Driving a car is the best way to discover the wonderful country of Cuba. The country is still developing and there are so many interesting off the beaten roads. Here are some tips on car rental in Cuba.
TL;DR: car rental is not for everyone. Hiring a local driver works out to be similar prices. Get a driver instead. But if you choose to do it, read these tips on car rental.
Important Note on Car Rental in Cuba
TL;DR: Cuba is NOT like any other countries. Ready to experience a whole new different system?
- Experienced, competent driver
- Can handle a manual transmission
- Know basic car repair tips like how to change a tire
Most rental agencies have a minimum age of 21 years for drivers and 25 years for more expensive rentals. Follow the minimum age requirement.
Car accidents can be really annoying, so make sure you know how to handle the car!
Cost of Car Rental
They start at 70CUC/day and increases from there. Hire a local driver or take the cabs instead. Prices are similar.
Car Rental Tips
Cuba is a developing country. The road system and traffic laws are very different. It is important to do proper research, especially if you are there for the first time.
- You are totally responsible for your rental car. If anything happens, you may not be allowed to leave Cuba until all bills are paid.
- Insurance doesn’t cover third party injury. Also, they do not cover occasional drivers. The signatory is responsible for all people driving the vehicle.
- Rental agencies are government-controlled. Cuban authorities can prohibit you from leaving the country unless the rental agency receives payment or until all claims associated with an accident are settled.
- When returning a rented vehicle, make sure to obtain a receipt.
- Avoid renting scooters, as thieves target them and you may be responsible for the cost of their replacement.
Car Rental Insurance in Cuba
TL;DR: it’s complicated as fuck.
- Does not cover third party injury.
- Does not cover occasional drivers.
- Insurance is mandatory and paid locally.
- Ask for a receipt to avoid being scammed.
- Insurance is one of the most common scams. The cost of insurance policy varies on the car type and covers incidents except for radio, spare tire & emblems. The other insurance options are a scam.
Traffic Accident Tips
TL;DR: if you hurt someone when you are driving, prepare to stay in Cuba for a long long time.
- If you are at fault in the accident, the insurance is useless and you have to pay for the cost of repairs. AKA Very expensive.
- Accidents resulting in death or injury are treated as crimes. The driver needs to prove innocence.
- It can take 5-12 months for a case to go to trial. The driver will not be allowed to leave Cuba until the trial has taken place. Sometimes, the driver will be imprisoned during this delay.
- Even if the person does not go to court, you have to stay in Cuba until the bone has healed and the medical-legal doctor is satisfied.
Other Transportation Options in Cuba
- Hiring a local driver is about the same cost & easier than renting a car.
- Viazul Bus which is one of the few things in Cuba that works (mostly) as advertised and it services all the major centres that any tourist would wish to see on their first visit.
- Conectando Bus offered by Cubanacan-Transtur (no website) has pick-up/drop-off points from hotels. Walk in and ask at any hotel Tourist Desk.
- Pre-booked private taxi
- Private taxis are plentiful and very affordable too. Travel between cities costs roughly the same as 4 tickets on the Viazul.