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Is Santiago de Cuba worth the drive?

Is Santiago de Cuba worth the drive?

Old Oct 10, 15, 7:21 am
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Is Santiago de Cuba worth the drive?

We'll stay for some days in Havana (3 nights), rent a car, drive to Trinidad (2 nights), further to Santiago de Cuba (2 nights), eastwards to Cayo Santa Maria (3 nights) and finally back to Havana (1 night) before departing.

I now checked the distances/travel times and saw that Santiago de Cuba is quite a drive:
- Trinidad - SdC; 585 km, 8 hrs driving)
- SdC - Cayo Santa Maria; 621 km, also 8 hrs driving)

We've never been to Cuba before, so we don't know the road conditions.

Do you think it's doable to drive this distances and is SdC that nice to make it?
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Old Oct 10, 15, 8:22 am
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I'm a big fan of Santiago, but the problem is its location. It's far removed from the other main destinations in Cuba. Your itinerary looks like an awful lot of driving compressed into a short time. Given your time frame, I think I'd skip it.
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Old Oct 10, 15, 10:04 am
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It is doable but I do not recommend it. Thee is a flight that can take you from HAV to Santiago. Thats what I did with my Cuban friend who lives in Toronto now.
Driving in Cuba especially such long distances is not recommended.

I have done Trinidad as well using Viazul, nice air-conditioned buses.
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Old Oct 10, 15, 1:40 pm
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Can you please tell me why driving such distances in Cuba isn't recommended? Is it dangerous, problems with fuel....?
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Old Oct 10, 15, 6:05 pm
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I think it's fine to drive in Cuba. Do you really want two eight-hour days of it in a 12-day trip? That's my point.
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Old Oct 10, 15, 8:58 pm
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Originally Posted by ChristianKiev View Post
Can you please tell me why driving such distances in Cuba isn't recommended? Is it dangerous, problems with fuel....?
http://caristas.blogspot.ca/2010/08/...onsidered.html

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013..._accident.html
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Old Oct 11, 15, 1:51 am
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Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
I think it's fine to drive in Cuba. Do you really want two eight-hour days of it in a 12-day trip? That's my point.
Even we're on a 10 weeks trip through The Americas - that also was my point of asking. We want to see something of Cuba, don't want to be trapped in a Resort with only other tourists around, all-inclusive (we'll do this for 3 days on Cayo Santa Maria - that's enough).

The questions is: is it worth it? I thought driving around Cuba is a way to see how it really is. I didn't see 8-hrs-driving as a loss of time, I thought it'll be an experience, a way to see the real Cuba. We'll be two persons and we can switch - so it would be 4 hrs driving per person.
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Old Oct 11, 15, 7:32 am
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Christian, like I said it is possible to do it but just be careful when driving. I take it that you have never been to Cuba and that, this is your first time. Cuba is not Mexico or Argentina, just keep that in mind. I have been to Havana, Varadero(resort only 3 days each time), Santiago, Santa Clara & Trinidad. Yes I agree with you, being stuck in a resort sucks.

Just enjoy and have fun, I have been going to Cuba for over 12 years and I never had a problem, but I also never drive as I don't see the need to do it as they have a great bus system.

So have fun and enjoy, make sure you have a good insurance plan with you.
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Old Oct 11, 15, 2:26 pm
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How much is your car rental rate? I found it cheaper to hire a car with driver in April than rent a car (through taxinvinales). If you are an attentive driver, I don't think driving in Cuba seems to be that tricky other than for poorly-marked directions, passing slow vehicles and watching for bad road surfaces (lots).

Road isn't too bad but be aware the highway stops west of CamagŁey and it is single lane otherwise. Top speed is pretty much 80-90 KM/h so your average speeds may be a little optimistic.

As far as Santiago, I found it interesting but not sure if the city itself is worth the hassle. Went out to see El Moro/Morro, Piedra de something to the east, and headed to Baracoa via Guantanamo before turning back to Gibara (where we left the driver) and flew home from Holguin. Maybe save eastern Cuba for another time. I would use the time to spend in Vinales instead.
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