Oriente Overview

Cuba's 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 coast.
Baracoa, 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.
The 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.

The 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.