Cuba Driving Guide
Cuba is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.
Cuba is one of the most influential states of the Caribbean region, the largest single island of the archipelago, and the West Indies country. The vibrant, lively, and past meets the present vibes the country of Cuba allures travelers worldwide. Cuba's spectacular scenery, history-rich destinations, and fascinating culture will welcome you once you reach the country.
The infamous Havana City home is the nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, diverse culture, and remarkable history. The country is brimming with heartwarming and lively music, vibrant art, and vintage ambiance. A country waiting to be explored will give you a one-of-a-kind travel experience that you'll never forget.
How Can This Guide Help You?
Traveling to a foreign country without a little knowledge about the country's background, rules, and other essential guidelines can lead to a disaster that will ruin and spoil your trip. This guideline will help you know the necessary information you need before and when traveling to Cuba.
Moreover, it also contains Cuba's current border status, requirements to enter the country, Cuba's history, and top destinations that you should visit. As for driving in Cuba, the driving rules and etiquette you need to follow are included in the guide and the car rental information.
Cuba is a mainly urban country and a large Caribbean island nation. It is located 90 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida. Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Haiti are its neighboring countries. An island is blessed with panoramic mountains, vast rolling farmland, old-fashioned villages, architectural establishments, urban metropolises, and white sandy beaches.
Cuba is a West Indies country located 90 miles off the coast of Key West Florida and sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Haiti is the nearest neighboring country of Cuba, 48 miles to the east, across the strait Windward Passage. The country's occupies area is comparatively smaller than Pennsylvania.
Cuba's National language is Spanish (Castilian) or Cuban Spanish that sometimes is referred to as Cuban, and has an estimated 11 native speakers. Although the country doesn't have a local dialect with its colonization history, it became a linguistically diverse nation where ethnic groups have influenced several speech patterns.
On the other hand, even most Cuban people only know Spanish, English is commonly used in larger cities and tourist areas. Although speaking Spanish isn't required, it is advisable to learn simple words and phrases to maximize your experience in Cuba and your interaction with its people.
Cuba has a total land area of 109,884 kilometers (42,426 square miles) in size, where two-thirds of the Island are lowland plains that are mainly used for farming. The country's total coastline is 3,735 kilometers, and its Isle of Youth, which largest offshore Island of Cuba, has an estimated area of 2,200 square kilometers.
The history of Cuba has a significant impact on the countries culture, and it reflects on the language the country use, the food, art, infrastructures, dance, and most of all, the music. Cuba's history shape, perfected, and make the culture the Island has today authentic.
Cuba is discovered in 1492 by a Spaniard who do expeditions Christopher Columbus and colonized by Spain. During the Spanish-American War in 1898, the U.S. claimed Cuba. However, the island gained its independence in 1902. Fidel Castro replaced Fulgencio Batista, a U.S.-backed dictator during the Cuban Revolution between the years 1953 and 1959.
When Fidel Castro took the position in 1961, he declared Cuba a socialist state and remained in power until 2008 and passed the control to his brother, Raul Castro. The governing political body in the country is The Communist Party of Cuba, committed to socialism. In 1991, Cuba experienced a large scale economic crisis that affected the country badly.
Cuba is a country under a unitary social republic. Its government is totalitarian that has direct control and impacts over most of the nation's facets of Cuban life. Fidel Castro was the head of the Cuban government from 1959 to 2008 that also serves as the first secretary of Cuba's Communist party.
The country is ruled under the constitution of 1976, which is amended in 1992 and 2002. Under Cuba's constitution, legislative authority is under the National Assembly of People's Power, which has more than 600 members and serves five-year terms.
Cuba has a total population of 11,333,483 habitats. Only 0.15% of the world's entire population and Cuba ranks as number 83 in the world's population count. The recorded population density on the island is 106 people per kilometer square.
The development of Cuba's tourism industry from 1995 to 2018 has been growing and thriving for years. Cuba, in the sector of tourism alone, has generated around 2.97 billion U.S. Dollars that corresponds to the Island's gross domestic product of 3.0 percent.
In absolute terms of the total number of tourists who visited Cuba, it ranks in 62nd place out of 195 countries globally. The recorded total number of tourists visit Cuba in 2018 is 5 million tourists. .
Driving in Cuba can be hassle-free and smooth if you have all the requirements needed to go on the Island. An International Driver's Permit is required in some countries to translate your national driver's handy license and dissolves the language barriers between you and the local authorities you might encounter on your visit and driving in Cuba.
Travelers from other countries with an International Driver's Permit are allowed to drive in Cuba. You should always bring your International Driving Permit in Cuba together with your national driving permit at all times when driving around Cuba. It is to avoid getting in trouble since many checkpoints were scattered on the Island. It is a good idea to get an IDP before your trip. Here is the critical information you need to know about an International Driver's Permit in Cuba.
Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Cuba?
Foreign Travelers who have a valid National Driver's License and an International Driver's License are allowed to drive on the Cuban roads. It is a requirement for you to drive in Cuba. You must possess these two critical documents. A local driver's license will be valid as long as an IDP accompanies it if you travel by driving a car in Cuba.
If you use your national driver's license solely in Cuba, it is invalid same as your international driver's permit. These two essential documents must be used and present to authorities together to become valid. Your national driver's license will only be invalid if you're planning for work and residency in the country, as it requires you to get a driving license Cuba requires.
Travelers don't need to take a class and attend driving school in Cuba to get an IDP; with the International Driver's Association's help, they experience a fast and paperless transaction. Once you have it, please bring it with you and begin driving on Cuban roads!
Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Cuba?
If you love getting around a foreign country by driving a car and you want to experience the adventure of self-driving in Cuba, then you need to get an IDP! If you already have an IDP, that's great, and if you don't, no worries, you can get an IDP on the International Driver's Association website and fulfill that goal of driving around Cuba!
For travelers driving in Cuba, a license for Cuba is not necessary. Your National Driver's License and International Driving Licence are enough when driving through Cuba and its roads, but if you're planning to stay for long, want to apply for residency, or apply for a driving job, you need to get a Cuban License. A car rental organization will also ask for an IDP so it's best to get one.
In applying for an International Driver's License, you don't need to take lessons, attend, and take a driving test in a driving school in Cuba. Using and getting an International Driver's License in Cuba online through the International Driver's Association website is a paperless, smooth, and fast IDP application process.
Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?
The IDP does not replace your native driver's license even though an IDP contains your name and motorist information. An IDP is only used as a translation of your native driver's license. IDP is not solely used for transactions in the country you're going to visit. The IDP is used together with your National Driver's License; they are used hand in hand like a pair.
Driver's license replacement will only happen when you're going to stay for a long term in Cuba. If you're only in the country as a tourist, then a driver's license replacement is not needed and unnecessary.
Renting a Car in Cuba
Driving in Cuba is possible if you rent a car to explore the Island. To first-time travelers renting a car can be confusing, especially when you're in a foreign country. When renting a car in Cuba, you need to know several important information before renting a car. It also includes the requirements needed, the vehicle you can rent, the inclusions, and more.
Car Rental Companies
There are many car rental companies that you can find in Cuba that it is quite overwhelming, but it gives you the freedom to choose what best car rental companies suit you best. In Cuba, there are three major car rental agencies the CubaCar, Havanautos, and Rex. You can book via a car rental online earlier; it will help your arrival in Cuba less hassling since picking up the car you choose is the only thing you'll ever think.
In Cuba, driving a rental car in Cuba is your key to tour around the Island. You can do it by booking a car to rent online is more convenient when you can compare different companies that offer the services you want that are perfect for your budget. If you book earlier, you'll spend more time checking Cuba's beauty than a wall-in booking that will take time.
Renting a car in Cuba is easy; you need to present the required documents to rent a car: IDP, an Identification card, and a valid national driving license that Cuba requires from most car rental companies. It is a document the companies will ask you to present to rent a car. Especially if your National Driver's License is in a foreign language and not in English, you can get an IDP online on the International Driver's Association website.
You must prepare the documents needed if you're in the legal driving age for foreigners in Cuba. The said documents above are also required and will be reviewed by the car rental companies upon picking up your car.
Are you dreaming of driving classic cars in Cuba? Most of the vehicles you can rent are classic cars that add the vintage ambiance once you started going around Cuba's colorful and preserved country. The place is known for driving classic cars in Cuba – the country is a living classic car museum!
Cuba offers a wide variety of rental car types to choose from and pick for your travel convenience for every kind of traveler. Most of the common brands of cars you can rent in Cuba were Geely, Opels, Renault; you can rent Mercedes, VW, Audi, and other types of vehicles. Among the mentioned car brands, Geely is one of the cheapest cars to rent. Consider the car size before renting one.
You can also rent a car with an Air Condition, but before leaving you must check if it's working or not, you can obtain a small credit if the A.C. is not working. It is best to rent a car with A.C. if the month you've visiting Cuba has the highest temperature. It cannot be necessary if the weather is cooler. It will depend on your preference in a car and your comfort in driving.
Car Rental Cost
Renting a car in Cuba is more expensive than an average car rental fees elsewhere in the world. Due to Cars' limited availability on the Island and the type of car models they have, all vintage cars in Cuba are between standard and vintage style. During the travel season, it is advisable to book in advice the car rental price might go up, and it sells out quite often in Cuba.
A full tank is a charge or cover in the car rental fee. One-way trips in Cuba are allowed and can be arranged for free as long as your car rental company has an office on the destinations you choose. There will be an extra charge if the places or goals you're going to do not have your preferred car rental company's branch. If you're on a tight budget, it's best to think through all the charges before renting.
The fee coverage on the car rental free will depend on the rental company you will choose. In renting a car, you need to select the best car rental company that offers the best or good quality rental cars and explains the rental car fee's coverage fee. Beware of companies that charge for you on rental insurance; it is illegal only for the government to approve rental desk offers for rental insurance.
The minimum age requirement to rent a car and the driving age in Cuba is 21 years old for a foreign traveler who holds a valid National Driver's License and an International Driving Permit to present. Otherwise, you cannot rent a car and drive on the Cuban roads.
Adults are more trusted in taking long driving distances from Cuba escapades than younger age that might get too excited to drive a rental car in Cuba and get in trouble. It is to ensure everyone's safety in traveling
Car Insurance Cost
Besides choosing the right car for your travel, you also need to choose the car rental company that provides insurance into their car rental packages. But in Cuba, the government approves rental desk that provides car insurance, not the car rental companies. Cuba's car insurance cost will depend on your decision and preferences. The car insurance cost may vary from what insurance they offer and how many insurances you will avail of.
Car Insurance Policy
Insurance applies when you're going to rent in Cuba. The car rental insurance is payable when the car you're renting is collected in all cases. Cuban government charges the insurance not on the individual rental companies but via the government's approve rental desks. Paying for insurance in advance is not possible from any pre-booked services.
Insurance charge in the rental rate is illegal in Cuba. Be careful of Car rental companies offers this service when renting their cars. Credit card insurance coverage in Cuba is not accepted. Credit cards that offer insurance for rental vehicles are not accepted. The range in insurance is always for zero excess payable in Cuba.
Here are the insurance coverages in renting a car in Cuba:
- Partial or Total Theft Coverage
- Damages Caused to Third Person Coverage.
- Partial or Total Damage to the Vehicle Coverage
- Injury to Driver or Passengers Inside the Vehicle Coverage
Although there are other means of transportation to travel in Cuba, the freedom to drive a car is a real luxury. Moreover, driving also allows you to explore and venture to the various corners of the country
Road Rules in Cuba
To Drive Cuba's vintage and classic cars are pretty exciting. Still, before you attempt to drive on the Island, you need to be aware of the driving rules to avoid getting into an accident or break the law and face unwanted situations with the Cuban authorities. Most of the rules are similar to other countries driving directions, and some might be unfamiliar. Knowing the rules is important to avoid delays on your Cuban travel.
You might have asked yourself, "is driving in Cuba safe?" The answer is "Yes." but the answer might change if you don't keep in mind and follow the provided guide and the driving in Cuba update for giving important information about road rules.
Here are some of the essential road rules and regulations you need to follow:
National Driver's license and IDP
One of the road rules you need to follow is to bring your National Driver's License and IDP when traveling at all times. Driving in Cuba license is not required; only your national and International Driver's License will suffice when driving through Cuba and its roads.
National Driver's license and IDP
One of the road rules you need to follow is to bring your National Driver's License and IDP when traveling at all times. Driving in Cuba license is not required; only your national and International Driver's License will suffice when driving through Cuba and its roads.
Travelers who are intoxicated by alcohol are not permitted to drive it is stipulated in the drinking and driving laws in Cuba. There should be no alcohol container anywhere placed inside the vehicle, whether the bottle of alcoholic drink is opened or unopened.
The drinking and driving laws in Cuba's legal blood alcohol level is 0.0%. That is why if you're drinking and driving in Cuba will get you into trouble. Drinking and driving in Cuba may cause road accidents. If you're involved in these accidents because of drunk driving, you cannot leave the country during the investigation that may take several months to resolve.
Driving at night
Drivers must take precautions while driving at night in Cuba. There's a lack of streetlights in the country and mostly in the secluded areas. Driving at night without proper lighting may cause poor visibility that can lead to an accident. There might also be pedestrians and animals that may suddenly jump on the roads at night.
Use of Headlights
When driving a car in Cuba, please avoid using your headlights in daylight; it is illegal in Cuba. The only allowed vehicles to use headlights in a day are the emergency vehicles in Cuba. Do note that oncoming cars will flash their headlights, indicating a traffic police patrol on the highways and Police control checkpoints on major roads.
Aside from the rules of car driving in Cuba, it is essential to know where you're going to park the car you've rented. Keep in mind that it is not permitted to park in places like pedestrian crossing and sidewalks. In bigger towns, parking is slightly confusing, but it is easy to find parking in Cuba, and most are for free!
General Standards of Driving
Observing general standards of driving is essential to adhere to ensure your safety and everyone's safety once you hit the Cuban roads. These standards are common in other countries. This standard is necessary, especially for tourists who plan to take long driving distances in Cuba.
But before driving to Cuba and its top destinations, checking and ensuring your vehicle is in good condition is a must. Checking the fuel, tires, windows, engine condition, and tires will ensure everyone's safety once the car is on the road. It will give you a convenient ride through different driving distances Cuba has.
Besides the engine checking, you must bring your essential documents or Identification cards like a National Driver's License and an IDP. Your engine and your condition should also be in good shape before you head into the road that ensures you're driving in Cuba safe when taking the great driving distances for the Cuban adventure you want to experience.
The restricted speed limit that the Cuban government implemented is 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour is the main roads' average speed limit. 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour is the average speed per hour on the main streets, with a maximum speed limit of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour. Exceeding the speed limit of 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour is not allowed on Cuba's secondary roads.
You can drive about 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour on average while driving in Cuba safe and normal travel pace. Follow the speed limit at all times. If a law official catches you, or if you meet an accident by over speeding, it will take you months until you are released. It is time the investigation over your accident is finished.
To ensure your safety while car driving in Cuba, you need to follow the stipulated seatbelt laws. Wearing seatbelts are required for drivers and front-seat passengers. If you're traveling with your child, you need to use a child restraint.
If you're driving a rental car in Cuba and your child's age is under two years old, child restraint is an essential tool you need to use. Child restraint helps reduce your child's risk of injuries if you got into an accident. A child that is under 12 years old is not allowed to sit on the front passenger seat.
The driving direction in Cuba depends on what road you'll be driving. Autopitas (motorways), the most relevant road, runs east of Havana City to the central part of Cuba and the road section close to Santiago, mostly called A1. The A4 highway is driving directions from Havana City to Pinal del Río. It is the old single-lane in Carretera central that connects.
There are some motorways (autopistas in Spanish), of which the most relevant ones are the A1 (which runs east of Havana to the central part of the country plus another section closer to Santiago). The A4 (Havana to Pinar del Río) connects the whole country from west to east by the old single-lane Carretera central.
Traffic Road Signs
The lack of traffic road signs is the main issue with driving in Cuba, the use of GPS is helpful in this situation, but cars in Cuba does not have GPS. It is not precisely allowed and still technically forbidden on the Island. You'll experience driving in Cuba the old way by using a decent road map as the best solution to the problem. .
Self-driving in Cuba without missing road signs would be a challenge. The locals are more than happy to help you with the directions. Even with the difference of languages with hand and feet gestures, they will assist you with which lanes to go!
Right of Way
To avoid getting into a heated argument with other motorists knowing the right of giving away or the give way rules in Cuba will save from trouble and headache. It is a common courtesy every country has to make the road-friendly.
You might encounter intersection and Cuba's right of way in conjunction or the traffic lights driving distances Cuba has. If a vehicle can exit, you can enter a meeting; if not, you are not allowed to enter. It is forbidden to right turn when the light is red unless a traffic white arrow or signal indicates it.
Legal Driving Age
Unlike the legal driving age of 18 years old for Cubans, the driving age in Cuba must be at least 21 years of age that holds a valid National Driver's License for a year and has an International Driver's Permit.
Young people love adventure and experience new things like trying to drive around in Havana, Cuba, that might excitement and thrill lead to breaking laws and getting into accidents. The implemented driving age is driving in Cuba safe road rule protocol. Having the adults drive will help to avoid getting into problems.
Laws on Overtaking
The law of overtaking in Cuba is pretty simple and easy to understand and remember. Since Cuba's traffic goes on the right side of the road, it is not permitted to overtake on the right, but you can overtake on the left side.
Driving to Cuba is driving on the right-hand side of Cuba's road is pretty much the same side of the road other countries worldwide have. You are driving in Cuba safe means following the driving guidelines. That is why you need to know that on the right side of the road is where the traffic laws, you should drive on the right side and overtake on the left side.
When driving on the right side of the road, you must be mindful and watch out for: cyclists that sometimes ride in the middle of the road and people crossing roads at night. That explains why you should not exceed the speed limit and be careful in driving around the Island's road.
Tourists can be easily spotted and distinguished if you get into trouble because of the colored license plates in red to quickly determine the difference between a tourist car and a local car. Enjoy the beauty of Cuba with caution to have a hassle and problem-free tour on the Island.
Driving Etiquette in Cuba
Unexpected situations can happen to you while you're driving in a foreign country. It is essential to stay calm and know the proper etiquette when you found yourself in a particular situation because if you're not, you might sound and act rude to locals and authorities. In avoiding these consequences, it is essential to know what to do in a particular situation.
If a car is not well-maintained, it will mostly lead to Car breakdown anytime. Even though car rental companies always check their vehicles, a car breakdown may still happen. A car breakdown in the middle of a foreign country is stressful but don't let the stress and panic get into you; this will blackout reasonings, and you can't think properly.
Suppose your car broke down or you get a flat tire, look for the nearest car shop to get professional assistance in repairing your vehicle. You can also call your rental company about your car situation, and they might send a replacement.
Never asked help or let any helpful locals repair your car; a professional mechanic should be the one checking and fixing the vehicle. You can politely decline the offer of help from the locals, telling them that support is on their way.
It is common in Cuba for police to stop you, and they usually happen to check your documents. In Cuba, it is easy to distinguish if you're a tourist or not by the color of the plate number of your rental car; companies used red plate numbers on rental cars.
Kindly hand in your documents if the police officer asks for them. The documents police will look into are your National Driver's Licenses, an IDP with driving in Cuba zip code, and more. The officer might check the insides of your vehicle to see if you have a bottle of alcoholic beverage lying on the car seat or anywhere inside the car, whether it is open or not, that will get you in trouble if the officer finds you one.
Police can ticket you if your caught violating the traffic laws even so always be polite to police and other traffic authorities at all times, never get into an argument with them if you want a stressful and hassle-free visit to Cuba.
The rental cars in Cuba do not have GPS because the car on the island was all vintage; having an actual map is every traveler's guide to getting around in Cuba, but you'll find yourself in a situation of asking for direction from the locals. In Cuba, you'll find there's a lack of road signs except for the tourist town, but in other locations, you'll notice road signs are often missing. This can cause you to take the wrong direction. Relying on GPS alone will do only a little especially if the area has poor internet access.
The locals will gladly assist in helping you're on your way, but almost every local cannot speak in English. It is advisable to learn a few Spanish words that are told almost exclusively on the island. It is to understand the locals' driving directions and convey a question that locals can easily understand.
Here are some of the useful words:
- Ehere – dóndego to – llegar
- I am looking for – busco
- Street/road – calle
- Turn – girar
- Straight – recto
- Right, left – derecha, izquierda
- Before, past – antes, pasado
- Near, far – cerca, lejo
- Exit – salida
- North, south, west, east – norte, sur, oeste, este
If you want to interact with the locals and blend into lively conversations, you can level up your Spanish learning! You'll learn how to ask for directions and talk fluently in Spanish that is beneficial to your travel and visit experience in Cuba. Isn't that nice?
When you're going to pass a checkpoint, don't panic, for checkpoints are common in other countries and common in Cuba, ensuring everyone's safety in the country. It is easy to notice if there's a checkpoint or police ahead because the oncoming cars will open and signal their headlights.
When approaching a checkpoint, always be polite when talking to officers, follow their directions like asking for documents and the insides of checking your car. Always bring your National Driver's Licenses together with your IDP. When driving in Cuba, the zip code is also written on your IDP that officers can check at the checkpoints.
Aside from the driving situations in Cuba discussed above, it's also helpful to know what to do in accidents when traveling in Cuba. Witnessing and getting involved in an accident is traumatizing. If accidents happen on your way, the information and instructions you need to follow are written below.
What to Do in Case of Accidents?
If you witness an accident or, worse, get involved in a vehicular accident in Cuba, the best thing you need to do is to call Cuba's emergency numbers. You must give your information, location, what kind of accident occurred, and the number of injured or casualties. Once you've finished contacting the emergency numbers, you need to wait for them to arrive.
Here are the emergency service numbers you can reach in Cuba:
- Police – 106
- Ambulance – 104
- Fire - 105
You also need to file a police report when there's an accident. Follow the driving rules and guidelines mandated by Cuba's government is the best prevention to avoid accidents while traveling in Cuba. You need to be always cautious when driving and follow the law to ensure your travel is safe.
Driving Conditions in Cuba
Besides knowing Cuba's driving rules and etiquette, travelers should also need to see the island's driving situation and conditions. It could prepare you for the possible difficulties you may encounter once you take a scenic drive on the Cuban roads. Considering the driving problems and requirements will keep you mindful while driving around in a foreign country.
Traffic accidents are the fifth cause of death in the age group between 15 and 29 years old in Cuba. The driving in Cuba update of average registered traffic accidents between January and April of 2019 reported by the National Road Safety and Traffic commission is 29 per day. Every 24 hours, including two deaths and 21 injured individuals.
Cuba ranks 147 on having the number of most road traffic accidents out of 183 countries worldwide, which means Cuba is a safe place to drive and has least vehicle incidents than the other countries that recorded road traffic incidents for a long time now.
The reported accidents in the island increases and most of the cause of this incidents are driver's that don't pay attention to the speed limit, not respecting the drive of way, and driving under the influence of alcohol that affects why is driving in Cuba safe for a motorist can be compromised.
Cuba is the most incredible place on the planet that has lots of vintage and classic cars. The Country looks like it is a big car show; along the streets and highways, autos from the 1940s, 1950s, and some from the 1930s are still used, passed down as a family heirloom, and always running!
In Cuba, around used 60,000 classic cars, some of these standard vehicles were Buicks, Chevrolets, Dodges, Fords, Pontiacs, Plymouths, and Studebakers. You'll also commonly use boxy cars like Gelly's, a popular rental car, Nissans, and Citroëns entering the car scenes today.
Since Cuba's commonly used vehicles are classic and vintage cars, you'll often see locals hovering over their vehicles, checking the engine, and repairing the car. The government prohibits importing spare parts; that is why Cubans are creative in finding a way to fix and replace some of their car parts and continue the old car running and functioning as a new.
Cuba has over eight counts of toll-free expressways called the Autopistas. The 7 of these toll roads are centralized and found in Havana, connected by Havana's ring road.
The road is divided and has over 2 to 4 lanes in each direction, and in Isla de la Juventud, it has a dual roadway coming from Nueva Gerona to La Fe is categorize as a motorway. As mentioned, all of these toll booths or roads are free and do not charge toll tariffs.
Cuba's road network consists of 29,850 km paved roads and 31,038 km unpaved roads. Driving in Havana is a little bit complicated, but it is manageable. Cuba's other busy cities are accessible and easy to operate with not much traffic. Though the traffic is manageable, you can spend more time roaming around the city by parking your car and walk around. If you're out for a country drive outside the city through town centres and villages, the road surface is not all flourished, and you may see plenty of cows and other animals crossing the street.
Lots of Hitchhikers
Hitchhikers are common in Cuba; you might encounter or see them on the road waiting for a vehicle to let them ride. Mostly foreign travelers are not stopped to take or let hitchhikers. If you're excellent and fluent in Spanish, you can get to know the locals on board.
Missing road signs
In Cuba, driving is so comfortable because they are not many cars on the road. You can leisurely drive on the island but still following the speed limit. On your way, you'll notice that there are often missing road signs that you need a map to navigate, and it is not a digital map.
Lack of street lights
When driving during storm storms or entirely at night is not advisable, many Cuban vehicles like trucks and cars don't have proper lights, there's a lack of lighting of the streets and roads, and animals tend to roam the Cuban roads at night. These factors may lead to getting into an accident or get involved in a horrible accident.
It is essential to keep in mind all of these road situations and driving conditions in Cuba. Ensure your safety even you're not familiar with the island's road by preparing yourself with knowledge and essential information's in facing and driving on the Cuban roads.
Cubans are relatively safe drivers, although some break the law and not respecting the right of way. The Cuban people are polite and friendly, that it is rare to get into an argument with them on the roads, and more than willing to assist you in giving driving directions. If you happen to see a car with a headlight on, they rely on a message that there are police or checkpoints ahead. Overall, most Cubans are safe and friendly drivers!
However, it would be best if you were cautious when driving in Cuba because some locals are overspeeding, overtakes recklessly, don't respect the drive of way, and go under the influence of alcohol. You must take an extra precautionary measure when driving around the island.
It will be a great help and beneficial on your part to know the background and other information about the road situations and conditions in Cuba that you may face and experience on your way.
It's also essential to know other information related to Cuba's driving conditions, such as the Country's used metric unit in speed limit signs. Read below to learn more details about other tips when driving in Cuba.
What Are the Units of Speed Used in Cuba?
KpH and MpH are the units in speed limit signages depending on the country you're driving in. Cuba is just like 81 % of the world, using KpH as the metric system for the speed limit. For travelers coming from countries that used miles per hour as the measurement might find this confusing.
U.S., U.K., and its dependencies are included in the 9% in the world that used MpH. If you're from these countries and do not get confused, the conversion of KpH to MpH is simple, for there are 1.609 kilometers in a mile.
Follow the speed limit in the KpH metric measurement and avoid getting in trouble with the authorities for over speeding. You must be a cautious driver, always avoid getting a ticket from the police, don't get into an argument with other traffic authorities, and be involved in a traffic accident.
Things To Do in Cuba
The driving experience as a tourist in Cuba is amusing. Still, aside from being a tourist in the country, Cuba's rights and the opportunity attract many people worldwide. If you're looking for a job, want to apply for residency and other opportunities in Cuba, you need to consider getting the essential requirements for your stay on the island.
Drive as a Tourist
If you're a traveler who prefers getting around a foreign country such as Cuba by using a car and not via public transportations, you need to apply and get an IDP. Transporting your car in Cuba is impossible and not allowed; thus, renting a car to get around is ideal. Besides, an IDP is your key to renting a car.
Most car rental companies in Cuba require an IDP that includes your motorist information and driving in Cuba zip code, especially if your National Driver's License is not English. These documents allow you to drive and take long driving distances in Cuba. Applying for an International Driver's License in Cuba from International Driver's Association is accepted along with 165 countries worldwide.
Work as a Driver
Foreigners can apply for different driving jobs in Cuba with an employment visa on hand. The most common driving job you can use in Cuba is as a transportation services driver. Applying for the position as a family driver is open if you qualify. But before you are allowed to apply and drive in Cuba, you need to possess a driving license Cuba requires.
You need to get a Cuban driver's license by taking driving lessons and the Country's driving test. Some private car driving positions in Cuba are not strict, but they advise and highly recommended that you pass the driving test in Cuba to get the essential driving in Cuba's license..
Work as a Travel Guide
Yes, you can work in Cuba as a travel guide but not as a representative for a tour or a travel guide that will entertain travelers' companies prioritized Cubans to take the job. You can still work as a travel guide through freelance writing, and you can work as a journalist or photographer. It would be best to have a work permit and a special visa to work as a travel guide in Cuba.
Cuba allows foreigners to work as a travel Guide in Cuba, but the job position is prioritized for Cuban. Still, there is a different way for a foreigner to work as a travel guide as mentioned above; you can work as a tour guide aside from working as a driver.
Apply for Residency
Yes, foreigners can apply for residency in Cuba, but you need to enter the Country to get a residence permit. Getting a residence permit application in Cuba, your passport must be valid for at least six months, and you just don't have a criminal record, or your criminal record must be clean.
If you're planning to get a permanent residence permit in Cuba, you are required to marry a Cuban. Your application reason must be due to family reunification. For getting your Cuban Residence permit, you must have a Cuban Bank account with at least 5000 CUC on it, which means you need to have the financial capability to cover all of your costs in Cuba.
Other Things to Do
You can do more things if you're planning a long-term stay in Cuba. The Country may not be as progressive and modern as other countries, but its beauty and solitude way of living can convince you to live and work in Cuba.
Is it Possible to Convert Your Driving License in Cuba?
Converting your national driver's license to get a driving in Cuba license when you plan to stay long-term in the country is one thing you can do in Cuba. You must be at least 18 years old to get a driver's license in Cuba. You’re required to attend a driving school because you will be driving in a foreign country where some rules are different from your home country, and familiarize yourself with traffic laws and Cuba's road conditions.
Are There Other Work Opportunities in Cuba?
Aside from the driving and tourist guide jobs, you can also find other work opportunities in Cuba. You can apply and work as Nurse, a Cook, Waiter, and a language professor in Cuba. If you're from a country that English is considered a native language, it is beneficial.
The Top Destinations in Cuba
Cuba is known for its classic and vintage cars on its roads. The country is also filled with spectacular beauty and adventures that attract travelers worldwide to visit the island. In Cuba, you'll be welcome with the locals' warm personality, streets filled with lively music, vintage atmosphere, and the scenic view of Cuba's top destinations.
Havana is called the city of eternal summer, the capital city of Cuba. The town is filled with overflowing simmers of lively music and salsa, classic cars, rich culture, and cocktails to drink! It is also the largest city, the leading commercial center, and the principal port in Cuba, a lively town with buzzing streets to visit!
Havana's city is famous because it is Cuba's largest city and capital, but the Noble Prize winner Ernest Hemingway's footsteps are found in the town. The La Bodequita Del Medio and El Floridita are the bars Hemingway visits regularly, his fame entwined with the said bar's ad the city.
Havana is one of the world's great art cities, and the capital is also the art itself! When you looked around, you will see the town has vibrant hues, music-filled streets, galleries, street arts, and the classic vehicles look of the city that makes the city an art itself too. It is always on the list of Cuba's top destinations in Havana! A place that you can't miss on your visit to Cuba.
Things to Do
a. Ride the classic Cuban Cocotaxi
When you're in Havana, you shouldn't miss the chance to ride Cuba's unique taxi vehicle, the Cocotaxi. It is a type of taxi vehicle with an egg-shaped body with three wheels and two passenger seats. You can enjoy riding Cocotaxi while exploring the old Havana and stop at La Bodeguita del Medio for some mojito.
b. Visit Plaza de la Revolucíon
The Plaza De La Revolucíon is one of the places you need to visit in your stay in Havana. It is formerly known as Havana's Civic Square; Cerro Marti Monument is the plaza's main building. As you stroll around the plaza, you'll see late Fidel Castro's office and a portrait of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos on the walls.
c. Experience nightlife at Havana’s La Cabaña
You shouldn't miss the chance to experience Havana's La Cabaña nightlife. You'll enjoy the ambiance, food, and Havana's lively music on your visit, a night that you won't forget on your stay in the city.
d. Stalk Hemmingway’s footsteps
Are you a fan of Hemingway? In Havana, you'll able to follow in his footsteps and know more about him in your visit. You can start checking out the places where Hemingway stayed and enjoyed his life in Havana. Some became a museum, and the other sites become well known, such as La Bodeguitta, a bar where Hemingway keeps coming back to get a drink.
e. Check the El Bosque de la Habana
Checking out the El Bosque de la Habana is another activity you should do in your visits to Havana. El Bosque de la Habana is known to be the forest of Havana. It is a place that has a dense city of the jungle along the rivers of Alamendares. It can be your get away from the busy streets of Havana and relax as you stroll in the forest.
Viñales is a small town that resides in a beautiful green valley and the national park in Cuba's Pinar del Rio region. The city has an infamous climate that makes their tobacco unique from the others—visiting Viñales one of the top destinations you need to see when traveling in Cuba.
It is famous because the home is the real Cuban gem, the Valle de Viñales, and known because it is where the world's favorite Cuban tobacco is grown. The beauty of Viñales landscapes surrounded by mighty mountains catches the attention of foreign travelers in Cuba.
Things to Do
Even the Viñales is a small town, and it has a breathtaking panoramic view for you to see. You do many things, and you can take an adventure in Viñales aside from visiting their spectacular views and best tobaccos. Here are some of the activities you can do in Viñales:
a. Experienced Horse Back Riding
Horseback riding is one of the best ways to tour around the town and climbing mountains. The transportation is fast, and you'll enjoy the trip as you discover the best spot for a beautiful viewpoint of the Valley.
b. Visit the tobacco plantations
Cuba is known for producing the world's best cigars and visiting Viñales, and you'll see where all this best cigar came from and how it is done. If you're staying, you can tour around the tobacco plantations, dry houses for the leaves used in tobacco, and got a glimpse of the proper way of rolling to craft quality Cuban cigars
c. Check the near beaches
You can go on a side trip to the nearby beaches in Viñales, the Cayo Jutias, and Cayo Levisa. If you want to relax for a while, you can go to Viñales near beaches. In Cayo Jutias, they are no place to stay, only facilities for parking, toiletries, and café. On the other hand, in Cayo Levisa, there is a place where you can stay overnight, but you need to make a reservation first.
d. Check out the view from Hotel Jazmines
Hotel Jazmines has a beautiful panoramic view of Viñales from its balcony. It is a lovely and old-fashioned hotel that does not give outstanding views but also excellent customer service. The hotel's ambiance gives you an old atmosphere and makes you feel that you are living in the past, an ideal place to check out in Viñales.
e. Visit and roam in the Murales de la Prehistoria
In your stay in Viñales, visiting and exploring the Murales de la Prehistoria should be on your itinerary list. The Murales de la Prehistoria is the work of Leovigildo González Morillo, a master of neo-caveman artistry. The mural portrays the world's history on the Viñales Valley rock walls.
Trinidad is one of the best road trip destinations. Cuba was time to stop perfect for travelers who love history and architecture, a colorful place in Cuba. Plaza Mayor is Trinidad's heart where it is surrounded by Neo Baroque Style buildings and infrastructure's and the place is packed with museums to visit.
Trinidad is famous for being well and the best-preserved colonial city of Cuba. The place is filled with a mix of 1850s architectural infrastructures and vintage cars from the 1950s that make you feel stuck in time. Trinidad's best-preserved historic towns in Cuba and North America became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Things to Do
Visiting Trinidad is not solely for the eyes but also adventures. You can do so many things in Trinidad its colorful landmarks and streets call travelers to experience a lot of things they offer, and here are some of what you can do in your visit to Trinidad:
a. Visit historical museums
Trinidad is filled with museums that you need to check out during your stay in the town. You're going to learn, discover, and be amazed about the city by visiting each museum. Some of these museums were Trinidad Architecture Museum, Romance Museum, Museo de Arquitectura, and Museo de Historia Municipal.
b. Hangout at the Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor is Trinidad's main square, which you should visit on your stay in the town. You can idle and stroll in Plaza Mayor while admiring the beauty surrounding the square. The square is surrounded by colorful historical infrastructures, churches, palm trees, and gardens.
c. Climb Trinidad’s bell tower
The bell tower is the town's most known attraction and is located in Plaza mayor's central square. It is one of the main attractions of the city of Trinidad is its bell tower that every tourist climbs to get a panoramic view of the sceneries of the town and the sugar cane plantations.
d. Enjoy Trinidad’s nightlife
Trinidad's nightlife is fun and lively as the place is filled with live traditional Cuban music. You can enjoy, drink a mojito, interact with the locals, and soak in the upbeat Cuban music. A wonderful experience you shouldn't miss on your travel to Trinidad.
e. Take a side trip to Playa Ancon Beach
Trinidad is a town that is perfect for quick side trips to beaches like Playa Ancon Beach. If you want to take a break from exploring Trinidad's town, you can take a side trip and see the spectacular view of the sea. You can relax, swim, and stroll along the Playa Ancon Beach, known to be the most prestigious beach in the country.
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