The Original Uber Pool X..
A car filled with strangers, unpredictable routes, casually dropping and picking up passengers. While you sit- crossing your fingers in hopes you'll eventually reach your destination.
One thing you’ll definitely experience in Cuba, are the Taxi Colectivo’s - a shared local taxi service that can take you across the country (literally).
Is it reliable? No
Is it safe? Still not sure
Is it comfortable? Not at all
Are in for one hellaofa ride? Oh yeah
Imagine yourself in a Violet 1950 Chevrolet Belair, bright pink leather seats, no seatbelts, manual operating windows; your backpack loosely strapped on the roof, knees to your chest as you’re squeezed between 8 other bodies. 6 hours of travel time- no air con... That should scream adventure, and it was.
You’ll quickly learn Cuba’s local transportation is one big hitchhike. As you drive along the ‘highway,’ Cubanos are waving 10 pesos in the air trying to attract the attention of the driver. With no warning, the driver will stop, pick up the passenger until his car is filled. Who needs the Uber app ?
It’s the OG Uber Pool; expect you don’t know anything about the route, driver, other passengers, or even price. Just hop on and hope for the best. OH and occasionally the driver will stop in the middle of the road to pick the fruit trees, throwing a few mangos your way. Talk about wild ride.
As you drive along the highway- (and if you’re lucky to score a window seat) the views are just magnificent. Vast green fields, fruit filled trees.. - you’d forget that you’re sweating, dehydrated, need to use the WC, and have heard 'YO NECESETO VACASONES' 100 and 10 times.
However, don’t get lost daydreaming! The Taxi Colectivo's are the most common and easiest ways to get scammed! And note- unless you are Cuban, it WILL most likely happen to you. Regardless of your AP Spanish or native tongue skills. Not Cuban, No Cuban prices.
SO HERE are some tips for you mastermind the Colectivo Clan
Don’t ask for the price before you hop in. They’ll try to charge you a ridiculous price and you’ll end up going nowhere
Note: usually it’s 10 – 20(CUP) national peso per local ride (that’s not even a dollar)
Have exact change when paying- they A. don't have change or B. won't give it to you
Avoid using colectivo’s in front of a luxury hotel, museum, and tourist spots- you’ll be paying triple
Find a travel buddy maybe even two- usually the price can go a few pesos down
Pay at the END of your ride- if they ask you before, something fishy‘s going to happen. Trust me.
Rides from city to city are pricy. Unfortunately. ( ie.Havana to Viñales ) $25-40, depends on luck
Avoid hiring a Colectivo through your Casa Particulars.. as sweet as they are, they’re all in it together and will make commission off you
If your destination is a more popular stop, ask to be dropped off the street before to avoid higher pricing
Befriend your driver- if you’ll need a ride back from the beach ask him to take you back - instead of grabbing a new ride, with a much higher price
And finally-SAY LESS. Keep your price to yourself- especially when you’re on a long ride. Each passenger has a different price.. and if one figures out you paid less…. Oh things can heated.. Trust Pt. II. Sometimes you’ll be lucky and sometimes you won’t.
Have you seen my CUBA video?! check it out xx
THE MODERN PILGRIM