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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Cuba Independent. February 1 to 22nd. (1 Viewer)


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I Will visit Cuba from February 1 to 22nd.

Previously, I wanted to visit the Bahamas and Jamaica, but first I skipped the Bahamas because you need to go across Miami. Later, I skip Jamaica because it’s easier to go from Miami.

The big problem is transport. Accommodation is easy.

Transport can be problematic because not always you can buy petrol. Also, there are people that arrive at the airport, and the car doesn’t exist. Others have cars. But if you have a car, petrol can be a problem or not; you never know.

I will stay 21 days in Cuba, making one relaxing trip that only for birding you can do in 7 days.

Going independent has a good probability of getting stuck in some place, maybe waiting for hours to move. It seems that it’s not guaranteed to cover 200 km in one day by public transport. Also for Cubans, not mention for non-Spanish speakers.

Renting one car is the easier option for independent birders; then you can clean up all birds in 7 days, but there is the option that the car doesn’t exist, plus the problem of the petrol.

I will book in advance some transport for some days.

Main cost is transport, accommodation and food, it’s cheap.

Any interested people can send me one email to [email protected]


Eugeni, try to stay in casas particulares. They were the only places I found where it was possible to get decent food. The food in hotels and restaurants was the worst I have experienced anywhere in the world, I'm sorry to say.
Agreed about staying in casas particulares.

We used Angel @ Bay of Pigs / Playa Larga. Our impression was guiding was mandatory. He was a very kind man and a great guide and we enjoyed our time with him. The rest we did all ourselves.

When I went (10 yrs ago or so now) our car rental worked fine and petrol was no problem. Our two logistical issues 1) were arriving to the site for the Giant Kingbird and the rundown accommodation was not prepared and literally didn’t have enough food to feed us and 2) struggling to change money in a smaller town, we ended up driving some distance to another town to do so.

Trinidad was a highlight, going out to eat and enjoying live music was awesome there.
We visited this past Nov and fuel was definitely a problem. Rental cars get priority, but I'd still want to review availability with car agency.
US citizens can only stay at private homes (most if not all nice hotels are gov owned).
The country and the people were delightful!

Renting one car is the easier option for independent birders; then you can clean up all birds in 7 days, but there is the option that the car doesn’t exist, plus the problem of the petrol.


Hi Eugeni,

I ask myself: are you asking advice on transport, or are you arguing (rightly) that the complicated transport situation should convince people to join you on this trip (as you will arrange it, and transport really is the major hassle)?

If you were asking advice, all I can say is that rental cars are expensive and chances are high you get a half-broken car (or as you say, no car)!
My own experience is we got the smallest ugly little car that had clear signs of use everywhere inside and outside, and it was about 3 times as expensive as a rental in Europe (or 5 times more expensive than any rental in e.g. Brazil), and the way of making a reservation for the car looked cumbersome (but turned out to work fine, in the end).

Check my report for details: https://www.cloudbirders.com/be4/download?filename=DETEMMERMAN_Cuba_1201_20182019.pdf

With regards to filling up the tank: while you can drive a long way around Cuba, you still shouldn't fill up more than 2-3 times. So check beforehand where you can fill up (search 'cupet' on google maps and stations will magically pop up!), and make a kml of those locations, and fill up (even half full) whenever you pass a station.

I remember I filled up here: CUPET de la Cujae, La Habana · 2HXJ+98P, La Habana, Cuba (ring road around the capital) and I tried to fill up in Playa Larga, but they weren't having any (or there wasn't even a gas station? I don't remember), so I had to drive all the way to Playa Giron: Novafarma Girón · 3X98+5XV, Playa Girón, Cuba
Later I filled up here: Cupet en Cayo Coco · GJ5M+32H, Cuba on the way to the Cayos, and the last time I filled up somewhere near Havana (maybe the same station as in the beginning).

ps: what Josh said about guiding in Playa Larga: yes, they are mandatory, that is, in the Parque nacional. While there must be spots to circumvent the Parque and still see all targets, the most convenient / efficient spots are in the Parque.
The going rate this past Nov, was around $100US for car+driver/day (private car).
Many fuel stations were closed and those that were not, had long lines of cars waiting.

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