Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
Rent a classic American automobile in Havana, Cuba!
Of all the “Wow!” moments for participants on the 10-day ‘Cuba: Discover its People and Culture’ people-to-people exchange trips that I lead for National Geographic Expeditions, one that consistently tops any other is a surprise ride in convertible 1950s American classic cars.
Whether it’s a slightly beaten up Ford Fairlane or a cherry Chevrolet Impala with fins sharp enough to draw blood, our trip participants thrill to the experience of touring Havana with the wind in their hair.
Talk about nostalgia!
It’s also a choice people-to-people experience—an exchange with the cars Cuban drivers about how they cajole one more year out of their battered hulks.
One occasionally spots a shining example of near museum quality, such as Urbano Sainz’s 1958 Edsel Citation convertible. The majority, however, have long ago been touched up with house paint, while their intestinally reconstituted engines are monuments to mechanical wizardry—decades of improvisation have melded parts from Detroit and Moscow with others that might have been conceived and made in the owner’s kitchen.
Fooling around in a 1950 Studebaker or a 1959 Buick Invicta convertible is easy to arrange. Cuba’s state-run taxi company Gran Car (a division of Cubataxi, which is a division of the parent company Transtur) stations its classic cars outside leading tourist hotels and charges CUC30 per hour (or a portion thereof) for a car and driver.
For our groups, I prefer to make private arrangements with cuentaspropistas, self-employed drivers who use their own vehicles. They usually cost half the price of Gran Car. Plus, they can arrange any number of vehicles—our groups typically require seven cars—by calling around among their pals.
I provide complete information about renting vehicles, including classic cars, in my Moon Handbook Cuba, which provides complete information for planning your travel in Cuba.
For further information on Havana, buy Moon Spotlight Havana.
And to learn everything you ever wanted to know about classic cars in Cuba, buy my Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles.
Learn more about Christopher P. Baker.
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker