Route type: preferably for hybrids and mountain bikes
Stops: Guantanamo, Imias, Baracoa
Distance: 84 km + 85 km + 65 km + 74 km + 95 km + 85 km + 57 km (total 545 km).
Suggested duration: 10 nights & 11 days (or 11 nights/12 days)
How to begin the route: Take the Viazul bus to Santiago de Cuba. Return to Havana via Viazul bus from Holguin. Reservations may be made in any Viazul office in Cuba or through www.viazul.com .
Difficulty level: challenging
This is a bicycle route for adventurers and those who enjoy remote locations & wonderful landscapes.
Take the Viazul bus to Santiago de Cuba, overnight, and get to know the City of Santiago de Cuba. Some of the recommended historical-cultural sites include the Moncada Barracks, the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, Céspedes Park, the Basílica del Cobre sanctuary, the Emilio Bacardí Provincial Museum, and more. Santiago de Cuba features a range of accommodation options including Meliá Santiago, Hotel REX, Las Américas, San Juan, Libertad, y other hotels, as well as numerous Private Accommodation options. The next day, begin your route east from Santiago de Cuba to Guantanamo.
Santiago de Cuba – Guantánamo (84 km)
You must leave Santiago de Cuba via the National Highway (autopista nacional). From Hotel Meliá Santiago you would take and turn right after Teatro Heredia, towards the bypass (Circunvalación) as far as the bridge signaling the National Highway. After the bridge we’ll take the detour on the right to hit the highway heading north. Follow the highway and after the Check Point (Punto de Control), you’ll see the sign indicating “El Cristo” & “La Maya”, taking that road to Guantánamo.
Continue on the Cristo road and at the Alto Songo intersection (km 33) you must turn right to La Maya. Pass the village of Yerba de Guinea and about 13 kilometers ahead a 22-km section of the Guantanamo highway has been completed as far as the city. Another route option would be About 5 kms into the highway where you could turn right, and then 500 meters ahead left towards Niceto Perez. This road also leads to the center of the city of Guantanamo. In the city you may lodge at Hotel Guantánamo or in private accommodations.
Guantanamo – Imias (85 km)
This section of your route is relatively easy, with little climbing. You will enjoy sections of scenic views bordering the southern coast of Guantanamo province. Continue in an easterly direction on the central road. You’ll pass through the villages of Yateritas (km 39) and San Antonio del Sur (km 64). Twelve kilometers ahead on the right you’ll find the Yacabo Abajo or Rio Yacabo campgrounds, an economical option for overnighting. Imias is 9 kilometers further, if you’d like to continue your route that far. Rest well tonight as tomorrow has a significant climb with challenging grades to Baracoa, which may be the best test of your legs of the entire trip.
Imias – Baracoa (65 km)
Departing Imias enjoy the scenic Caribbean Sea on your right on the 15.5 km ride to the village of Cajobabo. Here is where you’ll begin the “La Farola”,route along the viaduct elevations, one of the 7 wonders of Cuban civil engineering. At km 17 past Cajobabo you’ll find the scenic lookout Alto de Cotilla where you may want to take a rest. Continue your route of climbs and moderate descents, and the difficulty level will decrease at km 50, passing through the village of Sabanilla and continuing straight to Baracoa, Cuba’s founding villa. Accommodation options in Baracoa include La Rusa hotel, Hostal Rio Miel, Hostal La Habanera, Hostal 1511, Hotel Porto Santo, Hotel Castillo y various private accommodation options.
Baracoa – Moa (74 km)
The road from Baracoa to Moa is a challenge, as it was to be completely paved in the past, but with the passage of time, rain and storms, it has been considerably damaged. For this reason this section of your route is difficult for vehicular traffic, but possible by bicycle. This stage is also challenging for the long & steep elevations in the mountainous sections. Within the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park you’ll discover a mix of scenic views and vegetated forest areas. Departing Baracoa heading north, in just 1 kilometer you’ll pass La Finca Duaba, a countryside restaurant with hiking options.
Continue straight to pass the Rio Duaba bridge, as well as the Rio Toa bridge.
At kilometer 16 on your right, you’ll see the entrance to Villa Maguana.
But continue straight, ahead you’ll have a challenging adventure to the Moa area. Moa is an industrial city whose main economic activity is associated with the nickel mining and refineries. For visitors it’s not especially attractive, although it does have the Miraflores hotel for overnights.
Moa – Mayarí (95 km)
This leg of your journey is not flat – it has considerable climbing/descents. You should take the 37-kilometer road to Sagua de Tanamo. You may want to replenish your wáter supply and snack in the small village. Continue your journey and 6 kms ahead you’ll see an intersection where the road on the right heads to Cayo Mambí and the road on the left (which is the one you’ll take) heads to Levisa & Mayarí. Levisa is 78 kms from Moa, and about 10 kilometers before Levisa, in the village of Pueblo Nuevo there‘s the Rio Cabonico campground.
Continue straight after Levisa and 7 km ahead you’ll see an entrance on your right that leads to Felton and the Cayo Saetía Natural Park, 19 kilometers away, and Villa Cayo Saetía.
If you decide to continue to Mayarí, it’s just 9 kilometers ahead. In Mayarí, you may opt to visit the Salto del Guayabo (waterfall), the main attraction of La Mensura National Park, and one of Cuba’s highest waterfalls.
In Mayarí you’ll discover private accommodation options.
Mayarí – Guardalavaca Beach (85 km)
Departing Mayarí you should take the road to Juan Vicente & Guaro, pass these villages and continue. At the intersection at kilometer 16 turn right to Banes (the road on the left heads to Cueto), staying straight on this road to pass Herrera, the Deleite intersection, Los Negritos and at kilometer 51 you’ll see a T intersection where you must turn left to Guardalavaca, 30 kilometers away. If you continue straight you’ll end up in Banes.
At kilometer 80 on your left you’ll see the entrance to the Chorro de Maíta, archaeological site, where evidence exists of all types of burials not only of Cuba, but the Caribbean.
Continue to Guardalavaca beach, where you can choose from multiple hotel accommodations such as Brisas Guardalavaca, Club Amigo Atlántico Guardalavaca or private accommodations.
Several kilometers further west there’s also Esmeralda Beach, Yuraguanal, Blanca & Pesquero beaches, with alternative hotels including Paradisus Rio de Oro, Sol Rio de Luna y Mares, Memories Holguín, Playa Pesquero, Blau Costa Verde, Playa Costa Verde, or Villa Don Lino.
Playa Guardalavaca – Holguín (57 km)
This is an easy, enjoyable Cycling route. From the village of Guardalavaca take the main road west, pass the gas station on your right, and 2 kms ahead pass the entry to the Playa Esmeralda hotels. 1 km ahead it also passes the entrance to the Bahía de Naranjo Natural Park (where the Guardalavaca Dolphinarium is situated and interaction with dolphins is offered).
11 kilometers ahead you’ll see the entrance to Playa Pesquero and its hotels. Continue straight on the main road and at kilometer 53 you’ll pass a rotary, the University of Holguin, a second rotary and you’ll see the Calixto Garcia baseball stadium on your right. You’re now in the city of Holguín.
In the city choose from hotels such as El Bosque, hotel Pernik, or Villa Mirador de Mayabe as well as a considerable selection of private accommodation options.
From Holguin you may take the Viazul bus to western Cuba.