Rex Car Rental Cuba has just released the new Mercedes ML SUV 4×4 just in time for the December 2014 Cuba Car Rental bookings!
Now available in Cuba, including Havana, Varadero, Santiago de Cuba and Holguin, the Mercedes ML looks more aggressive than past models, but without departing too far from the outward image too much. Inside, it’s soft and sedan-like, with lovely curves and sculpted lines making up the instrument panels, center stack and the seven-inch display for music and other controls. Sadly the Mercedes ML available in Cuba does not feature GPS Satellite navigation.
Seating in the M-Class is about on par with that in other luxury SUVs its size and we took the car on a test from Havana to Varadero with 5 large adults and all said they found the car comfortable with plenty of space. Cushions are well contoured, and the front seats especially are like we expect from Mercedes, with all-day support built in. Rear seatbacks are also now adjustable for rake, and there’s more than 36 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats. We arrived at Jose Marti Airport and picked the Mercedes ML up from the REX Office in Havana airport so we were able to check the luggage capacity. We fitted 4 large suitcases in the back along with hand luggage, so essentially this is similar to a Minivan in size bith without the extra 2 seats.
Although it does flaunt its off-road side in appearance, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class drives like a luxury sedan most of the time, with a smooth, refined character behind the wheel.
Our 300km round trip from Havana Jose Marti Airport to Varadero and back was a pleasant experience for all 5 passengers. The car is quiet, even on Cuban roads and eats up the customary potholes and road deficiencies found outside major cities in Cuba.
Overall the new Mercedes ML from Rex Car Rental Cuba is an ideal choice.
Note: As of writing this article, the REX Car Rental Cuba website had not been updated to include the Mercedes ML, however, when you book the Hyundai Santa Fe Automatic, you will receive this stunning Mercedes ML.
With the 2014 winter bookings in full swing, Transtur and Via Gaviota have moved to a harmonized booking Platform and generic (identical) reservation websites. Online bookings at the official websites shown below are still possible, however, travel agencies and secondary agents no longer have availability of rental cars in Cuba for December 2014 and January 2015.
Essentially the websites confirm the fact that all the brands are the same company and only differences in the type of vehicle provided differentiates the services and vehicle supplied.
Havanautos now only provides cars with automatic transmissions. Therefore, the old fleet of vehicles with manual (stick shift) transmissions has been given to CubaCAR. Therefore, if you are booking a non-luxury automatic vehicle in Cuba, it will now come from Havanautos.
CubaCAR now only provides cars with manual (stick shift) transmissions. Therefore, the old fleet of vehicles with automatic transmissions has been given to Havanautos. Therefore, if you are booking a non-luxury manual (stick shift) vehicle in Cuba, it will now come from CubaCAR.
Via Gaviota provides both manual and automatic cars with slight different categories to the aforementioned and continues to be operated independent of Transtur
REX Car Rental continues to be the luxury division of Transtur. REX Car Rental Cuba provides luxury and bespoke vehicles such as the Audi A6 and A4 plus BMWs Series 5. REX also provided the excellent Hyundai Santa Fe Vehicle.
Booking at any of the links above will bring you to the new booking websites which are identical both in vehicle offerings and prices, only the names and brands differ.
Transtur Cuba has decided to launch a new website in order to better inform its Cuba Car Rental customers of rental offices and pick up/drop off points in Cuba. With over 75 different offices Transtur is Cuba´s largest car rental company. As we all know, Transtur Cuba operates the brands Havanautos, CubaCAR & REX Car Rental and this new website focuses both on these three brands along with detailed information about the company.
The new Transtur Cuba Rent A Car website offers:
- Direct contact with Transtur booking department to check bookings made
- Printable maps of 75 Cuba Car Rental offices operated by Transtur
- Booking availability from Transtur Cuba approved agents worldwide
- Transtur Cuba Company history
- Current car rental fleet in Cuba
Alberto Reyes from Transtur head offices spoke to us about the launch of this new website “we partnered with our major rental partners around the world to provide new information to Transtur Rent A Car customers visiting Cuba. A few of the complaints were about our clients not being able to find accurante details of where our offices are in each location. With this new website we have provided maps and some excellent facts plus questions and answers about renting a car through Transtur in Cuba”
“New Transtur Cuba website now offers maps of offices”
In our opinion the website resolves some of the issues foreign customers had when renting cars with Transtur Cuba, especially being able to take maps with them to easily drop off the car. As we all know, GPS systems are banned in Cuba therefore having maps, like the old days, is the norm in Cuba but, Transtur did not offer maps of every rental office across Cuba until now.
Furthermore, Transtur Cuba rent a car bookings are handled by each provincial booking website individually, meaning that when you book a car in Santiago de Cuba you are led to that exact booking center and not to Havana booking department anymore. Transtur operates specific websites for bookings in Havana, Varadero, Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey and Holguin. All bookings are handled through these websites and bookings made online using any major credit card.
With this new website Transtur Cuba Rent A Car in Cuba have brought their offers into the 21st century
Havanautos UK Website
Havanautos has taken the step to offer its Cuban Car Hire Fleet in the UK, Cuba´s second largest tourism market in 2012. Havanautos will from now on offer its famous booking service to clients in the United Kingdom directly. Charges are in Euros o pounds sterling and conversion to local currency is instant at check out.
A spokesperson from Havanautos UK said “The UK market tends to travel to Cuba under all inclusive packages, mainly to Varadero, Playa Pesquero and Havana. However there are an increasing number of adventurous travelers who are renting Cars and visiting the country alone”
We are told that, the UK market favors manual cars in either economic or medium category vehicles but, some wealthier clients are choosing the Jeep categories as these vehicles are larger and better suited to Cuban roads.
“Havanautos accepts UK driving license holders”
Booking is rather simple on this new UK based website and similar to the other CubaCAR, REX and Havanautos websites we have grown accustomed to. Click here to visit the Havanautos UK website
With an increasing number of British visitors looking to hire a car in Cuba, this new website offers guaranteed bookings along with specific airport collection services for airlines such as Cubana, Virgin Airways, Thomson & British Airways to name but a few. UK driving license holders are also welcome on this service and no international license is required when booking or collecting the car. Havanautos also has English speaking staff to assist car hire clients when they arrive when bookings are made on the new website
Havanautos UK Car Hire
Suv rental Cuba
The KIA Sportage is a perfect jeep for Cuban roads and has recently joing the Suv rental Cuba list. This year it’s been added to join the already popular Hyundai Santa Fe available from REX Car Rental for suv rental Cuba.
The Kia Sportage is available from CubaCAR in the base LX version with power from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 176 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque. There’s a all-wheel drive, and most consumers will end up with a six-speed automatic transmission though a manual is also available from CubaCAR but Rex offers the automatic for suv rental Cuba.
Even with its “base” name, standard equipment for the Sportage includes alloy wheels, a telescoping wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, the LX trim distinguishes itself with a sport-tuned suspension and unique exterior and interior styling treatments.
“Available now, suv rental Cuba Kia Sportage”
The Sportage’s interior features a pleasing mix of complex and organic shapes. The cabin is well-textured and adequately padded where passengers are generally at ease. Passengers and drivers benefit from well-contoured seats and excellent head- and legroom. The rear seat accommodates three average-size adults. The Sportage has impressive cargo space, too, offering a maximum of 26.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 54.6 cubes with the 60/40-split-folding seats down.
The wide stance and robust design of the Sportage add to its substantial capabilities as a crossover utility vehicle. Sometimes called SUV in Cuba or 4×4, whether it’s downtown Havana or up Sierra Maestra Mountains, Kia Sportage is a perfect rental car for Cuba. Impeccable, styling the Sportage backs up its go-anywhere attitude with real off-road capability which will probably unused in Cuba but, the high driving position will help see cyclists and livestock on Cuba´s potholed country roads and make suv rental Cuba safer.
Suv Rental Cuba from CubaCAR.com
Cuba Rental Cars 2013
After a disastrous period of almost a year with the Cuba Rental Cars from China called Geely, these are finally being removed from the Cuban rental fleets. Plagued with technical faults, predominantly with air-conditioning and other quality issues we can all make a sigh of relief that these are now gone.
Renault has made its first appearance in Cuba´s rental fleets in over a decade with Cuba Rental Cars now recupertaing the brand for 2013. These excellent vehicles are already being provided to visitors for the December season in place of Hyundai Accents and the Geely Emgrand vehicles. We are going to take a look at these cars in depth and give our opinion as to how they will fair in Cuba´s car rental market
“New fleet of Cuba Rental Cars 2013”
Renault Fluence is now on of the higher level Cuba Rental Cars offering 4 doors and little larger than the Audi A4 and Skoda Superb it replaces in Cuba´s rental fleet. The Engine is a perky 1.6 liter with 115 CV. It offers CVT valve management and some economy fuel saving engine management functions which make for an impressive 4.6L/100 average fuel consumption. Available from Havanautos and CubaCAR in stick (manual) transmission and from REX in automatic transmission these Cuba Rental Cars are still unavailable on the websites but, are being given to customers this winter season anyway. Our test drive around Havana proved the car to be quiet and well adapted to Cuban roads with its 75 profile tires which are better suited to the potholes and neglected sections of Cuban highways. The engine seemed to have been toned down and didn´t offer the power we had felt while testing the car in Argentina earlier this year. Possibly Renault has offered a different engine management to protect the engine against Cuba´s lower quality 86-90 octane fuel which is commonly sold as super.
Renault Latitude An impressive car from all angles the Renault Latitude of of the Cuba Rental Cars added to Cuba´s rental fleet oozes quality. Being offered in the higher rental segments of the previous Hyundai Sonata and Audi A6 price point, the car looks much like the Volkswagen Passat also available on the island. The Latitudes engine is a 140 CV unit taken from the previous Laguna range but will some important enhancements. The sound system on our version was particularly impressive and a nice change from the trash systems on other Cuba Rental Cars. Curiously the model is derived from a South Korean Samsung SM5 which was available until recently from Havanautos but, the two cars couldn’t be more different. While the Samsung car seemed cheap and badly made this Renault version seems solid and well engineered. We took the car from a drive from Havana to Varadero and it was a pleasure to be in with excellent air-conditioning on the very humid day we drove it in September.
Both these vehicles offer a leap forward in quality for Cuba Rental Cars rental fleet and one that will be welcomed by visitors. As these Cuba Rental Cars are yet to be added to the various websites a personal request can be made on the chat systems or else, you may get a nice surprise and find your car was replaced by one of these when you arrive to collect yours
Cuba Rental Cars 2013
Rent a Car in Cuba 2012
I live in Cuba since 2006 so I thought I´d give some advice on Car Rental in Cuba. As we approach the Christmas and New Year months of December January and bookings increase for Cuba´s highest season of the year getting a rent a car in Cuba can be a complicated affair. For most people who leave it until the last moment to book their rent a car in Cuba an alternative form of transport may end up being the only solution! Yes, every year 1000´s of visitors to Cuba during the peak months end up without a rent a car in Cuba. The main reason for this is that the Cuban authorities who purchase rental vehicles for their main rental agencies of Havanautos, CubaCAR, VIA Car Rental and Rex Cuba don´t purchase enough vehicles to cover these extreme months because throughout the rest of the year demand is up to 60% less. Yes, bookings for a rent a car in Cuba drop by over 60% from January through March increasing in April for holy week then dropping again from the end of April until July. July and August see massive booking requests which cannot be handled normally. Then from September to the end of November bookings reduce to a trickle again. Then reservations for a rent a car in Cuba jump over 300% for the months of December and January. As the authorities know this in advance most third parties and non Cuban travel agencies are prohibited from making bookings in these high season months. Basically, most travel agencies cannot book you a rent a car in Cuba during these months, pretty simple. Over the past 10 years Cuban car rental agencies have begun to sell their cars directly online through just a few officially certified web pages. As all rental companies in Cuba are all managed by one company called Transtur the websites are basically all the same and use the same availability. However, prices can be different depending on the category of your rent a car in Cuba. For this reason the websites of CubaCAR, Havanautos, VIA Car Rent Cuba and REX Car Rental are essentially the same as these are simply brands.
“Getting a Rent a car in Cuba upon arrival is very risky”
Booking your rent a car in Cuba will mean booking at one of the aforementioned websites and obtaining a voucher which is then exchanged for your prepaid services. Trying your luck to get a rent a car in Cuba upon arrival is very risky (and up 50% more than booking online) and could mean spending several days traveling between different offices before a car is found. None of the rental offices in Cuba have access to inventory in another branch or agency so the only way to find a car is visiting each one until you do. However, many people are not successful have to use taxis or even buses to move around. As Cuban suppliers do not allow foreign agencies during these months to sell rent a car in Cuba then invariably, bookings made with these can be very problematic, especially if you do not check beforehand if these agencies even actually exist. The cheapest booking website of CubaCAR allows access to most of the models you´ll need along with Minivans and Vans as your rent a car in Cuba.
Getting a rent a car in Cuba in December 2012 could be even more complicated due to the fact that the economic crisis in Cuba has meant a major reduction in purchases of new vehicles in 2012 and thus fewer cars than in 2011. Havanautos has launched a last minute booking program which functions until December 10th which allows people to book a rent a car in Cuba through their online chat system between (Cuban time) 12 midday and 7pm. Operators speak German, English, French and of course their native language of Spanish. This can be a better way of finding out which vehicles are available and making an on the spot Booking for rent a car in Cuba via the chat operator then paying securely online to get the voucher.
For those who do not book in advance using the websites mentioned then forget looking at airports when you arrive and go straight to your accommodation. Then begin the search for your car using a rickshaw type bicitaxi (if in Havana or major city) as these can enter small streets etc. Expect to pay a premium of up to 50% more than the online rates plus a tip to the desk clerk if you are to get one of his cars…
Francois Germaine is a French citizen resident in Havana since 2006
Good luck booking a rent a car in Cuba this December…
Rent a car in Cuba Advice
Cuba Car Rental Update
With the high season fast approaching for Cuba Car Rental we´ve been looking at options and prices for the year end mad rush for confirmations. CubaCAR, Havanautos and REX are offering international bookings through their aforementioned Cuba Car Rental partner sites. VIA is only offering through CarRentCUBA this winter.
“Book early at Cuba Car Rental partner sites”
As a guide to Cuba Car Rental we looked at experiences this summer which, for many, were not very good at all. Once again, visitors to Cuba left their Cuba Car Rental bookings to the very last moment and many of you were gouged with incredibly high rates.
One visitor to this forum, Sebastien Beignoles from France ended up paying 89 euros for an economic car with manual transmission. As he said in his own words
“we looked around Old Havana for Cuba Car Rental first trying Hotel Inglaterra then Parque Central then down to the Armadores Santander and Cruise Terminal and we could find nothing, after having our casa owner call around we located one car way our in Miramar near the PabExpo center, the price worked out at 89 Euros per day!”
Sebastien´s comments are not unique and 100´s have complained about Cuba Car Rental rates being hiked to incredibly high levels for the July and August months and, specifically, for those people who did not book in advance.
Juan Marquez from Argentina also said “we´d been looking around for Cuba Car Rental for about half a day and simply couldn´t find one so, we decided to simply take a taxi from Havana to Pinar del Rio where we had prebooked the Hotel Jasmines, this cost us 125 CUC for the one way journey but we still did not have a Cuba Car Rental for the remainder of our trip. Thankfully, we found a car in Pinar del Rio just by chance because a German guest at Hotel Jasmines was returning a car that day so we went with him and were lucky enough to take the car he returned”
It also seems that major suppliers are holding some vehicles back and are expecting to obtain very high rates for Minivan and Van type vehicles of the 7 to 9 seat capacity. Again, it is highly advisable to book earlier at say CubaCAR.com if you are looking for this type of vehicle and maybe REXCUBA if you need a more luxurious type of car.
Cuba Car Rental 2012
Cuba car rental
Our experience with Cuba car rental and some of the issues we discovered could be unique but, after talking on the forum and with other visitors this summer 2012 we feel that we can make some comments to help others.
We searched on the internet in early June and found several companies offering Cuba car rental, some had cars in Cuba in US dollars (which we later found was not the case) while most other were charging in Canadian dollars or Euros. We noted some websites and decided to leave it a few weeks. My husband and I returned to the web to make the final booking on Tuesday July 2nd. No I am not a “date freak” but I remember this day well because, when we visited several of the websites we´d taken note of all of them came back with “no availability” or they were offering just very expensive (luxury Audi Cars) ranges of cars we could not afford. We even called Cuba Car (my husband is Colombian) at two locations in Havana; one place was the Sevilla Hotel while the other was an obscure office in Miramar at 3ra & 46, both advised to “reserva en internet” or reserve online…. Some help!! We could not get a reply from about another 4 numbers we had, especially the Cuba Car office at Jose Marti Airport which simply rang and rang, no answer…
By late that day we were panicking because we needed the Cuba car rental to complete our itinerary of visiting 4 Cuban provinces with all of the hotels in Cuba already confirmed and paid. At 7pm my husband called on last location which was Hotel Inglaterra in Old Havana and they told us to try the official website for foreigners called Cuba Car.com
After contacting their chat system they quickly confirmed that few cars were available and it would have been easier to book in June than July and, that they no cars available for our arrival date (20th July) at Jose Marti Airport but, they could a Cuba car rental of a medium car (what turned out to be a Hyundai Accent) at the Habana Libre Hotel. Yipeeeee!!!
We completed the online forms and sent off the request. It took until the next day to get answer; by this team we were pretty anxious and worried. An invoice came through and, after clicking the link we were able to pay online using our Chase card (US Issued credit card). We got the customary “no-reply” email confirming we had paid but nothing else. Being as anxious as we both were, we contacted their chat system again and the lady “Natasha” passed us to Pedro (all this on the chat…technology) who confirmed that all we had to do was sign the invoice we´d soon receive and send our driving license (this made collecting car super quick BTW). Two days later we received the Cuba car rental voucher which showed the familiar Cuba CAR logo and a booking code TA-284871 and some other minor details (flight number, car type, etc)
“Advice – Cuba Car Rental in High season. book well in advance”
Even though the above had been relatively painless, we were still very anxious after having heard stories of people showing up to find no car available. Basically, until we were sat in our car and had started our journey through Cuba, I don´t think we´d have been happy with any amount of paperwork.
Fast-forward July 20th , we made the short trip across the border at Tijuana and the first of two flights (stopover in DF) that would bring us back to Havana. The flight was uneventful and we arrived in Havana at 8.47 PM with just 12 minutes delay! Pretty cool for a dual stopover flight which took us across Mexico. Havana Customs were pretty quick and, within 40 mins we were sat in our taxi and on our way to the Havana Libre Hotel to collect our Cuba car rental. It looked like there had been a serious downpour just before we arrived because our taxi kept hitting deep puddles on the road and the water would presumably crash up into the underbody of the car. Not a nice sensation, especially with his erratic driving…ufff
We arrived at the front of the hotel but had to gain access from the right because the stairs were being repaired, we dragged our cases behind us and Miguel held the rucksacks over his shoulder. We arrived at the CUBA CAR desk and could see several people there. There were a total of 8 people in what resembled a line of waiting people, we stood last in line. We overheard people saying they “hoped they could get a car” while my husband said a Cuban American couple were arguing about why they had not booked a car in advance. It all looked quite worrying. I whispered to my husband “think there are no cars…?” he just looked at me blank faced…obviously no car meant losing ALL of our precious plans, hotel bookings or worst, trying to do the whole trip in a taxi…not good…
Then, I heard something then my husband raised his hand. I asked what he was doing, he said “they´re asking those who have bookings to raise their hands” I looked around and there was just my husband with his hand in the air… He then marched towards the desk with me grasping his hand, our cases in tow and passing all these people, I felt bad…When we got to th desk they beckoned “voucher” “tienes voucher” which, with my basic Spanish made me grab our travel pouch and the voucher we´d printed at home before leaving for Cuba. I reluctantly handed it to him as all the stories flashed before my eyes of Canadian´s online complaining about not getting their cars in Cuba… But, within seconds he looked up from his list and said to my husband “perfecto, ya todo esta en orden” brilliant!!! I thought, we´re on our way!
Literally within 30 minutes we were descending the drenched “La Rampa” street towards the Malecon and on our way to Varadero (our first Hotel). The car was almost new and was a Hyundai Accent automatic of a light blue color. I´d heard the stories but this car was perfect. We had just one puncture on our whole road trip around Cuba which included Varadero, Trinidad, Cayo Coco (we drove there) and Santiago de Cuba.
Our experience with Cuba Car.com was excellent, the service was a little quirky (the delays in getting responses) but overall the outcome was great. We know that nobody else in the cue that day was getting a car and, after talking to others on our three week journey, many people were unable to find cars in Cuba and some even had resorted to taxis. Our last minute booking with Cuba CAR.com worked and, I am thankful to them for being so serious and providing us a solution (even though it was not at the airport) when nobody else wanted to.
Josephine and Miguel
Coronado , San Diego, CA
Cuba Car Rental from USA
A: Travel Agencies and Tour Operators
Date: August 1, 2012
Subject: Need to inform clients of travel agencies that must submit REX cars with the fuel tank as empty as possible
In recent months, our organization has received complaints or comments from customers about the filling of fuel tanks at the start of the rental.
Given the incidents occurred we took on the task of conducting a thorough analysis of the situation and established procedures. Vehicles in our fleet are of dissimilar makes and models, with different capacities and different tank fuel measuring instrument. In tests conducted by specialists in the technical area, we found that the gas tanks of vehicles, including digital type, do not record the existence of fuel to the tank capacity or actual readings are linearly proportional measurements between.
For example, a car with a capacity of 75 liters should be 37.5 liters in the tank when the needle is half the gas meter. However, we found that physically has 30 to 33 liters when in this position. Similarly, in the digital gas meters, marker lights full tank, when they can miss up to 15 liters of total capacity. In general, the test results that the fuel has yielded physical tank is almost always less than that shows the measuring instrument.
Note that the manufacturer does not expect the user of the car needs to know the exact number of liters that has the car, so that the meter is just a warning for this.
REX has taken the following actions in order to improve the service
• The fuel is added to “filler trigger”, until the fuel pistol backfires as full
• Tests have been conducted on tank capacity and marking of the gas tanks on all makes and models of cars in the fleet.
• Daily inspections are conducted by the directors of our organization to ensure the proper filling of the tank before returning the car to the customer.
• All cars are taken to fuel station, even when the needle comes to full mark because as said earlier, they may miss up to 15 liters to fill the maximum capacity
• Although we have not completed the implementation of these measures, the results were not long in coming and have completely eliminated the complaints and claims from customers of receiving the fuel tank well filled.
• As a rule, our Branch sells fuel to the customer, we do not buy, and especially since we cannot know the quality of this when the customer returns.
To implement the above measures, unaffected to the client or for our organization, we ask of you together to ask their customers not fill the tank before returning the car, but return it as empty as possible.
In this way we guarantee:
1. The next customer receives the car with the proper fuel and recommended by the manufacturer (fueled in quantity and quality by REX and not by the previous client)
2. The customer to pay what they actually used, and which in return will be refunded the amount that had the technical evidence that is physically the tank according to the position of the gas meter, but in return for full marking would have to charge for the number of liters which may (or not) be absent from the tank, which in most cases is 10 to 15 liters.REX is preparing a certified guide which yielded the above tests, both for renters, and customers, which we will arrive in the coming days.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused and we involuntarily expect from you the more collaborative, trusting that these new measures require you to permanently delete the dissatisfaction of our clients in this regard.
Branch REX Specialized Transportation Services
Please tell us your experiences dealing with Cuba´s crazy “take full, return empty fuel theft scheme”