Category Archives: Cuba

Skedaddle Twaddle about our holidays to Cuba

Customer Story: Cuban photo diary

Our Customer Competition winner,  Janet Brown, recently headed to Central America for a Cycling Adventure on the ever fascinating island of Cuba! Janet was so impressed with this photogenic destination that she sent us her insightful overview of the two weeks on the Caribbean’s most vibrant island full of cycling, history, cigars and old cars…

‘As a keen photographer, I worked out that a cycling trip to Cuba was the best way to see the country, and the only way to get my other half there!

Cuba didn’t disappoint. The cycling was quite challenging, as there were a few long climbs, some cheeky climbs, and loads of undulations. We were mostly on a mixture of dirt and tarmac roads with little traffic. Our ensuite accommodation was all excellent, varying from small casa particulares to all-inclusive holiday resorts. The food was tasty and plentiful, with the choice generally being chicken, pork, beef or fish.

Finishing a ride with a beer, mojito or pina colada was a bit different to my usual mug of tea! Oh, and the photography was almost too good, with landscapes, people, horse-drawn carts and classic cars at every turn of the head.

We visited many places important to Cuban revolutionary history, with expert knowledge from our Cuban guides (Lazaro in Havana and Andry on the tour). Almost a year to the day after the death of Fidel Castro, we visited his burial place in Santiago de Cuba. 

After a circular ride on the first day, we set off from Santiago de Cuba, and rode along the coastline, heading west to Niquero over 3 days. We were a small group of 6 people, and there was quite a difference in speed on the climbs. However, with our leader Tony’s support, we pulled together and tried to help each other cope with the ups and downs.

Back on the revolutionary trail, we headed towards the Sierra Maestra, where Fidel Castro developed his hidden headquarters. Having cycled along their southern slopes, we were now heading for the northern side.

Cycling through rural farmland, we could have been travelling at any time in the last 2 centuries!

On our first non-cycling day, after a steep ride in a jeep, we trekked the last few km to Fidel Castro’s Comandancia de la Plata. This command HQ was established after a year on the run in the mountains, and was never found by Batista’s soldiers. The fridge can still be seen here in Fidel’s hut, which had several escape routes.

After a transfer from our hotel in Camaguey, we rode into Trinidad, probably my favourite place of the whole trip. A morning’s short ride to the beach was followed by time to wander around and enjoy the cobbled streets and classic cars in town.

Our final destination was Viñales, a land of limestone outcrops known as mogotes, and another wonderful area for cycling, as well as being famous for organic tobacco production. Visiting a tobacco grower, we were persuaded to try the Cuban cigars, and several of us bought them to take home. So what if I gave up smoking in 1981!

When we booked this trip, it had seemed like a good idea to finish up with a day in Havana, but we were woken by strong winds and torrential rain. Undaunted, we set off on the circular HabanaTourBus, ending up in the Café Paris for pizza, cubatas (dark rum version of a cuba libre) and Cuban music.

The return trip along the seafront Avenida de Maceo, otherwise known as the Malecón, was rather exhilarating on the open top of the bus.

And those cars? They really are amazing!’

Feeling inspired? If you would like to head to Cuba, we have two fantastic trips you can choose from!

Experience the best bits of Cuba by bike

To the first-time visitor of Cuba, preconceptions are likely to be 1950s American cars, fading grandeur, photogenic old ladies with wrinkles and a huge cigar, alongside the strains of Buena Vista Social Club wafting through open windows. As preconceptions go, they’re not far wrong. They’re only a tiny part of what you’ll experience when you visit by bike though…

But don’t take our word for it…

One of the best holidays of my life (and I’m aged 60!) A real adventure spent among like-minded people in a beautiful country. Skedaddle did their utmost to provide the best of what was available. Thank you!” Catherine, West Yorkshire

A great itinerary and every day we did something new and found something different and special. I feel I have a good insight into the country and sampled many different aspects.” Anne, Cambridge

We have done several cycling trips in various countries and this is definitely one of the best, if not the very best. This route was extremely well planned out to give a variety of scenery and to see most of the best tourist sights.” Fiona, Inverness

Central America and the Caribbean: Better by bike

Central America and the Caribbean need little introduction to many, but for those seeking a more active way to experience the region’s turquoise waters and vibrant Latin American culture…we have just the thing! Take a look at our 3 inspiring journeys by bike below…

Where: Cuba | Trips: Cuban Wheels and Cuban Revolutions
Key experiences: Gliding past majestic limestone peaks in the epic Vale of Vinales (Cuban Revolutions only) and exploring the colourful town of Trinidad. 
We say: The island’s iconic old cars and idyllic palm fringed beaches now maybe be recognisable worldwide, but our cycling holidays enable you to go beyond these popular tourist sights and explore the island’s lesser known rural hidden gems too!

Where: Costa Rica | Trip: Volcanes y Playas
Key experiences: Encounters with exotic wildlife en route and cycling around Lake Arenal, with views of its impressive volcano as your companion.
We say: Renowned as a haven for biodiversity; Costa Rica really is a feast for the soul. Few of our destinations boast such a bounty of natural wonders and each day offers plenty of unique experience that can only be found when exploring an area so untouched by the human world.