Discovering Cuba on your own car has remarkable advantages. You may travel with no time pressure, without booking in waitlists, while stopping and staying as you please. All routes recommended by cuba-individual are easily done on a rented car.
This moving easiness has a price, however. Renting a car in Cuba is not so cheap. Every renting car company belongs to the government; so there is no price competition among them. Each enterprise has a different price model with advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, car offers are limited; that´s why it is better making your reservation in advance, mainly during high seasons.
I recommend hiring your car by internet, always considering tariffs when the car is picked up and released in different parts of the island. Another option is leaving this task to any travel agency or, even better, to one of these companies in Cuba. I would recomend you a small company runned and owned by a swiss.
I suggest last option because of these advantages:
> They know very well the conditions of these travel enterprises and offer you the best option.
> You may pay with EURO through a bank transfer.
> You will not rent through a anonymous web site but by a small company runned by a swiss.
> In case of trouble you have a local contact to help you.
> Attractive and competitive prices.
For an offer write to:
(As mentioned before, when writing to firstname.lastname@example.org you write directly to a travel agency with rent car service in Havana. Also, you can buy national air tickets or do hotel booking through them. They do it very well indeed!)
For a right offer you should bear in mind these points:
> WHEN (date and hour) and WHERE (exact place) you want to pick up your rent car.
> WHEN (date and hour) and WHERE (exact place) you want to deliver your car.
> Type of car (small, medium, large, deluxe, jeep, etc.)
> Will conduct another person than you the car? Full Name requiered.
> Birth date of each conductor.
Some recommendations for travelling in Cuba by your rent-a-car:
> Estimate distances correctly because Cuba is a very large island (1 250 km long). Driving through highways of Pinar del Río, Havana and Ciego de Ávila is a fast trip but the contrary is when driving through local roads, including the National Main Road. Due to traffic, road conditions and wandering animals you should consider a longer time for travelling. It would be better not planning a too long tract because you might be all day driving.
> Avoid driving at night due to bad road conditions, bikes and cars moving without lights, wandering animals and also because of the worst possibilities of orientation in darkness.
> Always park your car in areas well watched because at any chance thieves may rob hubcaps, tires, radio/CD, etc. These parts are well sold in the black market; not all parts are covered by insurance, as in the case of tires and radio/CD´s.
> A good road map is very useful. I do recommend buying the official map sold by the above mentioned agency. This map features more than one hundred pages with lot of details. Tom Tom and other GPS navigators do not work in Cuba. Usually traffic signs are not very clear and asking local people is not always safe, since everybody gives an answer, even when they do not know…
> Usually it is also hard to find a gas station to refill the car tank. Sometimes there is only one gas station at the entrance or end of the town; so it is safer refilling the tank in the first gas station (Servi-Cupet) you find on your way. Be sure they put special or high quality gasoline in your car; otherwise the engine could later fail when on the road. Remember that it is always better taking advantages of the most crowded places!