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Cycling

Central Cuba Bike Ride

Cycling

Central Cuba Bike Ride

  • Duration 8 days
  • Activity level Moderate
  • Includedaccomodation gear meals transport staff

A gentle week long cycling trip taking in the best of Cuba’s architecture, history and natural beauty.

From £1,459.00 / per person
  • Day 1
    Day 1

    Arrival in Havana

    Welcome to Cuba! A Cubania representative will meet you upon arrival in Havana and transfer you to your accommodation. The largest island in the Caribbean,…

    • Memories Miramar, Havana
  • Day 2
    Day 2

    Panoramic Havana 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 1950s Miramar…

    • 25 km
    • +158m -166m
    • Casa particular, Playa Larga
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    Cycle through the Ciénaga de Zapata natural park

    We get up early to go bird watching in the Ciénaga de Zapata natural park accompanied by a local guide. The area is famous for…

    • 47.1 km
    • +119m -118m
    • Casa Particular, Cienfuegos
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 4
    Day 4

    To the charming colonial city of Trinidad

    We set off in the morning along an undulating coastal road followed by some short, sharp, hills through beautiful pasture lands. After approximately…

    • 86 km
    • +642m -576m
    • Casa Particular, Trinidad
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    Free day to explore Trinidad

    Today is a free day and you can enjoy a number of activities at your leisure such as horse riding, salsa classes, a…

    • 30 km
    • +50m -50m
    • Casa Particular, Trinidad
    • Breakfast
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    Cycle through Escambray mountains

    After transferring to our start point, we begin with an exciting 10 km section over a mountainous ridge through pine and eucalyptus forests…

    • 42 km
    • +513m -1126m
    • Los Caneyes or La Granjita Hotel
    • Breakfast, lunch
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    Explore Havana

    This morning we transfer by bus back to Havana, arriving in time for lunch.  In the afternoon we’ll have time for shopping…

    • Casa Particular, Havana
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Day 8
    Day 8

    Departure day

    This is the final morning of your stay in Cuba with time in the morning to relax, do some final exploring of Old…

    • Breakfast
  • ?
    FAQ
    Ask us

    FAQ

  • Day 1

    Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Day 2

    Day 2: Panoramic Havana city tour by bike

  • Day 3

    Day 3: Cycle through the Ciénaga de Zapata natural park

  • Day 4

    Day 4: To the charming colonial city of Trinidad

  • Day 5

    Day 5: Free day to explore Trinidad

  • Day 6

    Day 6: Cycle through Escambray mountains

  • Day 7

    Day 7: Explore Havana

  • Day 8

    Day 8: Departure day

Ask us

FAQ

What is included?

  • Transfers from airport upon arrival and departure
  • Transfer of luggage throughout but not hotel porterage
  • Bike Hire: Trek hybrid 8.3 DS bikes with front suspension
  • Accommodation: 2 nights in hotel, 5 nights in casas particulares on B&B basis. 
  • Meals: all breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners.  Lunches will be in restaurants or picnics depending on the day
  • Bird watching in the Ciénaga de Zapata natural park, entrance to Che Guevara mausoleum, vintage American convertible car tour in Havana
  • Staff: Local English-speaking Cuban guide/mechanic throughout, and driver. Professional mechanic for bike fitting on Day 2.  For groups of 8 pax or more, the mechanic will accompany group throughout.
  • Transport: all bus transfers in private air-conditioned bus
  • Support: 100% vehicle support during rides
  • Mineral water and local snacks on cycling days

What is not included?

  • Flights to and from Cuba
  • Travel/medical Insurance (compulsory to provide proof of cover for entry into Cuba)
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, phone calls etc)
  • Vaccinations
  • Visas (Tourist Cards)
  • Cycling Helmet (compulsory) and water bottle
  • Tips for guide, driver and local staff.  We recommend that each participant contributes a minimum of CUC 25 – CUC 30 to be shared between the local staff.

Is this tour right for me?

  • Group Size 4 – 18 people of mixed nationalities and cycling ability. Minimum age 16 years (accompanied by an adult).
  • Mostly on paved, quiet rural roads, with some pot-holes. Hot and humid conditions, especially during summer months.    
  • A moderate level of fitness is required. 

Cycling

  • Mostly on paved, quiet rural roads, with some pot-holes.
  • Some challenging climb sections (see daily ride profiles in itinerary)
  • No. of days cycling: 4 (5th day optional)
  • Total Distance: 199 km (+30 km optional beach ride on Day 5)
  • Moderate Pace: approx. 20-25 kmph
  • 100% vehicle support throughout rides—jump on the bus whenever you like!

Essential packing list

  • Cycling helmet compulsory
  • Water bottle
  • Padded cycling shorts (with loose ‘over-shorts’ if you prefer)
  • 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
  • A sense of humour and patience are useful in Cuba!

Optional items

  • Most people bring a small back pack which they keep on the bus for easy access during the day. Typically they will carry a spare T shirt, their valuables, snacks and a camera.
  • Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking but are not essential
  • Cycling gloves
  • Comfortable trainers for walking
  • Torch
  • You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes.  However, please remember to retrieve your own equipment at the end of the trip!

Throughout the tour we stay in a range of accommodation typical to any trip to Cuba with hotels and private accommodation (Casas particulares). 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!

Most of the hotels we use are 3 star with en suite bathrooms and air conditioning. In Havana we use a relatively modern International style hotel and in Santa Clara the hotel is inspired by indigenous Cuban culture.   

The nights in Playa Larga, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and upon your return to Havana will be 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 conditioning and en suite bathrooms. You’ll be spoilt at breakfast in the mornings.

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.   

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.

It can also be difficult to find a decent sandwich in Cuba so please don’t give your guide a hard time if he recommends a proper sit-down meal for lunch! Cubans generally eat two full meals a day and don’t have many places that cater for snack lunches yet, so the sandwiches tend to be pretty basic.  Some people bring snacks such as protein bars from home, but this is not strictly necessary as we provide local snacks such as fresh fruit and peanuts on all our rides. 

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 training that we have given our bike guides. We are the first travel company in Cuba to take cycling safety seriously and all our bike 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 cycling company on the island.

For larger groups (over 8 people), a bike mechanic will cycle with the group throughout the itinerary fixing punctures and small mechanical issues on the spot and supporting the lead guide in managing differences in pace between group members.

Day 1: Arrival in Havana

  • Memories Miramar, Havana

Welcome to Cuba! A Cubania representative will meet you upon arrival in Havana and transfer you to your accommodation. The largest island in the Caribbean, Hemingway’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: Panoramic Havana city tour by bike

  • 25 km
  • +158m -166m
  • Casa particular, Playa Larga
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

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 1950s Miramar district, home to some of Havana’s most striking 20th century architecture. Keep an eye out for the imposing Russian embassy and the elegant neoclassical homes, many of which are now embassies. We’ll then cycle through Parque Metropolitano de la Habana and Nuevo Vedado, before stopping at Plaza de la Revolución, the hub of Revolutionary Cuba. From here we wheel through cultural and vibrant Vedado towards the famous Hotel Nacional, which has offered shelter to many a celebrity over the years, including Winston Churchill and members of the Mafia. Now we whizz through bustling Centro Habana to the famous Capitolio building, a mirror-image of Washington’s Capitol Building. With the Capitolio behind us we veer left down the regal Prado promenade, a favourite with street artists and skateboarders alike 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 transfer to Playa Larga, a small rural town situated on the Bay of Pigs. Tonight we’ll be staying in Cuba’s equivalent of bed and breakfast accommodation (casa particular) and will be dining locally.

Day 3: Cycle through the Ciénaga de Zapata natural park

  • 47.1 km
  • +119m -118m
  • Casa Particular, Cienfuegos
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

We get up early to go bird watching in the Ciénaga de Zapata natural park accompanied by a local guide. The area is famous for endemic and migrating birds and is the natural habitat for the Cuban pygmy owl and the zunzuncito (bee hummingbird), the world’s smallest bird. You may also catch a glimpse of the tocororo, Cuban’s national bird with its colourful red, white and blue plumage. We return to our accommodation for breakfast then set off cycling along coastline of the Zapata Peninsula. The road clings to the Bay of Pigs, giving us views of the emerald Caribbean Sea. A stop at Playa Girón gives us the chance to learn about the failed CIA backed invasion of Cuba in April 1961. From here we have a short ride to lunch and a swim in the natural sea pool at Caleta Buena. After lunch we continue by bus to Cienfuegos and check into our accommodation for the night. We have dinner this evening in a local paladar.

Day 4: To the charming colonial city of Trinidad

  • 86 km
  • +642m -576m
  • Casa Particular, Trinidad
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

We set off in the morning along an undulating coastal road followed by some short, sharp, hills through beautiful pasture lands. After approximately 20 km we stop to enjoy stunning views of the Escambray mountains across a valley of sugar cane. The road then sweeps up and over gentle hills until we stop for lunch at La Vega farm restaurant.  From here the road clings to the Caribbean all the way to Trinidad.  You can either cycle the 30 km or transfer by bus to your accommodation for the night. 

Trinidad is probably Cuba’s most famous provincial town and rightly so. It’s a picture-perfect colonial town with cobbled streets, pastel painted colonial homes and very little traffic in the centre – other than horse drawn carts and the occasional vintage car. Walking around the town is like stepping back in time!

You’ll enjoy tasty home cooked food in your casa this evening before you head out to explore this charming World Heritage Site by night.  In the evenings Trinidad welcomes visitors with live music and local bars where you can enjoy a rum cocktail or practise your salsa steps.

Day 5: Free day to explore Trinidad

  • 30 km
  • +50m -50m
  • Casa Particular, Trinidad
  • Breakfast

Today is a free day and you can enjoy a number of activities at your leisure such as horse riding, salsa classes, a trip on a catamaran out to one of the keys or trekking in the nearby mountains. Trinidad’s small scale makes it easy to explore and the many cafes, museums, handicrafts markets and shops are perfect for browsing and whiling away an afternoon.   Ancon beach, 12kms away, is a classic Caribbean beach and well worth visiting either by bike or by taxi.   

Your guide will organise an optional 30 km round trip ride today leaving Trinidad and heading to Ancon Beach via the small fishing village of La Boca.  We recommend you take a picnic lunch so that you can spend the afternoon at the white sand Ancon beach.

This evening is free for you to explore Trinidad’s many paladars and bars at your leisure.

Day 6: Cycle through Escambray mountains

  • 42 km
  • +513m -1126m
  • Los Caneyes or La Granjita Hotel
  • Breakfast, lunch

After transferring to our start point, we begin with an exciting 10 km section over a mountainous ridge through pine and eucalyptus forests before beginning the descent to Santa Clara. Today is the most spectacular day of the trip in terms of scenery as we cycle through the Topes de Collantes national park. Palm trees and other tropical plants slowly replace pine forests as we descend to the valley floor between impressive mountains before reaching the market town of Manicaragua, where we stop for a picnic lunch. From here we either continue by bike or transfer to Santa Clara by bus, arriving in time to visit Che’s Mausoleum before checking into our hotel for the night. Tonight you’re free to explore the city centre of Santa Clara at your leisure and dine at a restaurant or paladar of your choice.

Day 7: Explore Havana

  • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning we transfer by bus back to Havana, arriving in time for lunch.  In the afternoon we’ll have time for shopping or further sightseeing before we check into our accommodation for the night.  In the late afternoon we enjoy a 2-hour tour of the capital in vintage American classic cars, ending at the El Floridita bar in the Old Town. This was one of Hemingway’s favourite haunts where the daiquiri claims to have been invented.  Tonight we go out for our final dinner in the Old Town within walking distance of our accommodation.

Day 8: Departure day

  • Breakfast

This is the final morning of your stay in Cuba with time in the morning to relax, do some final exploring of Old Havana or some last minute souvenir shopping before we depart for the airport in time for check in 3 hours prior to departure.

What's included?

Accommodation

2 nights in hotels, 5 nights in casas particulares.

Gear

Bike Hire

Meals

All Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners

100% vehicle support

during rides, Cubania office 24 hour contact

Staff

English-Speaking Cuban tour guide, bus driver, mechanic (day 2 only)

What's not included: Flights, travel insurance, vaccinations, visas, gratuities

What to bring

1. Cycling helmet

Compulsory

2. Water bottle

Standard water bottle holder on each bike

3. Sun hat

High strength sunscreen, sunglasses for cycling, sun hat

4. Cycling clothes

Light cotton and linen clothing suitable for tropical climates.

We can fit your pedals or seat to our bikes should you wish to bring them.   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: Cycling

Cycling. Discover Cuba on a bike while immersing yourself in local culture.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

You are used to exercising regularly and enjoy being active. You like going on cycling holidays to a new country each year and enjoy the freedom and healthy sense of relaxation that it offers.

Group style: Small

4 - 18 people, mixed nationalities and cycling ability. Minimum age 16 years (accompanied by an adult).

Notes

Mostly on paved, quiet rural roads, with some pot-holes. Hot and humid conditions, especially during summer months.

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