The RV lifestyle is a global phenomenon as indicated by the fact a handful of tour companies offer RV travel in far-away and exotic locales including Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
But, perhaps, the most exotic is the opportunity to tour Cuba in a rented Class C motorhome.
Because of its Communist government, it is illegal for Americans to spend money in Cuba. But that has not stopped Canadians and Europeans from investing to transform Cuba into a popular tourist destination since the Cold War ended a little more than 10 years ago.
It is a Canadian tour company, MacQueen’s Island Tours, which along with an Italian partner, has offered motorhome rentals in Cuba for a little over a year.
So far, about 90% of MacQueen’s customers visiting Cuba are Americans who, first, travel to Canada for either commercial or charter flights to Cuba.
And, it’s no big secret. MacQueen’s recently advertised in the Wall Street Journal encouraging people to call (800) WOW CUBA. Information about travel to Cuba, including touring the island in a Class C motorhome, also can be obtained by visiting the company’s website, www.macqueens.com.
The Class C’s available for rental in Cuba are built by Italy’s Rimor on a Mercedes-Benz chassis with a turbo diesel engine and manual transmission.
There are 20 campgrounds around Cuba with the necessary hookups, according to MacQueen’s. Some are located along secluded beaches while others are a part of tourist hotel properties.
In addition to the tropical climate, Cuba’s allure comes from the fact that time has virtually stood still since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. That also means caravanning in Cuba is very different from an RV trip to Florida. Cuba’s roads often are congested with people, slow-moving vehicles and farm animals, so it’s wise to allow extra time to reach destinations, according to the Canadian tour company.
Also, there are almost no directional signs along the roads and highways, so getting lost is inevitable and some ability to speak Spanish is needed to get help from people along the way.
To get around the prohibition against spending U.S. currency in Cuba, many Americans get credit cards issued by non-U.S. banks. But Americans can use credit cards issued by American banks to pay MacQueens for their visit to Cuba and U.S. bank-issued credit cards can be used at the MacQueens office in Havana.