One of the most enjoyable ways of getting around Cuban cities is the Coco Taxi. They are so called by the Cubans because they are almost spherical - like a giant coconut. Their plastic and fibreglass bodywork is formed into a shape that looks very round from the back and sides. This forms a protective canopy around the passengers.
You can pick up a Coco Taxi in almost any Cuban city. They tend to flock around the busy tourist areas because they are almost exclusively for the use of foreigners. A ten minute ride will cost you about 5 dollars. You can see hundreds of them in Havana. They are more reliable than the cycle-rickshaws, and far more affordable than regular car taxis.
Coco Taxis are powered by a 75cc two stroke petrol engine. This is the sort of engine you would normally find in a small motorbike. It’s not a powerful vehicle. It will slow down to a crawl up a steep hill, however it’s just right for zooming around the streets of your favourite tropical town. They have surprisingly good suspension – the ride is not what you call smooth, but certainly enjoyable.
The Coco Taxi can carry three people including the driver. It has three wheels and is steered in the same way as a motorbike. The passengers sit on a seat designed for two people at the back (shielded from the sun and the rain by the yellow plastic shell). The driver sits at the front.
Like the ‘Camel’ – it’s an example of creative engineering, so typical of the Cubans. What they lack in resources, the more than make up for in imagination and design.