To get around Cuba, you can choose to travel by car or to take up one of the road-based, flexible public transport options that are available. There are many different ways to get around on the island and how exactly you choose to travel will of course depend on your budget as well as your preferences. Generally speaking, the options that you might describe as 'touristy' will be more expensive than the transportation options used by locals, so getting to know some locals and some of the local language will definitely stand you in good stead and save you money on transportation while you are in Cuba. Here is a guide to some of your transportation options when travelling independently on the island:
One novel way to get around, especially in the tourist areas, is to hire the services of a bicitaxi, a sort of pedalled three-wheeled contraption that allows you to get around in style while someone else does the hard work of propelling you along. This is a great way to see everyday life on Cuba and is one of the cheapest ways to get around in old Havana and the historic hearts of other Cuban towns and cities. The drivers are usually relaxed and friendly and happy to show you around, sometimes even giving impromptu guided tours if the mood takes them. A bicitaxi can really give you great value for money.
Taxi & Limo Service:
If you do not want to drive yourself in a strange country but would still like flexibility about where you go and when then you may wish to use taxi, or even limo services if you are looking for a bit of luxury. There are government taxis that will take you from A to B from taxi ranks in each town, though if you want to do a long distance trip it is best to arrange it ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Since the laws on private business were relaxed, many individuals in Cuba have also set themselves up as taxi drivers. These rides can be variable in terms of comfort but drivers will be available for individual rides from one resort or city to another and can also be hired for a period of time or for the whole day to give you a tour around certain sections of the island. The other benefit of these private taxis is that you also often get to travel in one of Cuba's classic cars. Fortunately for those on a budget, even if you are not travelling in a group you can often share a taxi with other travellers, making this an excellent low-cost way to get around and perhaps even a way to get to know some fellow travellers or locals. This is a mass rideshare scheme from which other countries should learn.
Another transport option around Cuba are the Almendron, classic 1950's cars that act like buses which take fixed routes between neighborhoods. Independent travelers and backpackers often find these are one of cheapest ways to get around within the cities. Though they are on a fixed route, they will stop on demand. It may take a while to get to your destination, but you will definitely see a slice of Cuban Culture and a large portion of everyday life along the way.
At the other end of the scale, those for whom money is no object can hire a limo to take them where they want to go in style.