Challenge type: Bike in support of Limbpower
Runs from : 8th November 2018 to 16th November 2018
• Captivating city of Havana which boasts spacious plazas and glorious Spanish architecture.
• Bay of Pigs, famous for US aggression on Cuba in 1961.
• Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Sierra del Escambray mountains.
• Santa Clara with its statue of the legendary Che Guevara.
• Best time to go: Mid-November – early March
• Cycle Days / Distance: 5 days / 354km
• Level: Challenging
• Accommodation: Tourist class hotels – be prepared for power cuts and lack of hot water at times.
• Min / Max Group Size: 30 / 80
Day 1 - London - Havana
Fly London – Havana. Afternoon arrival in Havana and 40 minute transfer to hotel for evening meal and overnight. This evening we dine together and hear more about the challenge ahead.
Day 2 - Transfer Havana – Playa Larga (2.5 hrs)
Playa Larga to Caleta Buena and transfer to Cienfuegos
After breakfast, we transfer to the Playa Larga located on the eastern side of the island, in the direction of the Bay of Pigs in the province of Matanzas. On arrival we have a bike fitting then set off for our first day of cycling. After 34km we reach Playa Giron (Bay Of Pigs), this is an important site in Cuba’s history; it 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 ultimately 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.
Distance: 43km approx.
Day 3 - Cienfuegos – Trinidad
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 and we meet the coast just beyond Guajimico. We stop for lunch after 50km at a farm restaurant. The final 30km is on a road which clings to the shimmering Caribbean coastline all the way to Trinidad. It is mainly flat with some hillier sections just before Trinidad. We overnight by the sea at our 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.
Distance: 98km approx.
Day 4 - Trinidad - Sancti Spiritus
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. We visit the key sites accompanied by our guide and then make our way to Plaza S.Ana where our bikes are waiting for us. We set off immediately towards Sancti Spiritus. Today’s route undulates through spectacular countryside, passing through the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), a valley 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 through hilly countryside, stopping for a picnic lunch along the way. On arrival in the outskirts of Sancti Spiritus we regroup to cross the city together. Overnight at a hotel.
Terrain: Road cycling, hilly for most of the day.
Distance: 75km approx.
Day 5 - Sancti Spiritus - Santa Clara
Transfer to Hanabanilla (1 hour)
Today we follow the Carretera Central (Central Road), the first road to span the island from Pinar del Rio in the west to Santiago de Cuba in the east, 1250km it runs almost the full length of the island. Carretera Central has become the main route for local traffic. Expect plenty of agricultural vehicles such as horses and carts, tractors and bicycles. As we cycle, we can enjoy the views of sugar cane plantations, small rural towns and plenty of undulations, not as hilly as the past 2 days. We continue on the valley floor with impressive mountains either side, before reaching the foothills and 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. 1 hour transfer to Hanabanilla.
Terrain: Road cycling, hilly at times.
Distance: 86km approx.
Day 6 - Hanabanilla - Cienfuegos
Transfer to Havana (3 hours)
Today starts with a long descent through traditional Cuban villages. The route then becomes gradually undulating as we pass through orange and mango groves taking in the stunning countryside. The final stretch takes us straight through the colonial heart of the beautiful Caribbean town, Cienfuegos, and onto the Malecon (sea front). From there we’ll enjoy the panoramic views across the Bay of Cienfuegos, our final destination. After a celebratory cocktail and buffet lunch overlooking the sea we say goodbye to our bikes. From there it’s a 3 hour transfer to Havana. Dinner and overnight.
Terrain: Long descent followed by gentle undulations.
Distance: 60km approx.
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 morning to relax by the hotel pool or explore Havana independently. Early afternoon we transfer to Havana airport (30 – 40 minutes approx.) for the return flight to London. Lunch not included today.
Day 9 - Arrive 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.
This is a complex itinerary which may be subject to change
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Registration fee: £350
Option 1 – Pay £1833 Tour Cost + £275 Airport taxes
Option 2 – Fundraise £3600 + pay £275 Airport taxes