I spent two weeks in Cuba basically in Taxis
After spending two weeks in Cuba a while back, I realised that by far my favourite thing about the place was the taxis.
For a lot of my adult life, every time I heard anything about Cuba I was fascinated, it sounded like a place that was stuck in time. In many ways this is true and in many other ways it isn’t. In 2018 I finally got my chance to go and I was eager to get there before things changed as Obama had opened up conversations and forward plans with them, however Trump has since reversed these. Either way, given China’s massive economic growth over the last few days, I was worried I’d see nothing more than Chinese cars on the island if I left it much longer.
I decided to go at their off peak season to allow me to avoid crowds and be able to have full conversations with some of the locals. This isn’t a travel blog, so I’m not going to discuss it in that way and stick to the cars, however if you’d like to hear more about those experiences, keep an eye on www.jasonhassett.com I’ll be adding a travel review this weekend.
So I landed in June of 2018 for a two week trip, spending most of my time in Varadero chilling by the beach in an all inclusive hotel and I did one thing every day, during the most utterly relaxing trip of my life, I took at least four taxis. Two were needed to go to the clubs with some locals as well as some Canadians I had met basically every night and the other two I took to the ATM which was about a 10 minute walk away. However I was just loving spending the equivalent of $5 USD on a taxi and getting about 15 minutes of driving around slowly in the old cars.
Now there are a lot of Ladas and Chinese cars floating around Cuba, however still the majority of cars floating around these areas are pre-1959 American cars and they keep looking incredible. Between the internet being a pain to connect to and costing per hour as well as being limited by the amount of cards, my mobile phone becoming useless and the cars floating by me as I made my way to the beach. I was essentially living in the 1960’s for 2 weeks.
Most of these cars are Taxi’s who still use them to attract tourists and I spoke to a lot of them and got to have a look round most, chatting to the drivers and finding out every detail about the cars and Cuba that I could. I was obsessed.
It is very rare that the engines in these cars are the original and a lot of the time they are Lada or another Russian engine which has replaced the original V8’s. The body panels too although they look original, have generally gone through years of repair or have been completely rebuilt and replaced locally on the island by the owners. It's incredible how much these guys have managed to keep these vehicles up to date.
Are there worse examples you ask? Of course. This one isn't particularly good, however I'd have it in a heartbeat.
So how was Cuba overall for two weeks, well the following photo will sum that up. However now I find myself editing a lot of video for a Cars of Cuba video on my YouTube, I just thought I'd quickly share this here on my favourite website on the internet. If you've been to Cuba, I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below. Until then, how was Cuba?
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