Amira spent most of her time on the first day in Viñales trying to book accommodations out of Viñales. We wanted to take the bus. But in order to do that, we needed tickets and a reservation. And in order to get that, we had to talk to a specific guy, who was on his lunch break (it was around 2pm). There was a massive crowd of tourists waiting for him the whole time he was on his break.
Amira never successfully even saw the guy. So the next morning, when we decided to leave that day, she went to the office at around 11am. And he was already on his lunch break.
We walked out, some guy approached us and asked for a taxi, Amira asked him how much, he said 15 CUCs per person (around $17.24) and she said OK.
Back up a minute. Taxis in Viñales (and I would imagine elsewhere) work like this. A local guy has a few guys working informally for him, and they hustle the tourists for a ride. Then, they offer the acquired passengers to the drivers, who are from out of town. The (let's call them the sales team) gets a cut, the person they work for gets a cut and the driver gets a cut which appears to be negotiated on the fly.
From our perspective, one guy approached us and told us where to go to find the car. A driver and some other dude told us to get in the car -- they were going to take us to our room to get our stuff. So they did.
Our driver was awesome -- friendly, casual, chatty, funny, considerate and a really good driver. He drove an ancient, gigantic station wagon.
The "other dude," who was the leader of the "sales team," was a total prick. While we were packing, he kept rudely tapping on his watch while throwing shade.
He was dishing out shit. But Amira and Kenny weren't taking any.
First, he said we had to pay in advance (this is after our bags were already on the roof and in the trunk). Amira said no. He said "you have to." Amira said: OK, take down our bags. We'll take another car. So he caved.
I was on the left seat behind the driver, Amira was in the middle, and Kenny was on the right. The "dude" rudely ordered Kenny to get in the back seat (a third row behind the back seat) so that he could sit in the coveted Elgan row. Kenny said "no, you get in the back." So he did.
The "dude" told us we had to pick up two more passengers. So we drove around town and picked up three more. Then, when we were just about to leave town, one of the "sales team" road up on a bicycle and said there was one more passenger. So we went to pick up another.
So now there were eight of us in the car: the driver, the three of us and four Euro-tourists (from Italy and Spain).
After the "dude" got out, our driver told us all what an asshole he was and how he has no sense of customer service.
The drive was uneventful.