CC Taxi Ride: A Cuban Fiberglass Half Coconut

While in Cuba we had to take a ride on a home grown peculiar vehicle known as a Coco taxi. They are named this as they alleged look like half a coconut. They look vaguely egg shaped to me but “sort of egg shaped taxi” does not exactly roll of the tongue like Coco taxi does. These are a rickshaw type vehicle that are meant to offer a more economical taxi service as well as a bit of a tourist draw.

These little three wheelers are quite popular in tourist towns and despite similar colouring are not owned by a central company but rather by enterprising individuals who set their own rates. The costs are in theory lower but pricing in practice seemed to be a bit randomly calculated.

The body shell is fiberglass with a scooter derived drive train. The online resources say they have optional pedals but we did not notice any. Many, if not all, had a distinct two stroke sound to them. They are varied a bit with either two or three seats behind the driver as well as details like wheels and mirrors but the body shells appeared to be all the same from what we saw.

Both the UK and Canadian governments due not recommend travel in these Coco taxis due to their poor safety record so we choose to take our ride in the more relaxed atmosphere of Varadero rather than Havana. The hard seats were not very comfortable and the ride was a little choppy. The engine was a rather noisy unit and my butt dyno seemed to indicate 50km/h or 30 mph was about maximum speed.

These Coco taxis apparently originated in Havana when the tourist trade was re-launched in the 1990s. Yellow was to indicate that it was for use by tourists while black or blue was for locals only. We only saw the yellow ones as I suspect there is no local only designation anymore with recent governmental reforms.

Despite it being rather loud we enjoyed our ride in a Coco taxi as it was an almost convertible car or motorcycle feeling with being out in the wind. I was glad to sample a locally produced Cuban automotive product as well as we missed out on the locally produced Giron buses.

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