Author Topic: Back to Cuba  (Read 2197 times)

Pedal Castro

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Back to Cuba
« on: November 17, 2018, 08:32:52 pm »
Finally able to revisit Cuba after the 2012 tour that started my return to cycling. Planning on March next year.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2018, 03:18:25 pm »
I've been thinking about Cuba this week too. Want to go before it gets paved over by McDonalds etc....
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 10:03:05 pm »
Anybody got any Cuba tips? Places we must see?
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 06:42:26 am »
I booked my flights yesterday, good price for first two weeks in March (£630pp) with bikes free as the one piece of hold luggage. Virgin would have been a bit more convenient as direct flights from Gatwick but rather more expensive for the date we needed.

What sort of places are you interested in? My 2011 tour is recorded here http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/cuba2011. We were interested in the history of the revolution rather than the wildlife. We were lucky to be there for the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs fiasco celebrations.

Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 06:47:55 am »
Anybody got any Cuba tips? Places we must see?

All the bars in Havana with obese Americans pretending to be Ernest Hemingway.

The cemeteries in Havana.

Do a bit of diving in Pinar del Rio.

Can't remember anything else. Havana stole the show really.

Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 07:47:35 am »
Cuba, really. Vinales is worth having on your itinerary, stay away from Varadero, Trinidad is worth it even if it is on everyone's must see list, Cienfuegos is also worth dropping in on your way through.

Do remember, they don't have shops to speak of and for visitors wifi is limited to relatively few (but very busy) public wifi areas. The "take stuff like pencils" for the kiddies is an overworked meme, but has some (small) validity especially if you want to feel like a colonial overlord dispensing largesse. We took some pound shop tat but struggled to find appropriate times to use it - we ended up giving to grandma and the like in the homestays for the grandkids. They don't have a "disposable" culture (yet) which means that things like disposable cutlery, napkins etc are in very short supply. As is bog roll. See the first sentence, you will find it difficult to buy even with your hard currency (the CUC or "kook" as it is referred to).

Travelling through a magnificent country without a single advert in sight is worth it all.

(ETA- as you are going back, not much of that is a surprise. I suspect not that much has changed, except in Havana and Varadero)

Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 10:40:39 am »
These guys let me rent a bike for a self-guided tour: https://www.wowcuba.com/bicycle-rentals/

One of the best holidays I've ever had.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 08:45:41 pm »

(ETA- as you are going back, not much of that is a surprise. I suspect not that much has changed, except in Havana and Varadero)


We're not going back though :)
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 08:59:01 pm »

(ETA- as you are going back, not much of that is a surprise. I suspect not that much has changed, except in Havana and Varadero)


We're not going back though :)

You'll be in for a surprise, then.

The good thing is, the Special Period is now long gone. Go, and go now. It's a fantastic place to visit.


Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2019, 09:14:24 pm »
What's the special period? And what's wrong with Varadero?
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2019, 09:30:03 pm »
Oh-oh, just read in Skedaddle's trip notes that GPS units are verboten and Skedaddle mandate magic hats. Pingu unimpressed.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2019, 10:13:56 pm »
The Special Period was when the Russian support of the the Cuban economy got pulled almost overnight, causing catastrophic economic hardship and the already challenged infrastructure to crumble.

In recent years, Cuba has focussed on reaping the tourist dollar, and Varedero is where a lot of that happens. It's a long strip of land with back to back hotels, in the closest approximation (some of it quite close) to western style that you will find. Great beaches though, that's the "attraction".

GPS is no longer forbidden (AFAIK) and most cyclists I saw weren't helmeted.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2019, 10:25:56 pm »
Sounds ghastly. It doesn't appear to be on the trip we're currently leaning towards though.
https://www.skedaddle.com/uk/adventures/holiday/Cycling_Adventures/Cuba_-_Cuban_Revolutions_-_Cycling_Holiday/1/view.rails
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2019, 10:30:04 pm »





Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2019, 06:28:32 am »
GPS units are forbidden but from my reading I think they only worry about serious surveying units. I didn't have a GPS in 2011 but this year I'll take my Garmin 130, eTrex, and GPS watch so I should be able to get at least one (probably all) through customs.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2019, 08:59:49 pm »
Tour shirts designed  ;D




Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2019, 07:21:52 pm »
I've been thinking about Cuba this week too. Want to go before it gets paved over by McDonalds etc....

When are you going?

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2019, 08:15:13 pm »
Haven't booked anything yet but looking at a tour in November.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2019, 06:26:16 am »

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2019, 10:01:13 pm »
So, I guess you've been now. How was it? Did you try taking a GPS?
We've just booked for November.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2019, 10:30:01 pm »
So, I guess you've been now. How was it? Did you try taking a GPS?
We've just booked for November.

It was brill! I need to finish my journal write up and trip video. We stayed the first night in Havana old town then got a bus to Santa Clara from where we started the 8 day ride back to Havana, although we also got a bus from Matanzas to Havana on day 8.

Not counting phone and watch, I took 3 GPS bike computers and they all got through, one in hand luggage and two in the bike box.

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2019, 06:09:05 pm »
We are off on Saturday. Excited! Got a night in Varadero but it's only one... I noted they have a craft brewery there but it's a bit far away from our hotel. Oh well, 2 weeks drinking fizzy yellow cold and mojitos beckons. And cycling, obv.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2019, 06:31:28 pm »
You'll love it! Have you got nights planned or just winging it? Lots of cocktails other than mojitos, you need to try lots!!! ;D

Mrs Pingu

  • Who ate all the pies? Me
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Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Back to Cuba
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2019, 07:19:36 pm »
Cool. Not long in Havana but if you get a chance evening cocktails in the Hotel Nacional is not to be missed! https://www.hotelnacionaldecuba.com/