Experience the sights and sounds of vibrant Havana

Visit the Sierra de Rosario biosphere reserve

Ride the Skyline trail and view the northern and southern coasts at the same time

Experience the dramatic landscapes of tobacco growing countryside of Viñales

Day by Day

Day 1 ➤ Arrival in Havana
A Cubania representative will be waiting for you on arrival at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana.  Once you’ve collected your luggage you’ll be transferred to your accommodation in Havana with time to relax after your long flight.  If you fancy a bite to eat you can head into the old town nearby. (dinner not included)
Casas particular, Havana Havana
Day 2 ➤ Havana city tour by bike followed by walking tour of the old town visiting the four main squares
Following breakfast we have a bike fitting before setting off on a panoramic sightseeing trip of the city. We head west initially, cycling along the Malecon, the famous Havana sea promenade, (weather permitting) and through the Bosque de La Habana to Nuevo Vedado, stopping for a quick break and a chance to take photographs at the famous Revolution Square. From there we continue back towards old Havana along a different route until we reach the Capitolio building. All distances from Havana are measured from this point so this is 0kms in Cuba. We carry on down towards the waterfront and stop for lunch at a local restaurant. The centre of the old town is pedestrianized and after lunch your guide will take you on a walking tour of the four main squares of the historic district. You’ll be able to become more familiar with the area so that when you return later in the evening you can explore at your leisure and dine out at one of the many restaurants in the old town.
Casa particular, Havana (B, L)
Day 3 ➤ Cycle to Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve and swim in the San Juan River
After breakfast, we check out of our accommodation and set off directly by bike. The first part of the route takes us due West along the Malecon towards 3rd Avenue, and then along famous 5th Avenue in Miramar which clings to the coastline until it becomes the Havana to Mariel highway. Once out of the city you can expect very little traffic despite the fact you are now cycling along a main highway! After cycling approximately 50kms since leaving the capital we reach Mariel, from where we head inland taking back-roads towards the Sierra del Rosario mountains. Here you’ll see the road becomes hillier and you’re more than likely to come across a few potholes! These impressive mountains make up part of the Guamuhaya mountain range which stretches across the Western part of Cuba and will be your spectacular tropical backdrop for the next few days. We’ll be stopping for a picnic lunch along the way at some point and continue cycling towards Las Terrazas eco-community, part of the Sierra del Rosario biosphere reserve.

After entering the reserve, we cycle a few more kilometres until you reach La Moka hotel, or you can continue on to the Baños de San Juan for a swim in a crystal clear mountain river before heading back to the hotel for check-in and overnight. This evening we’ll be dining at El Romero, a good vegetarian restaurant. Even if you’re not a veggie this place provides delicious and original alternatives to Cuba’s traditional cooking.
Hotel La Moka, Las Terrazas (B, L, D)

Day 4 ➤ Cycle from Las Terrazas to San Diego de los Baños via the Skyline Trail

This morning we set off early on the Las Terrazas to San Diego route via the Skyline trail, a ride of approximately 90kms.   The first part of the ride is through the hilly biosphere reserve. After approximately 20kms you reach the exit gate and continue cycling uphill for around 2kms until you reach the junction where you join the Skyline trail through the Guaniguanico mountains. This will certainly be one of the most challenging and rewarding days cycling through the mountains on a rollercoaster road with spectacular views across the width of the island. On a clear day it may be possible to see both the northern and the southern coastlines at the same time. Once you descend from the mountains and re-join the main Havana to Pinar del Rio road there will still be very little traffic, and you’ll find you’ll only share the road with the odd American vintage car, Chinese bicycle and horse-drawn cart. We finish the ride in San Diego de los Baños and stop to enjoy a drink before commencing the 1 ½ hours by bus to Viñales. We have dinner at a local paladar in town.
Casa particular, Viñales (B, L, D)

Day 5 ➤ Ride from Viñales to the beautiful beaches of Cayo Jutias

After breakfast at your casa we set off towards Rancho San Vicente, taking the Puerto Esperanza road until we turn off towards Santa Lucia.   This is a very rural area of Cuba with roads that are of poor quality but relatively flat, making a welcome change after yesterday’s hills.   Our destination today is Cayo Jutias, a picture perfect beach reached by a causeway linking the key to the mainland. There’s a simple beach restaurant where we have lunch followed by a refreshing dip. You can either spend the afternoon at the beach or get back on the bike and return to Viñales via Minas de Matahambre and Pons.   Dinner tonight will be at Finca Wilfredo, an organic farm where local produce is used to cook delicious organic creole food.
Casa particular, Viñales (B, L, D)

Day 6 ➤ Cycle through the stunning tobacco growing region of Viñales
After breakfast we set off by bike towards Rancho San Vicente, taking a circular route of around 27kms around Viñales Valley. The landscape is one of Cuba´s finest and has deservedly been deemed a World Heritage Site. The world’s finest tobacco is grown here and we´ll be making a stop to see how it´s grown and dried at one of the farms nestling close to the mogotes. These are unusually steep mountains appearing to rise out of the valley floor which make for some very dramatic natural scenery. After a picnic lunch we transfer back to Havana and check into our accommodation for the night.   This evening we dine out at a local paladar in the old town.
Casa particular, Havana (B, L, D)
Day 7 ➤ Free day in Havana

This is the final day of your stay in Cuba to enjoy at your leisure. You can do some last minute souvenir shopping, have a last wander around the city or enjoy a relaxing day at the beach for some final hours of Caribbean sunshine. (Lunch and dinner not included today)
Casa particular, Havana (B)

Day 8 ➤ Departure Day

Enjoy your final morning in the capital before your afternoon transfer to the airport for check-in 3 hours prior to departure.
(B)

Bike Route

Activity Level

Cycling Profile

*all distances shown are approximate

Day 1
arrival day

Day 2
37km

Day 3
80km

Day 4
90km

Day 5
120km

Day 6
60km

Day 7
free day

Day 8
departure day

Essential Information

L

Health & Medical Insurance

No 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.
See trip notes for more info

Passports, Visas, Departure Tax

You´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.
See trip notes for more info

Money Matters

Cuba 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 & Drink

Cuba 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.
See trip notes for more info

What to Bring

Helmet, 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.
See trip notes for a more detailed packing list
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Safety Matters

Cuba 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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Tipping

Tipping 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.
See trip notes for more info

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