LOGO GLOBALRUNNERS

Havana Marathon November 7-16 2019

Aldready during the race, rythms and music give you promises of happy experiences. You will get an unforgetbale combination of a great race and strong impressions when your destinations is spelled Cuba. If you want to mix relaxing at the beach with meeting interesting people in a beautiful country together with other travellers who share your interests, this should be the right trip for you while wind and rain is on the agenda at home.

Cuba is authentic and complex. After the death of Fidel Castro in 2016, his earlier volontary exit and give over of the power to his brother Raúl, very little has changed. April 19 in 2018, vice president Miguel Díaz-Canei was elected as president. For the first time since the revolution in 1959, the Head of State with responsibility for the executive power is not called Castro. The new President in Cuba was born in 1960 and has worked as engineer, teacher and volonteer in Nicaragua.

Although the development is slow, you will feel that there are small openings from the regime. New times are in the pipeline and Barack Obama's and the Pope's visits have contributed to this. Everyone can read and the doctors are among the best in the world. Cuba has invested alot in education, children and health for all. However, there is also another side of Cuba, that we will inform you about prior and during the tour.

Program
 
Thursday Arrival to our Casa Particular in Havana. 
Friday City tour in the Old Town and we pick up our startkits for the race. .  
Saturday Maracuba, a 3 kilometer welcome race.
Sunday 10 km, halvmarathon eller marathon. 3 hour travel by collectivo, private taxi, in the countryside and the sugartipsmountains to Viñales in Western Cuba.
Monday Horseback riding in the countryside with visits to a coffe plantation and a cigar farm. Optional salsalesson in the evening.
Tuesday Bicycletour 50 km round trip to a fishing village on the north coast. Fresh lobster for lunch if you like. 
Wednesday By road in collectivos to the world heritage city of Trinidad on the south coast. Guided walking tour in Trinidad.
Thursday A lazy day on the beach. Turqoise sea, white sand and wonderful coral reefs. Optional snorkling.  
Friday Trekking in a naitonal park with swimming in a waterfall and a cave. 
Saturday By road in collectivos back to Havana 4,5 hours and departure from Cuba. 

Thursday - Travel to Cuba

Arrival to our Casa Particular in Havanna. A Casa Particular is a private Bed and Breakfast. Havana is a fascinating city. Old Havana, Habana Vieja, is a maze of winding streets and narrow alleys. Around the four squares of the Citry are the oldest quarters. The old cars, cigars, musicians, dancing cubans and rum drinks... - all your expectations of Havana will come true here. 

Staying in a private house is common in Cuba. Shared double room/twin room and breakfast is included every night. This is a conscious choice not to stay in hotels. It is much more interesting and fun to stay with the locals at Casa Particulares and all hotels in Cuba are owned by the state. We want our visit to benefit the local people directly.'
 

Friday - City tour and Hemingway's Bar

We will take a walk in the charming Habana Vieja (old town) with many historical buildings, squares full of life and music and monuments from the colonial days. There are lots of old, narrow and cosy streets. 

If you like Rumba, we recommend the Afro Cuban quarters of Havana, Callejón de Hammel. Cool wall paintings, psychedelic artist shops and rhythmic tones will greet you here. The Rumba dancers usually dress in white.

In the afternoon we collect our startkits. You can also visit the Rom Museum with guided tours at 2, 3 and 4 pm in English. This is five minutes by foot from where we stay. 

In the evening, we visit one of Hemingway's favorite bars where you can try classical drinks such as mojito and daiquiri.

Saturday - Welcome Race and Museum of Revolution

After breakfast we will walk to Capitoleum by the grand National Theatre where the Welcome Race Maracuba starts at 10.00. Maracuba is held in different cities in Cuba the day before 'the real race'. In a great atmomsphere, runners in alla ages from different countries participate. Flags from running nationalities are put up on the wall of a house by the start. The warm-up has visible elements from salsa! This Welcome Race is included in the race fee for all who shall run Marbana - Havana Marathon.

If anyone likes to visit the Museum of Revolution, this is a good time and it is close to Capitoleum. It is interesting and worth a visit.
 

Sunday - Mabarana 10 km, halvmarathon or marathon

Compared to the big races in the west, the organization of the race is not so advanced. Things work, but not the way you are used to. If you have a curious and open attitude, you will enjoy it thoroughly. Water is served every 3-4 km along the track.

During the race, you will find that the Cubans are proud and tough, although their equipment is often very simple. A foreigner is running in advanced swett-absorbing clothes, carefully selected running shoes and gps-timer, side by side to the normal Cuban in a washed-out T-shirt and tennis shoes or even flip flops or barefoot. If you have some running shoes at home that you don't want anymore in good shape, they will be highly appreciated as a gift to one of your running mates.

Halfmarathon and Marathon runners pass Plaza de la Revolucion with enorumous statues and paintings of the heroes from the Revolution such as Che Guevara, the boat Grandma, Cinefuego and José Marti whose white statue is seen from most part of Havana. 

There are many prices in different claces if you are among the fastest in your age group.

The race starts at 07.00 in the morning. Same time for the start for all distances. Maximum 6 1/2 hours is permitted for the marathon so you have to finish before 1.30 pm. It is a 10 minute walk from where we stay in Havana to the start=finish. In the afternoon at 3 pm we are picked up outside our Casa Particular by collectivos. We will travel by road for about 3 hours to Viñales.

In the evening, we will gather to celebrate the fine accomplishments today. We will eat dinner at a very nice restaurant, a Paladar. The restaurant is owned and managed by a family, who will do everything in their power to make us feel welcome and pleased with the food they cook for us.

The landscape in Viñales is magical with its high sugartips mountains. Noone wants to miss the sunrises and the sunsets.

Monday - horseback riding, coffe plantation, cigar farm and salsa lesson

Time to enter your kind and loyal horse. Everyone can come along, no previous knowledge is needed. The riding tour is about 4 hours in the lovely, green valley where tobaco fields, small farms and paddocks are found side by side with leafy, round mountain tops. Here are the oldest mountains in Cuba and fossiles from reptiles, fish and molluscs from the Jura period. In the valley, there are many endemic spieces. You will pass lush tobacco fields and spectacular mountains, so called mogotes, standing up-right from the fields. We visit a coffee plantation and a local cigar producer who makes organic cigars without chemicals and nicotine. The cigars are not exported but are only consumed in Cuba. 

The Cubans say they have the best coffee in the world. We agree. We have had local coffee in other typical coffee countries who say are real experts like Ethiopia, Colombia, Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey, but in Cuba, it tastes devine. The cultivate and produce Arabica as well as Robusta and here in western Cuba, they cultivate Arabica.

Those who wish can visit the Botanical Garden with 190 plants and good, knowledgable, English speaking guides. The garden is managed by a foundation. There is no entry fee but you are expected to contribute with a small sum to the foundation as a graditude for the guiding and visit. 

In the evening, you can attend a salsa lesson. One hour is 10 CUC (USD/Euro). Try it - it is fun! The teacher is a proffessional dance teacher. 

Tuesday - bicycle tour to a fishing village

Slow travel in the countryside.

We go by bicycles to a small fishing village, 25 km from Viñales. The roads are asphalt and the roads rather flat with high mountains around. We take it easy and make stops wherever we like. There are not many cars, the most common means of transportation is horse cart. At the coast we will see big mango trees when we enter the fishing village. Life is very relaxed here. A long pier is reaching out in the sea and most of us will probaly like to take a swim. We will have lunch at our friends' place here. we recommend lobster - the catch of the day!
 

Deliscious lobster, caught the same day in the morning.

Wednesday - Trinidad

With collectivos - private taxis - to stunningly beautiful Trinidad on the south coast of Cuba. In the 19th century, the area flourished thanks to sugar production and the buildings still show that the sugar barons earned big money. Many of their old pastel-colored palaces with neat balconies and tiled courtyards are left and well worth a visit. The residents of Trinidad are known for their hospitality, warmth and sense for music and art. The city is also the center of the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria.

Accommodation in shared doubles or twins. We make a walk around the city which will make you fell you are in a box of pastel crayons. In Cuba, they really like colors! On houses, clothes, cars. Plaza Mayor is the heart of the city in front of the church of Santísima Trinidad. The square is adorned by small enclosed gardens with beautiful urns and statues. At the Canchanchara bar, anyone who wants can have a dring with the same name, it was invented here.

In Trinidad you can not stand still when music and dance gets started at the square at dusk. Here is a a really awesome disco 20 meters down in a cave. Entrance is 4 CUC (USD/Euro). Only the environment is worth a visit. The music is as alive as it can be in every aspect and there are many places with live music.
 

Trinidad was founded in 1514. It is one of the best preserved colonial cities in America and a mixture of romance and former days slavery.

Thursday - turqoise sea, white beaches and really good snorkeling

A lazy day at Playa Ancón, where we will enjoy white sand and good swimming in the turquoise, Caribbean Sea. Here you can go to a coral reef and snorkel among colorful fish, corals, shells and starfish. Bring a good book and enjoy your reading while you're sipping a coconut. The sun is strong and there are good opportunities to lie in the shade if you want. The temperature in the ocean is about 25 degrees. Relax and pull in a lower gear, here is time for recovery. Would you rather stay in Trinidad, shop in the market or just relax, this of course no problem.
 

Friday - trekking in a national park

With collectivos, private taxis, to a national park, about 30 minutes journey. We hike to a waterfall. To the left of the fall leads a 20 meter long, totally unexploited cave that you can swim intio. Near the opening, you find a giant stalactite about one meter in diameter. The depth is 9 meters and in the cave it is 1-2 meters to the ceiling from the water surface, depending on the water level. The cieling is full of sleeping bats. Here's just pure nature, no lights or anything else artificial. You might imagine the feeling, it's cool!
 

Saturday - travel to Havana

Travel by collectivos - private taxis - to Havana. The trip takes about 4 1/2 hours. Time to say good bye to Cuba and your fellow travellers. 

We are convinced that you are full of delightful experiences in the Caribbean. For those who wish, it is fine to add a jogg in the morgnings and/or evenings. Please note that you do not have to participate in all activites. If you want to skip something, just let us know. There are always guests who skip the race. Havana Marathon is just the alibi for the tour! In 2017, there were two guests who did not run in any race and they were just as happy with the tour as those who ran. 
 

To visit Cuba or not

Whether it is right to travel to a country that is run by a single party dictatorship or not, is of course everyone's own choice. After visiting Cuba and talking to many Cubans, we are convinced that we are making a good contribution by going there. The Cubans are not favored by any boycott. They have suffered and are still suffering from the US blockade, which has also affected and still affects foreign aid and trade with other countries. They have a huge financial need of hard currency and are more than happy that tourists choose to visit them. We think, however, that it is extremely important HOW TO TRAVEL IN THE COUNTRY.

Globalrunners chooses to benefit individuals as much as we can. We do this by living in Casa Particulares which are private Bed and Breakfasts, rather than in hotels, all owned by the state. It's so much more fun and interesting for you as a guest since you get a close insight into how the cubans live. We eat at restaurants that are owned and operated by private individuals and travel with private transport. We want you as a traveler to get a good understanding for how the Cubans live and they are very happy that we come and travel in the way Globalrunners choose to do.

On the trip you visit the beautiful, worn Havana. We travel in the lush mountains where Fidel Castro's guerrilla hid from Baptista's government troops and in the beautiful Viñales Valley. Have you never seen the turquoise color of the Caribean Sea and felt its warm waves, you will get to do this on both the north and the south coast, where the infamous Pig Bay is located. On the other hand, we skip the beach in Varadero, flooded by western tourists. You get to know the life of ordinary Cubans and what it is like to live in the remains of the Cold War. Although the regime has relieved pressure and implemented reforms, it is still authoritative. Human rights are violated while social development is significantly better here than in comparable countries. Cuba faces a crossroads. That's what makes the country so interesting to visit right now. The feeling that you get as a traveler now can be completely different in just a few years, since for example American airlines have opened flights to Cuba. You will learn a lot about the Cubans tough living situation during the tour.

The strongest impressions we think will come through meetings and conversations with Cubans, every day.
 

In Cuba, you find the world's smallest colibri, El Zunzuncito. The chance that you will be able to see it is quite good, but they are quick and difficult to catch on photos.

Facts about the race

Date: November 10, 2019
Start: 7.00 am.
Participants: 5000
First year: 1987
Temperature: 20-25 Celcius (68-77 F)
Route: Relatively flat, a little hilly at some places
Ground​​​​: Asphalt  
Map of Track
Record:
Marathon men: 02:13:37 (1994)
Marathon women: 02:43:40 (2001)  
Halv marathon men: 1,03: 40 (2005)
Halv marathon women: 1,14: 56 (2001)

If you would like to see old cars from the 1950's you will not be disappointed - they are everywhere.

Facts about Cuba

Inhabitants: 11,4 miljon.
Language: Spanish.
Health: Basic protection is recommended plus hepatitis vaccin. Check with your doctor. 
Visa: Most nationalities need to obtain a visa to enter the country. Check with your embassy. Your passport has to be valid 6 months after departure.
Insurance: Visitors to Cuba might need to show a valid travel insurance upon arrival. Visitors who are unable to do so, migth be obliged to buy a travel insurance at the airport. According to unconfirmed sources, such an insurance costs 2-3 CUC (Euro, USD) per day. 

If you have never been in the West-Indies before, you might not have seen such turqoise water before. It is beautiful.

Booking your flight

When you book your flight, you can arrive any time that is suitable for you to Havanna  and depart at/or after 20.30 in order to get the grouptransfer from Trinidad to the airport, leaving Trinidad at noon on Saturday. If your flight leaves earlier from Havana, you have to pay for your own transfer from Trinidad and we can help you to book this. If you leave a later date we can book additional accomodation for you.