at Pinar del Río and wonder how to get from Havana to Viñales.
Getting to Havana from Viñales – the options
So, your plane will be (more likely than not, especially if you fly to Cuba from the UK) landing in Havana and once there you’ve decided that want to make a day trip (or longer) to see the natural UNESCO-listed wonders of the Viñales Valley, found in the westernmost Cuban province of Pinar del Río. Wanting to plan ahead you now seek information on how to get from Havana to Viñales, find out how long it takes, whether you should drive or fly there and which are the best transport options. We’re here to answer all of these and many more questions, so keep reading!
How long does it take to get from Havana to Viñales? If you travel there by car you should expect a driving journey of around 2 hours and a half. A bus coach will take a similar amount of time but may stop along the way, making the journey slightly longer and closer to 4 hours. There are 147 kilometres separating Havana from Viñales, and by road this extends to 187 kilometres.
The cheapest option by far and one of the most comfortable too (seats are modern and the AC is cranked up high, too high even for some so bring a light jacket), booking a ViAzul bus is very simple and straightforward with tickets costing 12 CUC one way per person. You can book you’re your ViAzul bus journey from Havana to Viñales online or right at the station. This bus has twice-daily departures from Havana to Viñales, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. If it stops at Las Terrazas the journey will take 3 hours and 40 minutes and around 2 hours with no stops.
Private Cuban taxi
One of the most expensive options, if you hire a private Cuban taxi driver to take you from Havana to Viñales, you can expect the bill to hover around 80 CUC per vehicle one way (you can cushion the blow if there are
more of you travelling). Many tourists fall in love with the idea of traversing Cuban countryside onboard an old 50s classic car and many do indeed love the experience, just bear in mind that these are old cars and might not only be slower (therefore making the journey a bit longer), but less comfortable than modern buses (forget about air conditioning). On the upside, this transport option allows you to make as many stops as you wish along the way, buy from vendors on the roadside, get off to take some photographs or simply get a closer flavour of local living.
The other advantage of this transport option is that it will take you directly from your casa particular in Havana to your casa particular in Viñales or pick you up and drop you off at your chosen hotel in either location.
There are some private Cuban taxi owners that have more modern cars, so do ask around if interested. In any case, the hosts of your Havana casa particular will be able to point you in the right direction, whether you seek a classic car taxi driver or one driving a more modern model. Remember that casa particular owners are full of contacts when it comes to other Cuban entrepreneurs and will be able to recommend the best paladares, authentic experiences and so on). They will always be eager to help.
Cuban collective taxi
The taxis “colectivos” or collective taxis, as its name indicates, are taxis that take multiple people onboard and therefore are cheaper (between 16 to 30 CUC per person). They’re a good way to spread the cost of travelling among your travel partners but the level of comfort is more compromised as they’re mostly old classic cars in varying states of preservation. Once again, if you’re interested in getting from Havana to Viñales in this type of vechile, the host at your casa particular in Havana will be able to help. Otherwise, you can try to catch one at the bus station, where they’re often parked (be prepared to haggle and negotiate a fee).
Transtur coach bus
These buses are comfortable and modern but the only way you’ll be travelling on one of them is if you have previously booked an excursion with Havanatur. These are the buses that serve the excursions commonly offered at hotel desks, with Viñales being one of the destinations offered.
Recommended for adventurous souls not put off by Cuban roads’ lack of signs or potholes, renting a car and doing the journey on your own can be an exhilarating experience. Just make sure to get your hands on a good, recent map, or download an offline Cuban map in your phone (the one in the link comes highly recommended).
Renting a car in Cuba can be expensive (around 40 CUC per day, plus insurance and gas) and cars are often booked out for months as there is a shortage of them nationwide, so time is of the essence if this is your plan. You can rent a car in Cuba using either of the official government rental companies like REX (luxury cars), Transtur, Cubacar or Havanautos.
Which is the best option to get from Havana to Viñales?
If you’ve been reading along, by this point you’ll probably have more of an idea of the best transport option to get from Havana to Viñales, or at least found the one that best suits your interests and travel budget. Now, all that’s left for you to do is book your accommodation in Viñales, and just so you know our selection of casas particulares in Viñales are a fabulous option, check them out!