Transport in Cuba. How to travel

If you are planning a holiday in Cuba, then the most important choice is for you – how to travel around the island. Traveling alone in Cuba is not easy, so good preparation is really the most important thing. We present the options of various types of transport in Cuba and indicate the pros and cons. The choice is yours.

After Cuba, you can move yourself in many ways – rented car, rented car with driver, collective transport, public transport (buses, and even trains) or airplanes. Each variant has its pros and cons.

RENT CAR IN CUBA

Renting a car in Cuba on the one hand gives a lot of flexibility when it comes to choice of route and stops, but on the other it is quite a bold option. It is certainly great for families and people who do not like to carry luggage. However, this option is expensive. Renting a car in a cuba costs much more than in Europe. In the high season, rates reach up to 120 EUR per night!

Traveling with a rented car does not make it easier to mark streets, and in Cuba we can forget about online navigation. Only offline applications and the belief that they are updated accordingly. On the roads, however, you have to be careful. First of all, they are very holey and it is not difficult to catch rubber, but it is difficult to vulcanize. Secondly, they are unlit, and therefore quite dangerous.

Pedestrians, horse carts, cyclists and animals also move on roads on dark and night. You do not need to mention that they do not have lighting or glare. You just can not see them.

Renting a car in Cuba is one more reason – Kuba is the world capital of fiesta, rum and fun. The driver will have to give up more than one Cuba Libre or Mojito. While there is no shortage of rum in Cuba, unfortunately it is already fuel, and this may be another problem when renting a car – where to refuel, if there is no petrol anywhere …

Car rentals in Cuba are all state-owned and compete with each other, but in fact the offer is similar. We simply rent a car from the Kuba company.

ADVANTAGES:

– easy to move without plans
– spontaneous stops
– luggage transport from door to door

DISADVANTAGES:

– high price for renting and fuel
– unlit, leaky and poorly marked roads
– prohibition for the driver
– problems in the case of a rubber caught or car breakdown
– reservation with a large (several months) advance in the season

PUBLIC BUSES

Government transport in Cuba for tourists is Viazul coaches, although recently also Cubans can use it. It was not always like that. The coaches are air-conditioned, have comfortable armchairs, and sometimes an active toilet.

Buses are very chilled, so it’s best to take some warm clothing. It is also necessary to stock up on food and drink if we have a longer episode ahead of us. At the stations and stops in Cuba, mineral water is very rarely available. The situation with food looks the same. Do not count on hot dogs and cappuccino.

Buses leave punctually and if there is no breakdown on the way, their arrival is also quite punctual.

Since bus stations are usually distant from the center, usually a taxi is needed for both the station and the arrival, which is an additional cost.

ADVANTAGES:

– economic

– comfortable

DISADVANTAGES:

– only for intercity travel

– rigid travel program from point A to B

– access only to the places where Viazul is traveling

COCHE COLECTIVO

Coche colectivo, literally a shared car. It is a transport offered for Cubans (on other routes, starting from other places) and for tourists on the most popular routes. It is an opportunity to go on a classic American car, often from the 1950s. We may find a beautiful Chrysler or Doge, but it may well be old Lada.

It happens that these cars are really falling apart, and during the rain they give us an almost pool bath. Tied exhaust pipes, permanently open windows, closed doors or welded parts are characteristic features. If we get a car well maintained and without such visible deficiencies, then we have a lot of luck. There are few cars in Cuba, so accidents are rare, but in coche colecvito there is almost never a seat belt – you must be aware of that.

Coche colectivo takes us from the door and brings us to the door. This is a very comfortable option, but we never know the exact time of reception. Because tourists only travel on tourist routes, it is a great opportunity to make new contacts and exchange experiences from traveling in Cuba.

The price is not much higher than the Viazul coaches, and if you add a taxi to the bus, it goes almost the same.

ADVANTAGES:

– great experience

– good price offer

– convenience (door to door)

DISADVANTAGES:

– uncomfortable for long routes

– non-ecological

– it could be very slow or it could be very fast

– usually no air condition

– crowded (all seats are occupied + luggage)

PRIVATE DRIVER WITH CAR

The driver with the car about the fastest and most convenient way to travel around Cuba. The Cuban driver knows the roads, knows where to go, knows where to refuel and above all takes responsibility for any defects. And it should be emphasized that in Cuba, every driver is also the best car mechanic for his vehicle. There is no need to hide that repairs occur frequently, so they already have it in a small finger.

The driver with the car also gives you flexibility. You’ve set up the route and places of accommodation, but you can make stops wherever you want.

Although in this option you pay for both the driver, car, fuel and driver’s meals and accommodation, the expense turns out to be almost the same as renting a car in Cuba. And one more thing – you can drink drinks when you want and how much you want …
Please note that the driver is not a guide and probably only uses Spanish. You can ask for an English-speaking one, but with considerable advance notice or ask for a driver + guide package that is present throughout the tour.

If you are traveling in a larger group, you can hire a private minivan carrying between six and sometimes nine passengers. However, there are far fewer of these larger ones in Cuba.

Advantages:

– Flexibility and independence,
– You are not worried about the road and signage
– The driver knows local signs (police, restrictions, etc.) that the drivers exchange among themselves
– Freedom to party and drink alcohol
– Interesting experience if you choose a classic American car

DISADVANTAGES:

– More expensive option than public transport (you know …)

Do you want to rent a car with a driver? Contact us: michel.garciamaq@gmail.com

OTHER FORMS OF TRANSPORTATION IN CUBA

PLANE – In Cuba, on longer routes, air connections are popular. Unfortunately, they do not belong to the safest lines in the world and are not known for their bad reputation.

SCOOTERS – Scooters are a great option for local sightseeing. In a few places, however, they are available.

RICKSHAW – Bike taxi is very popular in Havana, which is a bici taxi for Cubans. It is an economical and ecological form of visiting the city, which also allows you to earn for honest and hard work.

CONVENTIONS – In many places in Cuba, the only option of traveling around the city, and even between cities, are horse-drawn carts. However, this is not popular among tourists, but many Cubans are sentenced to such transport.

COCO TAXI – Cuban tuk-tuk is a coco taxi that moves around Havana. This is the most expensive option for moving around the capital of Cuba.

DISTANCES IN CUBA

Cuba is a large island. It is not Majorca or Malta, which you will quickly cover. After Cuba, you travel slowly and the distances are large. Be sure to take this into account when planning your program. Driving from Vinales in the west to Baracoa in the east would take about 16 hours non-stop. It is 1,200 kilometers of driving across various roads, with various obstacles.

  • Havana – Viñales: 3 hours by carHavana –
  • Baracoa: 1.5 hours … by plane
  • Viñales – Santa Clara: 7 hours by car
  • Viñales – Maria la Gorda: 3 hours by car
  • Santa Clara – Trinidad: 2-2,5 hours by car
  • Trinidad – Camaguey: 5-6 hours by car
  • Havana – Holguin: 9 hours by car
  • Camaguey – Santiago de Cuba: 7 hours by car
  • Santiago de Cuba – Baracoa: 5 hours by car
  • Santiago – Sierra Maestra base: 3 hours by car
  • Havana – Trinidad: 2-3 hours by car
  • Havana – Varadero: 2-2.5 hours by car
  • Trinidad – Varadero: 3-4 hours by car

Do you want to rent a car with a driver? Contact us: michel.garciamaq@gmail.com