Rent a car in cuba // good or bad idea??
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Dec 11, 2012 1:10 PM Last Post By: range41
Dec 9, 2012 6:57 AM
Rent a car in cuba // good or bad idea??Hi everybody,
has anyone experience with renting a car in Cuba. How is the driving? How are the streets? What about petrol (expensive? available or waiting for hours??). I know from other countries that there is the problem of breaking into cars (expecially tourist cars). What about Cuba?
Any experiences, advices??
Dec 9, 2012 7:33 AM
1If you can get a newer car get it 2000's+ , check the milage, tires, under car for leakage - you don't want this breaking down on you, there isn't AAA in Cuba.
Gas costs about the same as the US, North East prices.
Park your car in a protected lot! If your parking on the street - stay close to it.
Local roads can be in horrible condition - Main roads are in decent shape for the most part / Drive responsibly look out for potholes/people/cows - I've seen local roads cut off with a 6 foot ditch (pipe work) and no warning signs.
In a nutshell it could be a bad idea if your not vigilant - buy as much insurance as you can for the car in cuba! keep a copy of the policy.
Dec 9, 2012 8:49 AM
2#1 - Is driving in Cuba really that hazardous that it warrants such serious warnings?
The cost of renting a car is available on internet, 50 to 100 cuc a day, free mileage, depending on season and size. Petrol is easy to get, and prices are within reason. In Havana there are a lot of parking lots with watchmen, many hotels in Havana and in the province provide night watchmen, also private casas for a cuc or two for the night.
There are a few things to look out for. The trafic might be unpredictable, a bicycle or a horse cart have the same right of way, even on highways, and the constant presence of cattle and sheep and inferior road quality may make speed driving risky. Rented cars may be repaired with less than adequate spare parts.
Do Cuban drivers really get rewarded for killing or knocking down pedestrians?
Dec 9, 2012 9:34 AM
Dec 9, 2012 3:26 PM
Dec 9, 2012 4:58 PM
Dec 9, 2012 6:12 PM
6I agree.... freedom and time. If you are going to be spending all your time in Havana, for example, then taxis are the way to go. If you are going to be traveling, then a car is very nice to have, imo.
Dec 10, 2012 1:09 PM
Dec 10, 2012 3:02 PM
It all depends, if you are a family of 4 I would rent a car but for 1 or 2 people I would take the bus because I have all the time to kill in Cuba and its less stressful and no liability. They drive on the right side of the road like in most civilized countries but lacking signs and direction that even taxi drivers have to stop and ask a Cuban for direction. Gas is about $1.20 a liter and the gas stations are never busy because Cubans buy their gas in the black market. They will steal anything of value like your windshield wipers. Tourist cars have special license plates beginning with T for tourist. I have rented a car when we have a lot of people to drive around. Otherwise we would take a bus or like John said try to negotiate a deal with someone with a car and have him drive us. Usually I am in Cfgos and we walk everywhere and when we book a resort the price includes transportation and when we visit Havana we don’t need a car because we can ride the Cuban taxi aka collectivo or botero for 10 peso.
If you have never been to Cuba before you are in for a learning experience.
Dec 10, 2012 6:11 PM
We traveled to Cuba in June/July 2012 and rented a car from Havana and drove it down to Trinidad and to Santiago de Cuba. We had arranged to leave the car at the hire company in Santiago de Cuba and flew back to Havana. Highly recommend.
No issues with the car and we paid a little extra to get a car for our family of four and luggage.
Getting petrol was no issue just BRING A good map. All the touristy maps are not detailed if you like going down smaller roads.
You could always Google map a few good images/directions print them and bring them with you to Cuba.
I have written about transportation in Cuba in my blog at http://croissantscigars.com/2012/08/11/cuban-transport/ includes some tips when using iPhone apps with GPS.
Go on hire a car and drive yourself.
Dec 11, 2012 4:59 AM
10Aron -- side note to my reply. You can purchase a road map from the rental agency called Guía de Carreteras (road guide). Another thing, if you are involved in a personal injury accident your departure from Cuba could be delayed.
Dec 11, 2012 8:08 AM
Dec 11, 2012 10:53 AM
12Petrol costs 1.20 CUC/litre for regular, and 1.40 CUC for especial. If from the states and having to exchange US$ for CUC @ .87 to the $, the petrol could end up costing quite a bit more than US prices ($3.38 gallon average, and in Tennessee $3.09) Like over $5,00/gallon. Exchanging euros or CAN for CUC not quite as bad, but still more than in the US.
Street signs are better now than in the years before. Finding the autopista east from Havana is easy now.
Dec 11, 2012 1:10 PM
13We had a car for almost ten days. Drove to Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Playa Larga and then to Vinales. No problems for the most part. Some of the local roads were VERY potholey, but we just took it slow. It is kind of surreal experience driving on the main highways as they are almost vacant. We saw lots of tourists driving in identical little french cars. It is a very common way to get around as a tourist and I would rate Cuban driving as pretty easy due to lack of traffic etc.
The car led to an very crazy experience. Someone stole the little reflectors off the side of the car while it was parked on a beach north of Vinales. When I first noticed, I thought they had been electric lights so I was very worried about what the rental car company would charge. They kept saying when we rented it to get a police report if we wanted to make an insurance claim. The guy who ran the parking area hopped in our car with us (I think to prove to us that he didn't steal them) and guided us to the nearest police outpost. From there, a cop got in the car and we drove even farther into a small town to the nearest police station. At the station we sat with a grizzled old police officer, who dutifully plunked out our information on an antique mechanical typewriter and dirty old carbon copy sheets while several others swarmed around the car taking measurements and notes like it was CSI. The whole thing took several hours and we ended driving in the dark back to Vinales, but on a good road so it wasnt a problem. When we returned the rental car they didn't even notice the missing reflectors, so the police report went unused. But my memories of that old policeman and ancient typewriter are priceless.
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