Cuba Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Cuba
You can drive in Cuba using the photo licence of most countries for up to 6 months from the date of your entry into the country. For stays of longer than 6 months you will need to pass a Cuban Driving test to get a Cuban Licence. If you rent a car make sure the insurance includes local third party cover as a minimum as this is required by law. Check insurance terms carefully and if using an international CDW/excess waiver policy ensure it covers driving in Cuba as some don’t.
Buba has 61,000km of roads, around half of which are paved. The main highway in Cuba is the A1 Autopista Nacional which is a 900km dual carriageway road which will eventually link Havana with Santiago de Cuba and Guantamo. This road is in generally good condition but it will take around 11 hours to drive the 870km distance. Other main roads include the A2 Havana Ring Road, the A3 Autopista Havana to Melena del sur, and the A4 Havena to Pinar Del Rio. There is also a toll road between from Matanzas to Varadero .
Driving standards are variable. Many vehicles suffer from lack of maintenance and roads are poorly lit and sign-posted. Beware of cyclists, potholes and cars that stop without warning to pick up hitch-hikers. Avoid driving at night, when animals, unlit vehicles and other hazards are a real danger. The Cuban police are cracking down on drink driving so its best not to drink any alcohol if you’re going to drive. There have been incidents where rental cars have had their tyres punctures in order to rob the occupants. If your car suffers a puncture, and it’s safe to drive, try to reach a house or business to change your tyre.
If you have a traffic accident where someone is killed or injured, the police investigation may take several months during which time the driver will normally not be allowed to leave Cuba. If travelling in the rainy season expect delays due to flooding in certain parts of the country. In most rural areas though the roads are quiet, if in poor condition, and driving shouldn’t be too stressful. Even in cities, few people own a car (indeed sales of private vehicles were prohibited to 2013) so the gridlock seen in most capital cities hasn’t yet been experienced to a great degree in Cuba. Driving style is also fairly sedate though expect some erratic manouevres, especially from buses and taxis.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Cuba Car Rental
One of the only countries left in the world where the big multinationals don’t have a foothold. You’ll instead be dealing with a Cuban rental companies such as Geely.
We currently have no local car rental partners in Cuba. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on DriverAbroad.com please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on ADriverAbroad@Outlook.com
Driving a classic 1940’s or 1950’s US Car is a ‘bucket trip’ dream for many travellers. Unfortunately, at present, its not easy (and is potentially impossible) to do this. For more info on attempting to rent a classic car in Cuba see my Classic Road Trips page.