Representative Route Description
The following is an excerpt, though without map and photos, from Bicycling Cuba. It describes and gives directions for one of our favorite short loop rides, starting in Cienfuegos. All the other routes in the book are presented in a similar format with comparable levels of detail.
Cienfuegos Pasacaballo Loop (39 kilometers)
39-kilometer loop ride from Cienfuegos makes a great warm-up before
starting on the Central Cuba tour. It can easily be done in a single
day, but you may wish to stop for a night or two at the beach. The route
features a botanical garden, good swimming beaches, a Spanish fort,
and two boat rides. You start from the heart of the city, but in just
seven kilometers you will be in quiet countryside, with views of the
Sierra del Escambray in the distance. There are some challenging hills,
but grand scenery and a swim in the Caribbean more than repay your efforts.
0.0 Start at Prado and Avenida 54. Ride north on Prado, away from Punta Gorda.
0.2 Pass a sign for Havana, straight ahead.
0.4 Turn right following a sign to Trinidad, on Avenida 62. There is a Baptist temple on the left just before this turn.
0.6 Turn left immediately after passing a small park. Then in just one block bear right onto Avenida 64. Its name will change to Calzada Real de Dolores. It is a busy four-lane road with speed bumps for a center divider.
3.5 Continue straight across another busy, four-lane road. There is a blinker light here, and signs for Rancho Luna and Trinidad to the right, Havana to the left, and Cumanayagua straight ahead. (The cross road here is the Circunvalación.)
4.8 Continue straight, passing a right turn to the airport.
6.0 Pass a sign for Caonao. As you ride through this small town, the road will curve sharply to the right, then to the left, and will narrow considerably.
7.0 There is a large fruit and vegetable farm on the left with extensive shade houses. You will soon have a glimpse of the Sierra del Escambray ahead. From here on, the ride will become increasingly hilly, though not difficult until after El Jardín de Los Botánicos.
15.3 Continue straight through a crossroad; to the left you can see the Karl Marx Cement Factory.
15.4 Bear right at a fork; there is a Cupet gas station at this fork and a small convenience store for a cold drink. This road will climb, with increasingly scenic views of the mountains to the left.
Reach the clearly-marked entrance on the left to the Jardín
de Los Botánicos de Cienfuegos.
19.8 Turn right onto an unsigned paved road. On the left is one of the most scenic bus shelters imaginable. The road you will now be on is like a roller coaster, with some difficult climbs, but also grand views and exhilarating downhills toward the Bahía de Cienfuegos far below.
27.5 Continue straight, passing a right to Cienfuegos.
27.7 Pass a service station on the right with cold drinks available.
28.2 Bear left onto a major road. (Back in Cienfuegos, this road is Avenida 5 de Septiembre.)
28.6 Cross a bridge, immediately followed on the left by a small restaurant serving criollo meals and seafood.
32.0 Note a signed road to the left that goes to Playa Rancho Luna. (There is an all-inclusive hotel at the end of this road catering to German and Canadian package tourists. We do not find it appealing, but it was being renovated, and non-guests can use the good beach.)
32.8 Turn right at the bottom of a marvelous hill with views of the sea and mountains below. (The left follows the shore to Playa Rancho Luna.)
33.0 Pass the entrance on the left to Villa Rancho Luna, a bar on the pleasant public beach. Sun chairs and umbrellas are available for rent.
35.3 Pass the lighthouse from which the hotel gets its name, Faro Rancho Luna, on the left. There are two casas particulares on the right immediately after the lighthouse. The second, Finca Las Coloradas, is more like a tiny inn, and we recommend it highly.
38.7 Turn left down a dirt lane to the shore for a boat to Castillo Jagua. This turn is directly opposite a driveway on the right leading up to the Hotel Pasacaballo.
If you continue straight past the boat landing and the Hotel Pasacaballo, you will reach the end of the road in another 1.5 kilometers. Here, the seafood restaurant, Casa del Pescador, sits at the very end of the point.
To return to Cienfuegos, first take the boat from Pasacaballo to Castillo de Jagua. This should cost a dollar or two. Don't try for a boat all the way back to Cienfuegos; it would be expensive if you could find one. Once you get to Castillo de Jagua, just across the narrow entrance to the bay, you can wait for another small, public ferry that will take you 10 kilometers back to Cienfuegos for a peso or two.
A hurricane swept across central Cuba in late 2001 just after we
rode this Pasacaballo loop. In early 2002 a correspondent told us that
the restaurant, Casa del Pescador, was closed. More importantly for
completing the ride, he said it was impossible to get a boat at Pasacaballo.