Thursday, 12 March 2015

Can I hire a car in Cuba?

Yes, hiring a car in Cuba is an excellent way of seeing the more remote parts of Cuba. Though don’t expect the big plays like Dollar Rent A Car or Hertz. Car hire companies tend to be local Cuban companies so expect some paperwork! Pre-booking before arriving in Cuba is pretty much a must with most companies in the UK only booking the car hire as part of a complete holiday package.

A few points worth remembering when hiring a car...

Roads are pretty good in most of the country, but as the East is less developed some of the roads in this area can be a bit bumpy. It is more likely you’ll get stuck behind a donkey rather than another car, so progress can be slow occasionally! I found the traffic in Havana reasonably busy but once you’ve made it to the main ring road out of the city things came down a bit! Petrol stations aren’t as common as in the UK, so fill up when you see one!

Cars in Cuba tend to be modern and various sizes and types available ranging from small compacts to people carriers. Unfortunately you won’t easily be able to rent a big old American beast as these tend to be privately owned and also pretty much on their last legs, not sure they’d get you to your destination to be honest! You can however book an hour or two in one of these style of cars in places like Havana, though don’t necessarily expect a seat belt!

As with hiring a car in most countries you will need to arrange insurance and pay a deposit locally. There may also be a drop off fee if you are picking the car up in one part of the island and dropping it back in another. Also standard stuff applies like needing an international driving licence.

Hiring a car in Cuba, as opposed to fixed transfers for instance opens Cuba up and one of my favourite holidays would be starting with a few nights in Havana, pick up the car and visit Pinar del Rio in the West and the area around Trinidad in Central Cuba, finishing with a few nights on the beach in Varadero. You’ll see the highlights but won’t spend all your time in the car! Also there’s loads to see along the way and with a car you can stop when you like. Oh, I personally wouldn’t drive at night, especially log distance, as there aren’t many street lights!

Hiring a car is a FAB way to see Cuba, enjoy!

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