Experience Cuba in a classic car.

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. 

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.

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.

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.