Cubania Classic Cycle
A two week cycling holiday discovering the culture, natural beauty and Revolutionary history of Western and Central Cuba.
Discover the architectural splendour of Havana
Cycle through world famous tobacco growing countryside in Viñales Valley
Relax on stunning tropical beaches
Learn about Cuba’s Revolutionary history in Santa Clara at the Che Memorial
Step back in time in picturesque Trinidad
Stay in traditional family homestays
|Sat 13-Oct-18||Sat 27-Oct-18||£1,999||AVAILABLE|
|Sat 03-Nov-18||Sat 17-Nov-18||£1,999||AVAILABLE|
|Sat 17-Nov-18||Sat 01-Dec-18||£1,999||AVAILABLE|
|Sat 15-Dec-18||Sat 29-Dec-18||£1,999||AVAILABLE|
Day by Day
Day 1 ➤ Arrival in Havana
A Cubania representative will meet you upon arrival in Havana before transferring to the start Hotel. Welcome to Cuba! The largest island in the Caribbean, Hemmingway’s much-loved abode and one of the last planned economies in the world. You’re soon to discover that Cuba is all that and much, much more, but first sit back, relax and enjoy your first night in enchanting Havana.
Day 2 ➤ Bike Fitting & City Tour
This morning we start by getting acquainted with our bikes before setting off on a panoramic tour of Havana. We’ll visit the well-to-do Miramar district, home to the city’s foreign diplomats and some of Havana’s most striking 20th century architecture. Keep an eye out for the sprawling and strange Russian embassy. We’ll then cycle through Parque Metropolitano de la Habana and Nuevo Vedado (home to Havana’s middle classes), before stopping at Plaza de la Revolucion, the hub of the Castro regime. From here we wheel through young and vibrant Vedado towards the famous Hotel Nacional, which has offered shelter to many a celebrity over the years, including our own Winston Churchill. Now we whizz through bustling Centro Habana to the famous Capitolio building, a mirror-image of Washington’s White House. With the Capitolio behind us we veer left down the regal Prado promenade, a favourite with street artists and skateboarders alike. At the end of Prado we’ll turn right and pass Havana’s old train station (now an indoor market) as well as the ruins of the old city walls before ending the cycling portion of our tour in Plaza de las Armas. From here we continue on foot to discover Old Havana’s four beautifully renovated colonial plazas and stop for lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, we cycle back to our hotel along Havana’s romantic Malecon, a sea-wall that follows the city’s entire coastline. Enjoy this evening at leisure. Following breakfast we have a bike-fitting before setting off on a panoramic sightseeing trip of the city. We drive through Miramar, Parque Metropolitano de la Habana, and Nuevo Vedado, stopping for a quick break and a chance to take photographs at the famous Revolution Square. We continue through Vedado passing the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, then down to the old town via Centro Habana, stopping briefly at the Capitolio building. We carry on down Prado near the former Presidential Palace and continue cycling to the train station, ending at the Plaza de Armas (Arms Square) at which point we continue by foot, visiting the other three most important squares in old Havana. We lunch in the old town before cycling back to our accommodation. Dinner isn’t included today so you’ll be able to dine out at a restaurant of your choice in the old town.
Hotel, Havana (B,L) 34km
Day 3 ➤ Cycle to Las Terrazas Community
Today we wave goodbye to the hustle and bustle of Havana and head west to the calmer climes of Pinar del Rio Province. Once we’re outside the city limits we’ll saddle up and ride around 40km through gorgeous tropical scenery to the “Las Terrazas” Biosphere Reserve. Upon arrival we’ll have lunch and then explore this fascinating eco-resort, once home to one of Cuba’s best loved musicians, Polo Montañez. Have a go on Las Terrazas’ famous zip-line and take a refreshing dip in the Rio San Juan. Las Terrazas is an enchanting place, but don’t fall for it too hard as the only way to join this eco-community is through marriage! Enjoy an evening at leisure in this beautiful Biosphere Reserve.
Hotel or Casas Particulares, Las Terrazas (B,L) 40km
Day 4 ➤ To San Diego de los Baños
After breakfast we’ll be driven to Soroa, home to Cuba’s national wine, where we’ll saddle up for the day. From Soroa we make our way along the old Havana-Piñar del Rio road through farmland and charming colonial settlements to San Diego delos Baños. Once famed for the healing properties of its waters, San Diego delos Baños is now a sleepy backwater formed of pretty squares and colonial buildings. After a late lunch in this slow-pacedtown we’ll be driven to Piñar del Rio, where more luscious scenery awaits. Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Hotel, Pinar del Rio (B,L) 77km
Day 5 ➤ To Viñales
Today we’ll be exploring the best tobacco-growing region in the world. We’ll begin by riding from Pinar del Rio through the small village of San Luis with its imposing colonial church, before turning left towards San Juan where we’ll visit Alejandro Robaina’s tobacco farm. Robaina’s legendary harvests earned him a reputation as one of Cuba’s best tobacco farmers, often referred to as “the Godfather of Cuban tobacco”. In 1997 Habanos, the state tobacco company, honoured Robaina by naming a new line of cigars after his farm. After visiting Vegas Robaina we cycle along country roads to La Guabina, a lakeside cattle ranch with its own small hotel and restaurant. Enjoy a typical Cuban meal in La Gaubina’s traditional ranchon. After lunch we return to Pinar del Rio by bike or bus before transferring to Viñales, a rural valley many consider the most beautiful in Cuba. Tonight we’ll be staying in local casa particulares, where your hosts will prepare you a delicious home-cooked dinner. Despite being a quiet country retreat, Viñales has several venues with live music so if you wander out tonight you’re sure to find somewhere to tap your feet.
Casas Particulares, Viñales (B,L,D) 48km
Day 6 ➤ Cycle to Cayo Jutia
Today we cycle from Viñales to Cayo Jutias (via Pons), a 3km-long white sand beach with idyllic turquoise water. Lie back on the sand, bask in the inviting shallows, or discover the cayo’s underwater life on a snorkelling or scuba diving trip (not included and subject to availability). We’ll lunch on the beach and soak in more of Cayo Jutias’ delights before transferring back to Viñales for the night.
Casas Particulares, Viñales (B,L) 56km
Day 7 ➤ Drive to Santa Clara
Leaving Viñales town in the morning we have a long travel day today as we head eastwards to Central Cuba. Today’s journey could take 6 hours in total. We’ll have a packed lunch and make some stops along the way, with our guide keeping us entertained with Cuba themed videos and a question session! Arrival in the historic city of Santa Clara where we’ll check in to our hotel for the night.
Hotel, Santa Clara (B,L)
Day 8 ➤ To Trinidad via Topes de Collantes
This morning we visit the Che Mausoleum, a giant memorial and Che’s official resting place since his remains were brought to Cuba from Bolivia in 1997. On a hilltop overlooking Santa Clara, this impressive mausoleum embodies the Cuban revolution and its legacy. From Santa Clara we head to beautiful Topes de Collantes, a natural park in the mountainsabove Trinidad de Cuba dotted with magical waterfalls and cool pools. You might like to stop for a dip as we go for a walk (approx. 2 hours) on the “La Codina” trail. After a traditional lunch at the haciendaCodina we head downhill to the charming town of Trinidad, a world heritage site and the jewel in Cuba’s patrimonial crown. Tonight we’ll be staying incasasparticulares. Accommodation is simple but rooms are clean, with air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal at Casa de Alberto before heading out to explore Trinidad’s vibrant nightlife.
Casas Particulares, Trinidad (B, L, D)
Day 9 ➤ Trinidad & Playa Ancon
This morning we’ll have a short and easy ride to the nearby beach at Playa Ancon. After time for a dip in thesea we’ll return back via a different route to Trinidad for midday. This afternoon at leisure in beautiful Trinidad. Have a stroll around the cobbled streets, visit some of the town’s many museums and breath in the specialambiance of this perfectly-preserved colonial market town. Ask your guide for tips and advice, or for help booking any activities.
Casas Particulares, Trinidad (B) 26km
Day 10 ➤ Cycle to Cienfuegos
Today we wave goodbye to Trinidad and hit the saddle for a 66km cycle to Cienfuegos, stopping first for a look around the Botanical gardens just outside the city. Home to more than 2000 different plant species, the garden’s collection of 400+ types of orchids is particularly lovely. After lunching in the botanical gardens we transfer to Cienfuegos, Cuba’s “Pearl of the South”. Home to Cuba’s Bolero star Benny More, Cienfuegos is renowned for its stylish French architecture and its mini malecon, a seawall that goes all around the city’s bay. After a quick orientation tour of this world heritage city we’ll check in to our hotel for the night. This evening you can eat at your hotel or walk into town for dinner at one of Cinefuegos’ many paladares. (Dinner not included)
Casas Particulares, Cienfuegos (B,L) 66km
Day 11 ➤ To Bay of Pigs
Waving goodbye to Cienfuegos, we transfer inland to the small village of Navarra where today’s ride begins. Today we’ll cover a real smorgasbord of landscapes as we cycle through the Zapata Peninusla, a vast marshland home to Cuba’s most important bird species and world-renowned as a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. We’ll stop for a break at Playa Giron, one of the beaches forces landed on during the Bay of Pigs; the failed CIA-backed invasion of Castro’s Cuba in 1961. After a bit of history we’ll get back on our bikes for a short ride to our lunch stop at Caleta Buena. Enjoy your midday meal overlooking Caleta Buena’s natural sea pool, teeming with eye-catching tropical fish. After lunch we’ll transfer to Playa Larga, a beautiful beach that also hosted hostile forces in 1961. Tonight we’ll be enjoying local hospitality in casa particulares.
Casas Particulares, Playa Larga (B,L,D) 71km
Day 12 ➤ Ride in Matanzas Province
This morning we start with a transfer to Jaguey Grande, a small town on the north side of the national motorway. It’s here that we saddle up and start today’s ride through citrus plantations and the small town of Pedro Betancourt (named after a revolutionary major-general in the Cuban war of independence) to our lunch stop, Finca Coincidencia. Finca Coincidencia is a charmingly eccentric organic farm in the heart of Matanzas province where you can gorge yourself on the farm’s varied produce served in ceramic dishes made by the farmer himself. After lunch and a poke around this fascinating farm we transfer to the province’s capital, Matanzas. “The City of Bridges”, the streets of Matanzas span three different rivers, earning it a reputation as the Venice of Cuba. It has also been called the Athens of Cuba because of the many prominent writers and poets it has produced. Not only this, Matanzas is also the birthplace of two Cuban dances, Rumba and danzon, as well as several religions of African origin, making it a vital contributor to Afro-Cuban culture. Though most holiday-makers by-pass Matanzas on their way to Varadero, this small city has plenty to offer.
Hotel, Matanzas (B,L) 57km
Day 13 ➤ Cycle to Playa Jibacoa
This morning we’ll be getting straight on our bikes and climbing out of Matanzas. Though we may encounter some traffic on the first stretch of our ride, its gets a lot quieter once we turn off at the small town of Ceiba Mocha. From here we ascend the Picadura Valley with gorgeous views, we might stop at one of the small villages along the way to snack on fresh tropical fruit. Our ride ends at the beautiful Jibacoa beach where we’ll stop for a bbq lunch, all-inclusive drinks and of course a dip in the sea! After a relaxing afternoon at the beach we will transfer back to Havana in time for a night out.
Casas Particulares, Havana (B,L) 62km
Day 14 ➤ Free Day in Havana
Today you have a free day in Havana. Why not explore Old Havana on foot and do some people watching, it is full of colonial charm and the streets are buzzing with activity. Walk up the famous malecon coastal road and visits the garden at El Nacional in Vedado district. If you’re worn out from the last 2 weeks of cycling, why not relax by the hotel pool and then mooch out later this evening to enjoy some of Havana’s world-famous live music dance venues or cabaret shows. Check out the Cubania Travel What to do in Havana guide for recommendations or ask your tour guide.
Casas Particulares, Havana (B)
Day 15 ➤ End of Trip
And so it’s Adios, or, as we prefer to think of it hasta luego, see you later! Have a safe onward journey and we very much hope to see you in Cuba again soon. In the morning there our tour guide will take us around Old Havana to see a few last sights and in the afternoon an airport transfer is provided (30–40 minutes approx.) to Havana airport.
*all distances shown are approximate
Health & Medical InsuranceNo need for any complicated jabs to visit Cuba but you will need to ensure you have medical insurance in order to enter the country. Pack a copy in your hand luggage along with your passport in case Immigration asks for proof of insurance on arrival in Cuba. Drink bottled water and pack a good insect repellent and you should have a problem free trip.
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Passports, Visas, Departure TaxYou’ll need a visa (Tourist Card) to enter Cuba which can be obtained from the Cuban Consulate. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your entry into Cuba. Make sure you keep 25CUC per person for a departure tax which is payable in cash after check in for all passengers leaving Cuba.
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Money MattersCuba currently runs a complicated 2 currency system: the CUC (Convertible Peso) has the same value, more or less, as the USD. Most of your transactions will require this currency. The CUP (Moneda Nacional ) is used by Cubans to buy food, pay utility bills and buy certain goods. It’s unlikely you’ll use these at all during your trip.
Cuba’s economy is cash driven so make sure you bring plenty of money in small denominations (GBP, EUR and CAD are the best options). Only exchange cash at a bank or the official exchange house CADECA (Casa de cambio) on arrival to avoid being ripped off. There is very little variation in exchange rates as all banks and CADECAs are government owned!
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Food & DrinkCuba is as famous for its delicious rum cocktails as it is infamous for its dreary food. Luckily the food is improving and you can now expect to eat, as well as drink, quite well! However, expect little variety and plenty of rice and black beans, especially when you’re travelling in the provinces. Cuba’s repertoire of ingredients is quite limited and those with special dietary requirements (especially gluten free, vegetarians and vegans) should consider bringing some extra food with them to supplement their diet.
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What to BringHelmet, water bottle or CamelBak, lycra shorts, bike shoes and if you wish, your own saddle and pedals. Don’t bring your seat post as sizes aren’t universal. Bring High Protection sun cream (SPF 50+) rehydrations salts, and some snacks if you want to add variety to the local snacks available. You should bring light cotton and linen clothing suitable for tropical climates and a jacket or fleece for cooler evenings. Cubans dress casually but are always impeccably turned out. Avoid bringing expensive or flashy jewellery. Ensure you bring all necessary medication as well as a good insect repellent and some antihistamines in case you get bitten. We also recommend you bring a small first aid kit to cover any basic needs you may have.
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Safety MattersCuba is one of the safest destinations to travel to and it’s highly unlikely you will feel threatened during your stay. However, common sense dictates that you take the usual precautions and avoid backstreets and uninhabited areas. Dress down and keep jewellery to a minimum.
During your stay you’ll almost certainly have an encounter with a friendly local trying to sell you cheap cigars, or take you to a local restaurant/casa particular and possibly even try to set you up with one of his family members! Known locally as “jineteros” these Cuban hustlers earn their living from commissions made from steering tourists towards the services they offer. A polite refusal is usually all you need to get rid of them!
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TippingTipping is part and parcel of everyday life in Cuba. Wages here are very low so people who look after tourists expect a tip for good service. 10% is the minimum expected amount when eating out, and if you have a guide and/or driver you should budget for a tip which you can give them at the end of your tour. Usually we will recommend you on the amounts but when in doubt, set aside CUC5 per guide/driver per day for each person. Tip the bell boy 1CUC for carrying your bag to your room.
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