Using a car with driver to travel round Cuba

May 20th, 2018, 09:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 45
Using a car with driver to travel round Cuba

We are broadly travelling around the area of Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Bayamo, Camagüey, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Havana. We have 12 days in total in December.
As an alternative to hiring a car, we can hire a car with driver to go from town to town. We understand that this can work out cheaper and easier than hiring a car ourselves.
Has anyone experience of this and any company recommendations?
Thank you
KateTab is offline  
May 24th, 2018, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
ok, i see that you've posted several different threads but I'll do my best to answer, even though some of what I say may overlap.

We got round using a combination of buses, taxis and private hire [eg the casa owner's brother!]. Something we considered was flying to our furthest destination and then working our way back to Havana and honestly if you've only got 12 days, that may be the only way to get all the way down to Santiago and back. We had 3 weeks and in fact we never made it to Santiago but we did go to Vinales which added to our travel time. Do not underestimate the time that it will take to get from one place to another especially if you are thinking of using buses. As you have a pretty fast paced trip, I would definitely consider hiring one car and driver for the whole trip - he [they are all he, I barely saw a woman driving for the whole 3 weeks] would then be able to take you on excursions as well so it might work out quite economical.

I would not consider hiring my own car - some of the italians we met had done so, but I was very put off by what i understand to be the local custom of stopping you from leaving the country if there is an accident, even if it was definitely not your fault.

How had you thought to arrange your time?

I would have thought that you would want at least 3 nights for Santiago, you have already allowed 3 for Havana, and you should allow at least 2 each for Cienfuegos and Trinidad, which doesn't give you much left for your other destinations. And does your 12 days in fact mean 12 nights, or 11? I would suggest sitting down and really trying to work out your itinerary, including travel time. Ignoring Vinales which is not on your radar, we did the following:

Havana Verdado - 4 nights to start with, then after Vinales we went to

Cienfuegos [3 nights] [about 4 hours drive from Havana, I believe], 2 hour drive to

Trinidad, with exclusion/s en route [4 nights,] 1 hour drive to

Sancti Spiritus, with a nice excursion or two you can do en route [3 nights, our one stay in a hotel which was great!], 3 hours to

Remedios, [3 nights], not a very exciting place but great for excursions, and 4 hours [at least] in the bus to

Havana Vieja [2 more nights].

If you make your last stay Cienfuegos, you should be able to get back to Havana airport during the course of the last day in time to get there for your evening flight, if that's what you've got. Otherwise, consider putting your stay in Havana at the end.

A good place to look for casas is Cuba Junky - Cuba-Junky - All About Cuba Traveler's information and Reviews which has not just casa listings but lots of tips and details of car hire as well.

Finally, though I never finished my TR, what I did write may be useful to you.

Here it is:

In search of rum and revolution - Mr & Mrs Annhig go to Cuba.
annhig is offline  
May 25th, 2018, 02:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 45
Thank you for taking the time. That is brilliantly helpful. We have decided not to drive a car ourselves. We land in Holguin airport and fly out of Havana with 12 full days in between.
KateTab is offline  
May 25th, 2018, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
That's great, Kate. Glad to have helped.

In retrospect we wished we'd done something like that because it would have enabled us to see Santiago but you live and learn.

Please feel free to ask me any questions; I can't guarantee to know the answers but I'll certainly try to help.
annhig is offline  
Jun 6th, 2018, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 4
Hi .

I would not advise private car rental, you can have many small problems: breakdowns, repairs, lack of punctuality, getting lost, not finding gas stations, etc.

Try to find cars with driver where the driver speaks English in this way you will have a more intense trip to Cuba and you will not have problems of any kind.

I have traveled more than 30 times to Cuba and I have never driven a car because Cuba is not Europe and it is difficult to solve the small problems that you will have.

A cordial greeting.
lluisalarcon is offline  
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