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Getting around Cuba

General information

Cuba classic vintage car

When creating your Cuba experience, our travel specialists will also arrange your transport options for you, leaving you with nothing to worry about once you depart. We offer a number of different transport options and it’s up to you whether you’d like to hire your own car and self-drive or if you’d prefer to travel with a mix of private and group transfers. Below you’ll find some more information about all the options we offer at Rickshaw for travelling in Cuba.

Getting around by hire car

Travelling through Cuba independently by car is fun and more adventurous than package bus tours. Being able to speak a little Spanish can be an advantage, but it’s not essential. Driving on your own gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace, wherever you like and the ability to stop off whenever and for how long you want. Once you leave the city, you’ll notice how quiet and peaceful the roads are. Since there are very few vehicles in Cuba, there’s also very little traffic. You may, however, see people and animals walking by the roadside and you may also encounter a pothole in the asphalt now and then. If you plan on travelling to Maria la Gorda, the Sierra Maestra and/or Baracoa you’ll have a few sandy and gravel roads to travel across, but other than that, it’s tarmac all the way.

Auto car rental getting around Cuba tourist posing in car doorway
Cuba bus travel

Getting around by group transfer

A group transfer is usually a minibus or coach with a local Spanish-speaking driver travelling between destinations at set times. The driver will pick up other international travellers at several hotels in the departure city, and drop you all off at the various hotels in the arrival city. They’ll often pick up and drop off in other towns along the way. The obvious benefit of using these group transfers is that they cost a lot less than a private transfer; the downside is that they can take a little longer due to the pickups and drop-offs. Pick up and drop off points for the group transfers are often at a nearby location to your accommodation.

Getting around by private transfer

A private transfer is a private driver and taxi that you’ll have all to yourselves. They’ll collect you from your hotel door and drop you off at the door of your next accommodation. This is a good opportunity to speak to a local and practice your Spanish (although they’ll usually have a good grasp of English). The benefit of private transfers is the flexibility to travel further afield where the group transfers do not venture, also to travel at the time of day you prefer. The downside is that they are more expensive than group transfers. We tend to use a mix of both types of transfers which also gives you a wider experience.

Cuba classic cars red and yellow vintage cars
Cuba Santiago street of colourful houses with people milling about and pop up food vendors

Travelling with Meaning

By far the most sustainable way to explore Cuba is by foot, this is the best way through the cities and the countryside to make sure you get up close and personal with your surroundings. You can pick up a map from the reception of your hotel or try out your Spanish by interacting with the locals who know where the hidden Cuban highlights are. Non-Cubans are not allowed on public transport in Cuba, as this is a government subsidised service reserved for locals only. Therefore, it’s a bit difficult to travel sustainably here. Where possible we suggest group transfers. In Viñales there is a hop on / hop off bus which will take you around the sites of interest, such as the prehistoric mural and stunning view points. In Havana there is also a hop on / hop off bus service to nearby Playa del Este if you fancy cooling off in the sea.