Oriente is a region of stunning diversity and stark contrasts. There
are tropical beaches on the north shore of Holguín province,
while due south in Granma and Santiago de Cuba provinces, Cuba's
mightiest chain of mountains, the Sierra Maestra, looms over the
near the eastern end of the island, is Cuba's rainiest city, but
less than 60 kilometers to the south, cactus grows on the Caribbean
shore in the hottest and driest part of the country. Cyclists are
wise to start riding at dawn and take an afternoon siesta.
most dramatic episodes in Cuban history occurred in the Oriente.
Rebellion against Spain first broke out in Granma Province. The
Oriente was the stronghold of rebel forces in both wars against
Spain and in the 20th century revolution as well. Fidel Castro's
first strike against the Batista dictatorship was an attack on this
military garrison in Santiago de Cuba. His rebel army was based
in the Sierra Maestra, and he delivered his first victory address
in Santiago de Cuba.
rides in Oriente are divided into two groups those that begin
in Santiago de Cuba, and those that begin in Holguin. There are
one-day outings and short overnight trips, and also two long, multi-day
tours, one of which goes all the way to Baracoa and back. Some of
the most challenging days of cycling are in our long Oriente routes
and some of the roughest roads, also.