Cuban Revolutions: Why Cyclists Love Cuba

Cuba has never felt more alive. From the all-night salsa bars of Havana - the city you simply couldn’t invent, to the faded colonial allure of Trinidad, via the crashing waves and cool sands of the Caribbean coastline, this country offers an abundance of wonder, colour and history. Get closer to it all. Cycle through Cuba and you're heading into the heart of this kaleidoscopic and captivating island nation. It's easy to see why cyclists love Cuba!

Cyclists love Cuba! Cyclists love Cuba!

After 50 years of sanctions, the recent entente cordiale with the US is set to subtly nudge the nation’s DNA: but Cuba’s too proud, too confident and too protective of its hard-won national spirit to ever be in danger of changing too much. Yes, the island will welcome the economic injection trade with its super-sized neighbour will bring. No, the island won’t become an offshore Miami. Those gas-hungry 1950’s Chevy's might run a little smoother, though: no more elastic bands and superglue welding the engine together.

Salsa dancing Salsa dancing

And when the food’s this good? Sorry, Mr McDonald, your burgers have nothing on the Cubanos. Prepare to meet your new best friend – these traditional hearty Cuban sandwiches, stuffed with slow cooked marinated meats will power you forward, on your voyage around one unmistakable, uncompromising and unforgettable island.

Little wonder you love it too - Cuba’s rapidly becoming one of our most popular destinations. And this indelible island has another ace up its sleeve: our brilliant team of local guides, awarded ‘Team of the Year’ in the Leader Awards. We caught up with Lazaro and Alex, both of whom personify everything that’s so engaging, life-affirming and welcoming about this singular island nation.

Cuba's revolutionary history Cuba's revolutionary history

“My office is the Cuban countryside, my transport (bike) is eco-friendly, and my lunch is organic fruits bought directly from the farm. How could I not love my job?,” says an unequivocal Lazaro de la Maza, our cycling guide from Arroyo Naranjo, a suburb of Havana. “Cuba is probably the last truly romantic place on Earth,” he says, “but I have to admit, that might have something to do with the rum..!"

Cycling, for Lazaro, is more than a job – it’s a chance for him to get closer to the land (and the people) he loves. And to share that passion with the rest of us. “On a bike you can stop for a chat at any time, something that isn’t so easy on other types of tours. Sometimes you’ll find yourself cycling along a completely empty stretch of road between a majestic mountain range and the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Believe me if you want to see the real Cuba, grab a bike and a helmet and join a bike tour!"

Asked to name his favorite Cuban highlight, Lazaro doesn’t hesitate. “It has to be Havana old town. When you walk through the streets there’s no doubt you’re in the capital of mojitos, cigars and salsa!”

Taverna Taverna

Still celebrating after clinching the Best Overseas Team award, Lazaro’s fellow team member Alex Berjaga Hidalgo is equally effusive about his homeland.

“I was born in Bayamo in the eastern part of the island – a richly historic corner of Cuba that’s definitely worth exploring,” he says.

Other highlights? “For beauty, it has to be the tiny coastal city of Baracoa, between the mountain sand the sea, elegant Cienfuegos and the lush Sierra Maestra mountains."

Trekkers, Cuba Trekkers, Cuba

But it’s Cuba’s three principal attractions that, for Alex, fire up the imagination more than any silken beach or lofty mountain: "My people, my music and our beautiful places." he says with absolute certainty. What about cycling? "It’s the best way to experience them all." Alex smiles.

“I love my country, and I love my job. I love the human interaction,” Alex says. So what’s the fastest way to immerse our selves in all that Cuba is, right now? “Walk around old Havana, drink a good Mojito, and take a drive in a soft-top Chevy.” We’re there.

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