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Rail travel in Cuba is more of an adventure that can give you a view into the daily lives of the Cuban people than it is a practical means of transportation. Cuba is also the only Caribbean country to have railways.

Interactive map of passenger trains on Cuba

The main train line in the country runs between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, with major stops at Santa Clara and Camagüey. Trains also run to other cities such as Cienfuegos, Manzanillo, Morón, Sancti Spiritus, and Pinar del Rio.


Tren Francés[edit]

Tren Francés route

There is one reliable train in Cuba: the overnight Tren Francés between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, which runs on alternate days. It uses equipment that used to be operated on the Trans-Europe Express, and donated to Cuba by France a few years ago (hence the name). There are first class and special first class seats on this train (the special seats are better and more expensive), but no sleepers. If only one train in Cuba is running, this will be it.

Other trains[edit]

All other trains in Cuba are unreliable. The equipment is often in poor condition, breakdowns are common, and when they occur, you can be stuck for the better part of the day (or night) waiting for a replacement engine. There are no services on the trains, so bring plenty of food and water with you. Trains are frequently cancelled. Some trains offer first class seats (do not expect too much); others have second class seats, which can be very uncomfortable. Schedules are at best optimistic and should always be checked in advance of travel. There are no sleepers on overnight routes.

If you are still thinking of taking a train, other than the Tren Francès, you should know that many Cubans prefer to hitchhike than take the train.

If you are still determined to take a train, approximate schedules are given under the different city descriptions. Foreigners must pay much higher fares (which is still very cheap) than the locals. Tickets are roughly two-thirds what Viazul charges. Theft is a problem so watch your luggage!


Havana Central Station

Various classes may be offered:, including

  • special first class: air-conditioned, reservation required, meals and drinks available;
  • regular first class: more comfortable seats, otherwise like second class

In July 2019, the long-distance national train service was revitalized with the following itineraries:

Train No Origin/Destination Frequency Stops
1-2 Habana-Santiago 2 days Jaruco, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Guayos, Ciego de Ávila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Combinado San Luis
3-4 Habana-Guantánamo 3 days Jaruco, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Guayos, Ciego de Ávila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Cacocum, Combinado San Luis, Reynaldo Brooks (La Maya), Costa Rica
5-6 Habana-Holguín 3 days Jaruco, Matanzas, Colón, Santa Clara, Guayos, Ciego de Ávila, Florida, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Mir, Cacocum
7-8 Habana-Bayamo-Manzanillo 3 days Jaruco, Matanzas, Jovellanos, Santa Clara, Guayos, Ciego de Ávila, Florida, Camaguey, Martí, Colombia, Jobabo, Guamo, Río Cauto, Bayamo, Mabay, Veguitas, Yara

Rail tourism[edit]

  • Railway Museum (Museo del Ferrocarril de Cuba), Avenida de México, esq. Arroyo, Vedado, Havana. Housed in the former station "Havana Cristina", built in 1859 in Havana Vieja. It displays signaling and communication gear, old locomotives, and an overview of Cuba's rail history.
  • 1 Tren Blindado (armoured train), Santa Clara. A national monument, memorial park, and museum of the Cuban Revolution. It was created in memory of the events of 29 December 1958, during the Battle of Santa Clara, by the Cuban sculptor José Delarra. Tren Blindado (Q2451393) on Wikidata Tren Blindado on Wikipedia
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