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Central Cuba's roads are generally in good repair. The four-lane highway that connects Havana to Santa Clara and Jatibonico and the two-lane road that continues east to Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey form an east–west aorta through which little traffic flows. Peripheral arteries head south to Cienfuegos and north from Ciego de Ávila to Cayos Coco and Guillermo, and from Camagüey to Santa Lucía. The old road loops south from the highway to Sancti Spíritus at Cabaiguan, continuing east toward Ciego de Ávila; another good road heads southwest from Sancti Spíritus to Trinidad. Cienfuegos and Trinidad are connected via Topes de Collantes by a rough mountain road and a smoother, more direct coastal route.
Driving within central Cuba's towns can be confusing. There are many one-way streets, and intersections aren't always well marked. If you have any doubts about where you're going, just ask someone; people are happy to help strangers. Traffic is invariably light—mostly bicycles and horse-drawn taxis—and parking spaces are abundant and free.
If your rental car breaks down, contact the rental agency immediately. There are plenty of police along the main roads, but many don't have vehicles, so you're most likely to be helped by a concerned citizen. Cubans are very good about stopping for accidents and breakdowns, and helping out in general.
All major towns and cities have gas stations—Cupet-Cimex or Oro Negro—most of which are open 24 hours a day.
Rental-car rates are high. Several companies are well represented in the region, so shopping around is an option.
Cubacar. Hotel Ciego de Avila, Ciego de Avila. 33/20-0102. Av. Turistica, Playa Santa Lucia. 32/36-5216. Calle Trista y Calle Amparo, Santa Clara. 42/20-2020. Calle Jose Marti/Jesus Maria 256, Trinidad. 419/6317.
Havanautos. Carretera Central, Camagüey. 32/22–8270. Hotel Tryp, Cayo Coco. 33/30–1386. Aeropuerto Máximo Gómez, Ciego de Ávila. 33/52114. Punta Gorda, Cienfuegos. 432/45–1211. Carretera Casilda, Trinidad. 419/6301.
Micar. Calle A, No. 20, Camagüey. 32/27–2439. Calle Libertad, Ciego de Ávila. 33/26–6157. Punta Gorda, Cienfuegos. 432/45–1605. Calle Virtudes, esquina de Calle Independencia, Santa Clara. 42/20–4570.
Transtur. Av. Monaco Sur, Camagüey. 32/27–1208. Cayo Coco. 33/30–1175. Calle 125, Cienfuegos. 432/45–1172. Parque Serafín Sánchez, Sancti Spíritus. 41/28544. Carretera Camajuani, Santa Clara. 42/20–4100.
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