ROAD REPORT FROM CUBA
Posted: 19 September 2007 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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BY CUBANO

Dear amigos,

Have a lot of things to report but here’s yesterday’s adventure :

We drove off at 11 am from Manzanillo to Santiago, the plan was to take the coastal road.
It is a scenic drive, you reach Pilon crossing the western part of the Sierra Maestra, in this part a dry area but nonetheless very beautiful.

From Pilon onwards there are some beautiful views of the sea, some nice beaches, with the mountains majestically rising on your left side.

Everything was going well, we had given a ride to several people, two of them got off in El Macio, about 15 kms after Marea del Portillo. We then stopped to give a ride to a girl going to visit her mother in Uvero. She told us that the road ahead of us was damaged but should be ok if driving slowly. After a few kilometers the road became very rough. Here the road runs along the sea, and in some parts only half of the road was left…the rest washed away by the waves. Still, we were advancing and apart from the usual potholes our little Hyundai Accent rental car was proceeding without any particular problems.

This until we drove around a corner and discovered that the sea had taken away a huge chunk of the road… There was a sort of a provisional road, running between the sea, some huge rocks they had placed along this track and the mountain. With a jeep or any other offroad vehicle this would have been more or less ok but with the Hyundai…. We slowly drove towards this track and from here onwards it was hell for about 1 km…
Big waves were crashing on the rocks separating us from the sea…
We forced our way through, probably risked damaging the car in a couple of occasions with stones touching the bottom of the car and advancing at snail pace. We finally managed to pass this point, myself driving, my cousin and the girl checking all along the way that we would not damage the car by throwing away the big stones on the road…

They got back into the car, we did maybe one more km and things got again complicated…the road was completely gone along the sea and they had built a ‘‘road’’ going up almost vertically the mountain… We asked a couple of workers whom we crossed here ( the only people we met in many kms) and they told us that it should be possible to make it with our car, it was according to them only a few kms, the new road running high up and then descending again to the old road. We still don’t know how but we managed to cover the steep access (abt 200 meters) to the road, a scary task as on the right side there was nothing in case the car had slid…
The ‘road’ continued high up on the mountain, we had to continue in snail pace as full of rocks and nothing but a provisional trail…
Finally, after a few kms the road descended again towards the old road, which, although damaged with chunks missing and huge holes, was still there.
From here onwards we managed to drive more or less steadily towards Santiago.

To give you an idea of the trip it took us 8h30min for the 300 kms from Manzanillo to Santiago. Even after Chivirico the road was damaged in several places and full of holes. Not a pleasant drive.

It seems that the last two hurricanes which did not touch directly Cuba did nonetheless provoke very strong waves and rains that washed away and damaged this road.

In hindsight i would recommend to avoid this road, even with an offroad car, at least until major repairwork has been done.
We probably should turned around and taken the road from Marea del Portillo to Batolome Maso and then onwards to Bayamo and then to Santiago. Or even driven back to Manzanillo and then to Bayamo-Santiago…

We are now in doubt about the next part of our trip as we had planned to drive tomorrow from Santiago to Baracoa. Originally we had planned to drive from Baracoa via Moa up to Holguin but nobody seems to be able to tell us how the rods are. Problem is that we have to drive from Baracoa to Holguin to catch our flight to Havana on the 19th. Today we will decide if we skip Baracoa and go there next time and instead go to Guaralavaca and relax for a few days.

Apart from this adventure the trip has been perfect, even the raods we had taken so far were more than acceptable. We have met some great people and had a lot of fun.

After Havana we had flown to Holguin, then visited Gibara, Banes, Guardalavaca, Bayamo, the Comandancia La Plata in the Sierra Maestra (very nice day excursion with a few hours of trecking), Manzanillo.

Today we will visit Santiago, the weather has been great since our arrival on September 6th, just some thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Cheers amigos! Hasta la vista


http://www.cubamaniaks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3403

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Posted: 19 September 2007 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Great post. I love to read about the adventures of Cuba.

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Posted: 17 October 2007 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Can’t wait I will be in Santiago De Cuba next Thursday

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“Take all of your best from yesterday for today. To take all of today for tomorrow.”

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Posted: 18 October 2007 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Would love to see the photos and hear some stories. Keep us posted and have a great trip.

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