Car Hire in Cuba and more…
As the UK market has increased and British visitors to Cuba now rank as the second largest group of travelers to the Caribbean nation, so too has the requests for Car Hire in Cuba from the United Kingdom. While most UK visitors to Cuba still stay at all inclusive resorts in Varadero, Holguin and Cayo Coco, the Playa Pesquero Hotel being a big UK favorite, a growing group of visitors from the UK are “going it alone”. Recognising this, the Cuban Tourism Board or more commonly known as Mintur has rolled our several special programs and booking platforms for Car Hire in Cuba from the UK.
Cuba Airport Car Hire
The website Car Hire in Cuba was specially set up for UK travelers to the island and offers payments in Euros or Pounds plus the full assortment of Car Models available in Cuba. Bookings are online and secure servers take care of the problems associated with online bookings. Probably the best aspect of organising the Car Hire in Cuba in advance is the security one has of receiving a vehicle upon arrival, something which can be very problematic, especially in High Season
Car Hire in Cuba + Hotel Package
Designed specifically for the UK market, the Cuba Flexi Drive offers an impressive selection of cars to cater for singles traveling alone right up to families of up to 9 people. Basically, anything from the smallest economic car in Cuba right up to the largest air-conditioned Rental Van in Cuba can be associated with the Flexi Drive program. But what is the Cuba Flexi Drive program? Well, to put it in a nutshell it’s a night of hotel associated with your car rental day. The beauty of the program is that you have a list of over 40 hotels covering the length and breadth of Cuba allowing you to travel at your own pace and sleep over at any one of these hotels. Yes, you simply present one of your vouchers for the night’s stay! So, let’s say your total flexi package is 14 nights, you´ll have 14 vouchers from hotels and 14 days of car rental, all in one package. The cool part is that your car hire in Cuba is linked to the package making it about 40% cheaper than the car by itself (outside the Flexi program). Therefore, in some cases your car hire in Cuba and hotel works out cheaper than the taking the car by itself,…free accommodation basically.
The hotel list is extremely extensive and covers every corner, center and costal area in Cuba. To see this extensive Cuba Hotel list click here and scroll down then click the area “VIEW ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES” quite an impressive list!
Although the website design leads one to believe that these packages are for 7 or 14 days, upon closer inspection, when you click 7 days you can actually add more days up to 13 days and then when clicking 14 days you can add up to 21 days. Not the best design we found but, it works intuitively.
One other incredibly cheap option is that not only does it include your car hire in Cuba along with each night of hotel stay but, you can also add extra rooms. Therefore, two, three or four couples could make the journey using larger capacity vehicles to coincide with the amount and all that needs to be added is an extra room which works out at being less than 45 per night for a double room! Pretty incredible really.
“We booked our car hire in Cuba in advance from the UK”
We arrived in Havana and traveled west towards Pinar del Rio, stayed one night at the Hotel Ermita then swung back east and across the island down to Cienfuegos where we stayed at the Hotel Union. We stayed in Cienfuegos 2 nights as my wife was attacked by mosquitoes on the first night and did not feel like traveling the next day. We then drove to Holguin and spent two nights at the Hotel Mirador de Mayabe (view to die for) near a great beach. We then drove down to Santiago de Cuba and had a wonderful stay at the Hotel Balcon del Caribe . Now, don´t get me wrong, none of these hotels are top notch 5 star places but, for 25 per night, who’s complaining? Plus, after driving, all we wanted was to crash out anyway, the next day we were out walking around, so we spent very little time (besides sleeping) at the hotels. We drove all the way to Havana in one day and spent our last two nights at the Hotel Megano in Playas del Este (Havana´s beach district) and conveniently dropped the car at the airport to get our return flight with Virgin Atlantic from Havana to London Gatwick. As I said, we went with another couple and therefore the petrol costs were split between us and we shared the cost of the car hire in cuba after we simply deducted their room cost from the package price we ended up with the cost of the car which we then split. The whole trip cost each couple just £620 which, I found, incredible for all we got, highly recommended. Add that to the Virgin Atlantic flight to Havana and our discovery of almost all Cuba was a measly £1565 for us both. Of course our friends paid the same.
So whether your looking for just Car Hire in Cuba from the UK or a full flexi drive package in Cuba from the UK then check out the links, you WILL NOT be unhappy.
Cheers, Joe + Emily!
Car Hire in Cuba Review
Cuba Car Rental
How to get the best deal for Cuba Car Rental? We will show you how to get the best offer and also have a secure Cuba Car Rental when you arrive.
Cuba Car Rental can be frustrating and sometimes downright complicated. This is mainly due to the Cuba Car Rental intermediaries littering the internet under different guises. But, let’s look at how you can make life easier for yourself when booking Cuba Car Rental.
Cuba Car Rental – reserving in advance
Time and time again visitors to Cuba think they can show up and simply rent a car upon arrival. Unfortunately, Cuba Car Rental is not as easy as that. First off, you will need the patience of a kinder garden teacher if you are not going to blow a fuse. No offices, we repeat NO OFFICES of any car rental company in Cuba is able to tell you if another office has cars. Yup, you guessed it; there is neither central reservation system nor availability system at retail level. So, your search for a car could entail some scenic taxi rides around the city you hadn´t planned for!
So, why not pre-book your car? Prebooking means you receive a voucher which must simply be shown to the office YOU CHOSE and you get the car. Much easier, eh? However, herein lies the pitfall. Only official websites offering Cuba Car Rental will be able to offer you the all important VOUCHER you need to have to be able to collect your car without fuss. Thankfully, since 2006 Transtur (Cuba´s official rental car holding company) has begun to offer online confirmations and immediate (or almost) vouchers sent conveniently to your email before you arrive in Cuba. When you book with these official websites your car is 100% guaranteed to be waiting for you EVEN IF you are delayed. The official booking websites are:
*the above links lead you straight to the online booking platform and live support
As all the brand names are controlled by Transtur you will find that both the “look and feel” and, the booking process is almost identical on all the websites.
“Quick Fact – Cuba Car Rental is cheaper booked online than locally”
So what other issues should you watch out for when contemplating Cuba Car Rental? Well, first off, the above companies DO NOT OFFER commission to agents therefore, if you book with another company, agent or website the rates will be higher. There´s a kind of unwritten rule of how these secondary agents make money (from you) when booking your car. We´ll explain a few:
Automatic Car TAX – Some have invented a type of tax which is charged to you when you collect the car and is usually 5 CUC (5$ or 3 Euros) if you booked an automatic car. This money is collected by the desk agent then given to your booking agent. IMPORTANT – this is not charged on official websites.
Drop Off Fees – Yes you guessed it. You book a car through a secondary agent (not direct) with collection in say Havana and drop off in say Varadero. Your confirmation says this but, when you roll up to return the Cuba Car Rental the desk agent quietly tell you that you owe him upwards of 100 CUC because you dropped the car off in another location!! Again, with official bookings this is all covered but, with secondary agents, they pay just the basic option and therefore you are charged…
Representation Fees – It took us a while to fathom this one but we finally managed to uncover what this actually means. Apparently, when a travel agent is located in Cuba but is foreign owned, they must pay to the Cuban Government a type of tax for every client they deal with. This is called a “Representation Fee”. This is usually 30 CUC but, we´ve had reports from some travelers of having been charged 50 or 60. The official amount is 30 however. These secondary agents will offload this charge onto you meaning you will pay at least 30 CUC more for your Cuba Car Rental
Extreme High season and manipulation of official tariffs – Some third party agents will load the price of your daily rental with fictitious high season tariffs. But, let’s not jump to conclusions. It is true that Cuba Car Rental companies have superior rates for high season BUT, these rates will almost certainly not be the extra 40-50% secondary agents are trying to charge you. If in doubt, check the official websites.
Back end price loading – This is by far the most common trick employed by non official agents. We´ll tell you how it works. Say you´re shopping around online and you come across an offer which is much cheaper than the official websites. Seems like a great deal no? WRONG – what is happening is that the car you are reserving has had absolutely no pre-payable supplements included. Therefore, when you arrive you´ll have to pay – Automatic car tax 5 CUC P/Day, Airport pick up tax 20 CUC (one payment), limited miles/km excess 0.30 CUC per KM, drop off fees of 0.50 per KM from where the car was collected to where you leave it (this could be as much as 400 CUC is you collect in Havana and drop off in Santiago!!) So, you´ll note that these initially “attractive” rates quickly turn into an ugly nightmare but, its now too late as you´re in Cuba. Therefore, be careful and wherever possible book with the official websites
A final note: When booking with CubaCAR and REX directly you can request a child seat while booking and this will be free. If you wait until you arrive in Cuba this will work out at 5 CUC per day for rental.
Cuba Car Rental 101
How to Rent a Car in Cuba from Miami?
Rent a car in Cuba from Miami
How to guarantee a Rent a car in Cuba from Miami to collect when I arrive? Confirming your Rent a car in Cuba from Miami requires visiting the official webpages of Havanautos, CubaCAR, VIA or REX, making a reservation and paying for it online with your credit card. You will receive a voucher like this in your email which, upon presentation will locate your prepaid vehicle. After signing the contracts you will be free to go with your car.
Why pre-book a Rent a car in Cuba from Miami?
During high season there can be very few vehicles available in Cuba. In fact, finding a car can mean traveling to various rental offices to check availability. Unlike the U.S each office is not connected to a central system to allow them to check availability in another office. Therefore, it’s more like a crap shoot as to whether you find a car available or not. This can cause serious delays in your plans especially if you need to meet family in another location.
If I use the websites to book my Rent a car in Cuba from Miami is it 100% certain?
Yes. Providing the booking was done on the official websites and you have received the correct voucher then the car is 100% certain. In fact, the car is taken from all inventories and cannot be sold/seen by the local offices. Essentially, when the car is booked and paid online there can be no doubt that the car is available.
Can I pay my Rent a car in Cuba from Miami with my U.S credit card?
Yes. Your card is accepted online through international banks.
What if I don´t Rent a car in Cuba from Miami and simply show up at the airport?
If you enjoy high risks, play poker or have plenty of time and are willing to bribe the rental office (with money) they may be able to call around the other offices and find you a car. If you need more than one car or a specific size then buena suerte!! However, you will certainly have to travel to this office outside the airport in a Taxi incurring extra cost plus, the car will be more expensive than online rates.
Is it cheaper to Rent a car in Cuba from Miami?
Yes. Rates are cheaper online than those provided at rental offices. Also, you will need cash to pay the car if you wait until arrival and your U.S credit card won’t work… This means you will invariably have to stand in line at the CADECA exchange office, pay the exchange rate plus the 3.6% (they charge) and also suffer the 10% penalty imposed by the Cuban Government to convert US Dollars. Therefore, before you even begin to pay the car, you will have lost 14% which is far in excess of any online or Visa or Mastercard rates of exchange from the U.S and online.
Can I book any car when I Rent a car in Cuba from Miami?
Yes. All the current models are shown on the websites and they can be booked, in advance, ready for your arrival. You can also add things like extra drivers or child seats to your online order so as to make the collection process faster.
Can I prepay insurance when I Rent a car in Cuba from Miami?
No. Insurance is always payable upon arrival for any car rental reservation in Cuba. You should factor in this amount when you book your car and, ensure you have this small amount in hand ready.
What are the key benefits when I Rent a car in Cuba from Miami?
- Immediate express collection upon arrival
- No waiting in line, collection lines are separate to the standard lines
- Guaranteed vehicle of the pre-booked category/model
- Big savings on “walk up” rates
- Big saving on exchange rates and the Cuban USD 10% penalty
- Complete Piece of mind
- Security you and your loved ones will be on your way quickly
- Immediate resolution of any difficulties
- Prepaid service with guaranteed vehicle when you arrive
To Rent a car in Cuba from Miami visit one of the official websites of
All the websites are the same as Transtur is now the owning company of all the aforementioned brands. This makes booking a similar process throughout.
Overall, booking your Rent a car in Cuba from Miami is a no brainer. It takes minutes to reserve online which can remove hours from your time in Cuba trying to find a car like a needle in a haystack. Furthermore, getting your Rent a car in Cuba from Miami ensures a locked in rate which cannot be changed or increased if/when daily rates rise. The Cuban government has the knack of imposing higher and higher rates or, what they call “extrema alta” rates when they know that few cars are available. This increase can be as much as 30% higher than published rates for the same vehicle! Therefore, prepaying your Rent a car in Cuba from Miami “locks in” your rate as the car is already paid meaning you will not suffer these fluctuations.
Finally, for those traveling with elderly family members, meeting elderly family members, young children or lots of baggage, the risk of NOT booking a Rent a car in Cuba from Miami far outweighs the small amount of time it would take to get piece of mind, book online and know the car is waiting when you arrive.
Have a great trip and hasta luego!!
Rent a car in Cuba from Miami 101
Cuba Car Rental Prices
Complete Cuba Car Rental Prices Comparison of all 4 car rental agencies in Cuba helping you get the best rates.
There are 4 rental Car companies in Cuba all of which are owned by the Cuban Government and, as such, the booking systems are all identical in design and function and show similar Cuba Car Rental Prices. However, they differ in their offerings relating to Cuba Car Rental Prices and we´ll cover this week the various rates and vehicles available plus guide you to the best rates with tips and tricks.
CubaCar is the largest of all companies and this is measured by both the amount of vehicles and, more importantly, the amount of offices they have in Cuba they also offer the lowest (in most instances) Cuba Car Rental Prices. The amount of offices can make for a very convenient drop off situation for those of you who are planning to leave your vehicle in another city. Here is some advice concerning Car Rental with CubaCars Cuba
If you plan to take your car and leave it in another city then never rent the car for less than 3 days in low season and 5 days in high season (we´ll explain these seasons below). This is because you will not have access to unlimited miles for rentals shorter than these minimums and this can work out very expensive depending on the distance you intend to cover. If however you wish to take the car for less time, possibly instead of taking a VIAZUL bus transfer, then expect to pay 0.30 USD per kilometer.
Before you arrive in Cuba, ensure you have the exact voucher issued by CubaCAR or you will invariably have difficulty getting your vehicle. Try to book the vehicle directly through CubaCAR website rather than a secondary source or third party agency as, the Cuba Car Rental Prices will be inflated as Cuban agencies pay vey small commisions to these secondary agents and they raise prices to compensate.
Drivers – The primary driver will need to have a valid driving license from their country of origin. Cuba does not require international driving licenses in order to rent cars from any agency. If there will be more than one driver it is very important that this driver be added to the contract/insurance. The cost of adding an additional driver is $3.00 per days (about 2 euros) If your rental is long and there are numerous drivers it can work out cheaper to rent from REX (see below) due to the fact that REX has a onetime payment of $10 to add an additional driver.
Insurance – The insurance payable for your vehicle is not included in the Cuba Car Rental Prices as it is payable directly upon collection of the vehicle. Essentially, the Cuban Government requires payments be made by the driver at the time of delivery to allow for the refusal of rental to underage drivers or those which do not hold a valid driving permit. Basically, when you pre-book your car online you are paying for the whole rental in advance at the lowest possible Cuba Car Rental Prices therefore, by making insurance payable in Cuba the prepaid rental can be invalidated for those who do not meet the criteria.
“Tip: longer rentals = lower Cuba Car Rental Prices”
A minimum Rental age for Car Rental in Cuba? – There is some confusion concerning Cuba´s minimum driver age so we´ll try to clear this up.
If you do not pre-book your car on the official websites and decide to simply “show up” at a given rental car office or, more importantly, you rent the car through a third party agency, the minimum age for car rental in Cuba is 21 years old. This is a steadfast rule and you will be turned away EVEN IF the third party agency has issued you with a voucher.
If you pre-book on the official website and receive the voucher prior to arriving in Cuba then the minimum age is 18 years old. Apparently, this is because prepaid rentals are considered more “responsible” and thus the exception is made on age. This also applies to extra drivers who may be under 21. If the car is pre-booked and one of the drivers is under 21 then this will also be accepted.
Fuel Surcharges – All Cuban Rental Car agencies do not include fuel in their Cuba Car Rental Prices when you pre-book. However, all cars are provided with a full tank of fuel upon collection. You will be charged “in advance” for this tank of fuel when you collect the car. The amount obviously varies depending on the amount of gallons (liters) the car holds and this will then be charged at $1.20 (correct as of Sept 2011) which is the amount payable in gas stations across the island for “Super Especial” which is 95 octane fuel sold in other countries. You should be aware that cheaper fuel exists in Cuban gas stations but, the attendant will refuse to fill your car with this and there are no self service stations in Cuba.
Car rental Extras – Price Comparison
* $3 per day for extra driver – Havanautos, CubaCAR, VIA Car Rental
* $10 one time fee for Extra drivers – REX Car Rental
* Full tank of fuel – Havanautos, CubaCAR, VIA Car Rental, REX Car Rental . Check online the tank capacity of the vehicle you have booked and multiply – Liters x $1.20 = X
* Child Seats - REX Car Rental, Free. Havanautos, CubaCAR, VIA Car Rental $5 per day.
* GPS – NOT AVAILABLE – These are banned in Cuba. You cannot enter the country with them and they are not available to rent.
* Drop Off Fees – When leaving your car in another city
0-3 Days rental – Havanautos, CubaCAR, VIA Car Rental $0.30 per kilometer shown on the odometer.
3+ Days rental – Havanautos, CubaCAR, VIA – Free ONLY if the car is booked in advance on the official websites
0+ Days rental – Rex Car Rental – Free ONLY if the car is booked in advance on the official websites
Important Note: If you do not book your car through the official websites in advance you will be charged drop off fees at $0.30 by ALL 4 car rental agencies.
Cuba Car Rental Prices Comparison
- 1st January to April 30th High Season
- 1 May to 30th June Low Season
- 1 July to 31st July High Season
- 1st August to 31st August Extreme High Season
- 1st September to 30th November Low Season
- 1 December to 31st December Extreme High Season
Important Note: In High or Extreme High season, if you do not pre-book well in advance you will encounter the unavailability of vehicles when you arrive. This for many is hard to believe but it is a given fact. If you are “lucky” to find a vehicle you will be charged Extreme High Rates (30% more than shown here) plus a premium one of payment of between $30 and $80 as a finder’s fee.
Below are average rates based 7 day rentals
Cuba Car Rental Prices – Automatic Cars
Via Car Rental Peugeot 206 Low 38/High 42 – Economy
Via Car rental Kia Rio Low 42/High 48 – Medium
Havanautos Hyundai Accent Low 42/High 48 – Medium
Cuba Car Rental Prices Stick Shift – Manual Cars
Looking for manual or stick shift Cuba Car Rental Prices? Then you will find the rates to be a little less expensive and availability a little more abundant. However, Car Rental in Cuba for certain models can sell out quick. Check availability and rates below.
Havanautos Skoda Fabia Low 36 /High 45
CubaCAR Skoda Fabia Combi Low 63 /High 71
Havanautos Hyundai i10 – Low 36 /High 45 Economy
Havanautos Skoda Octavia Low 112 /High 123 – Medium Hi
VIA Rent a Car Hyundai Low 118 /High 133 Azera
Cuba Car Rental Prices Minivan & Van Offers
Need to move a group of people or family around then Minivan or Van? Car Cuba Car Rental Prices for these categories further down. Below are the multi passenger vehicles available from major suppliers of Car Rental in Cuba. All large Van and Minivan type Car Rental in Cuba requires a minimum age of 21 for the driver.
Minivan in Cuba
Via Rent A Car Suzuki Gran Vitara XL 134 /High 149 – 7 passengers
Via Rent A Car Peugeot Expert – Low 147 /High 152 – 9 passengers
*Prices as of Sept 2011
Cuba Car Rental Prices 101
Cuba Car Rental Reviews
It is sometimes hard to come by Cuba Car Rental Reviews on the internet. Most forums don´t provide locations for such information therefore, we offer Cuba Car Rental Reviews for all of the rental agencies in Cuba
Cuba Car Rental Reviews | REX Cuba
REX is considered the premiere car rental agency in Cuba. They offer the best vehicles, newer and better maintained. They also offer models unavailable from the other Car Rental Agencies in Cuba. These include:
Volkswagen Passat, Audi A4, Audi A6, Seat Altea XL Models available in Cuba
Most of the Cuba Car Rental Reviews we have received concerning REX are favorable. However, some clients who did not book via the official web page claim they were overcharged for insurance and sometimes charged drop off fees in other cities. Some clients also claim that when booking with third parties their bookings were moved to other locations for collection. Therefore, so long as the booking is made via REX Cuba website there seems to be few complaints
Cuba Car Rental Reviews | Havanautos
Havanautos is one of the oldest car rental brands in Cuba with offices all over Cuba. Initially part of the Corporation CIMEX Havanatur company, it was spun off as a subsidiary and is now operated under the Transtur holding company as is the case with the below companies. Cuba Car Rental Reviews for Havanautos offer several pitfalls. The first is that while owned and operated by CIMEX the booking process was through Havanatur. However, now the bookings are processed through various third parties plus through their direct Havanautos website for sales outside of Cuba (prebookings). We found that when the car was prebooked pretty much all clients received their exact vehicle and without too many changes. Several clients of prebooked cars did have difficulties concerning changes in collection points. 4 of the clients who wrote to us said that, over a specific weekend, their bookings were moved from Jose Marti Airport to hotels in the center of the city. After checking these complaints with the company, it appears that on those specific dates the airport collection of cars was prohibited due to security measures. Therefore, it would appear that these complaints were isolated cases. Other Cuba Car Rental Reviews concerning Havanautos point to overcharging by certain travel agencies or, not advising on insurance costs in Cuba. However, those cars booked through the Havanautos Website appeared overall very happy. Their Spanish website is here
Cuba Car Rental Reviews | Cuba Car
Cuba Car also belongs to Transtur and was amalgamated with this entity at the same time as Havanautos (2009). Essentially, the cars for CubaCAR are cheaper than those offered by Havanautos but, are exactly the same vehicles with absolutely no difference in the service offered. Jokingly in Cuba this is called the “dual key ring” (doble llavero) referring to the fact that cars will have one Havanautos keyring and one CubaCAR key ring and depending on who rents the car one key ring or the other is provide to the client…
Cuba Car is set apart from all the other agencies because their offices are located in more locations around Cuba. This can be very convenient when cars are being dropped off in another city because where REX, VIA or Havanautos may have just 1 or 2 offices, Cubacar could have 10 in any given location, pretty convenient.
When booking from abroad, the CubaCAR website in 6 languages offers efficient service although some of the identification formalities are a little draconian. Like, you have to send a copy of your driving license to them before you arrive in Cuba. For many travelers this was a minor issue and did speed up the process of receiving the car once there. So we assume the minor issue of sending the license in advance has its advantages.
Things to watch out for when renting with CubaCAR are; always check the vehicle with the attendant present and mark even the most minor scratches and defects on the contract where a picture of a car is shown. This is especially important when you are returning the car to another office or agency in a different location. Some stories have been sent to us concerning clients having lost all or part of the security deposit due to blemishes on the vehicles they claim were already present but, they did not ask to be marked on the contract. You´ve been warned! Also, when booking with CubaCAR the best operation is through the officially approved website which is linked directly to the reservation computers and thus, offers almost foolproof confirmations of models/categories. If you decide to book through a third party agency then immediately request a copy of the voucher which will include a code beginning with TA-XXXXXX (six numbers) and details of your car and the company logo.
CUBACAR only provides their vouchers in non modifiable PDF format therefore, if you receive any other format be very careful and ask for the number of the CUBACAR office they have confirmed you with to check that your booking is real… If the voucher you receive does not match exactly the one shown then you will almost certainly be dealing with a third party and, this could spell trouble upon arrival. Basically, CUBACAR offices only recognize these specific types of voucher so, either your agency will have to send them the original (received from CubaCAR) or they will have to take the original to the office while you are there. This can be a major headache and many have complained to us about this issue of lost time.
Cuba Car Rental Reviews | VIA Rent A Car
VIA is the only car rental agency not managed by Transtur. It is owned directly by a company associated with Cuba´s military division which is no bad thing as the rigors of these companies are often higher than others. Cuba Car Rental Reviews of VIA are numerous as they tend to rent a significant amount of vehicles. Some complaints have been received where clients had been provided with a voucher to collect at a hotel reception but, upon arrival, the collection desk for VIA was adjacent to the reception (so not 24 hours) and the desk was unmanned. After some research and talking to VIA about these complaints almost all cases included travelers who had arrived late for their car collection. It appears that the desks are manned when cars need to be delivered and, then abandoned later (especially outside normal office hours). So, if you intend to collect a car from VIA upon arrival, try and book the pickup at the airport rather than at your hotel. The main reason for this recommendation being that, if your plane is late the airport office of VIA rent a car is always manned 24/7 whereas, you may arrive (late) at your hotel and find the desk empty. Obviously, if you are already in Cuba when you plan to collect you car then this would not be an issue because you can arrive on time and therefore be sure there´s someone at the desk. Other Cuba Car Rental Reviews of VIA point to clients having booked 4×4 vehicles which, upon arrival, were not available. It should be said that VIA advised us that they have few if any 4×4 vehicles but, third party agencies continue to sell these using old marketing materials/websites. VIA recommends using their affiliate website CarRentCuba.com for bookings (VIA does not have a corporate website BTW) which will or should provide the exact vehicles available at any moment in time however, this website also offers vehicles from all the other agencies in Cuba so spotting the VIA vehicles would mean choosing Peugeot 206 or 307 cars or the KIA Rio models which are all from VIA only.
Past Car Rental Agencies in Cuba no longer operating
If you have been confirmed to collect your car from these agencies then expect trouble as they no longer exist! We only have Cuba Car Rental Reviews pre 2008 for these entities and they are no longer relevant, obviously…
PalcoCar – Formally run by the convention center (palacio de concenvenciones) this agency went south in 2008. It no longer exists and all the vehicles were transferred to other divisions.
Gaviota – Gaviota does not offer rental cars anymore and, while they operated under this brand for several years they now only use the VIA moniker for car rentals in Cuba
Havanatur – Havanatur used to offer car rentals but, invariably, the cars were provided by their Havanautos division. Many of the travel ads from the 90´s and early 2000´s show the Havanatur logo next to an image of a rental car (usually the ill-fated Daiwoo Ticos of the day…). Havanatur no longer has any involvement with Havanautos nor do they rent cars independently, instead, passing these bookings over to one of the aforementioned companies.
Final word of advice concerning Cuba Car Rental Reviews – As all the car rental agencies in Cuba (besides VIA who do not have a website) are all owned and operated by the same company “Transtur” you will find striking similarities in their websites and booking process. However, if we were to place them in order of consumer satisfaction then it would be the following:
#1 – REX
#2 – CubaCar
#3 – Via Car rental
#4 – Havanautos
Overall, our Cuba Car Rental Reviews were mainly positive if bookings were made directly with the aforementioned companies and prior to arrival. Some of the Cuba Car Rental Reviews entered into issues of theft from cars, wheels and radio thefts, accidents and other issues which, frankly, are not the fault of the individual companies in question so they have not been included here to rate the agencies. We offer extensive advice on this website to reduce or eliminate these risks to a maximum so, keeping reading! Thanks
Cuba Car Rental Reviews 101
Cuba Hire Car
Looking for a Cuba Hire Car? The very best rates can be achieved by pre-booking online your Cuba Hire Car before you travel. One of the main problems with Cuba Hire Car companies is that they have few vehicles compared to other destinations in the region and, their logistical systems to distribute/control the locations of these vehicles is still in the ice ages… Unlike modern car rental agencies who use GPS to track the movements of their fleets, Cuba Hire Car agencies rely upon phone calls and an archaic reservation platform which does not allow individual offices to speak to each other but, the obligation to communicate through a central reservation point in Havana. This slows down the availability of information and thus, the location of each vehicle on a day-to-day basis. Whereas, companies such as Transtur and CubaCAR allow their booking systems to be accessed from the outside world via their websites CubaCAR Online and Transtur Online, getting this information in Cuba of real availability is extremely hard. Therefore, the result is that Cuba Hire Car is easier to book online than when actually in Cuba!
Furthermore, Cuba Hire Car rates are Split into two categories for all reservations:
Cuba Hire Car – bookings online
These are done directly by you online using your credit/debit card. A national voucher is sent to your email and you simply present this at the rental car office in Cuba to collect your car.
Cuba Hire Car – Walk up rates
These are rates applied to clients who arrive at a rental office and wish to rent directly there. These rates are typically 15-25% more expensive than online rates which the companies say is justified by the extra client attention required and the logistical costs of having payment systems and accounting services at each office. Furthermore, “Walk up rates” are affected by other rules not applicable to online bookings.
Drop off fees – When you book online with Pick up in Havana and Drop off in Santiago de Cuba (around 1000KM away) then you will NOT be charged to repatriate the vehicle to Havana. Whereas, ALL walk up rated rentals ARE charged these drop off fees which can be as much as $0.15 per kilometer. In the mentioned example a further 150 USD is payable if you do not book online
Driver age - Cuba Hire Car via direct walk up rentals are subject to the minimum age limit of 21 years old, whereas, online bookings are just 18 years old.
Cuba Airport Fees - Cuba Hire Car walk up rates are also affected by an obligatory charge of 20 CUC ($20) when you take the car from an office based at or around an airport. This charge is waived when you book with Cuba Hire Car online also.
Stories of travelers renting a Cuba Hire Car upon arrival and paying at the rental desk have generated serious complaints on Tripadvisor, Lonely Planet and other forums where they have taken the Cuba Hire Car and driven around Cuba up to 3000 KMs and ended up with over 400 $ in drop off fees. Had these travelers booked in advance or read our blog they would have saved those extra and, what we consider, extortionate costs.
Finally, Cuba Hire Car agencies tend to leave older vehicles at their rental offices and use newer vehicles for pre-bookings because the pre-booking is a sure thing whereas, the walk up rental is more hit and miss for them. So, expect to see very tired cars with over 100,000 KM available for walk up rentals as opposed to new cars for pre-bookings.
Cuba Hire Car can be as easy or as complicated as you wish by taking the advice of previous travelers as we´ve outline here
Cuba Hire Car 101
Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba
Havanautos Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba, CubaCar Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba, Transtur Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba and Via Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba are the three principal car rental companies based in this Eastern province of Villa Clara Cuba.
The main visitors to this region are Cuban Americans and, Cuban migrants in general, who are returning to visit family and friends and often Rent a Car in Santa Clara Cuba.
Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba has various collection points for vehicles such as Abel Santa Maria airport, SNU Santa Clara which receives direct flights from the United States.
CubaCar Santa Clara offices can be found at Center’s Traffic and La Union Hotel
Havanautos Santa Clara offices in Santa Clara are Hotel Santa Clara Libre, Remedios, Placetas, Trista y Amparo, Caibarien
Rex Santa Clara can be found at the airport Abel Santa Maria airport, SNU Santa Clara
Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba starts from 43$ per day increasing to 146$ per day for a 9 seat van when you Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba
History of Santa Clara
Santa Clara, founded by just 175 people in July 1689. One hundred and thirty-eight of them were two large families already inhabiting in the area and, thus, owners of the land next to the new city. The remaining 37 came from 7 other families, a priest and a governor, all of them originating in the seaside city of “San Juan de los Remedios”. The population of Remedios was torn between the option of leaving their city, constantly bothered by incessant pirate attacks, or staying in place. Though most of them finally decided to stay, those 37 persons traveled south and, on 1st June, 1689 they arrive at the hill where they rejoined with the other two existing families. A mass was given under a Tamarind tree and the city was created. Since then, the place under the tree is known as “Loma Del Carmen” (Carmen’s Hill). A 2nd generation church exists in a beautiful park along the place with a monument commemorating the event surrounded by a fourth generation Tamarind tree.
In the beginning, the settlement was called Cayo Nuevo, later Dos Cayos, Villa Nueva de Santa Clara, Pueblo Nuevo de Antón Díaz, Villa Clara and ultimately Santa Clara.
“the only way to see the city is Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba”
Building of the city began not far from Carmen’s Hill. Subsequently the Spanish standards, a perfect squared layout with a central plaza (Plaza Mayor today Parque Vidal) was developed. The first buildings erected were the Cabildo (City Council) and a modest palm tree church. This structure was enhanced in 1725 to a brick one, and stayed the center of the Parque Vidal until August 22, 1923 when it was demolished in order to expand the plaza and build a new church close by. In those times, and still nowadays, this decision, made by the mayor, was heavily criticized. The building, while not a paragon of architecture, was not entirely unpleasant to the eye and certainly an example of the older colonial structure in the city. Resulting from this expropriation by the City Council, a protest was raised by religious figures and a total of 77 850.00 pesos were paid in fines to the Church, a large sum that would represent millions of pesos today.
Some time later, the foundation, a theater, a chamber of commerce, meeting clubs, public libraries and dance halls were built as well. The position of the city, almost in the very center of the country, made it as a strategic point and a great communications link, East and West and also, North and South creating a slow but relentless growth. By the 19th century, Santa Clara was larger and more populated than the rest of the towns around, including what was once Remedios. As a necessary stop between Havana and the east of the country, the city gained the title of Las Villas province capital. Visiting Havana and surround areas requires Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba.
Santa Clara Attractions
At Santa Clara’s city center is a park (Parque Vidal) and it is based at the entire square block. In the park there is a statue of Marta Abreu, a person much remembered by the people of Santa Clara. Around the park is the Santa Clara Libre (formerly the Santa Clara Hilton) which is where several rental offices are located for Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba, “Gran Hotel”, Teatro de La Caridad (a National Monument of Cuba), the Plaza del Mercado Central, the former City Hall and the Colonia Española de Santa Clara center of dance, offers the most attractive and unique traditional customs of hinterland Cuba.
Parque Vidal is probably one of the most typical places in Cuba and can be visited when you Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba. During the afternoons, people (specially singles) visit the park to meet others. Although not widely practiced in recent times, the custom was to walk the park around and around. The women walk the inner part of the park, while the men walk the outer side. Another lost custom was for the locals to set up a platform and offer improvisations with their guitars on late Sunday afternoons. For that day they dressed with their Guayaberas and highly polished shoes.
Santa Clara is home to a mausoleum which houses the remains of Che Guevara and sixteen of his fellow combatants killed in 1967 during the Bolivia campaign. There is also a reconstruction of Guevara derailing the train during the Battle of Santa Clara. Other locations concerning Che Guevara can be visited by car when you Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba
Prior to 1 January 1977, Santa Clara was located in Las Villas Province. On that date, as part of a general administrating reordering of Cuba’s provinces, Las Villas province was reordered into the provinces of Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, and Sancti Spíritus. Santa Clara is in the province now known as Villa Clara. Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus are a short distance away when you Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba
Other local landmarks include:
• Parque del Carmen (Carmen’s Park)– City’s Foundation Site.
• Parque de los Martires (Martyrs Park).
• Parque de la Pastora (Our Lady Shepherdess Park).
• Parque de la Justicia (Justice’s Park).
• Parque del Tren blindado (The Armored Train Park-Museum), a National Monument of Cuba.
• Mausoleo Che Guevara (Monument and Mausoleum of Ernesto “Che” Guevara).
• Catedral de Santa Clara de Asis (Saint Claire of Asis Cathedral).
• Boulevard 1889.
• Centro Cultural El Mejunje (Cultural Centre “El Mejunje”).
• Loma del Capiro, hill overlooking the city
• University “Marta Abreu” of Las Villas is the province’s secondary education institution.
Popular Hotels Near Santa Clara (some require Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba to be reached)
Rent a Car Santa Clara Cuba 101
Car Rental in Cuba
Car Rental in Cuba 15% discount can be achieved using the following websites if you reserve your Car Rental in Cuba before you arrive. By doing this you will have a guaranteed pre-booking of your Car Rental in Cuba which will not only save you time but also $$$ because other websites do not offer this discount nor do they guarantee types of vehicles we have found.
Click the links below and benefit from no automatic car surcharge and no airport tax on your Car Rental in Cuba
Car Rental in Cuba Automatic Cars
Automatic cars are favored by American visitors to Cuba looking for Car Rental in Cuba and therefore are often in short supply. Usually, Automatic Car Rental in Cuba should be booked some time in advance, check below for availability and rates from the leading suppliers of Car Rental in Cuba.
Car Rental in Cuba Stick Shift – Manual Cars
For those looking for manual or stick shift Car Rental in Cuba then you will find the rates to be a little less expensive and availability a little more abundant. However, Car Rental in Cuba for certain models can sell out quick. Check availability and rates below.
Car Rental in Cuba Minivan & Van Offers
If you need to move a group of people or family around then Minivan or Van Car Rental in Cuba is what you need. Below are the multi passenger vehicles available from major suppliers of Car Rental in Cuba. All large Van and Minivan type Car Rental in Cuba requires a minimum age of 21 for the driver.
Minivan in Cuba
Car Rental in Cuba offers prepayment service and guaranteed confirmations. Pick up in all major cities and airports and of course, Havana
For exclusive information concerning renting cars in Cuba, read our other articles
Car Rental in Cuba 101
Rent a Car in Cuba from USA
For most of us Americans booking a Rent a Car in Cuba from USA will be the most logical thing to do. After all, we can´t carry that much money and getting money in Cuba is quite difficult so, arranging the Rent a Car in Cuba from USA “before” arrival is probably the best option.
Rent a Car in Cuba from USA “probably the easiest thing I did”
There are several things to watch out for though. If you decide to Rent a Car in Cuba from USA be extremely careful not to book or ay the car to an agency based in Cuba. Why? Well, it is a second infraction to buy ANY travel services from companies or agencies based in Cuba. Based meaning those with offices or representation on the Island, however, this is not a problem because there are many online agencies who can facilitate the booking and accept US credit cards that are not based in Cuba and thus are totally legal under the OFAC rule of “third country bookings” One such third country approved reseller is Cuba CAR and another is Havanautos both of which offer confirmed vehicles from Cuba´s Transtur.
So, booking your Rent a Car in Cuba from USA is a piece of cake and it will be assured upon arrival.
Rent a Car in Cuba from USA 101
Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero
Special reduced direct rates when looking for a Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero you will have a large selection of Car Rental Agencies all of which offer both airport collection and Hotel or places like Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport VRA, Matanzas, Cardenas, Melia Varadero, Las Americas Shopping Center, Dowtown Varadero as pickup locations. Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero can also be delivered to your Hotel in Varadero. The main offices for CubaCar Varadero are situated at Varadero International Airport but other smaller offices can be found at the hotels below. For other Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero agencies there is Havanautos Varadero which is based in Varadero Airport but also has offices all over Varadero and has been fused with CubaCAR Varadero under the name of Transtur Varadero. Lastly, 2 other Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero agencies exist one being REX Varadero and the other being VIA. Nonetheless, all companies are owned by the Cuban Government and there is little difference between them, REX Varadero being the exception which offers more luxurious vehicles.
For Cuban Americans staying in Varadero there are special rates on the above pages. Simply click to chat and advise the agent you are from Cuba. Some ID may be required to obtain the discount.
While driving your Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero there are several important “must see” landmarks & Monuments plus read our driving tips
The following hotels are recommended for your stay in Varadero or Matanzas
Note: All Hotels in Varadero are All Inclusive and are easily accesible with your Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero
You should try and pre-reserve a Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero before you arrive to save lost time searching from office to office looking for available vehicles and paying more for desk rates with a company such as Havanatur which offers all companies on one website or individually with each company in the previous links at the top of the page.
It is located on the Hicacos Peninsula, sandwiched between the Bay of Cárdenas and the Florida Straits, 140 km east of Havana City, at the eastern end of the Via Blanca highway. The cape is only 1.2 km wide at its widest point and is separated from the island of Cuba by the Kawama Channel. This stretch of land though extends more than 20 kilometers from the mainland through a northeasterly direction and its slant, Punta Hicacos, is the northernmost position of the island of Cuba. At the northeastern end of the cape there is a nature reserve with forests and long sandy beaches. The Hicacos Point Natural Park is a 3.12 km2 (1.20 sq mi) ecological preserve recognized in 1974. It contains the 250 m (820 ft) long Cave of Ambrosio, Mangón Lake (home to 31 species of birds and 24 species of reptiles) with the ruins of the La Calavera (The Skull) Salt Works (one of the first salt works to be built by the Spanish in the New World). The cays developed off shore, such as Cayo Piedras and Cayo Cruz del Padre are the western most part of the Sabana-Camaguey Archipelago easily visited with your Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero
Varadero Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport, located west of the peninsula, is Varadero’s only airport. It is the second-most-important airport of the island after José Marti Airport in Havana, and serves international and domestic flights.
The first talk of Varadero was in 1555. The place was first used as a dry dock (The name in spanish: varadero) and the salt mines of the cape (finally closed in 1961) supplied most of the Spanish Latin America Fleet from 1587 until 1961. However, the establishment date of Varadero as a city was only on December 5, 1887, when ten families from the adjacent city of Cardenas received permission to build their vacation homes between today’s 42nd and 48th Street.
It was recognized as a municipality at the administrative re-distribution of July 3, 1976 from territory beforehand part of Cárdenas. In August 2010, the Varadero municipality was abolished according to a Law approved by the Cuban National Assembly, becoming part of Cardenas municipality again.
Varadero is primarily a tourist town, offering more than 20 km of white sandy beaches. The initial tourists visited Varadero as early as the 1870s, and for years it was considered an elitist resort. In 1910 the yearly rowing regatta was started; five years later the first hotel, called Varadero and later Club Nautico, were built. Tourism increased in the early 1930s as Irenee du Pont Nemours (The Du Pont Family), an American millionaire, built his estate on the peninsula which is still there today and serves as a Club House with various exclusive suites for guests. Many famous and infamous people stayed in Varadero, for example Al Capone, Bugsy Malone, etc.
Post Cuban Revolution in 1959, many mansions were confiscated from their rich owners by the Castro Brother. These mansions soon became museums. As a symbol of the new integrated tourism for Cubans and foreign visitors of all social classes, the Park of the 8000 Cubicles (Parque de las 8000 Taquillas) was built in 1960. Guests could leave their property in the basement of the park, had access to sanitary installations and gastronomic services on the first floor, and could hire bathing articles and swimsuits. The setting of the park became the center of the city. Between the 1960s and 1980s Varadero changed itself into a cultural centre. During those years the central park (8000 Taquillas) (located between 44th and 46th Street) saw countless concerts, festivals and national sporting events.
Starting in 1990s saw the start of another hotel building campaign, mostly in the 4-star and 5-star segment. Many of the hotels are operated or co-owned by foreign businesses like Melia, Barcelo, TRYP, etc. As international visitors have increased, the local population increased with the arrival of people, some in key economic positions, from other parts of Cuba. As a result, Varadero forgave much of its social and cultural life and its traditions. The central park, the cinema and various cultural meeting places were neglected in favor of a hotel-centered all-inclusive-tourism then, finally closed. The International Carnival, an initiative of Cubans and foreigners started in the 1980s, has now also ceased.
Over and above its most valued resource, the beach, Varadero has natural attractions such as caves and a chain of easily accessed Virgin islets. There are also cultural, historical and environmental attractions in the vicinity, such as the cities of Matanzas and Cardenas, the Zapata Peninsula and the resort of San Miguel de los Baños. Varadero, which is a free port, also offers scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, yachting and other water sports.
Varadero receives more than 600,000 tourists yearly.
Varadero is primarily visited by Europeans from UK, France Russia, Italy. Also, Latin American and finally the largest group being Canadian tourists. The number of U.S. tourists visiting Varadero, although going up, has been limited because of the restrictions that make it illegal for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba as tourists.
Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero – Do not overcomplicate your precious vacation time and prebook your before you arrive.
Rent A Car in Cuba Varadero 101