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Manzanillo

There are 4 of us headed down to Manzanillo on Dec 25th for 1 week, but we like to get off the resort and do alot of exploring.
Does anyone know if it is possible to rent a car in the area
of the resort Marea Del Portillo. We are staying at this resort and
were hoping we didn’t have to go all the way back to Manzanillo for a car rental. Also, does anyone know if we can exchange money at the hotel. It appears to be a really remote location.
Thanks for any input anyone can give us. Pat

Without a reservations I doubt very much you’ll find a rental car available anywhere in Cuba over the holidays. Good luck.

Hopefully GT will see this soon, Gail is the best one to ask about car rentals and off resort exploring in the Manzanillo area.
Yooohooooooo Gail…lol… :smiley:

Jethro, if you were at this resort last Jan, do you recall if they
had car rental at the resort?
Also, were you able to exchange any money at the resort?

Pat, as martin said it maybe impossible to get a car over the christmas holidays…but yes you can rent a car at the hotel…if they have any. See Santiago …he is the car rental guy just in from the lobby and yes you can exchange money at the hotel too. It will cost you a little more to exchange it there though as I think they charge an extra 3%.
Hey have a look for my friend Steve he is going down with about 20 family members…Im sure he can hook you up with Santiago…if not Im sure he could hook you up with one of the cowboys so you could at least get a horse !!!
Have a fantastic time…I sent you a P.M with the email address. Let us know what you thought of the place once your back…Merry Christmas

Yes, there are car rentals available. There is a desk just past the front lobby where you can arrange your rental.

There is a caution however - this area of Cuba is fairly remote and the roads are not the best. If you are interested in exploring in the mountains, do NOT take your own vehicle, but hire a driver for the day.

There are a couple of taxi drivers who are happy to take you. If necessary, they will arrange a 4x4 - you pay the taxi rate plus the driver’s lunch, but depending on how many people are splitting the cost, it is often cheaper (definitely smarter and safer) than a tour or a car rental, and you can still go where you want.

To go in the mountains, take the Jeep Tour - it is Great and well worth the money.

If you decide you want a driver, ask for William (Guillermo) or Fabio -

One of them took some friends of mine down the coast last year and they had a great time (I chose not to go). We also went to Bayamo a few years ago, where got the “local” tour, as well as lunch at a Cuban restaurant where 7 of us ate a 3-course meal for under $20 (yes, the total bill) plus the cost of drinks! I know that Fabio took a group climbing at Pico Torcino a couple of years ago.

If you do rent, drive safely, watch the speed limit at border crossings (there is one just past Mota) on the road to Santiago, and make sure you take a good map.

Thanks so much for your imput. We can hardly wait.
The roads don’t worry me - we rented a vehicle in DR last year and went
from S. Domingo west to the Haiti border and S to the very tip of DR -
great trip. It is helpful to have a local guide - otherwise you
may miss the most interesting spots. Thanks for the referrals, we’ll look them up.

OK - but the road west of Chivirico is non-existant. There were some pics of it a while ago (on this site I think), but I can’t find them. Hurricane Denis washed out the bridge and road three years ago. Neither has been repaired. So, if you are thinking of driving the coastal highway, which is beautiful, you MUST have a 4x4 to go past the washout.

For sure use the services of Fabio.
His English is A1 and he knows the area well.
We took a tour of Niquero and even caught a few innings of a provincial Cuban baseball game. Havana Capital team was playing the local team. :sunglasses:

Hollydog and Jethro have it right on: Fabio is the greatest

If you love driving Cuba and all its bad roads and cows and goats and trucks and poor signage and diesel fumes, (ahh, I can smell them now …), this area is among the best

The bridge on the coast road to Santiago de Cuba is broken, but not impassable – We crossed last spring, summer and again in September in a little Hyundai (no jeeps available)
We judged it to be less dangerous than the "detour"
You’ll have to make the call when you get there

I have PM’d you a couple of email addresses to help secure a reservation for a car, if possible

As for changing money, follow Meredita’s advice: at the airport when you arrive; at the hotel front desk 24/7; and there are banks and a Cadeca (if construction is finally finished) in Pilon, the nearest city

Have a great time!
Although more remote than other resort areas, this is our favourite corner of Cuba

[quote=@jackson3109]There are 4 of us headed down to Manzanillo on Dec 25th for 1 week, but we like to get off the resort and do alot of exploring.
Does anyone know if it is possible to rent a car in the area
of the resort Marea Del Portillo. We are staying at this resort and
were hoping we didn’t have to go all the way back to Manzanillo for a car rental. Also, does anyone know if we can exchange money at the hotel. It appears to be a really remote location.
Thanks for any input anyone can give us. Pat[/quote]
Hello Pat, I have been to Marea del Portillo 5 times, and spent a couple of days there last summer. My only complaint with the resort, is the food, but the staff are great and it is very relaxing.
I suggest you take in some of their day trips, the one to Bayamo is great, Santiago de Cuba, if they can get there on the bad road that goes from resort to Stg. There are trips into the Sierra Maestra, trail rides, used to be a trip to Granma Landing, or Granma Provincial Park, check it out, things change every year.

You are isolated, but take a walk into Marea del Portillo town and further into Mota, I have made wonderful friends in that area since my first trip there in 1996.

It is beautiful…You can get to Pilon by bike, stop at the Punta de Piedra hotel and check out the beach, it is nice there. There is snorkeling off a little island called Cayo Blanco, and they will take you to that island via small boat. There is enough to keep you occupied for a week, any longer than that gets pretty boring.

Say hello to Elena from Janet from Vancouver (she is a travel rep and very helpful person working at the resort).

Have fun, I love the place, so you can’t really go wrong there.

Janet