We spent a lot of time thinking, analyzing, and asking questions before we made our final decision as to whether or not we were going to rent a car for our road trip to Cuba. After much discussion, we finally decided to rent a car to explore Cuba. Now that the trip is behind us, I can tell you that we didn’t regret our decision.
After reflecting on our trip, we felt that renting a car was probably the reason why we had a beautiful stay in Cuba with our children. Whenever possible, we usually rent a car when traveling off the beaten path!
We were in Cuba for three weeks and rented a car everywhere we went except for the 4 days we were in Havana. The car rental company allowed us to drop off the car in Havana and to get a new one when leaving the city.
WHY WE HESITATED!
At first, a number of things made us hesitate to rent a car in Cuba, mainly because it’s quite expensive. We paid around 115$ per day (including car insurance). We were also afraid we wouldn’t find a parking spot for the car, whether at the Airbnb or at the attractions. After all, it wasn’t an issue!
Note that in Cuba, you have to book the car rental a few months in advance, especially during peak season. Otherwise, you have to settle for what is left, or risk not having a car. At first, Sacha and I wanted to rent a van, as it could fit all of us (me, my little family, Sacha and her boyfriend). By the time we made the booking for the van, it was too late. Even though, we made the request 2 months prior to our trip, there was no van available for us to rent.
If you wish to rent a specific car (family, van, etc.) you have to get ahead of the curve. Finally, we each rented a small car. Looking back on it, it turned out to be a good thing as we could make our own schedule and go at our own pace.
There are some public transports in Cuba, such as buses, carpooling taxis, and taxis, but keep in mind it’s Cuba. Cars and buses are old, they strongly smell like diesel and they aren’t very uncomfortable if traveling with young children. Moreover, the schedules are not as steady as what we are used to in Canada. You could be standing in the sun for over 1 hour with your babies and your luggage, simply because the bus is running late. Probably not what you were planning for! Those are the kind of situation I try avoiding!
WHY RENTING A CAR IN CUBA?
Here is why I suggest renting a car in Cuba when traveling with kids;
- Very efficient to transport everything (stroller, luggage, backpacks)
- Your children can sleep comfortably while driving across the country;
- You can stop wherever you want to explore new horizons, to rest or to stretch out your little 2-year-old boy’s legs;
- You can store things you will use for the day, or for the next couple days such as food and water, without having to carry it in your backpack!
- You can also have everything you need for the day, whether it begins with a hike up a mountain and ends at the beach;
- No need to follow a bus schedule;
- You leave whenever you want and at your own pace;
- You don’t have to manage children sitting on your lap while driving for X number of hours as you only book 2 adult tickets for the bus.
- You can monitor the temperature to suit your needs (unlike a bus);
- There are no chances you’ll miss the bus 😉 ;
- You are fully independent and free to do whatever you want;
- You can fully enjoy the landscape as you can stop whenever you want along the way;
We booked our car rental though Je Pars à Cuba . Everything went well!
GOOD TO KNOW
Note that roads can sometimes be chaotic in Cuba, but you get used to it very quickly. It’s important to know about it, but nothing to prevent you from renting a car.
We brought our 2 baby car seats for our children and we didn’t regret it! In Cuba, you are allowed to sit your babies on your lap when sitting on the back seat. That’s the norm! As safety never takes a holiday, I recommend you bring everything you need for your children to be comfortable and safe!
Do you usually rent a car when traveling to another country with your children?
Tell us more about your experience!