On the RevolutionTrail
On the revolution trail
Out on the trail in Cuba
Western saddles
Revolution sign
Mountain views from the Revolution Trail horserdiing holiday in Cuba
Riding in Cuba
Horse riding on the Revolution Trail in Cuba
Cuban countryside
Horseriding in Cuba
Discover the rich history of Cuba on horseback. Follow in the footsteps of Cuba's revolutionaries, visit the historical sites of the Cuban Revolution and experience the beauty of the National Park of Sierra Maestra on horseback.
Ride on the mountain pass routes used during the revolution and over the grounds where the historic battle of Sierra Maestra took place. Stop for a coffee at a local coffee farm and enjoy meals with the locals sampling Cuban cuisine and beverages – followed by live music and dancing of course!

This trip suits riders that are comfortable in walk trot and canter in open spaces and offers plenty of activities out of the saddle for riders and non-riders alike, such as touring the city of Bayamo in a horse drawn carriage, a visit to the local rodeo and a guided walking tour to Comandancia de La Plata, the hidden rebel headquarters where the last 6 months of the war were plotted.

The 8 night trip gives you real insight into the local culture and politics and lets you immerse yourself in true Cuban hospitality with accomodation in casas particulares (home stays), guest houses, hotels and even the guajiros (field workers) farms.

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Day 1 Santiago de Cuba.
Reception at the airport of Santiago de Cuba and transfer to a casa particular (private family establishment or boarding house). Free evening to discover Santiago.

Day 2 Santiago de Cuba.
After breakfast, transfer to Rancho El Dajao. Welcome cocktail and ride to Puerto Boniato, the mountain pass route that separated Fidel's army from Batista's. After enjoying the view over Santiago de Cuba bay and drinking the Pru, a refreshing traditional workers drink of Eastern Cuba, we return to the ranch after approximately 4 hours in the saddle. Lunch will be ready with products from the organic agriculture farm. Free evening to visit the Santa lfigenia cemetery (where the Founding Fathers rest in peace), the Moncada Barracks and El Morro fortress. Accommodation in a casa particular. 4 hour ride. 

Day 3 Santiago de Cuba - Bayamo – Niquero.
Transfer to Bayamo. Lunch in a local restaurant and transfer to the Bayamo fair park to enjoy a rodeo. Horse carriage ride to discover the most emblematic places of the city of Bayamo. Transfer to Manzanillo and Niquero. Dinner in a local paladar. Accommodation at the hotel of Niquero or similar. Day of rest from the saddle.

Day 4 Bayamo - Niquero - Alegria de pio
Transfer to the symbolic place of Los Cayuelos, where we will walk through the mangrove in the same landing site where the revolutionary group disembarked. Visit to the Portada de la Libertad museum, where we will look at a reproduction of the Granma boat. Transfer to a small village in Oriente, where our horses will be awaiting us. Ride to Alegria de Pio. During the ride, we will have the opportunity to admire the diversity of the Cuban flora, watching trees such as coconut palm, royal palm, guåsima, bananas, mango and immense carob trees. Picnic on the way. Arrival at the forest community of Rio Nuevo, where we will test a succulent roasted pork (slow-cooked during the day) for dinner. Accommodation at the refuge. 4.5 hour ride.

Day 5 Alegria de Pio – Cinco Palmas – Marea del Portillo.
After breakfast, ride to Ojo de Agua and Cinco Palmas. Along the way, we have the opportunity to do some small gallops. After crossing the small river of Cajas, we will stop for a coffee in the farm of a guajiro (field worker). Arrival at Cinco Palmas, the place where Fidel and Raül Castro expeditionary forces came together. After lunch, transfer to Hotel Farallones in Marea del Portillo or similar. Dinner and accommodation at the hotel. 4.5 hours ride.

Day 6 Marea de Portillo – Santo Domingo - Bartolomé Maso
Transfer to Las Mercedes, where we will visit the house of the Commandant Ché Guevara in Sierra Maestra. Ride to Providencia. Along the way, we will stop to contemplate the ground where the historical and decisive battle of Sierra Maestra took place. Transfer to Santo Domingo. Simple meal at Casa de Junco. Transfer to Bartolome Maso. Dinner and accommodation at Villa Balcon de la Sierra. Traditional musical evening with El Quinteto Rebelde and an introduction to the Cuban Son and dance. Approximately 4 hours ride.

Day 7 Bartolomé Maso - Comandancia La Plata – Bayamo.
Transfer to Villa Santo Domingo. After a small break, departure in 4x4 to climb Alto del Naranjo (5.5 Km). Guided walking tour to Comandancia de La Plata (3 Km). Visit to the camp designed by Celia Sånchez and Fidel, the rebel hidden headquarters a strategic location from where they organized the last six months of the war. Among other interesting spots, it includes Fidel's hut, the Radio Rebelde station and the hospital. The expert tour guide will lead us through the historical events and the characteristics of the flora and fauna of Sierra Maestra. Return to Alto del Naranjo on foot and visit to the ecologic community of La Platica. After lunch, get the jeeps back to Santo Domingo. Transfer to Bayamo. Dinner in a local paladar. Accommodation at Hotel Royalton or similar. Day of rest from the saddle!

Day 8 Bayamo - Holgun - La Habana
Transfer to Holguin. A short visit to this beautiful town and transfer to the airport to fly to Havana. Arrival in Havana and free afternoon to immerse yourself in the magic of the Cuban capital. Farewell dinner in a good restaurant in Old Havana, with live show performed by the musicians of Roberto Faz's group, members of the Buena Vista Social Club. Accommodation in a casa particular. Day of rest from the saddle.

Day 9 Havana.
After breakfast, guided walking tour to discover the historical center of Old Havana. Transfer to the airport at 18:00.

Reading List
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.

 
Cuba has produced some of the most extreme political figures of the 20th Century. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were the main players involved in the Cuban Revolution which brought Communism to the island. For those interested in the ideology of these powerful men we recommend the following:
The relationship between Cuba, its allies and the West is brilliantly described in One Minute To Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs.
We also recommend Our Man In Havana by the British writer Graham Greene. Wormold is a vacuum cleaner salesman in a city of powercuts. His adolescent daughter spends his money with a skill that amazes him so when a mysterious Englishman offers him an extra income he's tempted. In return all he has to do is file a few reports. But when his fake reports start coming true things suddenly get more complicated and Havana becomes a threatening place...
For an up to date overview of Cuban history we recommend Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) by Richard Gott
Also:
* The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba by Julia Cooke - frank account of the author's stay and the people she meets, very good for getting to know more about the people and how they live
* The Island That Dared by Dervla Murphy - she visited three times in recent-ish years, and really was off the beaten track!
 
We can't overlook the enormous influence of Cuban music and recommend the following artists:
Buena Vista Social Club (There is also a remarkable documentary film on this group of Cuban musicians by Wim Wenders, also called Buena Vista Social Club)
The Creole Choir of Cuba
Elena Burke
Company Segundo
Ibrahim Ferrer
Beny Moré

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

Riders are not expected to assist with the care and tacking up of their horses but any help is welcome. The horses are Spanish horses, Quarter-horse and Pinto among others. They are safe and in good condition, suitable for the climate and terrain of the island. They range in size from 14.2hh to around 15.1hh. Western tack is utilised but there is also the option to have English saddles.

Rider requirements

Riders should be happy in walk, trot and canter and be well balanced in the saddle. The riding is not technically difficult and adventurous novices would be welcome. There is a minimum age of 12 years for this ride.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 14 st/198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation along the route ranges from 'Casa Particular' (a private homestay similar to a bed and breakfast) to hotels and nights spent in farmers accommodation. Please see links to some of the hotels that can be stayed at during the trail, subject to availability. A single supplement is available for those not wishing to share.


www.cubahotelroyalton.com/en/


islazul.cu/es/hotel/hotel-niquero


www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g5605799-d5603877-Reviews-Villa_Balcon_de_la_Sierra-Bartolome_Maso_Granma_Province_Cuba.html




Meals are healthy and plentiful, lots of fruit and vegetables with rice, beans, beef, chicken and pork. Good beer and rum is available everywhere!

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

British nationals require a tourist card to enter Cuba, which you should obtain before you travel. You should contact the Cuban Embassy in London in good time for further information on entry requirements. Dual nationals should also contact the Cuban Embassy in London for advice on entry requirements before travelling.

Their website can be found here: www.cuba.embassyhomepage.com

To enter Cuba you must hold a passport with remaining validity of at least six months from the date of entry.



You must hold valid travel insurance covering medical expenses before travelling to Cuba. The medical facilities in Havana are better than those available elsewhere in Cuba, but it is sometimes necessary to medically evacuate those who require urgent specialist care. This can be very expensive so you should ensure that your medical insurance covers you for this. If you require medical treatment you will be expected to pay in hard currency; a basic hospital stay can cost as much as £200 per day plus medical expenses.

Many medicines are unavailable in Cuba so you should bring any prescription drugs you take regularly. A copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor explaining your condition can be helpful at customs.

Climate Summary

Cuba has a warm tropical climate which makes it an ideal destination especially during the months of November to April, dry season months in Cuba. During this period of the year, Cuba enjoys a lot of sunshine with only a scattering of intermittent rain-showers brought about by northeasterly trade winds blowing in from the sea.

Climate Chart

Health

At Unicorn Trails, the health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance. While cases of the Zika Virus remain predominantly in Brazil and Ecuador, there have been reports of cases in Mexico, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cape Verde.
Whilst the symptoms of the Zika Virus are usually mild, customers are recommended to take the strict insect bite avoidance measures. This is particularly relevant if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, suffer from a severe, chronic medical condition, or have a medical condition that weakens your immune system.

Customers due to travel to the affected areas should monitor the World Health Organisation website for further updates and advice.
Customers planning to become pregnant should discuss travel plans with a healthcare provider to assess the risk of infection and receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures.
Customers who are already pregnant should inform their obstetrician or midwife if they have recently travelled to a country where Zika is known to occur.


You must hold valid travel insurance covering medical expenses before travelling to Cuba. The medical facilities in Havana are better than those available elsewhere in Cuba, but it is sometimes necessary to medically evacuate those who require urgent specialist care. This can be very expensive so you should ensure that your medical insurance covers you for this. If you require medical treatment you will be expected to pay in hard currency; a basic hospital stay can cost as much as £200 per day plus medical expenses.

Many medicines are unavailable in Cuba so you should bring any prescription drugs you take regularly. A copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor explaining your condition can be helpful at customs.

Please consult your GP or travel nurse for up to date advice for those travelling to Cuba. As a guide you can visit http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/caribbean/cuba

Electricity

Although the power supply in Cuba is mainly 110 volts, most of the modern hotels have dual voltage with all the sockets in the room being 220 volts. Usually in the bathroom there is an 110 volt socket suitable for shavers and charging batteries. All UK appliances will work in Cuba and all you will need is an adapter.

The sockets in the rooms are cleverly designed so they will take the North American flat 2 pin and the European rounded two pin plugs and are usually similar to these, the bottom one being the one in the bathroom.

Film and Camera Equipment

Please bring all necessary equipment with you, including spare batteries.

Packing List

Riding trousers - jeans or breeches
Riding boots or similar (need to have a heel and be comfortable for hiking)
Hard hat (recommended)
Riding hat with brim
Half chaps (optional)
Riding gloves
Sunglasses
Sunblock
Insect repellent
Lipbalm with sunscreen
Personal toiletries
Medications
Camera and film
T-shirts and shorts
Binoculars (recommended)
Lightweight long sleeved shirts
Sweater or sweatshirt
Informal wear for evenings
Plastic bag for wet clothing
Lightweight rainwear
Copy of passport
All terrain sandals
Additional passport photos
Swimsuit
Beach towel
Wearing a waist pouch is a handy method for keeping items such as camera and lipbalm readily accessible.

Programmes

This is a 9 day/8 night programme with 4 days riding available on set dates. Other dates available on request.

Departure Dates

2019: 2-10 Feb (confirmed); 24 Feb - 4 Mar; 30 Nov - 8 Dec
Other dates on request.

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20199d/8n4double pp2,125
20199d/8n4single supplement195
20199d/8n4Supplement for group of 4215
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20199d/8n4double pp2,259
20199d/8n4single supplement205
20199d/8n4Supplement for group of 4225
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
20199d/8n4double pp2,679
20199d/8n4single supplement245
20199d/8n4Supplement for group of 4269
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20199d/8n4double pp24,869
20199d/8n4single supplement2,259
20199d/8n4Supplement for group of 42,489
Recommended Reading

Cuba has produced some of the most extreme political figures of the 20th Century. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were the main players involved in the Cuban Revolution which brought Communism to the island. For those interested in the ideology of these powerful men we recommend the following:

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto 'Che' Guevara
My Life by Fidel Castro

The relationship between Cuba, its allies and the West is brilliantly described in One Minute To Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs.

We also recommend Our Man In Havana by the British writer Graham Greene. Wormold is a vacuum cleaner salesman in a city of powercuts. His adolescent daughter spends his money with a skill that amazes him so when a mysterious Englishman offers him an extra income he's tempted. In return all he has to do is file a few reports. But when his fake reports start coming true things suddenly get more complicated and Havana becomes a threatening place...

For an up to date overview of Cuban history we recommend Cuba: A New History (Yale Nota Bene) by Richard Gott

We can't overlook the enormous influence of Cuban music and recommend the following artists:

Buena Vista Social Club (There is also a remarkable documentary film on this group of Cuban musicians by Wim Wenders, also called Buena Vista Social Club)
The Creole Choir of Cuba
Elena Burke
Company Segundo
Ibrahim Ferrer
Beny Moré

Other Activities

Havana tours in old American cars, Spanish lessons, gastronomy lessons, dancing lessons.

Other Country Information

You must take out comprehensive travel insurance covering medical expenses before travelling to Cuba. You will be expected to present your insurance policy on arrival in the country.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Santiago de Cuba Airport
Transfer:
2019: Arrival transfer is included. Departure transfer is not included, taxi cost is approximate 25 CUC (around £20) payable on-site.
Flight Guide:
London to Santiago de Cuba Antonio Maceo Airport (SCU) and Jose Marti International Airport, Havana (HAV) to London, from £XXX per person return.
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