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Showing reviews for Cuban Highlights Ride

Number of Reviews: 72 Overall score: *****
***** Written
Cuban Highlights Ride

Dreaful Trip - Do not visit Cuba

1
Cuba was dreadful. I did know what to expect, I know it’s all falling down, nothing works, it’s a huge rip off for the tourists, I did know all that. What I didn’t expect was to become really ill for more than half the “holiday”, spend a fortune on simply surviving because of the blatant fleecing of the tourists, having to fend off aggressive beggars, musicians, restaurant owners, taxi drivers, the list goes on. Cuba is one big rip off from the moment you step off the plane. Although this isn't the fault of Exodus, I felt I really had to post my experience of the appalling animal cruelty I witnessed. I am still so angry and heartbroken about what I have seen. Most of this is going on in the rural areas, but I saw a lot in Havana too. Starving stray cats and dogs wondering about is bad enough, we all expect this in developing countries but the most shocking thing of all is the treatment of their horses. At least cats and dogs can scavenge for food and beg from the tourists, but the horses are utterly dependant on the people who own them. In rural Cuba horses are still used for transport, both riding and pulling carts. Did you know that in Cuba, there are no laws concerning the treatment and welfare of animals? That’s right, NO LAWS, you can do what you like to any animals in Cuba, both domestic and wild and no one will touch you because you’re not breaking any law. Almost without exception, every single horse I saw was little more than a skeleton, barely able to stand because they were so weak, covered in sores from ill fitting tack, ribs, hips and backbones jutting like razors under a covering of skin. I saw them being beaten with ropes and chains because they were unable to pull overloaded carts up hills. I saw a young Cuban man forcing his emaciated horse to gallop up and down a tarmac road just so he could show off to his friends. I saw a horse clearly chronically lame in its near fore, being forced to trot pulling a cart which was too heavy even for a sound animal. I cycled past a cart with around a dozen young Cuban girls in it, each one clearly weighing 20 stones or more, all laughing and joking while the driver lashed his skeletal horse who was struggling, panting and in distress at trying to heave this colossal weight up a hill. I saw a man beating his horse with a knotted rope, I heard the animal groaning in pain (bear in mind horses are pretty much non vocal creatures and will only make a noise when in severe distress), a sound I had never heard before and I hope never to hear again, as the rope thudded in between its sunken fleshless ribs. I saw horses tethered in the blazing sun with no shade, food or water. These are just a couple of examples of what I saw, I could write pages and pages about each example. If this was happening in the UK every single one of those individuals would be arrested and sent to prison, their horses would be euthanized on the spot as they were beyond being rescued and nursed back to health. These people clearly have more than enough to eat given the number of grotesquely obese Cubans I saw waddling about. They’re not interested in sharing it with their horses though. What sort of society behaves like this? I did speak to several of these people and asked them why their horses were starving and why they were not given water. I was treated as if I was mad, one man earnestly explained to me that horses must not be fed or watered while they are “working” as it’s not good for them. Seriously? This man's horse hadn’t been fed or watered properly for months given the state it was in. I asked another one to explain to me the economic sense behind not feeding or giving even the most rudimentary care to your horse, surely, I said, a horse is a relatively expensive commodity, why would you starve it to death? The reply? “Horses are cheap here, I’ll just buy another one”. So it’s cheaper to buy a horse, starve and beat it to death, then buy another than it is to simply just take care of the one you have? How sick is that? There are a couple of horse charities in Cuba, I’m still doing research to try and decide who to donate to, so in the meantime, the only thing I can do is tell as many people as I can about what I saw and beg everyone, please do not go to Cuba, don’t give them your money, and tell people why you won’t go. The only way anything will change is if tourists don’t spend money there and tell them that we won’t support or tolerate this evil behaviour. These people really are wicked and cruel, it is NOT OK to abuse horses. You don’t have to be from a developed nation to understand that starving and abusing animals is wrong. The most sickening thing is that there IS food available in Cuba, these people are not abusing their animals because they have no choice or because they don’t know any better, they’re doing it because they can, and no one will stop them. Please, please don't go there.
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Exodus Response

We would like to thank Mairi for her review, although we were very sorry to learn of her concern for the way in which horses and animals are treated in Cuba. Whilst our local manager has explained that Cuban’s have a different relationship to animals than we do in the UK, we appreciate that this must have been very distressing to have witnessed. We have made our responsible tourism manager aware of Mairi’s concerns and she will be looking into the positive influence we can have on animal care in Cuba, such as working with The Diana Project charity, based in Trinidad.

Malcolm Parkinson – Product Manager
***** Written
Cuban Highlights Ride

Cycling Cuba - Fantastic!

5
What an amazing way to see Cuba! I loved every second & Freddy, our guide, was so knowledgeable & clearly passionate about Cuba, that it really added to the experience. The group was great fun too. All in all a brilliant holiday.
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***** Written
Cuban Highlights Ride

Cuban Highlights Tour

5
Fantastic trip with great cycling, cultural and historical aspects. The entire trip exceeded my expectations for the quality of bikes to accommodation and food. The cycling was relaxed and, although mostly on main roads, traffic was not heavy (unlike the headwinds!) and there was always full back up with the support bus. The food was simple but tasty and the casa's were comfortable and far more interesting than staying in a hotel. Cuba was fantastic and everything we needed was available, just be prepared for some unreliability such as lack of hot water, toilet paper etc
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***** Written
Cuban Highlights Ride

Cuban Highlights

5
Very enjoyable and well organised. Lovely rides through varied countryside and interesting towns which transported us back in time and gave fascinating insights into the country's history. Routes were good and the bikes ideal for the various challenges - hills, road surface etc. Pleasant helpful supportive staff always ready with water, snacks and repairs if needed.
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***** Written
Cuban Highlights Ride

Historical, Hot and Colourful Cuba - on Christmas Day!

5
Take what you imagine to find in Cuba - this is most likely what you will get. I did anyway. Marinade yourself in Cuban culture with salsa, cigars and mojitos. Get lost in the myriad of cobbled streets in Trinidad. Combine some great sightseeing with some challenging but not impossible cycling. From Ernest Hemingway's bar to a tour of the city in a Cadillac, Havana is rich and diverse in both its history and landscapes and even how the country is in a little bit of a technological time warp adds to its charm.
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***** Written
Cuban Highlights Ride

Wonderful country, beautiful and vibrant.

5
I throughly enjoyed the trip, a true holiday of a lifetime! I LOVED Cuba, it was so colourful, sunny and full of music and dance. A great tour group, everyone was lovely and happy to join in! Cycling was fine, I am active person but not a cyclist except for cycling tours in the Netherlands, but the cycling was steady and I was tired at the end of the day, but manageable. Cycling was on tarmac roads, and mostly fairly straight, but there was little traffic, just a 1950s car passing regularly to add to the atmosphere. There were regular breaks, and water was provided by the guides, and the bus was behind us all of the way. Was glad to have cycling shorts with padding and also a gel saddle cover. Ended up leaving my bag on the bus which was always with us, and just cycling. It was hot and found a bag too annoying to be carting around. Accommodation was clean and comfortable, though lacked soft furnishings, but personally for me clean is the important bit! Staying in the Casa's were my favourite, gave a more authentic feel, and while simple still had air con, and I think more comfortable beds than the hotels in my case (we broke into smaller groups for the nights in the Casa's). Food was simple, a yummy meat (grilled chicken, pork that fell apart), with rice and plantain chips. I thought it was tasty, even if less varied! Fizzy drinks and fruit juice with meals that you bought separately. Group tour leader, Alex was excellent. He organised on the tour excellently, looked after us, and also taught us so much about Cuba's history and way of life. He was full of tips and ideas. Non cycling time was just as fascinating, we learnt to salsa, drank mojitos, had walking tours around and went swimming in the sea. Really liked Trinidad and staying there two nights, and Havana town was charming. Think that doing a tour was a really good way to see Cuba, afterwards stayed on 4 days at the memories hotel in Jibacoa, but after the fun of the group and wandering around and being able to mingle it felt a bit fake at the resort - wish I had done it before the tour rather than after. Other people in the hotel who did organised trips out weren't that enamoured and felt alone it was a bit complicated doing a trip to a neighbouring town or Habana.
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***** Written
Cuban Highlights Ride

Fantastic Cuban Adventure

5
We have just returned from Cuba having done the Cuban highlights cycle & a beach extension in Cayo Levisa. This is a fantastic trip with very pleasant cycling, trips to places of cultural & historical importance & some down time. The bikes were much better than we expected, the cycling was relaxed & not too demanding & the motorists very mannerly. The roads were quiet. Full backup with the bus is there at all times which is great. It was nice to be able to leave all our things on the bus while cycling.
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***** Written
Cuban Highlights Ride

Cuban highlights ride

5
Excellent trip, (I was in Jane's group, see review below) Freddy was indeed excellent, in addition to being a great cycle guide his knowledge and passion for Cuba knew no bounds, I came away refreshed and more knowledgeable after a most enjoyable holiday
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