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Rent a scooter in Varadero? Think about it carefully!


The answer is yes. Should we do it? My personal answer is no! No more than a car anyway. For what ? Here are extracts from the Government of Canada website.

Road safety

Avoid driving in Cuba, as road conditions can be dangerous. The main east-west roads are in fairly good condition, but lighting is insufficient. Most streets and secondary roads are poorly lit and poorly maintained. Road signs are rare and confusing.

Traffic accidents are currently the main cause of accidental deaths in Cuba. If you must drive, always drive carefully. Some cars and most bicycles do not have daytime running lights. Pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages travel in the middle of the roadway and do not easily give way to automobiles. The presence of animals in the wild also constitutes a risk. Most Cuban cars are old, in poor condition and lacking the necessary safety equipment. Broken down vehicles are often abandoned on the side of the road while waiting for repairs.

And :

Driving while intoxicated is prohibited. In Cuba, the blood alcohol limit while driving is set at 0.04% (i.e. 40 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood).

Drivers found responsible for a traffic accident resulting in serious injury or death face prison sentences of up to 10 years.

Not to mention:

Criminal justice in Cuba

The Cuban criminal justice system differs significantly from the Canadian system. In Cuba, charges are only filed once the investigation is complete, and the accused person can be imprisoned for the duration of the investigation. Canadians who are arrested, even for a minor incident, can expect long delays before their case is resolved and they may not be allowed to leave the country. Canadian consular officers are sometimes accompanied by representatives of Cuban authorities when they visit Canadian nationals who have been arrested or detained.

Cuba's constitution does not prohibit the death penalty, but since 2003 the country has had a moratorium on capital punishment.

But you are an adult and you will make your own decision! Several members do this and have not had a serious problem. Let’s still remember Josée Bouthiller’s sharing: “Sorry to tell you that it’s a very big risk to take! I have a friend who had an accident with a scooter because she avoided a pedestrian who crossed unexpectedly! If you injure someone, you cannot leave the country until the case is resolved to determine the liability of third parties. Take a convertible taxi ride instead, you won’t risk anything and you can admire the landscape without stress!”

Where to rent, how much does it cost and some advice?

There are several car and scooter rental companies, all run by the state however. It is usually possible to book from the hotel or at a ready office. Your hotel staff will be able to advise you. It costs around 30 CUC per day plus insurance and gasoline. Please note, these scooters are rarely new.

Here is a testimony from one of our members, Sonia Sinclair, shared on November 17, 2018:

Rented several times, never had any problems. I only recommend if you already have good motorcycle experience. They have 150cc scooters now and not the small 50cc ones like we are used to seeing. For rental it's simple, just go to a rental kiosk, some hotels have them nearby, otherwise several places on the main road in Varadero. Depending on the season the price is around 35 cuc per day (25 cuc/day if more than 3 days). You will need your car driver's license from your country/province and your passport. Deposit of 50 cuc which they give you upon return. Only the person making the rental and whose license number is entered in the contract is authorized to drive.

We went to Cardenas and Matanzas several times, 2 on the scooter. Before leaving for our trip, I download the map of this region from Google map, we can then move around with the GPS without being afraid of getting lost and finding the places we are looking for. Many roads are not paved or full of holes. Several one-way directions too. Be careful! The Cubans are very nice, and with our rented scooters and our all-inclusive bracelets, they are understandable and find it very funny to see us going the wrong way on a one-way street. We also avoid traveling between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., this is rush hour, end of classes and work. Lots of pedestrians, cars, horse-drawn carriages, buses, tractors, all share the same ro

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