Cycling Cuba 28th Feb 2010

Hi to everyone that was on this trip - no word from Juan Carlos so I'm assuming we're all in the same boat regarding not having each other's contact details? If anyone wants to get in touch, my email address is  [email protected]  - I'd love to hear from you, swap some pics etc. Hope everyone made it home OK & it's not been TOO bad coping with life back in the real world ;-) Julie X

Hello Julie,

It sounds like you had a good time in Cuba. I'm doing the very same trip on 6th March and I'm really, really, really looking forward to it. So I wondered, have you any words of wisdom for a future traveller?



Hi Terry,

I'm jealous, would love to go back! Essentials supplies to take: Imodium (suggest LARGE pack!), padded cycle-shorts and gel saddle or saddle-cover if you have one, and sense of humour! A bottle of chilli sauce or similar would prove helpful if you're likely to get fed up with very bland food - the Cubans do their best with very limited ingredients but unseasoned 'rice & beans' every day can be a little wearing. It's a beautiful, amazing place and unlike anywhere else I've ever been - enjoy......!

Hello again Julie and thank you for your reply.

The fact that I'm going to be needing imodium, padded shorts and chilli sauce has got me a bit worried but I suppose it does mean that all of the problems will be concentrated in one area.

So how much training did you do before you went? I like to think I'm reasonably fit but I suspect that reasonably isn't quite enough. I've been out on my bike a bit lately but the weather's so awful. I've been going to the gym too which helps but an exercise bike is nowt like the real thing. It's the 85 km Day 5 in Cuba that concerns me. How did you get on with that?

Sorry to ask so many questions. I've never looked forward to a holiday more than this and I just want everything to be perfect.

T    :-)

Hi Terry - I went on this trip in November, and it was FABULOUS !  I celebrated by 64th birthday during the trip, if that's any indication ?  We were a group of 18 ... a group of the younger participants were always ahead, and I was about in the middle.  There's absolutely no pressure to cycle at a fast pace.  Sometimes I'd cycle quietly along for an hour without seeing anyone in front or behind me.  The leader and support staff always know exactly where everyone is ... and you can always jump on the bus if you're tired.

The longest day (89km) was also OK. I'm not a fanatic cyclist, but do a lot of sport (hiking in the summer; snowshoeing in the winter), so am very fit for my age.  The only day I personally didn't like was when we cycled along a fairly busy road with a lot of trucks overtaking ... with their fumes !

Three or four in our group needed Imodium, but if you're careful (I was !) you won't need anything more than sun screen and Neurofen (I got one headache ... jet lag ...)  Change money on arrival at the airport, there's not much opportunity during the trip. 

The bikes don't have mudgards, so take an old t-shirt in case you're on dirty roads ... I ruined an expensive cycle top because it's now got tar on it !

The trip is great .... enjoy it !! I put some photos on the Exodus site, if you want to see them.  And if your support staff are Alexis and José Luis, please give them my regards !


That's loads of very valuable information. Thank you very much Barbara. I enjoyed looking at your photographs too.

I think you've convinced me that I'll survive the cycling and I never leave my house without a packet of Imodium so I've nothing to worry about.

Wishing you a belated happy birthday.


Guys can you give me some advice on how much money to take?  I'm coming from the UK so was planning to take pounds and swap them on arrival.  Thanks all.

Yo WeeJo 

I worked my way through the Exodus trip notes and came to the conclusion that I needed about £300 to cover tips, trips, meals and incidental expenses. So I took £600, bought a nice painting and a very tasteful carved wooden bust of yer man Che, more food than I had expected I would need, gallons of cocktails, twenty CDs, a bottle of delightful seven-year-old Havana Club for the train journey home from Gatwick and a packet of crisps and ended up bringing a little bit of my spendy money back with me.

I hope this helps. I hope you have a wonderful time. I had the absolute time of my life. If in doubt, take too much money and bring some back but don't skimp because Cuba is an incredibly exciting place if you go there determined to make the most of what it has to offer.

Hasta la victoria siempre.

Cool thanks for the reply it is really helpful.  I am really excited about it! 

When are you going? And have you been on Exodus trips before?

21st dec on the 2 week cycling trip.  Jut one but it was good fun and out of 16 people there are going to be some you'll get along with.  Made some great friends on the last trip.

Aw that'll be brilliant. Over Christmas too.

I've done two trips now and had mostly very nice, fun loving people in both groups . . . and no one that I didn't like. And I can't fault Exodus. I'm entitled to my 5% loyalty discount now so I've just booked the High Inca Trail for next May . . . lost a stone just worrying about how fit I need to get.

My big tip for Cuba is to take a gel saddle. I got one for about £35 in Halford's which saved my life and my ****. I didn't need the padded shorts but some who did wear them were still a bit tender in their tender parts.

I cycle very regularly so have SPDs and no feeling in my butt!

Thanks again for your advice 

Just back. I spent £240 but took £600 to give a contingency allowance. There are some ATMs in the cities, but you would end up spending your free city time going back to queue up to use them. Immodium was not touched at all and food was wholesome. I didn't feel the need of a gel saddle, but my bike at home is also a Trek so the saddle was familiar. Don't go without a couple of pairs of cycling shorts. You won't be able to buy anything like that in Cuba.

God knows how you got away with that little.  I spent £600 and that was with no souvenirs.  I think most of our group spent between £500 and £600.

 Tips for anyone reading this and yet to go - chilli flakes / hot sauce good as food bland, gel seat def, padded short no brainer, cleats if you have them as there are three sets of decent hills which you will find much easier but most of our group didn't have them so not essential.  No access to machien washing so just do it yoruself - i took a thing of surf liquid. If you put clothes in to be washed they will eb handwashed - except maybe in Havanna at which point it is to late.

Lots of our group got sick after Holgien so be careful eating at that hotel.  Seemed like the meal had been sitting and those served last seemed to be the ones who were ill.  Coke is definite cure for stomach upsets - there is a reason triathletes have it after open water swims.  It kills everything! 

Drinking will eat (or perhaps) drink into the budget. I only had 1 each of Mojito, Cuba libre, Pina Colada, Rum, Buccanero and Cristal just to try them. Otherwise lemonade, orange, sometimes lemonade natural. Coke is unfortunately only available in the western hotels where it is of the much nicer Latin American recipe. Otherwise the local cola is not particularly palatable without the addition of rum 

I only bough a few token souveniers but note that 4 meals were not included in my total as we had 2 extra group meals, the group missed 1 and I missed another as I wasn't feeling good, but that was due to too much sun and perhaps a little dehydration and not due to the food. It is important to keep hydrated when cycling and to make good use of the water provided at the waterstops. However toilets can be a bit of a problem particularly for the girls. Use them when you can and keep an eye out for holes in the hedges.

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