Tour of Cuba's Far East

If you take on the challenge of the Far East Tour, you will continue beyond Guardalavaca and wind through the lush hills of Maniabón, passing campesino farms and tiny villages. The route swings south from Banes, gradually approaching the the Sierra Cristal, then turning back to the coast. It is a beautiful ride, but good accommodations are few and far between, so days are long.
It takes two or three days to reach Moa, the center of Cuba's nickel mining and smelting industry — and certainly not your final destination. Around Moa, hillsides have been stripped and dark, noxious smoke pours from the stacks of the huge Fábrica Che Guevara east of town.
It takes one more long day to reach Baracoa. Cuba's oldest city is on the shore of a huge bay surrounded by lush hills and mountains. Unspoiled beaches are close at hand.
From Baracoa to the south coast, the route follows La Farola, the most impressive mountain road in Cuba. There is a 20-kilometer climb with only a few breaks. Riding down the steeper south side of La Farola, sharp turns are cantilevered out from the sheer hillsides.
The south coast is arid, and heat is likely to be the cyclist's biggest challenge. Here, campesinos are working together in a large, cooperative vegetable garden — which must be irrigated in this climate.
Guantánamo City does not win praise in most guidebooks, but we like it. There is a pretty old church in the central square, and our favorite statue of José Martí.