Planning a Trip
By Bus -- Víazul (tel. 7/881-1143 in Havana; www.viazul.com) has three daily buses to Sancti Spíritus on the Havana-Santiago de Cuba line leaving at 9:30am, 3pm, 6:15pm, and 10pm. From Havana, the trip takes just over 5 hours. The fare is CUC$23 (US$25/£12). Víazul also makes the 1-hour trip to Sancti Spíritus directly from Trinidad (tel. 41/99-4448; CUC$6/US$6.50/£3.25) daily at 8am on the Trinidad-Santiago de Cuba route. From Santiago, buses leave at 9am, 3:15pm, and 10pm, and the trip takes around 10 hours. The fare is CUC$28 (US$30/£15).
The bus terminal in Sancti Spíritus (tel. 41/32-4142) is located at Carretera Central Km 388, between Circunvalación and the Carretera de Jíbaro. Taxis charge CUC$2 or CUC$3 (US$2.15 or US$3.25/£1.10 or £1.60) for a ride to the center of town.
By Train -- The no. 17 train travels daily from Havana's Estación Central to Sancti Spíritus, departing at 9:45pm and arriving at 6am; the fare is CUC$14 (US$15/£7.30) for adults. For more information, call tel. 7/862-1920 or 7/861-4259. The Estación de Tren (tel. 41/32-9218) in Sancti Spíritus is located at the end of Avenida Jesús Menéndez, southwest of the Puente Yayabo.
By Car -- Driving from Havana, the fastest route is along the Autopista Nacional (A1) to Santa Clara, and then continuing along the Carretera Central to Sancti Spíritus (about 5 hr.). The short drive from Trinidad, along the Circuito Sur, is one of the prettiest in Cuba, as the road rolls through fields of sugar cane with the Sierra del Escambray looming in the background. From Santiago de Cuba, start out northwest on the unfinished A1 and then take the Carretera Central through Bayamo, Camagüey, and Ciego de Avila (about 6 hr.).
Call Cubataxi (tel. 41/32-2133) for a taxi, or hop aboard one of the horse-drawn coches (carriages), which officially only accept pesos, but most will accept an offer for the fare of CUC$1 to CUC$2 (US$1.10-US$2.15/55p-£1.10). Unlicensed taxis also circulate on the streets of Sancti Spíritus. To rent a car, call Cubacar (tel. 41/32-8533). Rates are about CUC$55 to CUC$75 (US$59-US$81/£30-£41) per day for a standard four-door car.
For a relatively small town, Sancti Spíritus is rather spread out. However, you're unlikely to spend much time beyond the old town, where you can easily walk everywhere. You'll only need a taxi (or horse-drawn coche) for getting to the bus terminal, train station, or your hotel, if you choose to stay at one of the inconveniently located, large hotels on the outskirts of town.
The closest Sancti Spíritus comes to having a tourist information office is the travel agency Cubatur (tel. 41/32-8518), Máximo Gómez 7 on the west side of Plaza Sánchez. Cubatur also offers hotel discounts and discounted set meals at various restaurants in the city, including Quinta Santa Elena and Restaurant Mesón de la Plaza; ask for details.
The Banco Financiero Internacional, Independencia 2 between Plaza Sánchez and Honorato (tel. 41/32-8479), is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm. The CADECA branch at Independencia 31 (tel. 41/32-8535) is open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 6pm and Sunday from 8am to 1pm.
If you need medical attention, Hospital Provincial Camilo Cienfuegos is located on Carretera Central at Bartolomé Masó (tel. 41/32-4017).
You can make long-distance or international phone calls or log on for CUC$6 per hour (US$6.50/£3.25) with the Etecsa card at the Etecsa office on Independencia 14 Sur opposite the CADECA; it's open daily from 8:30am to 7:30pm. The main post office is at Independencia 8 Sur, between Plaza Sánchez and Honorato. It's open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 8pm.