Within the Caribbean, the only country that has a rail system is Cuba. Train services are an alternative to Cuba buses, but most people, even the Cubans, do not recommend it.


Most train services are not punctual and the train itself is slow, but for those who are not in a hurry and want to see some of real Cuba, then getting the train is quite an experience.

Main routes tend to be the more reliable of Cuba train services, but security is an issue for all passengers and if you are travelling for some distance, you need to ensure that your baggage is secure before thinking about resting your eyes and taking a nap.

Between Havana and Santiago de Cuba, the service is both cheaper and faster than that of the Cuban buses. The tren francés is the overnight service between the cities and owes its name to its origin as a French train which was shipped across to Cuba in 2001. The service runs every second or third day.


The train service has strong air conditioning, so ensure you have a warm sweater for your journey and although food and drink is usually available, it cannot be guaranteed, so you should also ensure that you have what you want for your journey, not forgetting toilet paper and a torch flashlight as the WC has no lights.

There are 2 seating classes on the tren francés: primera which is equivalent to second class and primera especial, the equivalent of old European style first class.

All other Cuba train services are debatable in their service and reliability. Bear in mind that most Cubans prefer to take the bus or other public transport options, rather than the train.

There is currently no metro system in any of Cuba's cities, although it is a subject under discussion as it has been for many years.

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