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.
Eastern Cuba, Spring 2019
Dates: 25 March - 4 April 2019
Eligibility: This trip is exclusively open to CCE riders and the Santa Cruz County Cycle Club members and our friends until February 3.
After that, the currently 6 remaining spaces will be announced to all the cycle clubs in northern California and open to the public.
Cost: $1186.00 (double occupancy)
9 nights, 10 days all-inclusive in Cuba (air fare not included). Bike rental (Calfee Design Cuban-built bamboo mountain bikes), lodging, meals, water, taxi airport transfer. Rides are supported daily with a SAG vehicle, ride leader and mechanic on duty.
We will enjoy scenic rides through rolling farmlands. Along with our rides, we will swim in cenotes, have a pig roast at Ana's family country farm, swim in a river, 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 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. Daydtime 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 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.
Itinerary (9 nights, 10 days)
Monday March 25: Overnight Flights to Florida and onto Holguin
Tuesday March 26: All participants land in Holguin. Taxi to casa, bring group together, and explore Holguin
Wednesday March 27: Stay in Holguin, fit bikes at Jose’s garage? Sight see in Holguin
Thursday March 28: Ride to Gibara. 21.5 miles
Friday March 29: Ride to Caletones. Distance: Out and back 24 miles. Hike to and swim in cenotes. Evening: Early Fiesta in Plaza
Saturday March 30: Rest day or ride day, your choice we all get out to farm for pig roast. If you ride it is 40 miles out and back
Sunday March 31: Ride to river, have picnic and walk up to top of “mountain”. Distance: Out and back 35.5 miles
Monday April 1: Boat across bay to Guardalavaca , ride to lodging, to beach house is about 20-25 miles
Tuesday April 2: Rest day, beach day in Guardalavaca. Extra option of snorkeling or sailing to be arranged
Wednesday April 3: Ride back to Holguin. Distance: 39 miles. We can stop over at botanical gardens on the way into town
Thursday April 4: Departure. Breakfast only. Taxi to airport
Flight & visa tips
Organizer Chad's advice: Use Google flights to look up air transportation. All flights to Cuba go to Miami, Ft Lauderdale or Panama City, then on to Holguin. It can be confusing to book to Holguin. On some web sites you need to check multi-city, not round trip. Please be aware of your total flight time. Jet Blue, my favorite, is 30+ hours point-to-point from California. American Airlines has some 12-14 hour trips. And look at the return time also, there can be long layovers.
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 ). 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. This is required. 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 is Casa Luz Del Norte, 69 Donato Marmol, Gibara, Cuba 82100.