HF Holidays’ Cycling Product Manager, Sandra Wharton, went on the Guided Cycle Cuba holiday.
Here she tells us her tale…
“Another world – another century
In the summer I had an amazing opportunity to do a familiarisation trip to experience HF Holidays’ Cycle Cuba Tour.
From being picked up at the airport to returning for my departure I was mesmerised by this eclectic island which appears to be stuck in a time warp.
The transport – bicycles , no gears, no breaks. Just wheels, pedals and a frame and of course a seat, components put together to get the rider from A to B. Old American cars, everywhere, driven with pride and maintained by their Cuban owners till they can see their faces in the paintwork. Old trucks belch out black smoke.
Outside Havana, time wound back further and horse and traps are the main type of transport.
All in total contrast to the comfortable air conditioned bus, and Trek hybrid bike I explored the island with.
The cccommodation – from the grandeur of the Hotel National de Cuba in Havana to the casa particulares (private homes) in Trinidad, all the accommodation was spotlessly clean and comfortable.
Each hotel had its own unique style and feel. My favourites were Hotel Velasco in Matanzas, with its high ornate ceilings and colonial style, and the casa particulares, a co-operative of private homes, who all work together to welcome visitors to their homes, and the vibrant UNESCO town of Trinidad, each room is decorated in a unique and colourful Cuban style, with all the facilities found in the hotels.
The music – wherever there’s people there’s music in Cuba – on the streets, in the bars, from the cars, and on the beach.
The musical standard is outstanding. Its infectious vibe is the heartbeat of the whole island, and salsa flows through its veins.
The cycling – from the city tour through the heart of Havana to the quiet back roads of the Yamuri Valley, there’s always plenty to see – the slower pace of life, means there is always people going about their daily business.
The roads are quiet and all the vehicles are considerate to cyclists. Most of the roads are surfaced, but sometimes quite bumpy and the front suspension on our bikes was welcome.
The food is plentiful – lots and lots of exotic fresh fruit, avocados and mangos the size of rugby balls.
The choice of main course is limited to grilled meat or fish, rice and beans, always served with a fresh salad and always very good quality ingredients are used.
This island is self-sufficient and untouched by outside influences.
The history of this Caribbean island is fascinating. Once a vibrant trading island under Spanish rule, exporting sugar cane and rum around the world, it’s now a living museum to the revolution of the 1950’s. ”
Thank you Sandra for giving us an insight into your cycling experience in Cuba!