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Cycling

Bikepacking Cuba

Cycling

Bikepacking Cuba

  • Duration 12 days
  • Activity level Moderate
  • Includedaccomodation meals

12-day independent cycling holiday riding through Western Cuba’s stunning tobacco country and ending on a Caribbean beach.

*Custom departure dates for solo travellers available from £949.

From £849.00 / per person
  • Day 1
    Day 1

    Arrival in Havana

    Welcome to Cuba! You’ll be met by a Cubania airport representative in the arrival terminal at Jose Martí International airport and we’ll have a vehicle…

    • Casa Particular in Havana (Sueño Habana or similar)
  • Day 2
    Day 2

    Havana – Las Terrazas (Cayajabos)

    This morning we’ll provide another transfer, this time from the casa to our bike workshop in the Miramar district of Havana. Here you’ll have access…

    • 63 km
    • +432 m -320 m
    • Casa Particular Las Tres Hermanas (situated on road between Cayajabos & Las Terrazas)
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    Las Terrazas – Mil Cumbres

    Enjoy a nice breakfast at the casa this morning and take the chance to fill up your water bottles at the house. Ride the first…

    • 69 km
    • +1,613 m -1,586 m
    • Eco-Lodge at Mil Cumbres (basic shared facilities, no hot running water)
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 4
    Day 4

    Mil Cumbres – Viñales

    Depart Mil Cumbres after breakfast, turning left out of the entrance and passing the small community of Sagua. The road has some long sections where…

    • 57 km
    • +716 m -716 m
    • Casa Particular in Viñales (‘Villa Los Reyes’, and neighbouring properties for groups)
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    Free Day to Explore Viñales Valley

    Enjoy the day in Viñales to take a break from the saddle and explore the charms of the surrounding valley

    Viñales town is an ideal…

    • Casa Particular in Viñales (‘Villa Los Reyes’, and neighbouring properties for groups)
    • Breakfast
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    Viñales – Finca La Guabina

    Back on the bike today. The route leaves Viñales as we start off cycling westwards towards the town of Pons. Here we turn left and…

    • 55 km
    • +592 m -665 m
    • Finca La Guabina
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    Finca La Guabina – San Diego De Los Baños

    Today’s ride is less about the natural scenery as we take to the valley floor and pass through the regional capital city of Pinar del…

    • 65 km
    • +444 m -448 m
    • Casa Particular in San Diego de los Baños
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 8
    Day 8

    San Diego De Los Baños – Soroa

    Today we continue on the Carretera Central passing more rural towns on a flat route. At 48km we turn left in the small town of…

    • 52 km
    • +303 m -295 m
    • Casa Particular in Soroa (‘Casa Colonial’, and neighbouring properties for groups)
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 9
    Day 9

    Soroa – Cayo Levisa

    Today is the last ride of the week and starts off with a climb of over 300m in the first 9km. From here onwards enjoy…

    • 74 km
    • +793 m -858 m
    • Hotel at Cayo Levisa
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 10
    Day 10

    Beach Day On Cayo Levisa

    There is nothing to do today other than enjoy the beach and swim in the sea!

    • Hotel at Cayo Levisa
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Buffet, all-inclusive whilst at Cayo Levisa)
  • Day 11
    Day 11

    Return To Havana (Transfer)

    There are 3 ferry crossings from Cayo Levisa to Palma Rubia per day: 1. 9am

    2. 12 midday 3. 5pm

    Take the 12-midday ferry crossing…

    • Casa Particular in Havana
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch (driver to bring to Palma Rubia from Havana)
  • Day 12
    Day 12

    Departure Day

    Check out of casa accommodation. Your private transfer vehicle will take you back to the airport (via the bike warehouse if necessary) for your departure…

    • Breakfast
  • ?
    FAQ
    Ask us

    FAQ

  • Day 1

    Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Day 2

    Day 2: Havana – Las Terrazas (Cayajabos)

  • Day 3

    Day 3: Las Terrazas – Mil Cumbres

  • Day 4

    Day 4: Mil Cumbres – Viñales

  • Day 5

    Day 5: Free Day to Explore Viñales Valley

  • Day 6

    Day 6: Viñales – Finca La Guabina

  • Day 7

    Day 7: Finca La Guabina – San Diego De Los Baños

  • Day 8

    Day 8: San Diego De Los Baños – Soroa

  • Day 9

    Day 9: Soroa – Cayo Levisa

  • Day 10

    Day 10: Beach Day On Cayo Levisa

  • Day 11

    Day 11: Return To Havana (Transfer)

  • Day 12

    Day 12: Departure Day

Ask us

FAQ

What is included?

  • Airport transfers on arrival & departure, including transportation of bikes.
  • Storage of excess items e.g. bike boxes with Cubania in workshop.
  • First Aid kit, to be returned at the end of the trip. • Trip documentation and confirmation of reservations.
  • Wifi scratch cards to use to connect to public wifi hotspots (Havana or Viñales).
  • Meeting with Cubania staff member on arrival day to discuss route.
  • Accommodation: 11 nights accommodation (8 in casas particulares, 1 in a mountain eco-lodge and 2 in hotel).
  • Meals: all breakfasts, 9 lunches and 7 dinners.
  • Water on day 2 (3 litres per person).
  • 7 cycling days, with recommended routes.
  • Private transfer from Palma Rubia to Havana on day 11.
  • 24 hour emergency telephone contact for Cubania Travel operations office in Havana.

What is not included?

  • Flights to and from Cuba.
  • Bike transport fees with airline.
  • Guide services.
  • Support vehicle.
  • Luggage transfers.
  • Bikes, bike spare parts or equipment hire (bring your own!)
  • Visas (can be sold separately by Cubania in the UK on request).
  • Personal travel insurance (must be valid for claims made from Cuba).
  • Vaccinations.
  • Tips for casa staff, restaurant staff etc.
  • Any meals not mentioned in the itinerary.

Is this tour right for me?

  • Independent travel without a guide or support vehicle.
  • Predominantly paved roads, small sections of unpaved, with some potholes.
  • A moderate level of fitness is required.

Cycling

  • Mostly on paved, quiet rural roads, with some potholes.
  • Some challenging climb sections (see daily ride profiles in itinerary)
  • No. of days cycling: 7
  • Total Distance: 435 km
  • Average Daily Distance: 62 km

Essential Packing List

  • Bike spares and tools
  • Cycling helmet
  • Water bottle – one with filter recommended
  • Cycling clothes to include long sleeved tops and a peaked cap for sun protection
  • Lightweight waterproof /windproof top or jacket
  • Breathable clothing
  • High factor sun cream (50+), sunglasses and sun hat
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Insect repellent – tropical strength
  • Long sleeved shirts and light trousers for the evenings
  • Spanish phrase book/dictionary
  • A sense of humour and patience are useful in Cuba!

If you would like to buy one of our Cubania Travel cycling tops or a pair of cycling shorts ready for your trip, see our online store!

Cubania Cycling Jersey Cubania Cycling Shorts

Optional items

  • Comfortable trainers for walking.
  • Torch

Throughout the tour you will stay in a range of accommodation typical to any trip to Cuba. It’s fair to say that the standard of Cuban accommodation is not always comparable to that which you
would expect in other countries owing to years
of isolation, under-investment in the country’s infrastructure and effect of the US trade Embargo. Anyone travelling to the island should be prepared to rough it a bit at times! Décor tends to be a little dated, there might be the occasional power cut, and you may find that your water pressure isn’t
all it could be. Fortunately, it’s warm enough most days that the lack of hot water is not a major problem!

In Mil Cumbres you will stay in an Eco-lodge that has basic facilities: dormitory style bedrooms and shared bathrooms. On Cayo Levisa you will stay in a three star all inclusive hotel.

In all other locations you will stay in casas particulares. Most people love the opportunity this gives to stay in a relatively normal Cuban home and see how Cubans live. These homes
are simple compared to ours but the welcome is warm and rooms clean. All the casas also have air

Cuba doesn’t have the same variety of international cuisine we might be used to although in recent years lots of privately run restaurants (paladars) have opened (particularly in Havana) offering a wider choice and better quality food than the government run establishments.
Think soul food – rice, black beans, slow roast pork and chicken, fresh fish, lobster and plenty of tropical fruit.

On cycling days you will have a packed lunch (sandwich, fruit, juice etc ) Cuban packed lunches are relatively basic but we supplement them with local snacks and fresh fruit. However, some people bring their usual gels, hydration mixes and snacks such as protein bars from home since these are not available to buy in Cuba.

For those with special dietary requirements, be prepared for a very limited menu while you are in Cuba. There are very few vegetarians and vegans in Cuba so there are sometimes misperceptions as to what you can eat. Vegetarians often bring snacks and spreads to liven up their meals.

Cuba is the land of the Mojito, Daiquiri and Cuba Libre. You’ll find that plenty of rum-based drinks all over the country with prices ranging from 2-6 CUC for most cocktails. But beware, they don’t use measuring glasses, so they might be stronger than the ones you have tried at home!

All our guides at Cubania are Cuban nationals who are registered with and trained by Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism. They come from all kinds of different personal and professional backgrounds. They’ve been teachers, I.T. professionals, bakers, vets, army officers and even underwear salesmen! What they have in common is that they are all highly educated graduates who are passionate about guiding and proud of their beautiful country. They all speak excellent English and receive annual training in first aid.

We are especially proud of the additional training that we have given our biking and adventure guides. We are the first travel company in Cuba to take cycling safety seriously and give all our biking guides have received Bike Leader certification from British Cycling. Their staff travel to Cuba annually to deliver the training exclusively to our guides.  These high standards have been maintained for more than a decade meaning that we are recognised as the most experienced and well-respected adventure travel company on the island.

Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Casa Particular in Havana (Sueño Habana or similar)

Welcome to Cuba! You’ll be met by a Cubania airport representative in the arrival terminal at Jose Martí International airport and we’ll have a vehicle waiting for you with ample space for bike boxes and luggage. The transfer from the airport to your accommodation will take approx. 30 minutes. You’ll be staying at a casa particular, a private guesthouse in the Vedado district of Havana.

A member of Cubania staff will visit the casa this evening (exact time to be confirmed with travelers in advance, depending on flight arrival times) in order to have a briefing meeting, hand over the necessary documentation, and answer any queries. For late arrivals this meeting will take place on the morning of day 2 at the bike workshop.

Day 2: Havana – Las Terrazas (Cayajabos)

  • 63 km
  • +432 m -320 m
  • Casa Particular Las Tres Hermanas (situated on road between Cayajabos & Las Terrazas)
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

This morning we’ll provide another transfer, this time from the casa to our bike workshop in the Miramar district of Havana. Here you’ll have access to our bike tools and assistance will be on hand from one of our bike mechanics should you need it. You are welcome to leave your bike boxes and any excess equipment here to pick up on your return to Havana. We’ll provide a packed lunch and some basic snacks in order to set you up for today’s ride.

Ready to get going! The first task is to navigate your way out of Havana to the west. Fortunately, this doesn’t take very long when starting in Miramar district and you’ll soon be clear of the city traffic. One of our bike mechanics will accompany you for the first few kilometres of the ride in order to show you the best route which avoids busy intersections. You’ll then be on your own to begin your independent bikepacking adventure!

Cycling westwards on the Carretera Panamericana, you’ll pass some of the more desirable outerlying districts of the capital such as Naútico, Las Flores, Jaimanitas, and Marina Hemingway. After passing through Santa Fe you’ll be leaving Havana behind and entering Artemisa Province. Our turnoff to the south is at Playa El Salado, from here the road surface becomes rougher with occasional potholes and loose gravel so take care. Passing Habana Libre and Banes you’ll arrive at a large intersection where you’ll need to branch off left to join the main Autopista highway. Whilst this road is the main traffic artery taking traffic to Pinar del Rio province, it is a wide 3 lane highway with little traffic by international standards. This is our suggested route in order to keep the total distance to around 63km today instead of extending to 80km+ by taking an alternative route.

After 16km on a steady incline, there is a turnoff to the right onto a scenic road that you’ll follow for another 19km in order to arrive at the destination for tonight. On the stretch of road between Cayajabos and Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve (6km before arriving at the entrance of Las Terrazas) you’ll reach a

small cluster of houses perched up to the right-hand side of the road with a steep driveway approach. The overnight stay will be at our friends Annie and Mario’s house, known as Casa de las 3 Hermanas where you’ll be welcomed into their family homestay. All of the rooms that they rent out to guests are clean and comfortable with en suite facilities and hot running water. Enjoy a hearty homecooked Cuban dinner tonight at the casa.

Day 3: Las Terrazas – Mil Cumbres

  • 69 km
  • +1,613 m -1,586 m
  • Eco-Lodge at Mil Cumbres (basic shared facilities, no hot running water)
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy a nice breakfast at the casa this morning and take the chance to fill up your water bottles at the house. Ride the first 5 kilometres to the entrance checkpoint of Las Terrazas Reserve. Passing through into the park you may wish to take some detours in order to enjoy some of the sights and points of interest, including the lakeside community. There are several walking trails as well as a canopy ziplining course that may be of interest.

Enjoy a spectacular day of cycling on what is known as the ‘skyline trail’ that winds its way through mountainous terrain. The route undulates and turns, with a series of short descents and climbs. After approx. 25 km begins the largest climb of the route, ascending over 300m in the following 6km. The impressive scenery today will also be accompanied by some poor road conditions, especially on the last stretch as you approach the remote location known as Mil Cumbres.

Off the beaten track for the vast majority of visitors to Cuba, this region offers some great trekking opportunities (Pan de Guajaibón is Western Cuba’s highest point and located nearby) as well as a genuine insight into rural Cuban agriculture and a beautiful natural environment. The lodge is located on the left- hand side of the road up a steep unpaved driveway.

Ask the staff to heat up some hot water for you, as there isn’t any hot running water on site. Enjoy a dinner at the lodge and the tranquility of the evening.

Route info: Challenging ride with rewarding climbs; poor road surface conditions.

Day 4: Mil Cumbres – Viñales

  • 57 km
  • +716 m -716 m
  • Casa Particular in Viñales (‘Villa Los Reyes’, and neighbouring properties for groups)
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch

Depart Mil Cumbres after breakfast, turning left out of the entrance and passing the small community of Sagua. The road has some long sections where the surface is badly damaged, so take care especially on any downhills. Before arriving in the town of La Palma turn off left, and later branch right (at 28km point). This road leads all the way to the town of Viñales, with just one more left turn (at 53km) to arrive into the town.

Check in to your casa particular accommodation, your home for the next two nights.
Route info: Moderately difficult ride through rural countryside; rough road surfaces for majority of ride.

Day 5: Free Day to Explore Viñales Valley

  • Casa Particular in Viñales (‘Villa Los Reyes’, and neighbouring properties for groups)
  • Breakfast

Enjoy the day in Viñales to take a break from the saddle and explore the charms of the surrounding valley

Viñales town is an ideal base as close to the town are activities such as trekking trails, cave networks (Cueva Santo Tomas), canopy ziplining, horse riding and rock climbing. We haven’t included any activities today, so choose how you would like to spend your time. The nearest beach is Cayo Jutías on the north coast, and transport can be arranged should you be craving a beach day. Our local contacts in the casa will be able to assist and help you make plans; they have contacts for local guides and taxi drivers.

This region of Cuba is known for its tobacco growing and produces tobacco for the finest Cuban cigar brands (Cohiba, Monte Cristo, Romeo y Julieta etc.). We recommend a visit to a tobacco farm to learn about the growing process and try your hand at rolling a puro.

If cycling today then we advise against going on the main road that connects Viñales and Pinar del Rio, due to the fast traffic and dangerous turns. Pre-order your packed lunches for tomorrow and let the casa staff know what time you’ll need them ready by.

Day 6: Viñales – Finca La Guabina

  • 55 km
  • +592 m -665 m
  • Finca La Guabina
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

Back on the bike today. The route leaves Viñales as we start off cycling westwards towards the town of Pons. Here we turn left and then left again at the 33km point. The road twists and turns and features some climbs, all amid beautiful green scenery and with little in the way of traffic. At the 51km point
there is a turn off on the left-hand side towards Finca la Guabina and the last 4 km take you to the accommodation in this off-the-beaten track location. Dinner is included this evening at the small on-site restaurant.

Route info: A varied and impressive ride, featuring undulating terrain and rewarding short climbs.

Day 7: Finca La Guabina – San Diego De Los Baños

  • 65 km
  • +444 m -448 m
  • Casa Particular in San Diego de los Baños
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

Today’s ride is less about the natural scenery as we take to the valley floor and pass through the regional capital city of Pinar del Rio. Passing through the city the route ahead of us is the ‘Carretera Central de Cuba’ which was the main road artery between Pinar del Rio and Havana before the main ‘Autopista’ was built. The route passes through a series of small towns, bustling and colourful. Expect to see a host of whacky races style transportation and various animals crossing the road in a carefree manner.

Turn left at the 55km point, and then right at 60km. Find your way to the accommodation in the small town of San Diego de los Baños. Dinner will be included tonight.

Route info: Sections of busy traffic today; pass through urban areas.

Day 8: San Diego De Los Baños – Soroa

  • 52 km
  • +303 m -295 m
  • Casa Particular in Soroa (‘Casa Colonial’, and neighbouring properties for groups)
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

Today we continue on the Carretera Central passing more rural towns on a flat route. At 48km we turn left in the small town of Candelaria and cross the autopista by bridge towards Soroa.

Check in at the casa accommodation. You may wish to continue riding another 5km uphill to visit the impressive orchid garden and waterfall (seasonal). Dinner tonight at the casa.

Route info: Sections of busy traffic today; pass through urban areas.

Day 9: Soroa – Cayo Levisa

  • 74 km
  • +793 m -858 m
  • Hotel at Cayo Levisa
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

Today is the last ride of the week and starts off with a climb of over 300m in the first 9km. From here onwards enjoy a scenic downhill ride in stunning scenery which takes you down towards the north coast road. At the 28km mark turn left towards Bahia Honda and follow this road until the 70km point where you should turn right and cycle the short distance to the small port at Palma Rubia.

Important: There are only 3 ferry crossings from Palma Rubia to Cayo Levisa per day: 1. 10am

2. 2:00pm

3. 6pm
At the very latest you’ll need to have arrived in time to catch the 6pm ferry!

Congratulations, you’ve done it! Put the riding behind you and relax with a couple of nights on the idyllic island of Cayo Levisa. Load your bikes on the small ferry boat and enjoy the 30-minute sea crossing. The island has just 1 hotel which consists of a centralized reception, bar and dining area, and a long stretch of spacious beach front cabins. They aren’t luxurious but the rustic huts and spectacular beach setting provide the perfect end to your independent bikepacking adventure in Cuba. All meals are included whilst staying on Cayo Levisa so you just need to buy drinks.

Route info: Starts with tough climb followed by a fast downhill ride; northern road has some potholed sections.

Day 10: Beach Day On Cayo Levisa

  • Hotel at Cayo Levisa
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Buffet, all-inclusive whilst at Cayo Levisa)

There is nothing to do today other than enjoy the beach and swim in the sea!

Day 11: Return To Havana (Transfer)

  • Casa Particular in Havana
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch (driver to bring to Palma Rubia from Havana)

There are 3 ferry crossings from Cayo Levisa to Palma Rubia per day: 1. 9am

2. 12 midday 3. 5pm

Take the 12-midday ferry crossing (unless you’ve specifically asked us for an alternative time) and there will be a driver waiting for you at Palma Rubia port in order to drive you, your bikes and luggage back to Havana (approx. 3-hour drive).

Pass by the Cubania bike storage facility on the way back into Havana, in order to drop off any items. You can leave your bikes here until tomorrow should you wish. Check into your casa accommodation in Havana and enjoy a night out on the town at the many bars and restaurants in the capital.

Day 12: Departure Day

  • Breakfast

Check out of casa accommodation. Your private transfer vehicle will take you back to the airport (via the bike warehouse if necessary) for your departure flight at an agreed time. Note that extra nights in Havana can be booked through Cubania, in addition to extra services and experiences.

What's included?

Accommodation

11 nights accommodation (8 in casas particulares, 1 in a mountain eco-lodge and 2 in hotel).

Meals

all breakfasts, 9 lunches and 7 dinners.

What's not included: Bikes (bring your own) flights, guide services, support vehicle, travel insurance, vaccinations, visas, gratuities

What to bring

1. Bike

your bike and bike spare parts

2. Cycling helmet

compulsory

3. Water bottle

standard water bottle holder on each bike

4. Sun protection

high strength sunscreen, sunglasses for cycling, sun hat

5. Comfortable clothes for cycling

You’ll have access to our bike workshop in the Miramar district, bike tools and assistance will be on hand from one of our bike mechanics should you need it. You are welcome to leave your bike boxes and any excess equipment here to pick up on your return to Havana.

You should bring light cotton and linen clothing suitable for tropical climates. For the evenings bring lightweight clothes, some mosquito repellent and a jacket or fleece. Cubans dress casually but are always impeccably turned out. Avoid bringing expensive or flashy jewellery.

Is this tour for me?

Travel style: Independent

Travel without a guide or support vehicle. Book on to shared group departures, or travel solo.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

You enjoy exercising and being active, and you enjoy the freedom and healthy sense of relaxation that it offers.

Group style: Small

2-10 people, mixed nationalities and fitness levels. Minimum age 16 years (accompanied by an adult).

Notes:

Predominantly paved roads, small sections of unpaved, with some potholes.

Upcoming departures

November, 2019

Nov 17
Sunday 17th November
-
Thursday 28th November
£849.00

February, 2020

Feb 9
Sunday 9th February
-
Thursday 20th February
£849.00

April, 2020

Apr 5
Guaranteed departure Early bird
Sunday 5th April
-
Thursday 16th April
£849.00

November, 2020

Nov 15
Early bird
Sunday 15th November
-
Thursday 26th November
£849.00

February, 2021

Feb 7
Early bird
Sunday 7th February
-
Thursday 18th February
£849.00
1. Select date
2. Passenger details
3. Billing details