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Cycling

Road Cycling Cuba “Vuelta de Cuba”

Cycling

Road Cycling Cuba “Vuelta de Cuba”

  • Duration 15 Days
  • Activity level Challenging
  • Included accomodation meals transport staff

Cycle the highlights of Cuba’s classic road cycling race, the Vuelta de Cuba.

Private group departures available.

From £2,099.00 / per person

Cycle

Ride on Cuba’s quiet and wide open roads

Climb

Push yourself in ‘Topes’ and ‘La Farola’ mountain passes

Learn

All about Cuba with an expert Cubania cycling guide

Share

Your experience with Cuban ‘Masters’ cyclists

What's included?

Accommodation

7 nights in standard hotels & 7 nights in casas particulares

Meals

All Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 3 Dinners

100% vehicle support

during rides, Cubania office 24 hour contact

Staff

English-Speaking Cuban tour guide, Cuban ‘Master’ cyclist/mechanic throughout, bus driver.

What's not included: Flights, bike transport fee with airline, travel insurance, vaccinations, visas, gratuities

    Road Cycling Cuba “Vuelta de Cuba”

    Essential Information

  • Day 1

    General

  • Day 2

    Cycling

  • Day 3

    Accommodation

  • Day 4

    Food and Drink

  • Day 5

    Guides

What is included?

  • Individual transfers from airport to start accommodation (in micro/van). Confirmation of flight details required.
  • Transfer of luggage from hotel to hotel.
  • Accommodation: 7 nights in standard hotels & 7 nights in casas particulares.
  • Meals:  all breakfasts, 10 lunches and 3 dinners Lunches will be in restaurants or picnics depending on the day.
  • Staff:  Local English-speaking Cuban guide throughout. Cuban ‘Master’ cyclist/mechanic (2 Masters if more than 7 pax) to accompany group throughout. Driver. Professional mechanic for bike fitting on Day 2.    
  • 9 x cycle rides of varying length and duration.
  • Transport: All transport in air-conditioned vehicle with professional driver, used as group transport and as support vehicle during rides.
  • Support: 100% vehicle support during rides.
  • Drinking water provided on cycling days (bring your own refillable bottle).
  • Local snacks for riding days (fruit, biscuits,
    peanut bars).
  • Cubania Travel office support.
  • 24-hour emergency contact in Cuba.

What is not included?

  • Flights to and from Cuba.
  • Bike transport fees with airline.
  • Bike hire.
  • 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, Cuban Masters cyclists, driver and local staff.  We recommend that each participant contributes a minimum of CUC 40 – CUC 50 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).
  • Predominantly paved roads, small sections of unpaved, with some potholes. Some long bus transfers involved in order to cover large
    travel distances.
  • A good 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: 9.
  • Total Distance: 891 km.
  • Average Daily Distance: 99 km.
  • Moderate Pace: approx. 20-30 kmph depending on terrain.
  • 100% vehicle support throughout rides—jump on the bus whenever you like!

Essential packing list

  • Your own bike.
  • Cycling helmet compulsory.
  • Water bottle.
  • Cycle gear.
  • 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!

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!

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.
  • Cycle shoes and cleats.
  • Cycling gloves.
  • Comfortable trainers for walking.
  • Torch.

Throughout the tour we stay in a range of accommodation typical to any trip to Cuba, with a mixture of 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. As it’s a tropical country, 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. Depending on the location they are relatively modern International style hotels or traditional colonial hotels.

We use Casas Particulares in Cienfuegos, Baracoa, Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad and Playa Larga. 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 an 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.

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.

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
    Day 1

    Arrival In Havana

    Welcome to Cuba! A Cubania representative will meet you at Havana’s Jose Marti Airport and transfer you to the start hotel. The largest island…

    • Hotel Memories Miramar, Havana
    • Dinner
  • Day 2
    Day 2
    3 hours

    Cycle in Havana (24 km); Transfer to Cienfuegos

    After breakfast we head to the Cubania workshop to meet the team and fit your bike then, after a safety briefing, we set off…

    • 24 km
    • +163m -169m
    • Casas particulares in Cienfuegos
    • Breakfast, Packed Lunch
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    Cycle to Trinidad (93km); Transfer to Sancti Spiritus

    Today’s rides is a scintillating mix of nippy hills and rolling countryside as we leave coastal Cienfuegos and skirt round the Escambray Mountain range…

    • 93 km
    • +683m -623m
    • Hotel
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 4
    Day 4

    Transfer Day: From Sancti Spiritus to Holguin

    Cuba is big! So, rather than spend many days cycling across the flat plains of Central Cuba, we take a long travel day by…

    • Hotel in Holguin
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    Cycle from Cueto to Moa (124km); Transfer to Baracoa

    After breakfast we set off by bus to our start point at Cueto, a short distance from Holguin. We go deep into the Cuban…

    • 124km
    • +1,299m -1,321m
    • Casas particulares
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    Free Day in Baracoa

    Today we’ll have a day off the bike to explore Baracoa. The idyllic tropical landscapes more than live up to Christopher Columbus’ claim Cuba…

    • Casas Particulares in Baracoa
    • Breakfast
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    Cycle from Baracoa to Guantanamo (152km); Transfer to Santiago

    After an easy day in Baracoa, we prepare this morning for one of the most iconic climbs in Cuba. La Farola road takes us…

    • 152km
    • +2011m -1958m
    • Casas Particulares in Santiago
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 8
    Day 8

    Cycle from Santiago to Bayamo (129km); Transfer to Sierra Maestra

    Leaving the hustle and bustle of Santiago we climb West out of the city and take the pretty Santiago to El Cobre road through…

    • 129km
    • +1173m -1130m
    • Hotel Villa Santo Domingo
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 9
    Day 9

    Sierra Maestra; Transfer to Camagüey

    We spend this morning in the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra, a spectacular national park within Cuba’s highest mountain range.

    This region is…

    • Hotel Colón (or similar)
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 10
    Day 10

    Cycle from Camagüey to Majagua (140km); Transfer to Hanabanilla

    Today we cross the flat plains of Cuba leaving the Oriente behind and heading back into Central Cuba.

    We set off early in…

    • 140 km
    • +482m -472m
    • Hotel Hanabanilla
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 11
    Day 11

    Cycle from Hanabanilla to Trinidad (84km)

    Today’s ride is one of the prettiest as we backtrack down the hill towards Manicaragua before heading to Guinia de Miranda, a small village…

    • 84 km
    • +1,016 m -1,328 m
    • Casas particulares
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 12
    Day 12

    Free day in Trinidad

    Today is free for you to explore Trinidad at your own pace.

    Trinidad is probably Cuba’s most famous provincial town and rightly so.…

    • Casas particulares
    • Breakfast
  • Day 13
    Day 13

    Cycle from Trinidad to Cienfuegos via Topes de Collantes N.P. (89km); Transfer to Playa Larga

    Following the Vuelta de Cuba, we are challenged with the Topes de Collante climb this morning. Setting off from Trinidad warm up for 5km…

    • 89 km
    • +1,844 m -1,875 m
    • Casas particulares
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 14
    Day 14

    Cycle from Playa Larga to Matanzas (126km); Transfer to Havana

    Yesterday was a challenging ride, today you have the chance to warm down and stretch muscles with a flattish final day of riding.

    • 126 km
    • +468 m -464 m
    • Hotel Memories Miramar
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 15
    Day 15

    Depart Havana

    After breakfast your guide will take you on a walking tour of Old Havana which is the finest surviving Spanish colonial city in the…

    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 1

    Day 1: Arrival In Havana

  • Day 2
    3 hours

    Day 2: Cycle in Havana (24 km); Transfer to Cienfuegos

  • Day 3

    Day 3: Cycle to Trinidad (93km); Transfer to Sancti Spiritus

  • Day 4

    Day 4: Transfer Day: From Sancti Spiritus to Holguin

  • Day 5

    Day 5: Cycle from Cueto to Moa (124km); Transfer to Baracoa

  • Day 6

    Day 6: Free Day in Baracoa

  • Day 7

    Day 7: Cycle from Baracoa to Guantanamo (152km); Transfer to Santiago

  • Day 8

    Day 8: Cycle from Santiago to Bayamo (129km); Transfer to Sierra Maestra

  • Day 9

    Day 9: Sierra Maestra; Transfer to Camagüey

  • Day 10

    Day 10: Cycle from Camagüey to Majagua (140km); Transfer to Hanabanilla

  • Day 11

    Day 11: Cycle from Hanabanilla to Trinidad (84km)

  • Day 12

    Day 12: Free day in Trinidad

  • Day 13

    Day 13: Cycle from Trinidad to Cienfuegos via Topes de Collantes N.P. (89km); Transfer to Playa Larga

  • Day 14

    Day 14: Cycle from Playa Larga to Matanzas (126km); Transfer to Havana

  • Day 15

    Day 15: Depart Havana

Day 1: Arrival In Havana

  • Hotel Memories Miramar, Havana
  • Dinner

Welcome to Cuba! A Cubania representative will meet you at Havana’s Jose Marti Airport and transfer you to the start hotel. 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. If your flight arrives early, you can request access to the workshop today (subject to confirmation) so that you can build your bike. After an early evening arrival briefing your guide will take you to dinner in a restaurant nearby.

3 hours

Day 2: Cycle in Havana (24 km); Transfer to Cienfuegos

  • 24 km
  • +163m -169m
  • Casas particulares in Cienfuegos
  • Breakfast, Packed Lunch

After breakfast we head to the Cubania workshop to meet the team and fit your bike then, after a safety briefing, we set off on a warm up ride exploring the best of Cuba’s capital city. We catch glimpses of the sea as we cycle through the leafy 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 dip into the emerald green Havana metropolitan forest and emerge close to Revolution Square, the hub of the Castro Regime, where we stop for photos. From here it’s an easy ride to Old Havana, passing through the cultural district of Vedado and bustling Centro Habana before reaching Capitolio building, Cuba’s mirror-image of Washington DC’s Capitol Building. With the Capitolio behind us we veer left down the regal Prado promenade, a favourite with street artists and skateboarders alike.

We finish the city cycle in the Old Town next to the Bay of Havana. Lunch will be a quick packed lunch before our 4 hour bus transfer to Cienfuegos. After checking into our casas particulares we have the remainder of the afternoon and evening free to explore the attractive coastal city of Cienfuegos. Cuba’s ‘Pearl of the South’ was home to Cuba’s bolero star Benny Moré, and is renowned for its stylish French architecture and its malecón, a seawall that skirts the city’s bay.

Day 3: Cycle to Trinidad (93km); Transfer to Sancti Spiritus

  • 93 km
  • +683m -623m
  • Hotel
  • Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s rides is a scintillating mix of nippy hills and rolling countryside as we leave coastal Cienfuegos and skirt round the Escambray Mountain range passing rural towns, fields of sugar cane and crossing rivers and sparkling Caribbean inlets.

We leave Cienfuegos taking an undulating road past mango groves before climbing some short, sharp, hills through pasture lands. After approximately 20 km we stop to enjoy stunning views of the Escambray mountains across a sweeping valley of sugar cane. The road then dips and rolls 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.

Trinidad is one of Cuba’s finest colonial cities and we’ll dedicate plenty of time to exploring it towards the end of our ride. Today, we stop riding in Trinidad’s outskirts and transfer approx. 1 hour so that we can spend the night in the charming but less known colonial town of Sancti Spiritus.

Sancti Spiritus is a provincial capital and one of the first seven villages founded by the Spanish Conquistadors in the early 16th century. This is a quiet, parochial place steeped in history. Its inhabitants are proud of the Iglesia Parroquial Mayor del Espiritu Santo; the oldest operational church on the island, as well as Puente Yayabo, the only European-style redbrick bridge in Cuba.

Day 4: Transfer Day: From Sancti Spiritus to Holguin

  • Hotel in Holguin
  • Breakfast, Lunch

Cuba is big! So, rather than spend many days cycling across the flat plains of Central Cuba, we take a long travel day by bus and fast forward to the eastern province of Holguin.

The journey time should be approx. 7 hours depending on the road conditions and it’s a good time to ask your guide all those burning questions on Cuban history , culture and everyday life. We’ll reach the provincial town of Holguin in the afternoon.

Many people consider Oriente, or the Eastern Provinces, to be the most authentically Cuban part of the island. The roots of Cuban music and much of its Afro-Caribbean culture can be traced to the area and it was in Santiago de Cuba that Fidel Castro and his fellow revolutionaries began their uprising against the dictator Batista.

Day 5: Cycle from Cueto to Moa (124km); Transfer to Baracoa

  • 124km
  • +1,299m -1,321m
  • Casas particulares
  • Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast we set off by bus to our start point at Cueto, a short distance from Holguin. We go deep into the Cuban countryside and take the undulating road immortalized in one of Cuba’s best-loved songs “Chan Chan”, the song which opens Wim Wenders’ Oscar winning “Buena Vista Social Club”. Sharing the road with cyclists, horses and carts and classic American cars through quaint villages and agricultural land dotted with royal palms, it’s hard not to imagine you’ve time travelled back a hundred years to a gentler, rural way of living. After a picnic lunch along the way, we load our bikes at Moa and drive onwards along the spectacular (but poor road surface) route towards Baracoa.

If time allows, we’ll stop for a quick dip in the sea in Maguana before reaching Baracoa.

Founded in 1512, Baracoa was the first Spanish settlement, discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus on his 1st trip to the West Indies. The area is lusciously fertile and mountainous with gushing rivers flow into Baracoa’s sandy bays. Closed off to the rest of the island by a mountain range, its isolated location on the easternmost tip of the island left it open to attacks from pirates, smugglers ( also known as the English ) so three forts were constructed in the 18th Century for protection.

Baracoa was finally connected to the rest of Cuba in the 1960’s when La Farola road was engineered with tunnels through the mountains and viaducts soaring over valleys. This area is renowned for coconuts, cocoa and chocolate production. The Malecón on the northeast side of the town is known as the Caribbean’s first ocean drive. There is still a strong indigenous influence here and the El Yunque Mountain, (the anvil shaped mountain described by Christopher Columbus in his diaries) was the site of various aboriginal communities. We arrive late afternoon and enjoy a free evening to explore the town after checking into our accommodation.

Day 6: Free Day in Baracoa

  • Casas Particulares in Baracoa
  • Breakfast

Today we’ll have a day off the bike to explore Baracoa. The idyllic tropical landscapes more than live up to Christopher Columbus’ claim Cuba was “the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes”. The relic of the cross he planted into Cuban sand upon landing can still be seen in Baracoa’s Cathedral and the town is still a sleepy backwater of fishermen and farmers who lived in isolation for centuries before the

town was connected to the rest of Cuba by La Farola, the mountain road to Guantanamo city.

You’ll find culinary influences from Haiti just across the water and culture is rooted to the indigenous ways of the Taino and Arawak people who once thrived in Cuba.

Our guide will explain all possible activity options and how to book excursions should you wish to go on a trek in one of the nearby national parks.

Day 7: Cycle from Baracoa to Guantanamo (152km); Transfer to Santiago

  • 152km
  • +2011m -1958m
  • Casas Particulares in Santiago
  • Breakfast, Lunch

After an easy day in Baracoa, we prepare this morning for one of the most iconic climbs in Cuba. La Farola road takes us from Baracoa up and over the mountain range and drops down to the Southern coastline near Imias. This is a challenging ride rewarded by spectacular vistas as you climb up into the hills and through the tunnels which were engineered in the 1960s to connect remote Baracoa by road to the rest of Cuba.

Cuba’s Tour de France equivalent, the Vuelta de Cuba, traditionally held in February has always included this climb in one of the étapes.

Some may decide to end their day’s ride at Imias with a picnic lunch and a dip in the sea. The rest will continue cycling into Guantánamo province, equally famous for its US Naval Base and for the Cuban song Guantanamera, a love song to Cuba.

We reach the provincial capital of Guantánamo and transfer from here to Santiago, Cuba’s second city and former capital during colonial times.

Santiago de Cuba is known as the ‘city of heroes’ owing to the important role it played in Independence and Revolutionary struggles. Santiago rivals Havana in literature, music and politics, has rich cultural traditions and is considered by all to be the birthplace of Cuban music. It was here that Fidel Castro was educated as a schoolboy and his remains were returned to Santiago where he is buried in the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, close to Cuba’s National Hero and Poet José Martí.

After checking into your casa particular, enjoy an evening of music and mojitos on the streets of Santiago.

Day 8: Cycle from Santiago to Bayamo (129km); Transfer to Sierra Maestra

  • 129km
  • +1173m -1130m
  • Hotel Villa Santo Domingo
  • Breakfast, Lunch

Leaving the hustle and bustle of Santiago we climb West out of the city and take the pretty Santiago to El Cobre road through the foothills of the Sierra Maestra.

We stop for a short visit to the Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Cobre, Cuba’s most important religious shrine and a site of pilgrimage for Cubans who pay homage to Cuba’s patron Saint. We continue into the foothills, stopping in Contramaestre for a picnic lunch and a cold drink before continuing along the relatively flat road to Bayamo.

Bayamo is one of the 7 original colonial “villas” founded by the Spanish Conquistadors. We visit the town centre and learn about its importance in kickstarting Cuban Independence. Even today Cuba’s National Anthem is named after this provincial capital.

Continue by bus high up into the Sierra Maestra mountains where we stay the night in Villa Santo Domingo.

Day 9: Sierra Maestra; Transfer to Camagüey

  • Hotel Colón (or similar)
  • Breakfast, Lunch

We spend this morning in the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra, a spectacular national park within Cuba’s highest mountain range.

This region is well known as Fidel Castro’s base of operations during the Cuban Revolutionary War. High in the Sierra is Comandancia La Plata, the secret mountain hideout from which Castro and Che Guevara planned the revolutionary war in the 1950s. It was also the location for Radio Rebelde which broadcast information for the revolutionaries. We will hike up to the revolutionary base through the lush vegetation.

After time for lunch in Villa Santo Domingo, we continue our journey to Camagüey, a World Heritage Site, where we’ll spend the night. After almost continuous attacks from pirates, the original city (founded as Santa Maria del Puerto del Principe around 1515 on the northern coast) was moved inland in 1528. The new city was built with a confusing layout of winding alleys that made it easier to defend from raiders.

Day 10: Cycle from Camagüey to Majagua (140km); Transfer to Hanabanilla

  • 140 km
  • +482m -472m
  • Hotel Hanabanilla
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we cross the flat plains of Cuba leaving the Oriente behind and heading back into Central Cuba.

We set off early in the morning to make the most of the cooler morning hours and hit the Carretera Central all the way to Majagua. The route is flat and fast and takes us through small towns and pasture land and we share the road with a variety of local vehicles, from bicycles and horses and carts to tractors and Russian lorries! There are few undulations along the way, and we stop for a packed lunch in a shady spot. Our ride finishes at Majagua where we climb onto the bus and transfer about 2 hours to our destination.

Tonight we stay high up on the banks of Hanabanilla Lake in the Escambray Mountains. The beautiful surroundings were once exclusively enjoyed by Cuban political leaders who would come to relax and fish on the reservoir. Nowadays the simple hotel welcomes visitors who choose the area for the stunning views of the lake and surrounding tropical mountains.

Day 11: Cycle from Hanabanilla to Trinidad (84km)

  • 84 km
  • +1,016 m -1,328 m
  • Casas particulares
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s ride is one of the prettiest as we backtrack down the hill towards Manicaragua before heading to Guinia de Miranda, a small village in the mountains which is well known to Cubans for being the location of one of the crucial Revolutionary battles against the dictator Batista. You’ll pass commemorations of the battle and images of Che Guevara who led the attack on the Army Barracks.

The terrain today is hilly but the road surface is relatively smooth and there’s hardly any traffic as it undulates through tropical mountains, past tobacco fields and small holdings and crosses rivers. Royal Palm trees abound and endemic birds provide a soundtrack as you ride through the hilltops.

After Rio Seibabo we start dropping down towards Condado and we finally reach the main road at Manaca Iznaga. Located in the Valley of Sugar Mills, the ruins of the Manacas bell tower remind us that this area of Cuba was once covered in sugar cane and the plantation provided enormous wealth to colonial masters and immense suffering to their slaves. It’s a fitting introduction to Trinidad, 15km away, which became enormously wealth through sugar cane production and explains why this small town is packed with beautiful colonial buildings.

Day 12: Free day in Trinidad

  • Casas particulares
  • Breakfast

Today is free for you to explore Trinidad at your own pace.

Trinidad is probably Cuba’s most famous provincial town and rightly so. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 and is perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad is like stepping back in time; the pastel coloured houses, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisk you back to colonial times.

There are a number of interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings to visit during the day, or you may wish to cycle to the nearby beach at Playa Ancón, which is an approx. 25km round trip from Trinidad. As the sun sets that Trinidad really comes alive with music and dance. Ask your guide for tips and advice, or for help booking any activities.

Day 13: Cycle from Trinidad to Cienfuegos via Topes de Collantes N.P. (89km); Transfer to Playa Larga

  • 89 km
  • +1,844 m -1,875 m
  • Casas particulares
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following the Vuelta de Cuba, we are challenged with the Topes de Collante climb this morning. Setting off from Trinidad warm up for 5km before we turn towards the mountains and start to climb immediately. Although shorter than the climb out of Baracoa, the climb to Topes is no less intense, gaining 800m in approximately 12km. The road twists and turns past palm trees, bamboo forests and into the pine forests, a challenging climb with unforgettable views back across the hills to the Caribbean Sea.

Reaching the summit, we take the road less travelled towards Cienfuegos undulating out of the pine forested peaks in Topes and down into tropical forests as we descend. Once out of the mountains we take the main Trinidad-Cienfuegos road with nippy hills through pasture land and wide vistas of the Caribbean sea and the bay of Cienfuegos.

We finish our ride in the main square at Cienfuegos and, after a cold beer and time to explore the surroundings, we head to our accommodation for the night on the Bay of Pigs. Our casa for tonight is located on the beach at Playa Larga, a great spot for a swim and dinner on the beach.

Day 14: Cycle from Playa Larga to Matanzas (126km); Transfer to Havana

  • 126 km
  • +468 m -464 m
  • Hotel Memories Miramar
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Yesterday was a challenging ride, today you have the chance to warm down and stretch muscles with a flattish final day of riding.

This morning we pedal inland through the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park, a vast marshland home to Cuba’s most important bird species and world-renowned as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Playa Larga was one of the most important battles sites of the attempted invasion of Cuba by US backed militia in 1961. You’ll see monuments to the fallen along the road as well as propaganda posters reminding visitors of the area’s history.

Leaving the park we pass through Australia village with its old sugar mill before cycling through citrus plantations and the small town of Pedro Betancourt (named after a revolutionary major-general in the Cuban war of independence).

Our destination is Matanzas known as the “City of Bridges” or the “Venice of Cuba” as its streets span three different rivers. It is also the birthplace of two Cuban dances; rumba and danzón, as well as several religions of African origin, making it a vital contributor to Afro-Cuban culture. We finish our ride on one of Matanzas’ main squares and enjoy the views with a mojito or a cold beer in hand.

From Matanzas we will transfer back to Havana for the night (approximately 2 hours).

Day 15: Depart Havana

  • Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast your guide will take you on a walking tour of Old Havana which is the finest surviving Spanish colonial city in the Americas. Since it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site millions of dollars have been invested in its restoration. The many marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces of the city’s historical centre are brought to life by a constant hustle and bustle and the unmistakable sound of Cuban Son.

We’ll have lunch at a paladar in the Old Town and then you will have some free time before your transfer to the airport. We will then say Adiós, or, as we prefer to say hasta luego, see you later!

Afternoon transfer (30–40 minutes approx.) to Havana airport.

What to bring

1. Your Own Bike

2. Helmet

compulsory

3. Water Bottle

clean, drinking water will be provided during the ride

4. Sunscreen

high strength sunscreen, sunglasses for cycling, sun hat

5. Cycling clothes

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

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

Difficulty Level: Challenging

You are used to road biking and have experience of doing this type of trip.

Group style: Small

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

Go Private:

Create your own travel bubble by booking a private trip with friends or family. Private departures confirmed with two participants.

Notes:

Predominantly paved roads, small sections of unpaved, with some potholes. Some long bus transfers involved in order to cover large travel distances.

Upcoming departures

November, 2020

Nov 12
Thursday 12th November
-
Thursday 26th November
£2,099.00

December, 2020

Dec 19
Saturday 19th December
-
Saturday 2nd January
£2,099.00
1. Select date
2. Passenger details
3. Billing details