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Old April 23rd, 2008, 06:44 PM   #1
DanielFigFoz
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Cuban Motorways & Roads| Autovías y Calles en Cuba

CUBAN ROADS

Cuban Roads Statistics
total: 60,858 km
paved: 29,820 km (including 638 km of expressway)
unpaved: 31,038 km (1999 est.)

Carretera Central

The Carretera Central is the main motorway in Cuba. The distance from end to end is about 1 200 km or 777 miles. It starts in the west at San Julian, Pinar del Río province to easter Cuba at Baracoa, Guantanamo.


Map of the Carretera Cental

Vía Blanca

The Vía Blanca runs from Havana/La Habana to Varadero via Matanzas. It's total lenth is 138km.


Bacunayagua Bridge, the highest bridge in Cuba


Map of the Vía Blanca

Last edited by DanielFigFoz; October 3rd, 2009 at 05:26 PM.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 06:56 PM   #2
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I really can't wait until we can legally visit Cuba. Get rid of the embargo already.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 07:04 PM   #3
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I saw on some travelling programme that Cuban roads are quite similar to North Korean ones: empty! I thought they have a few highways, but that petrol is way to expensive for most Cubans. I hope this situation will improve soon.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 08:19 PM   #4
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Some of that main motorway is visible on Google Earth, but much of the country is in such a state of physical decay, even ruin, and the current regime considers it to be 'counter-revolutionary' for anyone to want to improve one's own lot in life, and the lack of traffic is almost a side observation.

I will be interesting indeed to see how things will evolve there once the Castro Brothers are gone and forgotten, what it will cost and other potential economic and political changes might be in the offing once the island returns to the first world, where it most certainly was before 1959 (the tyrannical dictator Fulgencio Batista notwithstanding).

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Old April 23rd, 2008, 08:23 PM   #5
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Cuba is actually a wellknown destination in Europe for vintage type trips.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 09:08 PM   #6
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Could someone post any pics
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 09:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon Kruijk View Post
I saw on some travelling programme that Cuban roads are quite similar to North Korean ones: empty! I thought they have a few highways, but that petrol is way to expensive for most Cubans. I hope this situation will improve soon.
They are not so empty like in North Korea (as seen on some pictures), but they are still practically devoid of traffic by western standards (or Asian). They are pretty similar in construction to US freeways, however pretty much in decaying state. Line markings are mostly nonexistent, that's true also for any type of signs. This means no signs for cities on exits and interchanges, only signs counting km's to Havana are pretty common. Potholes on otherwise wide freeways are common (driving on 4+4 laned long straight and empty freeway is veeery boring), at least medians are nicely maintained. Only modern freeway (actually tollway) for Cuban standards is from Varadero to Varadero airport - actually low quality expressway for western standards, at least without potholes and with road markings and signs.

Gasoline is pretty expensive, it reaches almost European prices (with monthly labor payments around 20€). Black market is therefore in full swing.
However I've been there almost 5 years ago, probably situation improved slightly since. Ofcourse, vintage cars are everywhere and it is a joy to ride in '51 Buicks and other beauties. Some pictures from 2003, showing freeway to Pinar del Rio, supposedly the most recent Cuban freeway.
Reststop area on freeway (sorry for bad scan):


Notice absence of any kind of road equipment:


State-owned vehicles (blue licence plates) must stop and pick up waiting passengers, if they're not full:


Proof, that there is more traffic than in North Korea (5 vehicles nearby):


While traffic is very low, it can be all kinds of:


I don't have pictures of other freeways, although I traveled most of them. Those shown are from (in my opinion) most picturesque one. Main 6-8 laned freeway Havana-Santa Clara (and beyond) is mostly flat and really boring.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 09:32 PM   #8
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Been in Cuba a couple of years ago. Particularly in town, there is enough traffic. Outside, it's less. The restrictions on movement for Cubans play a role there, but also the price of petrol. Taking the bus is considered luxury for intercity transport. Most Cubans hitch a ride with a car or onto an open truck. What you do see on Cuban roads is slow local traffic: tractors, bikes, etc.

I have never been in North Korea, but my feeling is that there is much more traffic in Cuba than there is in North Korea. Texts about and photos of North Korean roads always suggest complete emptyness. Cuban intercity roads are busier than, say, a road in the Australian outback.

Couple of pictures of my 2005 trip:
Autopista Nacional, not anything like your everyday motorway


Minor roads around Trinidad.



Tunnel under Havana harbour:


Road signs "old style"




Newer style road signs. Still, signage remains quite scarce in Cuba. When trying to find your way as a foreigner, you're more or less forced to take a local hitcher to get you to your destination.



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Old April 23rd, 2008, 09:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriszwolle View Post
Cuba is actually a wellknown destination in Europe for vintage type trips.
Hehe it is also a common winter getaway in Canada.
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 10:54 PM   #10
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Interesting the signs are very similar to Spanish ones, in fact the in-city ones are exactly the same.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #11
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How long is this tunnel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Pino- View Post

Tunnel under Havana harbour:
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Old April 24th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #12
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All great pics, thanks! In this travelling programme I also saw that hitchhiking is one of the most important means of transport. Is that true?
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Old April 24th, 2008, 09:02 PM   #13
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@Realek, 733 meters (says Wikipedia)

@Timon, Sure is. As I said above, most people cannot afford the petrol or even bus transport, so the only option remaining for intercity transport is hitching. When driving around, you're sure to come across many people trying to hitch a ride with you. At the outskirts of the cities, there are special hitching spots where people gather trying to get transport. There are so many people there that government officials have been appointed to bring drivers and hitchers with the same destinations together and also to make sure that the people who have been waiting longest get their turn.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 12:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
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These signs are the same in my city (Santander,Spain)
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Old April 25th, 2008, 01:51 AM   #15
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Some more pics from Flickr:

by hitchhikingfreeloader:
image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

by giuanno:
image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

by Robin Thom:
image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

accident:
image hosted on flickr

public transport, as mentioned:
image hosted on flickr

bonus:
by hitchhikingfreeloader:
image hosted on flickr
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Old April 25th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Pino- View Post

These signs are also used in the majority of cities in Spain! Same shape, same typeface, same colours, same symbols.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #17
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I like the photos i love cuba, it s so vivid!
Why do they need such big roads?
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Old April 25th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #18
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I've heard public transport in Havana is served by some sort of trucks rather than buses.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #19
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True.
For 300 people:
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Old April 25th, 2008, 05:37 PM   #20
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Interesting way of transportation. Hitch hiking, odd busses/trucks and older cars. I wonder what those people on the side of the road were holding up.

Overall Cuba looks like a pretty safe country from what I've seen in these pictures.
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