OldCarTours

Experience Cuba in a classic car.

What To Pack For Your Cuban Road Trip

What To Pack For Your Cuban Road Trip

Almost 40% of people like to dress better when they are going on vacation, whether that means wearing something new, or putting on a special outfit when they're out for dinner. If you’re exploring Cuba in a beautiful classic car, then you want to make sure that you are dressed the part too. It is really important on your vacation to think about the Cuban climate - go for thin, lightweight garments to create layers, rather than bulky items for winter and cool evenings. In the summer heat, a few stylish shirts or dresses will make the perfect, versatile vacation wardrobe. 

Consider your fabric choice

a hot and humid country, particularly in the summer when the average temperature is 81 degrees and the humidity is around 80%. When you're packing your t-shirts, make sure that you choose fabrics that let your skin breathe. Natural cottons and linen are a good option, as they are lightweight. The same goes with pants: leave the leather pair behind, and instead pack smart cotton chinos that aren’t too clingy. If it cools down in the evening, a thin Murino top will keep you warm and protect you from the insects. 

Dresses and skirts

In Cuba, you don’t need to cover-up: bare shoulders are fine, but don’t wear anything too revealing if you're in a town. If you're planning to do lots of walking and sightseeing, then shorts or long culottes are a better option, just because of the temperature. Don’t be afraid of color in Cuba: it’s a vibrant and fashionable country; you will see this from how the local women dress. Ruffled skirts, flowing dresses and fun Latin American prints are popular, and great for the beach or the restaurant.  

Perfect shoes and hats

Shoe choice is extremely important in Cuba, especially if you are going to be walking around. The pavement and road surfaces aren’t flat; in fact many of them are cobbled, so heels and wedges simply aren’t practical. Flip-flops are fine by the pool, but make sure that you pack sturdy walking shoes or sneakers for your road trip. Rather than packing a hat, why not pick one up at one of the amazing Cuban markets. Of course, a straw fedora is the natural choice for a road trip in style. These first became fashionable in the late 1800s, and are still current today. Panama hats are also very popular - perfect for keeping off the rays of the midday sun, although don’t forget to pack the sunscreen too. 

A great casual shirt

If you want too ooze laid-back chic, then there is one Cuban garment that is an essential: the guayabera shirt, also known as the Havana shirt, is a classic for both daytime and evening. You can buy them with flamboyant, colorful prints, a little reminiscent of a Hawaiian shirt, or you can go for a plain color if you’re out for a sophisticated meal with friends. The shirts are so classic that you’ll want to wear one all year round, not just when you're visiting Cuba. 

When you are on your road trip, embrace the glorious Cuban weather and colorful culture. Pack a few stylish essentials, and you will be ready for any occasion.

The Search for Wine in Cuba

The Search for Wine in Cuba

Wine is somewhat of a rarity in Cuba - you are far more likely to see the locals drinking rum and beer. In fact, there are only around 15,000 cases of Cuban wine consumed a year in the country - a drop in the ocean, in comparison to South America. If you are staying at a hotel or an all-inclusive holiday resort, then there may only be a few choices, and the wine is likely to be imported, often from Spain at $2-3 per liter; however, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some good wine produced in Cuba. While you are experiencing Cuba in a classic car, you could have a unique and special tour where hunt for rare and special Cuban wine.

Soroa Wines

Soroa Wines is one of the more well-known wines that you can find in bars and restaurants in Cuba. There red wines are produced from three varieties of grapes, a Temperanillo, a Cabernet and a Negro Amaro. The white wine is made from the Spanish Malvasia Histriana variety. Soroa wines are produced at San Cristobal Wineries in the Artemisa Province. They make a red, pink and white wine, all at 12%. The white wine pairs well with fish, and of course fresh Cuban-spiced seafood. It is light, fresh and fruity, and also goes particularly well with a comida criolla. The deep red wine is great paired with a dark meat dish, like Ropa Vieja. 

Bodegas del Caribe

The Bodegas del Caribe is a joint Cuban-Spanish venture, where they make delicious wines from homegrown grapes of the Spanish variety - they blend this with local grape juice before going through the fermentation and filtration process. The grapes were specifically selected to withstand the hot and dry Caribbean climate. You can buy Bodegas del Caribe wine under the brand of Castillo de Wajay, the most popular being the Tinto, which is made from a Tempranillo blend. The wine isn’t going to win any gold star international awards, but it’s perfectly tasty, good paired with red meat and stews. 

Orestes Estevez wine

If you want to find some completely unique wine, off the beaten track, then you should visit “El Canal” winery  - the home of 65 year old Orestes Estevez in Havana. He has been making wine for more than thirty years. Estevez originally opened his backyard winery back in 2000, in the days when communist Cuba were only beginning to allow private enterprise, away from government restrictions. The winery is now a neighborhood attraction - you will find it by the groups of locals, sitting on the kerbs, drinking plastic glasses of the delicate homemade wine. The wine itself is a secret blend of Cuban grapes, flavored with some unusual ingredients, including beets, guava, watercress and other tropical fruits. You won’t taste anything like it - “El Canal” winery is completely unique and worth the trip. 

You can find beer and rum easily in Cuba, but wine is special and should be savored. When you are heading out in your classic car, enjoy an adventure trying some of the different wines that Cuba has to offer. 

Most scenic places in Cuba for photography and art

Most scenic places in Cuba for photography and art

By Lucy Wyndham

Imagine cruising around Cuba in a beautiful classic car with the top down, when suddenly, the most inspirational scenery appears. You stop the car quickly, pull out the camera or sketch pad, drawing or snapping away at the image before the light shifts. You feel thankful that Cuba has provided this opportunity. Luckily, there are more than a few places where this will happen while taking an exhilarating car tour around the Cuban island.

Havana

This city is amazing for those who love old American cars as much as creating wonderful works of art. Havana has some of the country’s most colorful buildings, old churches, and muraled city streets. It is a collection of old and new, creating the perfect backdrop for images. Further, the car rental companies are ripe with classic American cars, so choose a car, hire a driver, and discover the perfect background to include the car. Add a simple moon, stars, sun or other astral specifics to refine focus and spice up the image. 

La Guarida

This neighborhood can boast some of the most beautiful sunsets in the country. The La Guarida is a townhouse-style restaurant in a neighborhood of the same name that includes breathtaking architecture. Book a sunset reservation early, as it is a popular dinnertime location, then arrive two hours before dinner. Discover an artist’s paradise in the streets surrounding the restaurant. Approximately 45 minutes before sunset, go inside to discover some opportune architectural details before heading to the rooftop bar. Bring the tripod or sketch pad and create stunning images as the sun sets from this breathtaking vantage point. 

Trinidad

The feel of this city dates as far back as 1500. The slow pace, colorful buildings and remaining cobblestone streets create an artist’s dream vacation. Venture around the Church of Santa Ana, which is an old ruined church, still holding inspirational artistic value. Hike to the Hotel Las Cuevas, where there will be heightened opportunities to capture the sun setting over the city. Explore Cuban streets where the life of the city thrives and bustles through daily routines. Discover local bakeries, where polite conversation helps gain access into the picturesque baking process. Make sure to check out the lighting opportunities here in the early morning and late in the day as well. Some of the pastel buildings provide a perfect heightened contrast to the waxing or waning light of the day.

The Malecon

This is a public area against the sea. It includes a sea wall and walkway for the public, so the art opportunities here are endless. People frequent this area, either moving between the Vedado neighborhood and Old Havana, or just relaxing. This is another terrific location for old American cars, as they speed along the road near the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Capture some images with a camera for photography or for painting onto canvas later.

Cuba is a treasure waiting to be captured. Grab a favored medium, rent a classic car, and explore the island’s beauty. Visit these areas, and more, to create some stunning pieces of art.

A Guide To Travelling With Your Pet To Cuba

A Guide To Travelling With Your Pet To Cuba

By Lucy Wyndham

The number of pet owners that travel with their pets has risen to 37 percent up from 19 percent a decade ago, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association. More travel companies are creating travel programs for pet parents and their pets to various destinations including Cuba. Cuba, just like other holiday destinations, has pet friendly hotels provide things such pet beds, food and water bowls, disposable pick-up bags and more. If you are going to travel with your pooch, it is only reasonable that you and your pet enjoy the trip.

Requirements for pet travel in Cuba

Laws for pet travel to Cuba are pretty relaxed compared to those of North American and European countries. As long as your dog is healthy you won’t have any problem getting your pet approved for travel.  Cuba just like most countries issues a veterinary certificate, which forms an essential part of the dog’s passport. To get this certificate, you must have proof that your dog was vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian, 30 days and not more than 12 months prior to entry into Cuba.

Apart from a Veterinary certificate form, you will get an endorsement document from the CFIA and USDA from the Veterinary that vaccinates your dog in the U.S. You should also microchip your dog as a security precaution even though you don’t have to do it when travelling to Cuba.

Planning for dog’s arrival to Cuba

One reason for this is that there are just too many stray dogs in Cuba, and you can never know what diseases they carry. Fortunately, there are a number of pet friendly organizations and veterinarians in the island that can help you if your pet gets sick there. However, you should plan on how you can reduce contact between your dog and the islands' dogs as a preventative measure. This may include looking for hotels that offer a safe place where your dog can rest and play without having to go in the streets. Check sites like Bring Fido, Booking.com and TripAdvisor to find such pet friendly accommodations in Cuba.

Prepping for Plane Travel

You and your pooch are going to spend a decent amount of time in the plane to Cuba. The size of your dog’s carrier is what will determine whether you will be able to board a flight with your dog. Airlines have different maximum dimensions for soft-sided carriers and kennels. Some have a maximum height of about 7 inches, others allow up to 11 inches in height. The maximum width allowed can range from 11 to 19 inches and lengths from 12 to 19 inches. In most cases people with smaller dogs that require smaller carriers are often at an advantage in this situation.

When you are planning this exciting vacation with your pet, do not over pack. Just get the necessities you know your dog cannot do without and the rest you can buy when you get to your destination. You want to enjoy your trip to the Caribbean with your pooch and not spend time decluttering in your hotel room.

Tour Havana’s Best Places for a Good Night’s Sleep by Car

Tour Havana’s Best Places for a Good Night’s Sleep by Car

By Lucy Wyndham

When on vacation, 63 percent of people say that they cannot get a good night of sleep, according to TAC. An essential component of feeling relaxed and being able to sleep while away from home is finding a place in which you feel comfortable. However, it can be challenging to know if a hotel will meet your needs exclusively by looking at pictures online. Rather than making your resort reservations ahead of your trip to Cuba, consider exploring several luxurious options as part of your classic car tour. Not sure where to go? Check out three top-tier places to stay while touring Havana.

Iberostar Parque Central

In addition to taking your own pillow, packing your favorite films/shows, and maintaining your home bedtime routine, there is one highly important strategy for sleeping well on vacation. Experts recommend that you first research your room before booking it. One excellent place to start researching rooms in Havana is the Iberostar Parque Central. This stunning 5-star hotel is located right in the city centre, and has even been named as one of Havana’s best hotels. Iberostar Parque Central is an excellent place for those looking to be close to the most historical and authentic parts of Cuba. Even though this hotel is located in the middle of the action, the hotel provides a cozy escape for those looking to deeply unwind. Visitors can relax and enjoy breathtaking views of the city at the rooftop pool and jacuzzi. Afterward, enjoy one of several on-premise dining and bar establishments, which feature warm lighting, luxurious decor, and exceptional menu offerings. When it’s time to go to bed, you can choose between nine different room options (many of which are spacious suites).

Meliá Cohiba

Authentic Cuban cuisine, a modern gym, rejuvenating spa services, and stunning views of the water are just a few of the elements that make Meliá Cohiba an outstanding place to stay. No matter what you need to help you feel comfortable enough to sleep in a new environment, this hotel will likely have it. If you are someone who enjoys doing as little as possible on vacation, the large and quiet pool area is sure to be one of your favorite spots. Similarly, be sure to make reservations for a standard or hot stone massage, among the many other spa services offered. Also, don't forget to explore the hotel’s many fine dining and bar options.

Saratoga Havana

For those seeking the ultimate in relaxation (and as a result, amazing sleep), be sure to stop at Saratoga Havana for a tour. Visitors and guests alike can book appointments at the on-site spa. Services include facials, reflexology, massage, and more. Two cozy dining spots, Anacaona and Mirador Saratoga, offer exceptional cuisine and a relaxed atmosphere. Mirador Saratoga is located on the rooftop, allowing for beautiful views of Havana, the bay, and of the Caribbean Sea. Before or after dinner, stop for a drink at either the scenic rooftop bar, Bar Anacaona (decorated with carved mahogany and stained glass), or the trendy Bar Mezzanine. Finally, choose between a number of suite options that are sure to help you feel as comfortable as possible.

Going on a trip doesn’t have to mean that you won’t sleep well. While taking your classic car tour around Havana, be sure to explore these and other hotel options to see which one makes you feel most comfortable.

The Ultimate Cuban Seafood Tour By Car

The Ultimate Cuban Seafood Tour By Car

Did you know Cuban cuisine is a blend of four different cultures: African, Spanish, Caribbean, and Taino? Cuba is not only famous for being a hub for classic cars and its cigars, but also for its rich culinary traditions like its incredible seafood. Hiring a car to take you on a Cuban seafood tour is one of the top ways you could spend your time and money while on the island. The freshly caught, thoroughly cooked, tasty and tender lobsters, shrimps, snappers, sea bass, and octopus are without a doubt the highlight of Cuban cuisine. The expert chefs and fancy hotels just add to the experience! Below, we take a look at must-visit restaurants if you are on a Cuban seafood tour by car or Cuban road trip.

Los Naranjos

Los Naranjos is a high-end gourmet restaurant found in one of the best Havana neighborhoods. It is a nine-minute cab drive from El Malecón and an 11-minute drive from Havana, costing between CUC 7 and CUC 9. Along the way, you get to see Cuban architectural masterpieces like the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, Plaza de la Revolución and the leafy Vedado avenues. It was initially a 1930s villa whose second floor was transformed into a restaurant by Alexis Naranjo.

Aside from its exceptional space, high ceilings and stunning balcony, Los Naranjos offers quite the extensive list of seafood on the menu. It is especially famous for its lobster "Hemingway style," although it also features rock lobster and lobster enchiladas, pescado grille, seafood paella, carpaccio, and shrimp. When it comes to drinks, the restaurant features a full bar that serves wine, beer, and cocktails and is especially known for its pina colada with a cinnamon twist. Vegan and gluten-free options do exist as well in Cuban, Italian, Latin, Spanish, Caribbean and fusion cuisines. The prices are fair and range from 9.97 CUC to 49.89 CUC. 

Donde Lis Restaurante and Bar

Once you are done with Vedado, it is time to go back in time to the historic center of Habana Vieja, which features Donde Lis Restaurante and Bar. The journey covers 6.1km on the Linea Avenue and takes about 14 minutes from Los Naranjos. Alternatively, one can drive back to Havana and then to Donde Lis, which is a more exciting route. It is a 12-minute drive from Havana on Avenida Belgica but first you have to go through a tunnel: Tunel de LA Habana.

Donde Lis features contemporary decor and a small but cozy dining area open daily. Although it features international cuisines, such as Italian, Latin, European, and Caribbean, it is especially known for its traditional Cuban dishes and seafood. The latter is served in form of soups and entrees and features pulpo, ceviche, carpaccio, shrimp and the delightful American lobster. The house octopus paired with malanga chips and the seafood grill are the restaurant's specialty dishes, even though they cost 20 CUC. Moreover, Donde Lis is rumored to have the best mojito in all of Cuba. 

La Vaca Rosada

From Old Havana, head down to La Vaca Rosada, a stunning rooftop restaurant. It is located in Varadero, one of the most popular beach destinations in the world according to Forbes. The journey takes approximately two hours on the Via Blanca highway by taxi and will cost you between CUC 100 to CUC 150. The journey is pretty exciting with features like the Bacunayagua Bridge, Cuba’s best engineering marvel, along the way. You will also come across Matanzas, the cradle of all Cuban baseball and the best place to do souvenir shopping.

The restaurant's menu is quite a delight, featuring tasty Cuban dishes served with Italian finishes and presentations. La Vaca Rosada is famous for its thin-crusted seafood pizza and the Surf and Turf, which is a meal made of lobsters and filet mignon. In addition, the views from the restaurant are to-die-for. The ambiance is very relaxing with fairy lights and great music. The restaurant is very affordable with most meals ranging from 5.98 CUC to 13.97 CUC, and that's not even the best part! The quantity of food served is a lot more compared to other Cuban restaurants. They serve some of the biggest lobsters and fish ceviches. Even the cocktails come in glasses twice the size of ordinary cocktail glasses!

If you have more time for your seafood tour, you can also pass by Amigos Del Mar, Puerto de Sagua, Don Cangrejo, El Floridita, Papa's and El Templeton, as these are other highly ranked Cuban seafood restaurants. All of these restaurants feature outdoor seating, parking, reservation and take out - with some like Donde Lis even being accessible by wheelchair. The best thing about seafood served in these Cuban restaurants is that you will only eat freshly caught, organic fish and seafood while on the tour.

Everybody’s Got Time to Explore Cuba by Car

Everybody’s Got Time to Explore Cuba by Car

By Lucy Wyndham.

Flight bookings to Cuba have increased by over 25% in the past year, with more families, friends and individuals heading to the popular Caribbean island to experience one of the most well-preserved cultures in the world. While it’s incredibly safe to travel to Cuba alone, but there’s nothing quite like experiencing a culture as rich as Cuba’s with friends and family. If you’re planning on heading to Cuba, why not take time out to explore the island by car? Whether you’re here on business or pleasure, there’s time to cruise down the streets of Old Havana in a classic convertible.

Cruising and Connecting with Coworkers 

So, you’re in Cuba on business? Everybody needs a break from work, but even when you’re on break, you can still enjoy team building activities. Yes, even in a classic car. If you’re part of a travel nursing group that’s been assigned to spend time in Cuba for a special event, for example, or are in Havana for a business trip with colleagues, there’s nothing quite like taking time to explore the island in the company of coworkers. Studies have actually found that adrenaline-producing exercises can create very cohesive teams, and unofficial studies show that cruising around Cuba in a classic convertible produces more than enough adrenaline to bring a team together on any project.

Group Travel Turned Stylish 

When traveling as part of a large group, most people tend to rent a van to travel from place to place. In a place like Cuba where the weather’s so nice and the buildings so historic, that simply seems like an injustice. With so many classic cars still roaming the streets of Havana, they’ve become such a staple of Cuban culture. And, with the ability to book a tour in a classic car or convertible that holds up to five people, it seems like an obvious option for group travel, especially if you’re looking to travel in style. Not only will you get to see all of the major hot spots, but you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the ride while participating in the culture.

Jam-Packing a Short-Stay 

If you’re only in Cuba for a short stay, there’s truly no better way to see all of the standard tourist spots and more than by taking a classic car tour. Not only will you get the experience of touring historical streets in a historical car, but you’ll also find it’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to see such hot spots as The Capitol Building, China Town, Revolution Square, Christ of Havana and so much more. With the ability to see a large portion of Havana City in about three hours, touring the tourist spots by classic cars offers a delightful option for even the shortest of stays.

Making Time for Timeless Fun

Classic cars in Cuba are timeless, and that’s exactly why you’ve got time to take a ride in one. Whether you’re traveling to Cuba with coworkers, as part of a group, or even for a quick 24-hour layover, you’ve got the time to travel the island by classic car, even if to snap a few photos and enjoy the feeling of the wind in your hair as you zoom past palm trees and ocean views.

Celebrating a Vintage Birthday with Vintage Cars

Celebrating a Vintage Birthday with Vintage Cars

By Lucy Wyndham. 

Estimates suggest that there are nearly 60,000 classic cars in Cuba from the 1950s and 60s. While this is a result of a trade embargo placed upon Cuba by the American government, it actually benefited the style of the now popular island. Now used as taxis and show cars, vintage rides are what comes to mind when you think about Havana nights, making them a perfect way to celebrate a special event such as a big birthday. Whether you’re booking one for a photoshoot or driving one around to celebrate yourself in style, there’s nothing better for a vintage birthday than a vintage car.

Planning a Big Birthday Event

There’s nothing bad about turning 50 if you plan the party right. And, what better way to commemorate a classic guy or gal than with vintage cars that exude the same amount of style, taste, and timelessness as they do? Planning a big birthday event in a place as classic as Cuba is great, especially if you plan enough ahead to really do it all with style and grace. Book a classic car tour to see Old Havana in a convertible or take a stroll down all of Hemingway’s old haunts in a car as classic as he was. It’s important to factor in your group size and really figure out where you want to go, what you want to see and how long you want to be inside of a car. Then, plan on leaving some time for photos and bringing along your camera to ensure you get some great shots of the car (and yourself). 

Understand What Classic Car Suits You

Before planning on celebrating your birthday with a vintage car, you’ll want to really assess your style and figure out which car suits you best. From classic convertibles to sedan hardtops, there are a variety of vintage cars in Cuba to choose from, all of which exude a different style and era. Classic Chevys are known to rule Havana to this day, with cars like the Cadillac Eldorado stunting in the streets all over Cuba. However, if you’re not a fan of convertibles, you’ll want to research what other classic cars you’d like to ride in or make a part of your vintage birthday bash. This will mostly depend on the size of your party, whether or not you want to take a spin around Old Havana, or simply want to rent it out as part of timeless, classic party theme to take photos with and use as more of a prop. The options are endless, as are the styles to choose from, but picking the perfect one is really up to personal taste. 

A Timeless Birthday You’ll Never Forget 

If you’re going to be in Cuba on your birthday, especially one as big as a 50th, it’s well worth the time and money to invest in taking a spin around the island in a vintage car. Just as you wouldn’t visit San Francisco without hopping on the tram or NYC without taking a quick ride on the subway, no visit to Cuba is complete without a spin around town in a classic car. Including this ride as part of birthday festivities just seems to really be the icing on the cake and is a recipe for a timeless bash you’re not likely to ever forget.

Car Hacks: Make Your Vintage Car Shine Like New

Car Hacks: Make Your Vintage Car Shine Like New

By Lucy Wyndham

It’s no secret that vintage cars are beautiful and costly. Some of the most prized classics can go for as much as $30 million dollars. Because of this, it’s imperative that owners of classic or vintage cars know how to maintain and perform upkeep on their prized possessions. But when upkeep fails and you’re left with the task of restoring your vintage vehicle to its original glamour, it becomes apparent that it’s no easy task. As you tour through Cuba in one, you’ll notice how spotless and pristine their old cars are. How do they do it? Luckily, there are a few tips and car hacks that can make your life easier.

Appearance Starts With Paint

Whether your ultimate aim is to restore a faded car to its original glory to show it off on the streets or appreciate it yourself, it undoubtedly starts with its paint job. Does your paint look new? If not, many assume that you have to take it to a professional mechanic, but let’s put the brakes on that idea. There are many pieces of info mechanics would rather keep from you. The truth is, you can manage to restore your paint like new, and even buff out scratches, for a cheaper price and less hassle than visiting a mechanic. And you can do it from your own garage.

When you see the pristine classic cars roaming the streets of Cuba, you’ll want to emulate it. Of course, the best route would be to have a new paint job, but that’s not always feasible due to the price. All you need is a polisher, buffing wheels, and some polishing products like ultimate compound restorer and ultimate polish. These can be obtained in a variety of stores. A handy first step is using a clay bar to soak up all the contaminants in the paint, but this is optional. Next, apply a polishing compound on your buffer and watch the progress. Follow up with a coat of liquid wax to really have a finished glean in the paint. These can be accomplished without a buffer by hand, but it takes far more effort and doesn’t leave quite the same sheen.

Bring The Shine Back To The Wheels

The next step is restoring your wheels to their original shine. Because these are typically aluminum, the same compounds for the paint won’t cut it. You’ll need to pick up wheel cleaner, also easily available in stores, like Detailer’s Pro Series or Sonax. Start by hosing down the wheels as much as possible and follow up with buffering. If your buffer wheel has a smaller attachment, use that. If not, this can be done with some more elbow grease by hand. Apply your wheel cleaner and scrub them down, then follow up with polish form the first step. You’ll be amazed at how new they look.

Cuba is a haven for beautiful classic cars and they’re renowned for maintaining the looks. If you want to restore your own vintage mobile, don’t be in a rush to pay an exorbitant amount of money for it. You can restore the look of your car without it leaving your garage. So on your next tour through Havana, you’ll know how they manage their spotless cars.


Why Cuba is a Classic Car Enthusiasts Dream

Why Cuba is a Classic Car Enthusiasts Dream

By Jason Mueller from a1autotransport.com


Travel to Cuba has been going well this past year and outlooks show that tourism is on the rise. 2017 showed nearly 5 million visitors to the country that helped pump an extra $3 million into the economy. Cuba has long been a bucket list country to visit and while Americans can not technically travel to the country as tourists, they can go to visit family or on what is known as a people-to-people exchange. With a people-to-people exchange, you can travel to Cuba with a group or three or more and stay in local homes or hotels and tour the country in some amazing classic cars. 

People to people exchanges can be planned by speaking to a travel agency or a cruise line that ventures to Cuba. Even better, going to Cuba on an exchange opens the chance to get to know locals and plan trips in the future to meet again. With the possibilities of taking a cruise through Havana in a classic convertible to see the amazing sites including the home that famed writer Ernest Hemingway lived in or a tour of the beautiful coastline or the spacious countryside, Cuba is ideal for the tourist who wants to catch a glimpse of history while visiting spectacular areas of the country.  

There’s so much to see in Cuba and for the most part, Cuba has been untouched by Americans for more than fifty years. Now is the time to book a trip to see Havana and take part in festivities and dance with the locals or spend time relaxing on the beach. Whether you enjoy spending time in the busy city or maybe venturing out to the country, Cuba has so much to offer. 

When trade embargos between the U.S. and Cuba took effect in 1959, there were a great many Cubans who owned American manufactured cars and today, thanks to the ingenuity of Cuban car owners and mechanics, many of the pre-1960 classics can be found throughout Cuba. Because of this, classic car enthusiasts can see some great classics on the road in Cuba. Cuba has become somewhat like a museum of classic cars and one that car enthusiasts should take time to check out when possible. 

Since these cars have been taken care of over the years, and in many cases even restored with parts that are creative since the original replacement parts were not able to be ordered and with the embargo, new cars were not available, there are many one of a kind vehicles on the roads in Cuba. The creative mechanics in Cuba have a way with keeping great classics on the road. 

 If you have a dream car and it’s a classic made prior to 1960, chances are that it may be sitting on a road in Cuba waiting for you to see it. There are tens of thousands of classic American cars in Cuba, and while a great many of them are probably not worth much monetarily, they are still fascinating to see. Sure, there are quite a few classics that have been restored to perfection, but a detailed restoration is expensive, and rare to see.

Many of the classics on the roadways in Cuba have been redesigned to fit more people and they are used as Taxi’s. Even with the many that have been revamped as Taxi’s, it is truly amazing to see such a car culture seemingly frozen in time with cars such as the classic Mercedes Gullwing, Jaguars, Porsches, Buicks and Chevrolets. Many who visit Cuba would enjoy being able to purchase as classic and have it shipped home to America. 

At this time, it is not possible to import a classic car from Cuba to the United States (source: a1autotransport.com)  but for residents of other countries, the possibility to find a dream car and have it brought home is something to check into, especially if you can find a classic for a low price. 

Cuba has much to offer and since it was long forbidden for Americans to vacation in the country, now is the time to make plans to visit. There are so many beautiful adventures awaiting you in Cuba, and what could be better than to see them all from the back seat of a vintage red Buick Roadmaster or a great antique pink Pontiac Bonneville? Be sure to book your tour soon and see everything that Cuba offers.

Becoming a Vintage Car Expert: Here Are The Oldest Cars Ever Made

Becoming a Vintage Car Expert: Here Are The Oldest Cars Ever Made

By Lucy Wyndham


Visiting Havana is a great way to witness the beauty and finesse of vintage cars. By taking a tour in a vintage car and learning more about the way they work, you can fulfill your desire to learn more about antique vehicles while experiencing a part of Cuban history. After taking the tour, you may even have a newfound passion for old cars, leading you to pose the question: what are some of the oldest cars in the world?

While many people assume that Henry Ford’s Model T is the oldest car ever made, there are numerous vehicles that actually came before the Model T. In fact, there are several automobiles that predate the Model T by over 100 years! To become a true vintage car expert, you should be aware of the oldest cars ever made and know a little bit about their history.


1. The Cugnot Fardier, 1770

Designed by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, the Cugnot Fardier vehicle was officially constructed in 1770—well over 100 years before Ford’s Model T. French inventor Cugnot build the very first self-propelled car, which in fact was merely a self-driving carriage. The car was invented or the use of the French military, designed to cover 7.8 kilometers (4.8 miles) in one hour and carry four tons of goods. While the car wasn’t able to travel this far or carry this much, it was still considered an achievement in its day. It is now on display at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris, where it’s been kept since 1800.


2. London Steam Carriage, 1803

Built by Richard Trevithick, the London Steam Carriage was constructed in 2803 in London and is still considered today to be the first-ever self-propelled vehicle that carried passengers. While Cugnot’s steam powered carriage technically predates the London Steam Carriage, the French vehicle was meant to haul artillery, not people. Thus, Trevitchick built the first car meant to transport people together, nicknaming the carriage the “Puffing Devil” and driving it up a hill in Cornwall. Unfortunately, the steam carriage was destroyed in a fire, but the original drawings survive.


3. Hancock Omnibus, 1832

Invented by Walter Hancock, the Enteprise steam omnibus was the first manufactured steam-powered car in the world in 1832. The omnibus was originally built for the London and Paddington Steam Carriage Company. It became the world’s first steam carriage service in 1833 when it was used as a regular service between London Wall and Paddington via Islington. The omnibus required three people working together to operate it, including a driver and two operators. In coordination, the three people were responsible for maintaining braking, looking after the water level of the boiler, and steering the wheel. It is still unknown how the three people communicated, but it was a great success at the time.

Learning about vintage automobiles is a hobby that unveils many interesting details and facts, like the oldest cars in the world predating Ford’s Model T by over 100 years.

Cuba’s Crafty Mechanics - Classic Car Upkeep

Cuba’s Crafty Mechanics - Classic Car Upkeep

By Lucy Wyndham

Vintage cars just don’t seem to make an appearance on the streets of many countries these days. This has given Cuba a top advantage and a slick vibrancy by their everyday presence on the streets of Havana, Varadero and elsewhere. However, even in Cuba, new cars are starting to emerge. Whilst the vintage cars will always be a feature of the roads of the island, you might be wondering how on earth the island nation has managed to keep their cars working and looking so well.

So, next time you’re thinking about being driven around Havana in a classic car, you might ask yourself - just how are they keeping this vehicle going, without access to original parts?

Finding The Right Vehicle

The vintage cars smattering Cuba are actually relatively rare, with only 60,000 in total on the island. Soviet-era Ladas and new, modern East Asian cars are more common, though there are showrooms to purchase classic vehicles in Havana. When purchasing, residents need to be careful to make sure they’re getting a genuine vehicle - after all, many families don’t want to let go of their prized possessions, so a sale is rare. Often, they authenticate the cars value by making sure the car valuation is correct through independent checks and balances. Secondly, many make sure that the car’s documentation is completely up-to-date and that there is a paper trail to prove the vehicle’s history.

Licensing and Driving

You may be well aware that only residents and owners of vehicles are allowed to drive the vintage vehicles. You might get a chance to sit in the driver’s seat, but never direct the tour yourself. This is because there is a huge assortment of parts and adjustments made to keep the cars workable, and the experience and nous of each car owner is crucial. A Cuban 1959 Impala won’t drive like an American one, and getting to the various areas of natural beauty in Cuba in your vehicle can be challenging. Ask your driver what he knows and to show the tips and tricks he’s picked up - you can earn yourself an education in expert driving.

Maintaining The Vehicle

Maintenance is not the easiest task going to keep the vehicle looking great and not damaging original fixings, or irrevocably changing the look. Vintage owners will employ special waxes and paint colors to ensure they maintain the classic luster of their cars. Speak to locals and classic car owners who own these vehicles about their hints and tips; many have been maintained through word-of-mouth suggestions for their entire lifespan. The parts needed to fix these vehicles are no longer readily available, at home or abroad. Speaking to local mechanics and enthusiasts, who have been crafting smart methods to keep the cars running over a long period, can be absolutely fascinating. Some of the mechanics would be the finest around, even when lacking a certificate to prove it.

Classic cars are a unique part of Cuba’s history and every visitor will find themselves stunned by the glittering array. A ride around the cities and villages of the island is a wonderful experience, but by asking the question and doing some research, you can learn some fascinating history and technical skills yourself. 

Classic car tours from Havana Cruise Terminal

Classic car tours from Havana Cruise Terminal

Cruising to Havana city has become a popular attraction in TheCaribbean. Havana is a very exotic city where visitors can experience a senseof the past by driving through old historic buildings where classic Americancars roam the streets. Touring in old cars is one of the most requestedattractions in the city nowadays.

Havana shore excursions in classic cars


OldCarTours offers tours in classic cars from the Cruise Terminalin Havana, known as “Terminal Sierra Maestra”. All our tours are OFAC compliant. They can be considered within the category of "Educational people to people travel" because you are interacting with Cuban people, their culture, religion and society.

Tourists are picked up near thatlocation. Currently the cars are not allowed to park right in front of theterminal entrance (located just in front of the San Francisco Square) so thecars and guides meet the tourists just in front of the Russian Orthodox Church(also known as “Our Lady of Kazan Orthodox Cathedral”), easily identifiable byits golden domes, which is located on the left, very near the Cruise shipterminal. The distance from the main exit of the terminal to the church isabout 300 meter or 1000 feet.


The driver or the guide will be waiting for all tourists withconfirmed reservations holding a sign with their names written on it.

You can see here all our tours and prices here. But we offer one tour called:

Havana special classic car tour from cruise terminal

Duration: 8 hours


Price: 320 CUC per car (with a driver and English or French guide)


Moneyexchange inside the terminal

For all the Cuban visitors it is mandatory to use the CubanCurrency known as CUC. Many tourists’ service inside the island must be paid incash, with CUC. It is not common to find places where tourist can pay withcredit/debit cards inside the island. So, once the visitors arrive to theisland, they must exchange their money into CUCs.

OldCarTours services must be paid in cash CUC as well. We don’thave a way to receive money online or through credit card. There are smallbooths inside the terminal where tourists can exchange money into CUCs beforetheir tour or before consuming other services in Cuba.

Exchange rates vary according to the currency. Generally Euros hasbetter rate than USD. Today (Jan 2018) exchange rate is around 1 USD = 0.97CUC. This rate may change according to the location; it means that terminals,banks and hotels sometimes have different rates.   


Merry Christmas from OldCarTours

Merry Christmas from OldCarTours

2017 has been a good ride. Took us through paths of sharing and most fruitful contacts. On the way we have met the most beautiful people from all over the planet and multiple experiences became one as a whole.

So we are grateful and honored to have met each one of you through our journey. The best of the holidays, full of happiness, love and prosperity! 

Always yours, OldCarTours.

Three Classic Cars that Define Cuban History

Three Classic Cars that Define Cuban History

By Lucy Wyndham. 


The entire country of Cuba is an antique car museum rolling on wheels. Wherever you look, you’ll be greeted by an American vintage car cruising down the street. Although many Americans would pay thousands of dollars for these once glorious cars, to Cubans, this is simply everyday life.

The state of the automotive industry in Cuba has a frozen-in-time type of feeling. In 1960, after the Cuban revolution, there was an embargo put into place by President Eisenhower that banned certain exports to Cuba. Therefore, the cars that were in the country remained in the country and there haven’t been any new exports since. Now there are an estimated 60,000 pre-1959 American cars still flying through the streets that you can still admire, glorify, and even take a ride in. If you’re part of the gearhead community and have a chance to visit Cuba, see if you can spot these three classic cars that have defined the history and culture of the beautiful island.




Chevrolet Bel Air

These cars, known as cacharros or bartavias tend to come from the 1955-1957 time period. You can see many Chevy Bel Airs cruising down the streets of Havana and they are now seen as a representation of the time capsule the state is stuck in. Many of these have mismatched parts and a tri-colored body that directly symbolizes everything the country has been through in the past couple of decades. According to many auto magazines, the 1957 Chevy Bel Air is the king of the Cuban road.



Ford Fairline

Ford sedans constructed during the first half of the 1950s are one of the most common classic car in Cuba. The original Ford Fairline was designed as a family vehicle, but has since evolved to include many different convertible styles. The car also has a reference in the movies. In Die Another Day, James Bond navigated around Cuba in a 1957 Ford Fairline, which has further increased the popularity of the vehicle and strengthened its link to Cuba.




Plymouth

A 1957 Plymouth was involved in the kidnapping of racecar driver, Juan Manuel Fangio by Fidel Castor’s Cuban rebels. On the eve of the Cuban Grand Prix, Fangio was confronted by a man with a gun who shoved him into a black Plymouth. The kidnapper and his accomplices were able to get away in the Plymouth because it was a generic car driving along the Cuban streets. Although Fangio was eventually released, the Plymouth still rules the streets.

With the renewed relationships between the US and Cuba that came about in 2014, we may start to see an increase in the number of car exports to Havana. Therefore, you should check out these cars before they once again, become a part of history. 

A book that shows the truth about old cars in Cuba

A book that shows the truth about old cars in Cuba

There is a new book about the culture of American cars in Cuba. As we said before, Cuba is a rolling museum, where you can find about 60,000 old cars along the island. It is true that many of them have been transformed with modern parts but there are some that remain original. Many of our cars in OldCarTours have original engine. So, the book seems to be very interesting revealing the Car's culture in Cuba. That's a good point because the old American cars have become a part of Cuban life. For sure.

If you want to read the article in Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaclyntrop/2017/02/08/new-book-reveals-the-truth-about-car-culture-in-cuba/#66688bec1d4e

If you want to buy the book in Amazon:

Cuba's Car Culture: Celebrating the Island's Automotive Love Affair Hardcover – October 1, 2016
by Tom Cotter  (Author), Bill Warner (Photographer), Stirling Moss (Foreword)

https://www.amazon.com/Cubas-Car-Culture-Celebrating-Automotive/dp/0760350264

Enjoy it.

Havana Classic Cars

Havana Classic Cars

If you want to ride a classic car in Havana city, then you must be prepared to see as many options as people had at the 50’s years. With around 60,000 old classic cars in Cuba, Havana' visitors will have the opportunity of feeling like traveling in time.

Along the 3 hours tour, tourists can see many sights located in 4 districts of Havana. The most important attractions to see along this tour are: The Capitol building, China Town, Carlos III street, The famous Revolution Square, the houses of “Vedado”, Cristobal Colon Cemetery, Habana Forest that is considered the lung of the city, Miramar residence district, the 5ft avenue, Malecón avenue, and many other attractions.

It would be good idea to have a guide along the tour because you can have more details about history.

Havana city is a kind of rolling car museum. The interesting combination of old American cars and the old style of architecture make Havana a fantastic place to visit despite the crisis and destruction.

Riding a convertible car in Havana city is vintage and very funny for families. We recommend it.

Havana tour in vintage car

Havana tour in vintage car

Havana city is fashionable today. Since the conversation between Raul and Obama there are more and more tourists visiting the city, many of them with the idea of “visiting Havana before Americans arrive”.

That may be true, but despite the political focus, Havana is an old city. Almost the 80 percent of the city remains original since the Colonial period until the Communist Revolution at 1959. Therefore the city is old and today due to the crisis, the city is destroyed. This is part of the charm of Havana, the "City of Columns", because during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s there were built many houses with neoclassical style, because Havana was a rich city at that time.

You can see that Havana is vintage and one extra detail are the thousands of old American cars that ride along the city. About 6 years ago people of Havana realized that vintage cars were attractive for tourists so they started to restore them and today there are around 200 classic cars prepared for working with tourists, not only convertible cars but also sedan hardtop cars.  The rank of years of production are since 1920 until 1959. 

OldCarTours invites you to reserve a tour in Havana with a vintage car. We suggest using convertible cars for touring in Havana city, because the best way to see Havana is on convertible vintage cars. 

Havana and Ernest Hemingway

Havana and Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, the famous American novelist and Novel prize writer, lived in Cuba about 20 years. Since 1939, his first visit, until 1960 when he left Cuba, never to return. 

Today in Cuba still remains the beautiful house where he was living in Havana.  Ernest Hemingway's house "La Vigia" is considered an important monument not only in Cuba, but also in United State. The house remained with the original contents when Hemingway leaved the house.

Hemingway lived in the house from middle 1939 to 1960, renting it at first, and then buying it in December 1940 after he married his third wife Martha Gellhorn. The house cost $12,500 at that time. The Finca at the time consisted of 15 acres (61,000 m2) with a farmhouse.

Today “La Vigia” is a museum that consists on the house, its contents, 38 ft (12 m) fishing boat “Pilar”, and the grounds.

For visiting, the tourists must pay 5 CUC per person which is used for keeping the museum in good conditions.

Other important place related to the writer is the town of Cojimar. Cojimar town is 4.2 square km and there are 18 000 inhabitants inside the town nowadays. The town is just at 7 minutes from Havana downtown. 

Hemingway liked to fish in Cojimar’s water on his boat Pilar and with his skipper Gregorio Fuentes. Hemingway made famous Cojimar’s Terraza restaurant through his novels. The 1954 Nobel award winner, met Anselmo Hernández at this place. Anselmo inspired him for his novel “The Old Man and the Sea”. When Hemingway died the inhabitants of Cojimar gathered money for making a small statue of the immortal friend.

More about Cojimar Town: http://www.cojimarhavanarent.com/

We suggest taking the Hemingway route with an old convertible car in Havana.

We also offer this 5 hours tour:

Havana Combo Hemingway & City Tour

Duration: 5 hours


This tour is a combination of Hemingway route and the 2 hours city tour. Within this tour you will visit "La Vigia" (Ernest Hemingway's house), Cojimar town (where he used to fish and drink), and a stop at the Morro-Cabaña fortress to enjoy a panoramic view of Havana city then you continue visiting Old Havana, Centro Habana, Vedado, Nuevo Vedado and Miramar districts. Some of the attractions to see along this tour are: The Capitol building, China Town, Reina and Carlos III streets, Revolution Square (stop), Cristobal Colon Cemetery, Habana Forest (stop), 5th Avenue and Malecón Avenue. This tour has an extra fee of 5 CUC per person when you visit the Museum La Vigia, to be paid by tourists at the location. This tour cannot be done on Sundays because the museum is closed. The museum opens from 10 am to 5 pm, so the tour must be done within this time frame.

Tour Varadero-Havana in classic American car

Tour Varadero-Havana in classic American car

Are you hosted in Varadero Beach? 

Would you like to have a tour from Varadero to Havana city in a classic American car?

You can do this tour with our agency OldCarTours. In this tour the car pick you up at the hotel in Varadero, then to travel to Havana (this travel lasts about 2 hours). Once in Havana, you will be given a tour of the city, stop for lunch at a Cuban restaurant (please note the cost of lunch is not included in tour price), continue touring the city after lunch, and finally return to Varadero at sunset.

The most important attractions to see in Havana city are:

  1. Revolution Square
  2. Old Havana (historical center)
  3. Malecon avenue
  4. Vedado and Miramar districts
  5. Havana Capitol and Central Park
  6. Museum of Revolution

This tour is a combination of riding a classic car with professional driver and guide and walking inside the pedestrian tourist area of Old Havana. Our vintage cars are in very good conditions as well.

You will see much Havana city in only one day tour.

Varadero-Havana long day tour on convertible

Duration: 10 hours


In this tour the car pick you up at the hotel in Varadero, then to travel to Havana (2 hours). Once in Havana, you will be given a tour of the city, stop for lunch at a Cuban restaurant (please note the cost of lunch is not included in tour price), continue touring the city after lunch, and finally return to Varadero at sunset.


Reserve this tour now 

Viñales tour from Havana city

Viñales tour from Havana city

OldCarTours offers a long day tour to Viñales town on a classic American car. This tour lasts 10 hours. Between 2 or 3 hours of traveling from Havana city when you arrive to Viñales, you realize that the place is one of the most beautiful countryside in Cuba.

Once you arrive you can visit the balcony at the hotel "Los Jardines" with a beautiful view of the valley. You can also visit the house of a farmer who plants and processes the tobacco for creating the famous Cuban cigar, you can have there a explanation about all the process (English) and you can buy the best cigar in Cuba. You will see, how the Cuban farmer live in context. You may have the possibility of riding a horse (extra cost of 10 cuc per hour) and drink the Cuban coffee and "guarapo" (sugar cane's juice)

There are many Cuban typical restaurant where you can have a lunch and Cuban taste is very good.

The town of Viñales is a typical Cuban country town, full of colorful houses where you can stay in many of them. La Cueva del Indio (the indian cave) is a tourist place where you use a boat to visit. You will enjoy of Cuban rural live in Viñales with our classic cars.

Havana-Viñales long tour in convertible

Duration: 10 hours


This is a long day tour to Viñales town on classic American car. This is a round trip tour and should start between 8 – 8:30 am. Traveling to Viñales could take around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Viñales is one of the most beautiful countryside in Cuba. Once you arrive you visit the balcony at the hotel Los Jardines with a beautiful view of the valley. Then visit the house of the farmer who plant and process the tobacco for creating the Cuban cigar, you have there an explanation about all the process and you can buy the best cigar in Cuba. You will see how the Cuban farmer´s live in context. You may have a lunch at a Cuban typical restaurant (the cost of lunch is not included in the tour´s price). Later visit the town of Viñales and la Cueva del Indio (indian cave). You will enjoy of Cuban rural live. At the end of this tour in Viñales the car drop you off in the hotel, accommodation or pick up point in Havana city.


The 50s and American cars

The 50s and American cars

The 50s was characterized by significant changes in design, style and functionality of American cars of the time. This is known as the decade of automotive culture. Following the 2nd World War, the US economy grew rapidly due to the industrialization and commercialization of many new products which were invented or developed as a result of the war needs. After the war crisis, the decade began strongly regarding desires of consumption and production. It is estimated that in that decade, American factories produced 56.6 million family cars and 7.3 million vehicles bound for the agricultural and industrial production.

The war resulted in the increase of the roads connecting the entire country, so the cars began to be used and in demand for transportation throughout North America. This, combined with gas prices, generated considerable use of new vehicles. At the beginning, a gallon of gasoline (3.78 liters) cost 18 cents and 25 cents at the end.

The designs of the cars were gaining in length (L), their engines in power and they were lower and wider, as they say: lower, longer, and wider.

Classic cars in Havana

The chrome of the cars was becoming an essential aesthetic element and the most varied designs were used to compete with large companies as Ford, General Motor, and Chrysler.

Cuba has a wide variety of American cars of the 50s. Many are maintained with the efforts of Cubans, some over love and others over necessity. The splendor of the island in that decade has left thousands of cars driving through the city to the attraction of tourists and to meet the transportation needs of this country.

Vintage car tours

OldCarTours offers tours in classic American cars. All our prices are per car, NOT per person. Tours are paid in cash (CUC) at the end of the tour.

All our tours are OFAC compliant. They can be considered within the category of "Educational people to people travel" because you are interacting with Cuban people, their culture, religion and society.

Pick-ups at hotels, private accommodations and cruise terminal. We cannot pick up at airports.

See more of our tours here


Panoramic View of Havana

Panoramic View of Havana

Havana is a picturesque city characterized by buildings in different styles and colors. This town buildings have different kind of styles - colonial, baroque, neoclassical, art nouveau, art deco and, modern. Furthermore, it is common to find Russian buildings from the Soviet influence period after the 1959 Revolution.

Visiting Havana is like traveling in time. According to experts, 80% of these city buildings are from the colonial period to the mid-twentieth century, so that Havana is currently a city with architecture older than 50 years.

Due to Havana's almost five hundred-year existence, the city boasts some of the most diverse styles of architecture in the world, from castles built in the late 16th century to modernist present-day high-rises. The present condition of many buildings in Havana has deteriorated since the 1959 Revolution. Numerous collapses have resulted in injuries and deaths due to a lack of maintenance and crumbling structures.

Neoclassical

Neoclassism was introduced into the city in the 1840s, at the time including Gas public lighting in 1848 and the railroad in 1837. In the second half of the 18th century, sugar and coffee production increased rapidly, which became essential in the development of Havana's most prominent architectural style. Many wealthy Habaneros took their inspiration from the French; this can be seen within the interiors of upper class houses such as the Aldama Palace built in 1844. This is considered the most important neoclassical residential building in Cuba and typifies the design of many houses of this period with portales of neoclassical columns facing open spaces or courtyards.

In 1925 Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, the head of urban planning in Paris moved to Havana for five years to collaborate with architects and landscape designers. In the master planning of the city his aim was to create a harmonic balance between the classical built form and the tropical landscape. He embraced and connected the city's road networks while accentuating prominent landmarks. His influence has left a huge mark on Havana although many of his ideas were cut short by the great depression in 1929. During the first decades of the 20th century Havana expanded more rapidly than at any time during its history. Great wealth prompted architectural styles to be influenced from abroad. The peak of Neoclassicism came with the construction of the Vedado district (begun in 1859). This whole neighborhood is littered with set back well-proportioned buildings.

Colonial and Baroque

Riches were brought from the colonialists into and through Havana as it was a key transshipment point between the new world and old world. As a result, Havana was the most heavily fortified city in the Americas. Most examples of early architecture can be seen in military fortifications such as La Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana (1558–1577) designed by Battista Antonelli and the Castillo del Morro (1589–1630). This sits at the entrance of Havana Bay and provides an insight into the supremacy and wealth at that time.

Old Havana was also protected by a defensive wall begun in 1674 but had already overgrown its boundaries when it was completed in 1767, becoming the new neighbourhood of Centro Habana. The influence from different styles and cultures can be seen in Havana's colonial architecture, with a diverse range of Moorish architecture, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Roman. The San Carlos and San Ambrosio Seminary (18th century) is a good example of early Spanish influenced architecture. The Havana cathedral (1748–1777) dominating the Plaza de la Catedral (1749) is the best example of Cuban Baroque. Surrounding it are the former palaces of the Count de Casa-Bayona (1720–1746) Marquis de Arcos (1746) and the Marquis de Aguas Claras (1751–1775).

Art Deco and Eclectic

The first echoes of the Art Deco movement in Havana started in 1927, in the residential area of Miramar. The Edificio Bacardi (1930) is thought to be the best example of Art-deco architecture in the city and first tall Art Deco building as well, followed by the Hotel Nacional de Cuba (1930) and The Lopez Serrano building built in 1932 by Ricardo Mira inspired by the Rockefeller Center in New York City. The year 1928 marked the beginning of the reaction against the Spanish Renaissance style architecture, Art Deco started in the lush and wealthy suburbs of Miramar, Marianao, and Vedado.

The city's eclectic architectural sights begins in Centro Habana. The Central Railway Terminal (1912), and the Museum of the Revolution (1920) are example of Eclectic architecture.

Modernism

Many high-rise office buildings, and apartment complexes, along with some hotels built in the 1950s dramatically altered the skyline. Modernism, therefore, transformed much of the city and is known its individual buildings of high quality rather than its larger key buildings. Examples of the latter are Habana Libre (1958), which before the revolution was the Havana Hilton Hotel and La Rampa movie theater (1955).

Due to the economic crisis, the city displays destroyed buildings, but many of them, located on its main avenues, have received modest renovations which create a phenomenal colorful look. 

This is because the Cubans like to be one of a kind. So since ancient times, houses have been built with different styles and if they look similar, so they are painted in different colors. This makes Havana a colorful city.

We invite you all to visit this beautiful city on a classic convertible car, where you can see a peculiar Havana from all points of view.

Tours on convertible classic car in Havana

Source Wikipedia [Havana]

Tours in Havana city

Tours in Havana city

Havana is a beautiful touristic destination. Havana is warm and welcoming. Its streets, buildings, old cabriolet American cars and urban style appear like the city stopped in time.

One of the most attractive pastimes is riding on a classic convertible American car. Just put the top down and you’ll feel and enjoy better the city’s architecture and its charming crowd.

Visiting Havana today is popular and it is included as main destination for many Caribbean cruisers line. 

Our agency offers a special tour from Havana cruise terminal 

In this tour tourists can visit many areas in Havana city. This is a Havana shore excursion in classic cars. This tour is perfect to introduce visitors to Cuban people, their culture and way of life. This tour is OFAC compliant. This tour almost covers the all about Havana city. Classic car tours are the best way to experience Havana and all it has to offer! 

We also pick-up tourists in Hotels and private accommodations, known as "casa particular". We offer English and French guide service and the cost is separate from our regular tours’ cost.

Check our tours list and prices here:

http://www.oldcartours.com/classic_car_tours_in_cuba

Havana's old cars is like traveling in time machine

Havana's old cars is like traveling in time machine

Old cars and urban style in Cuba appear like traveling in time machine. There are more than 60,000 classic American cars in Cuba. Most of them remain with original parts, which are brought mainly from the US. These vehicles are locally known as “Yank Tank” or “maquinas”, you may find many around the country.

Among other brands you'll find Chevrolet, Ford, Buick, and in less quantity Cadillac, Mercury, Dodge, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Chrysler and Plymouth; also some classic European automobiles like Opel, Citroën, and MG.

Classic American cars in Cuba use both diesel and gasoline as fuel and their engines can be V-8 or 6 cylinders in-line.

Old Car Tours offers cars with drivers and tours in Havana and Varadero. All our tours are OFAC compliant. They can be considered within the category of "Educational people to people travel" because you are interacting with Cuban people, their culture, religion and society.

You can see all our tours and prices here:
There are all kind of convertible cars in Havana

There are all kind of convertible cars in Havana

Cuban people are good making solutions. We transform or adapt any car in order to keep then working. There is a model of Fiat made in Poland, that Cubans call it as "Polsky". So, here you have a convertible version of this old car from the 80´s.

There are thousand of Fiat Polsky (Fiat type 126) in Cuba. Nowadays these are very popular because of they consume just a few gasoline (small engines). It may be a problem their limit room but Cuban people don't tend to be big size, so it is a comfortable car for the family.

Some history from Wikipedia


The 126 used much of the same mechanical underpinnings and layout as its Fiat 500 rear-engined predecessor with which it shared its wheelbase, but featured an all new bodyshell resembling a scaled-down Fiat 127, also enhancing safety.

The front footwells, suspension, battery and spare wheel left little room for luggage in the 126 front trunk.

Engine capacity was increased from 594 cc to 652 cc at the end of 1977 when the cylinder bore was increased from 73.5 to 77 mm.[5] Claimed power output was unchanged at 23 hp (17 kW), but torque was increased from 39 N⋅m (29 lb⋅ft) to 43 newton metres (32 lb⋅ft).[5] The 594 cc engines were still available in early 1983 production.

A subsequent increase took the engine size to 704 cc in new "restyling" model Fiat 126 Bis (1987–1991), with 26 hp (19 kW) of motive power.

Fiat 126 (second from left) at the Auto Italia, Stanford Hall, 2010

In Italy, the car was produced in the plants of Cassino and Termini Imerese until 1979. By this time 1,352,912 of the cars had been produced in Italy.

The car was also produced under licence by Zastava in Yugoslavia.

Despite clever marketing, the 126 never achieved the frenzied popularity of the 500 in Western Europe. The total number of 126 produced is: 1,352,912 in Italy, 3,318,674 in Poland, 2,069 in Austria, and an unknown number in Yugoslavia. For a brief period in the early 1990s, a German company called POP also offered convertible versions of the 126 BIS. Two models were offered: a lesser equipped one called the "POP 650" and a more luxurious model called the "POP 2000".

Old car tours in Havana