Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Cuba

Bicycle Touring in Cuba
Since Americans can now legally travel to Cuba, perhaps you have been considering bicycling on the island. Officially, Americans can only visit Cuba if their trip falls in one of 12 categories, which are listed on the State department's Cuba travel page. While this sounds rather limiting, one Internet source say you just have to sign an affidavit at the airport. January or February are good times to go, since it won't be so hot. Also, you will avoid the hurricane season, which runs from June through November.

I found several sources for information on cycling in Cuba:
Here are a few of their recommendations:
  • Avoid hotels. Instead stay at what we would call a bed and breakfast. In Cuba they are called "casa particulares" or just "casas". They also offer dinner for a modest charge. It's a good idea to check the shower in a casa before paying for the night. Some of them don't have much water pressure.
  • Food is okay, but nothing special. Rice and beans are served at most casa dinners, which are reasonably priced. Restaurant meals are more expensive. Pizza is available on the streets for lunch and very cheap. They advise not passing up food if you are the least bit hungry, since it may be hard to find.
  • Roads are okay, and traffic is not bad. Because of the embargo, many cars in Cuba are ancient, from the 1950s. Not surprisingly, many of these belch out a lot of smoke.
  • Many locations are noisy at night with the sounds of dogs, pigs, music and cars. Ear plugs are recommended.
  • Some basic items, like soap, are hard to find in Cuba. 
  • A basic knowledge of Spanish is a big help.

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