Oh, by the way, that no travel agency scares you with the issue of driving in Cuba. The roads are not those of Switzerland but we have done it, Isaac's parents (60 years old) have done it last year and dozens of readers have told us about their positive experience. For us it is still la better option and greater flexibility gives to know the most authentic Cuba.
Tips you should know before renting a car in Cuba
1. Book in advance and with an agency that guarantees your car. The best advice we can give you! The fleet of cars in Cuba depends on the Cuban government and it is only SOME agencies that assume "cars at risk". "Car at risk" means having part of the fleet of cars available to the agency. You can not imagine the people who asked at the counter where they had to give us the car the first day and heard a "we have no cars available these days, I'm sorry"
2. The Cuba roads they are not the best in the world but you can drive perfectly for them tell you what they tell you (you can read Our diary and see the photos). The more secondary ones can present irregular asphalting or be dirt roads, even with important potholes (although they have been improving) so you have to take the usual precautions but much less need a 4x4. The speed limits are 50 km / h in towns, 90 km / h on main roads and 100 km / h on the highway. Yes, avoid driving at night since Cuba does not have a good lighting system
3. Although Cuba is a paradise for a good night of rum, that day better leave the car in your accommodation. exist significant fines for rates above 0.08 alcohol And, regardless of the fines, common sense tells you.
4. The "palqueo", haha. How to explain? In the villages, once you stay in your private house or hotel on duty or while passing through, a Cuban (usually very friendly) always appears to offer you take care of your car so you don't have problems at night If you are staying or who tells you that it is a guarded parking area. They really charge you something symbolic and we never check if they were there watching but you know it will appear, haha
5. Rent a car in Cuba It is not as cheap as one might think. Prices are around 60-80 EUR / day already added all the extras (beware of the initial prices of 40-50 EUR which then add extras). The counterpoint is the freedom and flexibility that allows to reach places that would otherwise be impossible. To visit The niche on the way between Trinity and Hundred fires, stop to visit the farm of a friendly Cuban that you have met along the way or even see the interior Cuba where you stop being seen as a walking dollar tourist to find the kindness of its people! a charm!
6. This is very personal advice and based on those people. The means of transportation in Cuba for the locals are very bad, so people expect a neighbor or tourist to pass by car and bring them to the next town and They make "bottle" (finger). It was a wonderful experience for us. to be able to help them and at the same time interact with them. Obviously we understand that it is a personal decision to get someone in your car.
7. The international card is not necessary since Spanish is the language used although it never hurts to have it. Of course, carry your driving license in order, with expiration date on the date of your trip.
8. Gasoline prices They are around 1.40 CUC / liter (more or less as in Spain) although it is possible to get it on the black market for up to 20 CUC / liter (we do not test, though)
Differences between car rental agencies in Cuba
Which is the main problem encountered by people traveling to Cuba with their car rental? Or they have not booked and sometimes it is almost impossible to get one from one day to another (and less guarantee the time) or that having booked (as it happened to us) for a certain time (at 9:00), do not give it to you until many hours later. Why is this happening? Because the agency with which you do it has a limited "risk" of cars and balances them as you can. Here comes the importance of an agency that guarantees your reservation.
Onlinetours, EnjoyCuba, WowCuba, Holitours, Havanaautos, Kronos, Cubacation (they don't speak very far in the Tripadvisor forum), Carrentalcuba, Happycar are dozens of companies that offer car rental services in Cuba and about which there is a tripadvisor thread where can you read opinions (You already know that we are two more travelers like you and we only have our own or close experiences and we give you suggestions, but we like each one to draw their own conclusions).We have read about one such E-Travelcuba that turned out to be a scam. He also used different names like Cuba-travel, Vamoscuba or Sejourcuba. We do not know more about the subject but be alert with those websites
What I look for then when I choose a company to do my car rental? In our opinion you should look an agency that guarantees your reservation 100%, allows you to talk to her before and during the trip in case there is a problem and that do not add extra charges or commissions that are not seen in a simple online recruitment process online from Spain.
With which car company to hire your rental in Cuba?
Forgetting about car rental comparators, as on other occasions, since they are usually American and do not work in Cuba (neither does Booking for hotel reservations work) and also the agency with which we made our trip (it took all morning in give us our car), the best option to hire a car rental in Cuba from Spain in advance and online was given to us by the "Senior Keys" (Isasac's parents) who were last year with EnjoyCuba which also has offices in Havana and Miami, also in Barcelona. Since 2015 in the comments of the blog and emails we have been telling the travelers that you asked us and the degree of satisfaction is total, so after the full investigation to make this article, here is our recommendation. Main reasons?
1. The main reason is thatEnjoyCuba It has "cars at risk" and direct contracting with all the receptors that operate on the island. IT IS 100% SAFE to rent a car with them. Moreover, you will see it now with the price comparison, many of the agencies that appear on Google are resale of their services.
2. After knowing that you will have a car, pre-sale and after-sales service and roadside assistance, what would be the last question? The price. EnjoyCuba, thanks to having the largest fleet of cars for rent, you have the best rates of vehicles of all types and allows online booking from Spain but, even more important, is the ABSOLUTE transparency that they have throughout the process without hidden charges or commissions (We put it because we have found many that do not put the final price). Do we make our particular comparative as always?As on other occasions, it is best to make a simulation of a specific date (what can you do yourself) from some of the leading car rental companies that offer vehicles. In this case we have chosen between December 12 and 18 (good time), for a cheap Geely CK manual car (you can do it with anyone - remember that the model is not guaranteed, it is the same or similar) and picking up / returning at Havana Airport (although it could be anywhere - in our experience we did it at the Sevilla hotel), with the following results ...
- CubaExplora offers you a price of 412.54 EUR starting which add 20 CUC of the airport supplement and 15 CUC / day for insurance as of November 1, 2016). To add 30 CUC per additional driver that we will not add in this comparison. Total of 537.54 CUC (about 492 EUR)
- Onlinetours the process is much simpler giving you a price of 474 EUR from the beginning with insurance included without complications.
- EnjoyCuba, like the previous one, it is a simple process and giving you a final price of 444 EUR with insurance included without extra charges
- Carrentalcuba (or also called Cuba Travel Network) uses the same trick as CubaExplora and starting from 432.26 EUR, adding 15 CUC / day for sure you will pay when you receive the car, it stays in about 512 EUR
- Happycar is not able to return car price (we do not understand the reason)
- Havanaautos They return a "no prices available for the selected dates" although we are doing this simulation on October 28 for 45 days
- WowCuba again leave the insurance out of the price it gives, leaving a 32o USD on the one hand, 90 CUC insurance on the other, 20 CUC collection on the other and 25 CUC return at the airport on the other. But not only that, then you start to make the reservation and those 320 USD when paying by credit card and adding agency tax for land services (40USD), receptive tax (10USD) and minimum reservation supplement (10USD), you converts into 389.52 USD + 90CU + 20CUC + 25CUC. Come on 478 EUR A whole tease of process from the initial price.
All of them require a guarantee when picking up the car between 200-350 CUC that they return to you when you return and that you can pay with a Mastercard or Visa credit card not linked to an American bank. Come on, the same as any European company.
3. They have an office in Havana, Miami and Barcelona, which makes it easy for you to stop by their offices, Call them by phone or send them an email quickly if you need it. In addition, its office in Cuba allows direct assistance to clients and ensures that services are provided efficiently
4. For reservations of more than 3 days (which is the minimum we usually do all) include unlimited mileage and the most important, no extra charges offers a policy of insurance that covers all risks, legal liability and medical expenses.
5. One thing we liked especially for those who go in group or with family, they give you a cell phone with a Cuba line and balance for direct communication with the agency 24 hours for questions regarding the itinerary, services that may be required on the fly or any problem en route. The rest will also have the agency's phone 24 hours from their roaming rate, so nobody worries.
6. It is possible to choose a collection site and a different return site even if it supposes an important surcharge. Sometimes this option is more interesting to make a linear route between Havana and Santiago de Cuba or another intermediate destination.
To put a downside, it is an agency of young and innovative people but focused more on the web platform than on the presence in social networks or forums and that makes it less known in opinion debates.
What car to choose? Can you help us with the reservation process?
As I know that you are going to end up asking this question in the mail, I put it in advance and so we refer you to this article
What car to choose in the rental process?
The first, What car to choose? Well, it's a very personal decision. We once took a cheap one, a Hyunday Athos and it went great with him although it is a very simple car. HeGeely ck It is another cheap one, of comfort and acceptable benefits and that is fashionable in the Cuban streets (in fact it is the one that finds the most offer). There are also other luxury or larger options. Remember that what you choose is always a type of car that they try to match the one they offer but in Cuba the exact model can never be guaranteed. Of course, it will always be the same type or higher.
The online car rental reservation process
Really the EnjoyCuba website It works very simply but we put the whole process so that there are no doubts and you understand all the charges.
1 Go directly to the car search engine EnjoyCuba on its own website from the following link >> Car rental with EnjoyCuba
2 Selectthe category of car you want, type of transmission (manual is the one we use in Spain) and the dates of collection and delivery / return and give SEARCH FOR
3 Available cars will be listed. Choose the one you want and hit DETAILS or RESERVE. Notice a detail, if you choose more days the price will drop per day.
4 Fill in your complete data with the place of collection and delivery / return you want as well as the estimated time
At this point it is interesting to note that you can choose to choose the hotel where you stay as we did with the Hotel Sevilla, in addition to the airport terminals (not only Terminal III as the competition)
5 Finally will present you the data again to confirm them and will ask you Complete the contact ones. Important your email for communications
6 You will receive an email with your order and, as soon as the commercial team confirms the 100% guaranteed availability from the offices in Cuba (it can take up to 24 hours), a second email telling you that "your reservation has been confirmed" and the link to proceed with payment by POS or bank transfer. Until you complete the payment, your order with your order, date and confirmation status will not be complete.
You already have a car for your adventure! Take your printed reservation and you will have your rental waiting where you have requested it.
Experience with EnjoyCuba to enjoy the island
As we said above, in this case the merit is of the Senior Chavetas (Isaac's parents) who after much searching to prepare their trip to Cuba by car around the island came up with the solution to the problems.Our itinerary in Cuba was as follows (in case you want to do something similar):
DAY 1: Madrid-Havana. First contact
DAY 2: Havana-Trinidad * Car pick-up at Hotel Sevilla
DAY 3: Trinidad and Playa Ancón * With rental car
DAY 4: Trinidad-El Nicho-Cienfuegos * With rental car
DAY 5: Cienfuegos-Bay of Pigs-Matanzas-Varadero * With rental car
DAY 6: Excursion to Cayo Largo * With rental car
DAY 7: Matanzas-Pinar del Río-Cayo Levisa * With rental car
DAY 8: Cayo Levisa-Viñales * With rental car
DAY 9: Viñales-La Habana * Return of car at Hotel Sevilla (total: 8 days)
DAY 10: Havana
DAY 11: Havana
DAY 12: Havana
DAY 13: Havana-Madrid
Their experience was great, they developed well along the Cuban roads and made a very similar route to ours from Havana to the area of Viñales and Pinar del Río and other days in the area of Trinidad, Cienfuegos, El Nicho, ...
And you know that you have these lines open to tell your own experience always, so with closeness and absolute freedom we await your opinions and ... Enjoy the magic of Cuba! (Even if you had to sleep in the car one night like us because we went to Varadero and we were leaving for Cayo Largo, haha)
Isaac and the Chavetas Team, from Cuba