Celia Sanchez was the heroine of the revolution. She was a girl from the Sierra Maestra who knew the area well. Celia was acquainted with the mountain people because she assisted her father in his medical practice serving the poor people who lived up in those high mountains. Not only did the locals know […]
Celia Sanchez was the heroine of the revolution. She was a girl from the Sierra Maestra who knew the area well. Celia was acquainted with the mountain people because she assisted her father in his medical practice serving the poor people who lived up in those high mountains. Not only did the locals know Celia well, they loved her. As she assisted her father in his medical practice in Pilon at the Western end of these famous mountains, Celia developed relationships and earned the trust of the campesinos who later buoyed Fidel’s cause. Because of this support she was able to orchestrate the revolutionaries in the 1950’s and help the Castros in their bid to free Cuba. The eastern region of Cuba is rich in revolutionary history where this tour is focused.
The Celia Sanchez Tour is a unique ride through some of the most beautiful and historic areas of Cuba where more than one revolution was born. We visit the beautiful city of Santiago de Cuba where the opening shots of the revolution began on July 26, 1953 and where Fidel rests today. We climb to the shrine and pilgrimage site of El Cobre, then to the mountain resort of El Salton for some hiking and exploring. We ride the coast road to where the Sierra Maestra falls into the sea. The breathtaking vistas will stay with you forever. We walk to La Plata, Fidel’s hideaway camp high up in the mountains, then to see the landing spot of the Granma, the boat Fidel and his band of revolutionaries took from Mexico back to Cuba to continue the Revolution. You will be amazed that those young men made it ashore to carry on and rid Cuba of the bloody Batista dictatorship. The tour winds down in the city of Las Tunas where we will be hosted by a youth cycling team to whom we donate and deliver bicycles and equipment each trip. Our support and involvement with this club over the years has produced a good number of both regional and national champions. These achievements would never be possible without your help. Las Tunas is an out of the way place and not regarded as a tourist destination so your support for this group keeps cycling in their high school physical education program alive and well.
This tour meets the US requirements as a licensed People to People Tour.
A visit to Eastern Cuba without a certain level of historical background would be sad, as we will be passing through much of Cuba’s recent history while on this tour.
Nancy Stout, One Day in December: Celia Sánchez and the Cuban Revolution
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Day 1 – Arrival
Saturday December 1st. Arrive in Holguin. Pick up at the airport by tour bus to Mirador de Mayabe Hotel. Spend the afternoon relaxing and building bikes for the start of your trip.
Sunday December 2nd. After breakfast descend the hill leaving Holguin behind. A flat ride to Bayamo, 77 K. Lunch on the way at a cafeteria in Cauto Cristo. Advise to bring energy bars.
Monday December 3rd. Ride to El Salton, 88 K, hilly the last 29 K. Lunch in Contramaestre , in a cafeteria.
Tuesday December 4th No cycling. Hiking tour through the mountainous area. A local guide will introduce you to the mountain life in the centre of the Sierra Maestra. You will observe the coffee and cocoa plantations and meet some locals.
Wednesday December 5th After breakfast, bus to Contramaestre. Ride to Palma Soriano, 34 K, lunch in a Pizza Paladar. Ride to El Cobre to visit the Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Cobre, a hilly 28K. After a visit to the church, bus to hotel in Santiago de Cuba.
Thursday December 6th Visit Santa Ifigenia cemetery by bus, then enjoy lunch together at a Paladar in the city. After lunch, city walk.
Friday December 7th Bus to the Revolution square. Leave Santiago and ride to Los Galeones, 75 K, along the coast line. Bring energy bars or sack lunch to eat along the way.
Saturday December 8th Ride from Los Galeones hotel Marea del Portillo , coastal ride, rolling hills, 100 K. Support by SUV.
This is the beautiful road along the coast, where the Sierra Maestra dip into the sea. The ride will be well worth the effort. Bring energy bars or a sack lunch to eat on the road.
Our tour bus can not follow us. If you wish to avoid the ride, you may travel with our bus around the mountains via Bayamo and onto our next hotel.
Sunday December 9th Ride to Hotel Niquero, 42 K. Then ride to Las Coloradas, 13 K, to enjoy a guided tour of the place for the Disembark of the Granma in Cuba. Lunch in a Paladar in Las Coloradas, after the visit. Ride or bus 13 K back to hotel.
Monday December 10th Bus to Balcon de la Sierra, transfer by jeeps to Santo Domingo Hotel for lunch with the Pico Turquino looming in the distance. After lunch, by jeeps, we will ascent up to Alto del Naranjo, a very steep journey. From there will begin the hike to Comandancia La Plata, Fidel’s headquarters from the revolution. It is located within the Pico Turquino National Park.
Tuesday December 11th Ride to Manzanillo, 49 K, fast road, usually strong tail wind.
Wednesday December 12th Flat ride from Manzanillo hotel to Las Tunas, 92 K. Meet the cycling team from the EIDE (Schools for Initiation into Scholastic Sport) in Vado del Yeso (35 K from las Tunas), and ride with them to the hotel. Free time in the city center, outside from Cadillac Hotel. BBQ party at the coaches house for dinner.
Thursday December 13th Bus to Holguin, and ride to Guardalavaca, 60 K, rolling hills.
Friday December 14th Ride to Gibara, 65 K, see the monument where Columbus first set foot in Cuba. Lunch on the way, in the small town, or back by bus to the hotel, and lunch there.
Saturday December 15th The tour ends today. We can deliver you to the departure gate at the airport. We have done our very best to show you our beautiful land and the historic landmarks from where the revolution emerged after the landing of the Granma at “Las Coloradas,” on Dec.2nd 1956.
Dot Dickerson retired from the world of School Wellness to teach bike safety for the City’s Safe Routes to School Program. An avid cyclist since 1979, Dot went from racing to riding for the health of it and now teaches kids ages 5 – 18 all about bikes, bike safety and how fun biking is. Dot is a League of American Bicyclist certified instructor who has fallen in love with Cuba and the youth programs CanBiCuba supports. To reach Dot you can call her cell @ (970) 443-1592 in Fort Collins, Colorado or by email: [email protected]
FURTHER TRAVEL INFORMATION
FURTHER TRAVEL INFORMATION
Bike touring in Cuba: Accommodation & Food
Cuba is like no other place. That’s why we love it! The people are kind, friendly, curious and fun. The country side is littered with farms, ranches, sugarcane, tobacco fields and blue skies. There are mountains, valleys, national parks and spectacular beaches. And there is music everywhere. Everyone shares the road making cycling is the best way to experience the real Cuba. You’ll see every variety of transportation from horse and buggy to bikes, cars and trucks. Yes, those 50’s American cars are what define Cuba and while those old cars are intriguing and great photo ops those 50’s air conditioners and cracked tiles in your hotel room are not. All of our hotels are 3 or 4 stars yet can still be in need of much repair work. We visit many local cafes, restaurants and bars so you get a full flavour of local culture and cuisine. All breakfasts and dinners are included .For meals not included (lunches), there are many places to eat with prices ranging from $3 to $6 for an on the way lunch in a roadside café. All ride drinking water is supplied from the support bus. We advise that if you normally use ride gels and energy bars or electrolyte powder, you will need to bring from home because these items are not commonly for sale in Cuba
Some roads can be pot-holed and poorly paved but the drivers are courteous and the scenery remarkable. The internet can be sporadic and the cards to access it may not be available. So while the amenities may be limited and changes to plans challenging, you can expect these in Cuba. If you pack your flexibility and adventurous spirit, your tour of Cuba will be a treasured experience.
CanBiCuba has bike rentals at great prices. For this tour, you will need an either a hybrid (my choice) a sport touring or a road bike. All will work. Should you prefer to bring your own that is fine with us, you will get the same mechanical assistance as the renters.
Check you travel company for costs of shipping your bike. Depending on your country of embarkation you may be better to rent.
Renting has other positive aspects. Your bike will not get lost in transit. It is far easier to travel without a bike box and spare bikes are on the bus for renters. The negative side is that this is not your favourite ride.
Will My Mobile Phone Work In Cuba?
This is not a simple yes or no answer. This all depends on your provider. Some U.S. and Canadian carriers have or are beginning to make agreements with ETECSA (the Cuban national telecommunications company) to provide roaming services in Cuba. Sprint and Verizon, for example, currently offer roaming services in Cuba. If your carrier offers a roaming plan and your mobile phone is capable of roaming in Cuba, you should ask your carrier about any additional charges for voice calls, data, and outgoing text messages that you may incur during your trip. The telecommunications market in Cuba is changing rapidly, so before you travel, be sure to check with your wireless provider for the latest developments.
Another way you can use your U.S. mobile phone in Cuba is to rent a SIM card. If you have an unlocked GSM-capable mobile phone, you can rent a SIM card from Cubacel (ETECSA’s mobile phone arm) that will allow you to use your mobile phone in Cuba. Cubatel’s SIM cards come with pre-paid minutes in amounts of 10, 20, or 40 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC$) (US$10, $20, or $40), plus a daily rental fee for the SIM card of CUC$3 (US$3). The per-minute call charges and texting fees for renting a mobile phone (as listed below) also apply to renting a SIM card. Contact your wireless provider to check whether your mobile phone operates on the compatible standard and request that your carrier unlocks your mobile phone.
Passports’ & Visas
Visitors from the UK & Ireland – A passport with a Cuban tourist card is required for entry into Cuba, by UK & Irish citizens. The tourist card is obtained by sending copies of travel documents and a fee of £15 to the Cuban Embassy in London. The turnaround is very quick–usually, the tourist card is sent back to you within 1 or 2 days. You can also get tourist cards issued by visiting the Embassy in person. These visas are good for 30 days
Visitors from Canada – A current passport is required and your Cuban visa will be issued on the airplane, this visa cost is included in your air ticket. The visa is good for 30 days but as a Canadian, it is possible to extend to 90 days.
Visitors from the USA – A current passport is required. If travelling in an official OFAC group you will be put in contact with a qualified travel agent within the USA. This agent will both issue air tickets and visas.
This trip is timed to fit with the most popular flights to Cuba; Cubana, Air Canada, American, Air Transat, Sunwing, West Jet and Condor Airlines all fly directly into Holguin.
American groups with OFAC licenses are now able to fly directly from Miami and a number of other US airports. Do not book your flight until you have made contact with our agent in Fort Lauderdale FL. This keeps the group whole and easier for the goup leader to handle.