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Cycle Cuba for Genesis Research Trust 2017

Challenge type: Bike in support of Genesis Research Trust

Destination: Cuba

Runs from : 6th October 2017 to 14th October 2017

Charity cycle challenge in the Caribbean

Cuba is the Caribbean's largest and least commercialised island and one of the world's last bastions of communism. Spend five days cycling along quiet roads passing towns and villages which seem frozen in time. There is barely any traffic, just a few horse and carts and tractors. Music is a way of life in Cuba and we’ll hear the salsa beat wherever we go. This memorable ride finishes in the captivating city of Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Highlights

  • Bay of Pigs, famous for US aggression on Cuba in 1961
  • Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Riding through the Sierra del Escambray mountains
  • Santa Clara with its statue of the legendary Che Guevara
  • Colonial Havana with its spacious plazas and glorious Spanish architecture

What's Included

ATOL & flights to / from Cuba, tourist card, accommodation, transfers, full medical support, experienced guides, support staff, bicycle, water & all meals from dinner on day 1 until breakfast on day 8.

What's Not Included

Airport tax - £405 approx (January 2017), travel insurance, personal equipment (cycle helmet, walking boots etc.), lunch on day 8, optional tours, gratuities & spending money.

All costs correct at the time of writing, subject to change

Itinerary

Day 1 - London - Havana

Fly London – Havana. Afternoon arrival in Havana and transfer to hotel for dinner and overnight. Tonight after dinner we hear more about the adventure ahead.

Day 2 - Transfer Havana to Playa Larga (2½ hrs)

Cycle Playa Larga - Caleta Buena then transfer to Cienfuegos 43km approx. After breakfast, we transfer to Playa Larga located on the eastern side of the island in the province of Matanzas. On arrival we do bike fitting then set off for our first day of cycling. After 34km we reach Playa Giron (Bay Of Pigs). This important site in Cuba’s history was the location of the 1962 invasion when a CIA-backed attempt to topple Fidel Castro’s revolutionary government met with strong resistance and was unsuccessful. After a quick photo stop at the small museum dedicated to the Bay of Pigs invasion, we continue cycling to Caleta Buena, a beautiful spot for swimming and lunch where we finish cycling for the day. After lunch we take a coach transfer to our hotel near Cienfuegos.

Terrain: Mainly flat off-road with some undulations towards Cienfuegos. Expect potholes, rocky and muddy terrain. In case of bad weather the route may be changed.

Day 3 - Cienfuegos – Trinidad: 98km approx.

We set off along an undulating coastal road followed by some short sharp hills through beautiful pasture lands. Today is the toughest day in terms of distance and the heat. After around 18km we enjoy stunning views of the Escambray Mountains across a valley of sugar cane. The road then sweeps up and over gentle hills until it reaches the coast just beyond Guajimico. We stop for a well-earned lunch at a farm restaurant. The final 30km is on a road which clings to the shimmering Caribbean coastline. It is mainly flat with some hillier sections just before Trinidad. We overnight by the sea at a hotel on the Ancon peninsular.

Terrain: Hilly start and end, gentle undulations for most of the day and expect high temperatures to add to the challenge.

Day 4 - Trinidad - Sancti Spiritus: 75km approx.

We start the day with a short transfer to the city centre for a walking tour of Trinidad, one of Cuba’s most famous colonial towns. Afterwards we rejoin our bikes and set off towards Sancti Spiritus. Today’s route undulates through spectacular countryside, passing Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), an area famed for its natural beauty. Once an important centre for sugar production, you can still see the remains of old colonial homes and barracones (slave towers). Sugar production has been an important industry for Cuba dating back to the 16th century. In 1988, Valle de los Ingenios and Trinidad were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. We continue cycling on hilly terrain, stopping for a picnic lunch en route. We re-group on the outskirts of Sancti Spiritus to cross the city together. Overnight in hotel accommodation.

Terrain: Road cycling, hilly for most of the day.

Day 5 - Sancti Spiritus - Santa Clara: 86km approx.

Transfer to Hanabanilla (1 hour)

Today we follow the Carretera Central (Central Road) the first road to span the island. Carretera Central is the main route for local traffic so expect plenty of horses and carts, tractors and bicycles. Our journey takes us through typically Cuban villages and endless sugar plantations. The terrain is undulating though not as hilly as the past two days. We continue on the valley floor with impressive mountains either side, before reaching the pastures around Santa Clara. Santa Clara is a vibrant city, busy with street life. It was the first major place to be liberated from Batista’s army in December 1958. Today a number of monuments commemorate this important period of Cuba’s history, including a statue to the legendary Che Guevara, where we stop for a group photo. Late afternoon transfer (1 hour approx.) to Hanabanilla in the foothills of the Escambray Mountains.

Terrain: Road cycling, hilly at times.

Day 6 - Hanabanilla - Cienfuegos: 60km approx.

Transfer to Havana (3 hours)

Today starts with a long descent from Hanabanilla through lush countryside and traditional Cuban villages. It’s a beautiful ride past orange and mango groves. The final stretch takes us straight through the colonial heart of the beautiful Caribbean town of Cienfuegos, and onto the Malecon (sea front). After a celebratory cocktail and buffet lunch overlooking the sea we bid farewell to our bikes. From there it’s a 3 hour transfer to Havana for dinner and overnight.

Terrain: Long descent followed by gentle undulations.

Day 7 - Havana

Today is free to explore Havana independently or as part of a half day optional tour. It is one of the oldest cities in the Americas with winding streets, spacious plazas and glorious Spanish architecture. There is an air of faded glory about the place with paint peeling off buildings and '50s and '60s American automobiles still dominating the roads. The optional tour includes Plaza San Francisco, Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Catedral followed by some free time for shopping, a visit to Revolution Square and lunch. This evening we enjoy a celebratory meal.

Day 8 - Havana 

Free time to relax by the hotel pool or explore Havana independently. Overnight Havana.

Day 9 - Havana – London 

Early afternoon transfer to Havana airport (30 minutes approx.) for the return flight to London.

Day 10 - London 

Early morning arrival back into London.

Please Note: Cuba is a third world country which is not fully geared up to tourism. You should therefore be prepared for changes to the route and accommodation right up to the last minute.

Take the challenge…

Registration Fee

£299

You will be required to raise a minimum of £3200 for your chosen charity.

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