Renting a car in Cuba: You won't drive a bargain

Rex is reportedly Cuba's most expensive agency, but with a fleet ranging from the Seat Córdoba (a Spanish-built Volkswagen) as budget choice to the Audi A6 (right) as luxury ride, it has the best cars. Havanautos also specializes in high-end vehicles. Micar or Panautos could be the cheapest agencies, if you can connect with them. But remember, all are state-controlled, so don’t expect any price wars.
I’ve dealt only with Cubacar, a mainstream agency with a selection running from the little Hyundai Atos to the Hyundai Sonata and Peugeot 307 CC. My choice, a Hyundai Accent sedan, fell into Category E – medium-sized with air conditioning.
This year, my three-day rental – the minimum period for most bookings made from outside Cuba – came to a total of $383.45 Cdn. That includes $279.55 paid to the Canadian booking agency when I made the reservation, and $103.90 collected by Cubacar when I picked up the car. That last sum covered the mandatory 15 CUC daily insurance fee and a full tank of gas (48.40 CUC), which I include in the total because there is no credit for any gas in the tank when you return a car – and in Cuba, you’re wise to never let the level drop too low.
As well, I handed over my credit card for a $200 damage deposit (that pricey insurance has a deductible), but the credit slip was returned for me to tear up when I brought the Accent back in one piece. Fortunately, there was no limit on how many kilometres I could put on it. Nor did I have to pay the 5 CUC–per-day charge for automatic transmission that I see listed on some websites, or – since C. had no intention of getting behind the wheel – the 10 CUC daily fee to list an additional driver on the contract.
Still, not cheap. Wonder how much more I’d have to pay for the Audi?


Unknown said…
Hey, you never asked me if I wanted to I was really looking forward to driving in Havana. Nothing would make me happier than to be making my way down those narrow streets and navigating my way around that very simple city. Next time right?
Caristas said…
Ha. You don't fool me.

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