20-Nov-2019 -- Even though Cuba is a tourist destination, several confluence points have remained unvisited. On my trip through Cuba I tried to explore these unvisited points. This report is the first out of nine reports reaching or attempting confluence points during my 2-week bicycle trip around Cuba.
I took a flight to Havana from Zurich via Madrid. From Havana I continued by a night bus to Holguin (33 km from the confluence) in the eastern part of Cuba, arriving there at 4 AM.
Astonishingly, this confluence point is close to the main route between two major tourist destinations, Holguin City and Cuba’s most famous beach at Guardalavaca, but has never been visited. I thought this would be an easy catch for a warm-up.
At a distance of 1.5 km, I left the main road to Guardalavaca and continued on an earth road that would bring me all the way to the confluence point. But it had rained the last two weeks and there were huge water puddles on the road. When I circumvented one of those puddles, I must have ridden over some thorny weeds, with the result that I had six(!) punctures in my tyres – three in the front and three in the rear tube.
The problem was that I had only one spare tube with me. I would have to fix three holes at least. In such unfavourable situation, I decided to visit the confluence first and take care of the bicycle later. I was just a little more than one kilometre short of the confluence – a surely unproblematic distance for a walk.
But just a short distance into the hike was an unexpected gate ahead with the sign “NO PASE ZONA MILITAR”. I wasn’t in the mood to extend my trouble by entering the forbitten zone. There was nobody at the gate to ask for permission. And even if there had been someone to ask – I am sure that I would have been denied entering. Military is neurotic when it comes to grant permissions. This would be particularly the case for a foreigner with little knowledge of Spanish.
So I decided to turn around and abandon this confluence visit. I returned to my bicycle and rode to the nearby town of Rafael Feyor (thereby pumping up my tires 4 times). In the town I found a specialist for tire repair (no wonder considering the disastrous state of the roads). Then I continued cycling to the huge tourist resort of Guardalavaca, where I spent the night.
Later, having internet and looking at the satellite image of the confluence, I am quite convinced that the confluence is not within the military zone and might be visitable. There is another track that avoids that compound.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to a road: 1.5 km
- Distance to a track: 200 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 1.3 km
- Time to reach the turn-around from the main road: 30 min
- Time at the turn-around: 11:51 AM
- Measured height: 6 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 1150 m (the gate is less than 1000 m)
- Position accuracy: 5 m
- Topography: hilly
- Vegetation: forest.
- Weather: partly cloudy, 28° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Military Zone Confluence
The story continues at 20°N 76°W.
More pictures of the trip can be found here.