Experience the many sights and sounds of Vibrant Havana

Visit the enchanting Las Terrazas biosphere reserve

Ride the breath-taking skyline trail and enjoy a panoramic view of the island

Explore the dramatic scenery of the Viñales valley, home to Cuba's finest tobacco

Take the opportunity to extend your trip for a few days in Havana or unwind on an idyllic Caribbean beach

Tour Dates

Start End Price Status
Sat 17-Feb-18 Sat 24-Feb-18  £1,179  AVAILABLE
Sat 17-Mar-18 Sat 24-Mar-18  £1,179  AVAILABLE
Sat 20-Oct-18 Sat 27-Oct-18  £1,113  AVAILABLE
Sat 10-Nov-18 Sat 17-Nov-18  £1,179  AVAILABLE
Sat 24-Nov-18 Sat 01-Dec-18  £1,179  AVAILABLE
Sat 08-Dec-18 Sat 15-Dec-18  £1,179  AVAILABLE

Trip Notes

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Day by Day

Day 1 ➤ Welcome to Havana

Arrival in Havana and transfer to 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.
Hotel, Havana (B) 

Day 2 ➤ Panoramic Havana city tour by bike

City tour by Bike
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.
Hotel, Havana (B,L) 35km

Day 3 ➤ Cycle to enchanting Las Terrazas Biosphere

Cycle to Las Terrazas Comunity
After breakfast we’re straight into the saddle and headed out west, swapping the hustle and bustle of Havana for the calmer climes of Pinar del Rio Province. We stick to the coast before turning inland at the small seaside town of Mariel and following winding backroads (watch out for the potholes!) towards the Sierra del Rosario Mountain range. These impressive mountains form part of the Guamuhaya range, which stretches across the Western part of Cuba and provides the spectacular tropical scenery for the next few days. After stopping at a scenic spot for a picnic, we continue to the “Las Terrazas” Biosphere Reserve. Upon arrival you can cycle a further 8km to our hotel or head straight to the Rio San Juan for a refreshing dip.  Enjoy an evening at leisure in this beautiful Biosphere Reserve.
Hotel, Las Terrazas (B,L) 75km

Day 4 ➤ Follow the breath-taking skyline trail

Cycling Las Terrazas- San Diego
We start out early this morning and wind our way through Las Terrazas’ hilly landscape.  Around 20km into our ride we reach the Biosphere’s exit gate and continue uphill to join a skyline road through the Guaniguanico Hills. Though today is our most challenging cycle, the mountain trail affords spectacular views across the island and on a clear day it’s even possible to see both Cuba’s northern and southern coastlines. Once we descend from the Skyline road we will join the main Havana-Pinar del Rio highway where traffic will be light but varied: expect to share the road with vintage American cars, oxen and horses! Our ride will end in San Diego de los Baños, a sleepy backwater formed of pretty squares and colonial buildings. Enjoy a well-deserved drink before taking a 1.5-hour transfer to Viñales , where more luscious scenery awaits. 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.
Casa particular, Piñar del Rio (B,L,D) 78km

Day 5 ➤ Relax on stunning tropical beaches

Cycling Viñales – Cayo Jutias
After breakfasting in our casas we hop on our bikes and head westward, following farm roads that just skim the edge of the Parque de Viñales , eventually bringing us to Santa Maria on Pinar del Rio’s western coast. Though this rural route offers poor road conditions, the relative flatness will be sweet relief after yesterday’s undulations. Once we reach the coast we’ll be following a causeway over a collection of islets to picture-perfect Cayo Jutias: 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 then you’ll have the option of cycling back to Viñales via a different route or soaking in more of Cayo Jutias’ delights before transferring back to Viñales for the night. Tonight we’ll enjoy a sunset meal at Finca Wilfredo, an organic farm that uses its own produce to cook delicious Creole food.
Casa particular, Piñar del Rio (B,L,D) 56km

Day 6 ➤ Cycle through world famous tobacco growing countryside in Viñales Valley

Circular route Viñales
After breakfast we saddle up and head out on a circular route around Viñales . The valley’s Jurassic landscape is one of Cuba´s finest and it’s not hard to see why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also a key player in two of Cuba’s major industries: tourism and tobacco. Viñales  is home to Cuba’s (and possibly the world´s) best tobacco and we´ll stop at a farm to learn a little about the Tobacco-growing process. Towering around the farm you’ll notice mogotes, strange rounded mountains that seem to bubble out of the valley floor, creating Viñales ’ unique and spectacularly lush landscape.
After a scenic picnic lunch we will transfer back to Havana and check in to the historic Hotel Nacional, just a stone’s throw from the Malecon.
Hotel, Havana (B,L) 41km

Day 7 ➤ Free day to explore Havana

Today we have a free day in Havana. You may like to walk or get a taxi into Old Havana, full of colonial charm and shady cafes. Alternatively, stay in Vedado and explore all that this vibrant area has to offer. If you’re worn out from the week’s 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. Check out our What to do in Havana document for Cubania’s recommendations.
Hotel, Havana (B)

Day 8 ➤ Departure

This morning we’ll do a walking tour of Old Havana and find out a bit more about the capital’s rich history. Enjoy lunch in one of Old Havana’s many cafes or restaurants and then transfer (30–40 minutes approx.) to Havana airport.
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.
(B)

Bike Route

Activity Level

Cycling Profile

*all distances shown are approximate

Day 1
Arrival day
Day 2
35km
Day 3
75km
Day 4
78km
Day 5
56km
Day 6
41km
Day 7
n/a
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.
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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.
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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.
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