To get from one city to the next, for example from Havana to Cienfuego or Trinidad, the best and most reliable way to get around is by bus or car hire. In some cases, you may be able to fly between cities, but flights are often pricey and don’t save you that much time. Unless you’re going from one end of the island to the other, you may be better off with ground transportation.
Víazul is the main long-distance busy company used by visitors. Schedules are regular, the buses are air-conditioned, and bookings can usually be made in advance at the company offices located within the city bus stations. For popular routes (e.g. Trinidad to Havana or Havana to Viñales) you’ll want to book as far in advance as possible because seats usually sell out. Fares are reasonable and run anywhere from 10-15 CUC for short haul trip (2-5 hours), and 20-35 for long-haul trips (i.e. 5+ hours).
For added flexibility, comfort and efficiency, hiring a car/tax with a driver is a great way to get around. Car hires can be private – where it’s just your party and the driver – or shared – where you combine your party with others to fill all the spots in the car/van. Obviously, a private car hire is more expensive, but the cost of a shared car hire is comparable to bus fares.
In our experience, to go from Havana to Cienfuegos on our shared car hire was 25 CUC per person and got us there 2 hours faster than the bus would. To go from Cienfuegos to Trinidad was 15 CUC per person; and Trinidad to Havana was 30 CUC (it was slightly cheaper because we were in a large group van with 6 other people). The cars and the drivers vary by quality and the price you’re quoted before isn’t always indicative of quality of the car or the driver – so if you can, it’s best to organize these ahead of time through your casa owner, who can recommend a reliable one who fits your needs.