"Hire car and driver" Top 5 Page for this destination Guardalavaca Transportation Tip by SWFC_Fan

Guardalavaca Transportation: 3 reviews and 12 photos

  Our hire car in Gibara, Cuba
by SWFC_Fan
  • Our hire car in Gibara, Cuba - Guardalavaca
      Our hire car in Gibara, Cuba
    by SWFC_Fan
  • Our hire car in Guardalavaca, en route to Holguin - Guardalavaca
      Our hire car in Guardalavaca, en route to Holguin
    by SWFC_Fan

Prior to our stay in Guardalavaca in November 2011, we had read that hiring a car with a driver for the day was a cost effective way of seeing the local region.

We wanted to visit the local city of Holguin (65km away) and the seaside town of Gibara (30km+ away) and this was impossible by means of public transportation. Our Tour Operator (Thomson/First Choice) offered trips to both towns separately (but not combined in a one day trip), but were charging 50 and 59 CUC per person for the two trips. Doing both trips would have cost us 218 CUC (around 130 GBP).

We knew that we could hire a car and driver for the day for just 100 CUC (60 GBP) and would have ample time to see both places at our own pace, as well as stopping off en route at any scenic spots recommended by the driver.

We spoke to the receptionist at our hotel, the Sirenis Playa Turquesa, and after a few phone calls he had arranged for an English-speaking, Holguin-based taxi driver named Ernesto to pick us up at 9am the following day.

We hoped that he would show up in one of the classic 1950s American cars that we had seen operating as taxis. Had we been better prepared, we would have ensured that we hired such a car. In fact, such cars could be found lined up outside any hotel in the area, but I don't know how the cost compared. As it happened, he showed up in a modern yellow Peugeot with a Cubataxi logo emblazoned on the side. Oh well, it wasn't a classic, but it would get us where we wanted to go.

We were unsure whether we should dictate the pace to the driver or whether we should rely upon his superior knowledge of the area to ensure we had ample time in both places. The reality was that it was a mixture of both; the driver recommended that we see Holguin in the morning and then visited Gibara in the afternoon. We were happy with this. In return, we insisted that we had free time in Holguin city centre, that he drove us to the viewing point at La Loma de la Cruz and that we had a couple of free hours in Gibara for lunch and exploring.

Our driver was friendly and talkative, but he was clearly also looking out for his commission. He took us to a cigar factory in Holguin and insisted that if we wanted to purchase cigars we should do so through him as he could get us a better deal. He mentioned this several times as we walked around the factory to the point where it got a little uncomfortable. Even if I had wanted to purchase cigars, I would have been reluctant to buy through him after his persistent offers. He continued to be friendly even after I had made it clear that we wouldn't be purchasing any cigars. He also offered to phone ahead and book us a private restaurant for lunch in Gibara, but we again declined his offer, preferring instead to explore the options for ourselves.

Ernesto stopped off at picturesque sights during the day, including a viewing point near Guardalavaca that offered spectacular views over the palm tree filled valley below and a quiet spot just along the coast from Gibara.

He was also happy to explain various sights that we passed and to answer our questions.

We returned to the hotel around 4:30pm after a full day of sightseeing and felt that we had received excellent value for money. We were happy to tip Ernesto as we parted company and would be happy to recommend him as a driver (although we don't have any contact details for him).

If you're staying in Guardalavaca and want to leave your hotel to see the surrounding region, hiring a car and driver is the most cost effective way of doing so. Speak to the staff at your hotel and they will happily arrange a driver for you!

Type: Car/Motor Home

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Dec 4, 2011
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