TLDR: Driving in Cuba is different to other countries. Common sense is free, use it. Research so you can make better-informed decisions about the car you are renting.
Research To Do
- What type of car do you need? Dependent on your itinerary in Cuba.
- How many people will be in the car? Gonna pick hitchhikers up? (Not a bad idea, tbh.)
- What types of roads will you encounter? Dependent on your itinerary in Cuba.
About Car Rental Tips
- Check every damn scratch. Take lots of photos. & shots with the rental guy with the car in the photo. Check the spare tire and confirm the tools are there to change it. Check the air conditioning, the radio and that all the locks work. Is the antenna in place? Do the headlights and turn signals work?
- Be really anal about it. If things don’t work or are missing, make sure it is recorded down. Otherwise, you’re the one paying when you return.
- Be sure all legal drivers are listed on the Rental Contract. Not on the rental contract? DO NOT DRIVE.
- Do NOT lose the Rental Contract. Keep it just as safe as your Passport. Losing it means lots of hassle and a fine when you return the car.
About Driving in Cuba
- Download the map “Guia de Carreteras“
- Always park in a designated area where there’s security. It’s cheap and good insurance.
- Driving at night is dangerous and should be avoided unless it’s an emergency. Potholes that can break an axle, other vehicles with no lights, animals and everything else on the road. Drive slowly and cautiously.
About Roads in Cuba
- A two-lane paved road in the middle of the country can simply end with no warning.
- Potholes can be gigantic – you don’t want to blow a tire.
About Your Broken Spanish
- Get a Spanish phrase book with you if you are doing on an adventure and maps simply do not show the directions. The Internet is limited in Cuba, so download everything offline if you are using any apps.
- Hitchhikers: they can be really helpful in guiding you. Choose people wisely. Yes, you might have to judge the book by its cover here.
- Preference: old people, mothers with kids.
Thanks to u/Kananaskis_Country for tips and tips from people that shared about Cuba.