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Highlights of Cuba By Bicycle CSC

Visiting: Cuba
Trip Duration 8 Days
 

Reviews for Highlights of Cuba By Bicycle

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Highlights of Cuba By Bicycle reviews verified by reevooReevoo

23 reviews

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Highlights of Cuba By BicycleScores 7.9 out of 10 based on 23 reviews
(8 out of 10)

Kerstin

Portsmouth
The cycling routes could have been a little more interesting - the best day was the last days cycling when we went through a few small villages.
The best accommodation was the smaller private hotels rather than the govt ones. It would have been nice to stay in a few proper local places.
Our tour guide, Arley, mechanic Daniel and driver Antonio were all excellent and provided us with bananas, water and snacks to keep us pedalling.
Confirmed traveller: 11 February 2017
Published on: 01 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Jennie

Tunbridge Wells
An amazing cycle trip around central Cuba with a great group and Cuban leader, Arli.

As you arrive in Havana airport you first experience the more casual lifestyle.
Our baggage was on an unnamed carousel that catered for all the flights. Ensure your case is well individualised for easy recognition as sight/access is restricted. It is very hot and there is no water available so take some from the aeroplane.
EXPLORE should have noted that we were required to fill in a custom form at the airport as it was very hit and miss if you were handed one. It wasn't until queueing to leave the arrivals that it became apparent.
We had booked in a group of 6 and were driven to our first night in Havana. We had no idea where we were going ( and the non English speaking taxi driver was not much the wiser).
EXPLORE please could the address of each overnight stop be available
(at the time. It is appreciated that it changes).
EXPLORE please provide water for the transfer
as some in our group had no Cuban money, food or drink until breakfast the next morning.
EXPLORE please say in your notes that the Cuban leader will take you to an ATM the next morning. We found having stirling was no use.
It is suggested at your first meeting with your Cuban leader, Arli,
that each person pays into a kitty for water, tips etc.
A detailed account is given to a group member at the end of the trip to audit.
We packed a lot into our long days, starting early (which is fine because of the time difference of 5 hours) and not arriving at our final destination until 730pm each night. It would have been good to know these late timings each day. We stayed some nights at large complexes where dinner was served, too.
Some evenings we were in guest houses and although Arli collected us from there and took us to suggested restaurants in which to eat, it was often via another town feature, so the route back to our 'casa' was not obvious. Again, a town map with the guest house address would be useful. It was particularly windy one evening and we were sitting on the roof which many found to be really chilly. Eating under cover is advisable.
The meals were limited but OK. Taking a black pepper grinder with you enlivened much of the food. Mayo and salad dressing were also in short supply! I did enquire as to the seasoning (herbs and spices) they used but it was suggested the lack of use was to appease the tourist's palate!
It was a lovely temperature during the day, but when the sun set at 5-6 then you soon needed another layer to have available . It was also useful to have your passports in the day bag/coach for easy book ins at the your evening stops.
Our guide certainly knew his Cuban history; our days were filled with interesting visits, culminating in the death of Fidel Castro as we left Havana! There was not weeping and wailing and life continued as usual; we saw no visual signs of their anguish as suggested on the BBC website.
There were substantial differences in the cycling days; most of the group felt that the first 2 days could have been longer. The furthest day was jolly hard work as there was a headwind which felt like cycling in porridge. At least you could see the gentle undulations ahead.
EXPLORE There was a query as to whether the tour could have been reversed,
as the wind always seemed to be facing you?
The standard of toilets left much to be desired but if you always had with you tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer then the fact that there was no door/toilet seat/ water /soap was OK!
There were panniers available for the bikes but EXPLORE bells would have been useful.
Also a general code word call for pot holes/sudden stopping en route
Enclosed toed sandals were great for cycling.
We had 2 beach stops: one was near the day catamaran opportunity,
which was empty but for other Brits! Playa Ancon beach was noisy in front of the hotel, but if you turned left then the blaring music was much less in evidence. A travel towel was useful and so much smaller than normal. There was a beach bar further right. It was a good relaxing time there and a pleasant cycle back into Trinidad (with headwind!)
We asked for a map to guide us back.
EXPLORE a map should have been mandatory.
The second beach stop was at an all inclusive resort on Cayo Santa Maria, where we ate lunch and spent the afternoon. Many of us felt this was an unnecessary hour detour each way, out of our way; it was a nice resort by the ocean and the food OK but they couldn't make a gin and tonic (lemonade!) or a mojito and the wine was watered!
EXPLORE We could have cycled further that day and then driven to our night stop via Remedios. This was a resort where we could actually have relaxed before dinner, rather than our usual arrive, change, eat dinner and go straight to bed ready for our prompt departure the next morning.
As mentioned the food was adequate but if you normally snack on cereal bars etc then take them all with you. The first shop we saw was in Sancti Spiritus, half way through the week.
This was our first experience with EXPLORE and we look forward to becoming acquainted another country with them in then future.
Confirmed traveller: 27 November 2016
Published on: 10 January 2017
(7 out of 10)

Alan

Cwmbran
I took this trip, in Nov 2016. Do not go on this trip unless you enjoy cycling on long boring straight roads. There was too much variation in the distances from day to day. The trip notes for the ride through the "Valley of the Sugar Mills" is misleading, it is 65 k not 60 k, the total ascent is over 450 m not 150 m and on the day we rode it it was into a head wind. The notes indicate a final bus ride of 1 hr but it was around 1.75 hrs. At the end of this ride which was an endurance test, the accommodation was below par with no water in the shower and no hot water in the basin. The good points were the leader, mechanic and the bus driver, all were excellent, as were the walking tours of the various towns/cities. The trip does provide an interesting insight into Cuba outside of Havana. The stops for fruit, some of which we had not tasted before were great but there were not enough stops just for water. We also found the Che Guevara Monument very interesting. The Casa in Trinidad, Hostal "You & Me" was excellent and the owners could not do enough for us. On the other hand when we arrived in Havana we were sent by taxi direct to our Casa, not the joining Casa, we did not know where we were, had no access to food or drink, no local currency and had a room with no windows, it was not the welcome to Cuba that we expected. Had we gone first to the meeting Casa it would have been so much better. For those that enjoy road cycling I am sure that they would prefer longer rides on the first couple of days, for us we would have preferred more interesting roads.
Confirmed traveller: 26 November 2016
Published on: 06 December 2016
(9 out of 10)

Simone

London
Great trip and really good itinerary. Cycling was huge fun and the guy who did the bike set ups very helpful and highly skilled. Staff were really kind helpful and positive throughout the trip and couldn't do enough for us. There was only one problem in that the driver kept turning his head away from the road to look at his colleagues to whom he was chatting while driving the coach and this was really frightening and unsafe. I raised it with the group leader to be told that the driver was "very professional" and that I must be a nervous passenger. This is complete nonsense and made my experience a lot less relaxing than it could have been. One reads too often of tragedies during holiday coach trips and whilst we were lucky this could have been very different. I realise that this is beyond explores control but it needs to be sorted out.
Confirmed traveller: 26 October 2016
Published on: 28 October 2016

Thank you for your feedback, we are glad you enjoyed the cycling trip to Cuba. We are very sorry to read your feedback on the driver. Safety is paramount to our tours and we have taken this very seriously. We have contacted Transgaviota the transport company to address this with the driver and to make sure the correct actions have taken place

(8 out of 10)

Catherine

The weather, the old cars including the ones that weren't American. Tip - Bring cash as it is the most reliable for currency exchange. Bring a proper water bottle for the bike.
Confirmed traveller: 08 May 2016
Published on: 10 May 2016
(8 out of 10)

Dale

San Francisco
Well-organized itinerary, knowledgeable tour leader and driver. Some of the lodging was not up to par, but most were acceptable.
Confirmed traveller: 07 May 2016
Published on: 10 May 2016
(8 out of 10)

Hamish

New York
Overall good trip. However while I do understand the need to be flexible with accommodation arrangements, the two nights in Havana were a major disappointment. Switching hotels from the old town to well outsider e city was bad. Then to have one hotel have no running water (literally) was not acceptable (Commodoro). A Hostal would have been better. I was told I would get a refund for the second cab fare I had to pay to get to the hotel at the start of the tour but haven't seen it as of yet. I think a refund for the difference in promised accommodation vs actual accommodation in Havana is also warranted.
Confirmed traveller: 07 May 2016
Published on: 10 May 2016

Thank you for providing us with your feedback for your trip to Cuba, we’re glad to hear you had a great time, despite the issues with your accommodation. Due to the recent increase in tourism to Cuba, many of our formal bookings are not being honoured and there are limited options for alternative accommodation. Although there is no difference in costs between the two hotels, we will of course be happy to reimburse you for your taxi expenses – we have contacted you directly in this regard.

(9 out of 10)

Robert

Rutland
From Explore side, cycling and organisation very good. Although I would warn future travellers that the food in general is not particularly good, not one for vegetarians! Accommodation in Trinidad (private) sub standard, but the people very friendly. None the less I thoroughly enjoyed the trip
Confirmed traveller: 01 May 2016
Published on: 09 May 2016
(9 out of 10)

Kathy

Orpington
Absolutely loved cycling through the Cuban countryside waving at people on horses and little children rushing out of their homes to gawp at the strange people cycling in 30C in the name of fun!
Enjoyed staying with the families in casa particularies it was a great way to immerse oneself in the culture.
Raymond our tour leader was fun and caring we felt well looked after, perhaps we could have had more guidance with setting up our bikes at the start but that is our only vague criticism.
We really like being part of a group on this type of holiday and our group all bonded very well indeed.
The 2 beach afternoons were relaxing and very enjoyable, the tour is a good mix of not too onerous cycling, sightseeing and relaxation, just perfect .
Very glad to have seen the real Cuba as feel it's on the brink of change
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 20 March 2016
Published on: 06 April 2016