Cyclists for Cultural Exchange
Ever ridden on a bamboo bike? Experience the beautiful tropical island guided by our local friends Ana-Beatriz, Roberto and some of their riding buddies to get a real feel for this fascinating country.
Cuba, February and March 2020
15 - 22 February 2020 (or extend to 25 Feb. with Havana add-on)
1 - 7 March 2020 (or extend to 10 Mar. with Havana add-on)
Eligibility: This trip is open to all cyclists.
Cost: $800 (double occupancy)
Havana add-on $500
10 nights, 11 days all-inclusive in Cuba (airfare and visa to and from Cuba is not included). Lodging, meals, water, taxi airport transfer. Rides are supported daily with a SAG vehicle, ride leader and mechanic on duty. Bike rental (Cuban-built bamboo mountain bikes) is $100 additional.
We will enjoy scenic rides through rolling farmlands. Along with our rides, we will swim in cenotes and rivers, have a pig roast at Ana's family country farm, have a "Cuban soup" picnic, and hike to the top of a limestone mountain. We will also visit renowned botanical gardens and have the option of sailing and snorkeling at Guardalavaca in the crystal-clear Atlantic warmed by the Gulf Stream.
This is a deep cultural immersion tour. Our accommodations are in local homes, and we will be enjoying local cuisine. On one evening, we will host a party with a live band and invite our local friends.
Some of the daily rides are paved and some are not. The terrain is not very hilly. Mountain bikes are ideal, especially if there’s mud. It can rain, but usually not for long and people are accustomed to providing shelter to travelers to wait out a downpour. The bamboo rental bikes are non-suspended and run 27.5″ x 2.5″ tires that are perfect for the terrain. Local riders get by with much less.
The weather is tropical. Daytime temps between 75-95 with thunder showers very likely. I do not bring sweaters but I carry a very light rain coat. Our Cuban cycling friends from previous rides will join us and offer insight and flavor to the experience.
Ana B. is our very able and wonderful hostess at Luz del Norte in Gibara. She and our local cycling friends will ride with us while in Gibara and out to Guardalavaca. Ana speaks Spanish, English, German and some Italian.
If you are an "A" rider, this will be a very gentle trip. If you are a "C" rider, it will be a little challenging but entirely doable. Basic requirement is that you be able to ride up to 40 miles for 2 days in a row.
See for yourself! View this slide show from our 2018 tour.
Itinerary (7 nights, 8 days)
Day 1, Sat, Feb 15: Arrive Holguin Airport (HOG). Lunch: Holguin or Gibara, depending on arrival time. Arrivals and bike fitting. Local rides around town. Program discussion. Dinner: Luz del Norte.
50 km | Map
Day 2, Sun, Feb 16: Ride to Caletones beach town (lunch). Excursion to Taugues and blue cenotes, return to Gibara. Dinner: Luz del Norte.
46 km | Map
Day 3, Mon, Feb 17: Ride to Cesar's bamboo bike shop. Country ride on small roads back to Gibara, Cave tour. Dinner: Restaurant in Gibara.
35 km | Map
Day 4, Tues, Feb 18: Excursion to Yabazon. Swimming in "Poso del Loro". Lunch: Picnic or restaurant nearby. Ride small roads back to Gibara. Dinner: Restaurant in Gibara.
50 km | Map
Day 5, Wed, Feb 19: Boat across bay, ride to Guardalavaca. Lunch: Along the route. Visit sites along the way (Park Bariay). Dinner: in Guardalavaca.
50 km | Map
Day 6, Thur, Feb 20: Ride to Memories Hotel (lunch). Visit Rock Azul Biopark. Dinner: in Guardalavaca.
20 km | Map
Day 7, Fri, Feb 21: Ride to Holguin. Lunch: Along the route. Enjoy nightlife in Holguin with live music. Dinner: "Don Santiago El Escapao" Cuban traditional food.
57 km | Map
Day 8, Sat, Feb 22: Depart. Lunch: in Holguin. Holguin city tour, craft shopping in La Marqueta market square. Dinner: TBA
15 km | Map
Optional trip to Havana
Day 8, Sat, Feb 22: Holguin to Havana. Lunch: in Havana. Walk Malecon. Dinner: in Havana.
Day 9, Sun, Feb 23: Tour, lunch and dinner in Havana. Daytime activity: TBA.
Day 10, Mon, Feb 24: Tour, lunch and dinner in Havana. Daytime activity: TBA.
Day 11, Tue, Feb 25: Departure.
Flight & visa tips
The arrival airport is Holguin (HOG). JetBlue and American have direct flights from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) and Miami (MIA), respectively. Copa Airlines has a direct flight from Panama, which can be less expensive and offers a chance for a visit to that country as well.
Going to Cuba is completely legal now for American citizens. You must purchase a tourist visa at the airport departure. Visas cost $50 at JetBlue (American Airlines may be $70 and Copa is around $30).
Procedure: Go to your exit gate and look for the desk in that area that sells Cuban visas. You must have proof of your return flight and your passport. For American citizens, select the People to People license on the affidavit. Cyclists for Cultural Exchange is the organization that will be responsible for meeting the requirements under the current rules as per the US Dept. of State.
Our address in Cuba: Casa Luz Del Norte, 69 Donato Marmol, Gibara, Cuba 82100.