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Hire a taxi driver in Cuba: the YoTeLlevo experience

Hiring a taxi driver at YoTeLlevo is something special. You’re not hiring a driver, you are making a friend who has a taxi and can be your driver -even when you have to pay.

It’s no secret visiting a foreign country is not something you should take lightly. It requires preparation, you have to plan your accomodation, foods, transportation, and other needs you’ll sure have.

Yeah, you’re really busy the moments you’re making sure nothing is left out, not only for you, but maybe for your family too (a teenage daughter? ayayay).

What if we could help you in one thing? Here at YoTellevo we’ve designed a way to help you in the transportation part. But not just any way.

We’ve designed a way that helps you find a good driver for your travel to Cuba -be it a transfer or a tour- and we let you get to meet him or her before you arrive in the island. We do that by connecting  you with three different taxi drivers to have a conversation via email so that you can arrange every detail. In the end you hire the one you think is best.

Our drivers are regular Cuban people who happen to own a car and are in the bussiness of taxi for tourism. You might exchange emails with an accountant, or a fisherman, a musician or a retired pilot.

What you get out of these conversations is what we call the YoTeLlevo experience: you hire a taxi driver that’s going to ride you in your trip, but you also make a friend.

Dan and family meet our drivers

Just to have an idea of what might happen, let’s suppose you are Dan and you are traveling with your wife Lisa and daughter Olivia to Cuba. You find out about YoTeLlevo and are willing to try the service.

You’d like to hire a taxi to transfer you and your family from Havana Airport to your hotel in Varadero. You go to the site and create a travel request online.


Origin-Destination: Aeropuerto José Martí | Havana – Varadero
Date: March 10, 2015 (Tuesday)
Pax: 3
Details: I’m traveling with wife and daughter and would like to go directly from Havana Airport to our hotel in Varadero.


That’s it: 3 drivers just got notified with your request.

At this point I have to tell you that our drivers are independent so they’ll give you different quotes. Also they have their own agenda, and some of them might not be available. But with 3 drivers there’s always a good chance that at least two are interested.

You and your family get a response from 2 of the drivers (the other one? you might be arriving on her birthday). So two emails arrive to your inbox:

Pedro - taxi driver
Hi, I’m Pedro and I’m available for the trip you request. I can take you from Havana Airport to Varadero for 80 CUC.

Cheers, Pedro

 

Mario - taxi driver
Hello Sir or Madam:

First of all a greeting and thank you for your communication with us. About your request of transfer from Havana Airport to Varadero, the price is 90.00 CUC. Thanks again.

Sincerely,

Mario

The next time you open your inbox you see these emails and start evaluating the prices. You conclude they are affordable, and after some thinking you decide on Mario because even when the price is a little bit higher, he seems more formal and appropriate for you. You reply:

Hi Mario,

We accept your offer to drive us to Varadero for 90 CUC. We arrive on Sunwing Flight # WG680 from Toronto at 9:50 AM.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Dan Scott

It takes Mario some time to respond, because he might not be able to be connected to his email all day. The response comes the next day.

Mario - taxi driver
Hi Mr. Scott, sorry for the delay.

Yes, I’ll sure be there on time. Don’t you worry. I’ll wait for you at the Airport exit with a poster reading ‘Dan Scott & family’. Should we confirm the transfer a few days before the date arrives?

Sincerely, Mario

You reply:

Hi Mario, it’s not necessary to confirm. We’ll be waiting for you and looking for the poster when we arrive. That’s for sure.

Everything keeps going as usual for you. You and Lisa keep planning your trip (Olivia is too busy telling ALL of her friends how much she’ll miss them for two weeks). There are still many things to cope with, but you feel like maybe at least your arrival is going to be different to previous visits, when you had to negotiate your transfer the instant you arrived (and you didn’t enjoy it).

The day before you depart from your country heading Cuba, you get an email from Mario:

Mario - taxi driver
Hi Mr. Scott,

I whish you and your family a nice flight. See you tomorrow.

Mario

This surprises you. Will he actually be waiting us? Now you are feeling like you have a friend in Cuba already, someone you know who is waiting for you -and you haven’t arrived yet. You feel confident and relaxed this time. Looks like the arrival is going to be hassle-free. If he doesn’t show up, you’re simply going to do what you always do: negotiate fares.

The next day when you arrive in the airport, pick up your luggage and head to the exit, you divise a poster with ‘Dan Scott & family’ at the distance. You approach to it. When you get closer, the person holding the poster sees you coming:

Mario:
Hi, Dan Scott??

Dan:
Yeah, you must be Mario, our driver.

Mario:
Yes I am. Nice to meet you in person. And these must be Lisa and Olivia… did you flight well??…

And so on. After fast introductions you go to the car that is waiting just outside. Mario helps you with the luggage and opens the door for Lisa and Olivia to get in the car. You get in the car too and Mario starts the engine. The car starts going.

Mario:
So, the flight was a little bit delayed…

And so starts a friendly conversation with you all, about the weather, what you’re planing to do in Cuba and how Olivia is going to enjoy Varadero so much.

Even when it takes you 2.30 hrs to reach your hotel at Varadero, you feel like time went flying. You’ve learned a bit about Cuba from Mario’s point of view and you’ve even written down some recomendations of foods to taste and places to visit. Your visit to Cuba is becoming increasingly interesting.

You decide you’re going to call Mario some days later for a tour to Havana you’ve been longing to do. Olivia is happier because she’s going to meet sooo many YOUNG people in Havana now.

To make the story short, let’s just say that you end up having a great tour to Havana with Mario, and again you feel you spent your money worthly.

You don’t see Mario again that vacation, but you keep his contact info for future ocassions since he’s been an awesome driver: he introduced you into yuca con mojo and it was yummy, but chicharrones was too fatty for you. (Edit: It’s a shame you didn’t try both foods together. It’s delicious).

How nice was that?

Now, you might argue that your trip was great not because of YoTeLlevo. You’re right, YoTeLlevo simply helped you find a driver. But the driver did put some hours of sparkle in your trip.

Even when the driver was the star, we do believe that having the opportunity to meet someone before arriving in the island and have him or her wait for you and give you the first instructions really helps in giving shape to your trip. If that person can ride you to your hotel, better yet.

On the other hand, if you know the major transportation costs in advance, you’ll be able to plan your budget better, which gives you confidence and happiness. Our drivers can help you with that too.

Anticipation to the costs of taxi rides, directions on how to better spend your time and an interesting and full of stories Cuban person to talk to is what you can expect from the drivers you’ll find at YoTeLlevo.

Need more? Just imagine what a friend can do for you.

5 thoughts on “Hire a taxi driver in Cuba: the YoTeLlevo experience”

  1. Hi there, this is Martin, the writer of this blog.

    Many people get here and decide to ask for a quote about a trip they want to do with a driver with car here in Cuba, with friends and family most of the time.

    It is very understandable to use the comments on this post to do that request.

    I write here to point you out that we have a website to accomplish just that: http://yotellevocuba.com

    There you will be able to contact some drivers who operate here in the island and arrange your trips directly with them.

    We have drivers all around the island, with capacity for small and large groups, so go ahead and create any request there and you’ll be in touch with people who live here and own a car that you can use for your trips (with them as drivers).

    Good luck, and thank you for reading.

    1. Hi Scott, thanks for your request.

      We have a website to contact drivers operating here in Cuba. It is this: http://yotellevocuba.com/en

      Anyway, since your trip is in a few days, I think you better try to contact a driver directly by sending a message from their profiles.

      I can recomend these:

      Roberto

      Ernesto

      Diego

      Osvaldo

      Ricardo

      You can also create a request on the website and receive quotes from other drivers too. Go ahead and use the website as you please.

      Thanks again and have a happy trip to Cuba!

  2. I would.like to hire a taxi on February 9 to take me and my wife from the Viking Cruise ship to Trinidad and back . What would that cost.

    1. Hi Bill, thanks for your question.

      You don’t mention where the ship is arriving, so I will try to be as broad as possible.

      If your intent is to go from Havana to Trinidad on a daytrip (go and back the same day), it is impossible to do it as the ride to Trinidad is about 4 hrs in taxi, so 8 hrs total on the roads. Not recommended.

      Ships also arrive in Cienfuegos, which is about 1.30 hrs from Trinidad, and in this case it is possible to do it.

      We have a website to contact taxi drivers directly, which is https://yotellevocuba.com/en. You can create a request there, though I can also recommend a couple drivers who live in Cienfuegos in case your ship arrives in Cienfuegos:

      Clement
      Jorge Luis

      Go ahead and ask them directly and they will give you their prices.

      Hope you have a nice trip to Cuba next February!

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