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Cycling

Western and Central Cuba by E-bike

Cycling

Western and Central Cuba by E-bike

Combine a leisurely activity with an insight in to some of Cuba’s most fascinating cultural highlights on this new E-Biking tour of Western and Central Cuba. Discover the green and mountainous landscapes of Viñales Valley, and the beautiful coastal colonial towns of Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Finish your holiday with a couple of nights relaxation at a beach hotel on Cayo Santa Maria.

  • Duration 13 Days
  • Activity level Moderate
  • Included Accommodation Meals Staff Support Gear
  • Day 1
    Day 1

    ARRIVAL IN HAVANA

    Enjoy a rest after your flight and take your time this evening to soak up the atmosphere.

    • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Day 2
    Day 2

    BIKE FITTING AND CITY TOUR

    This morning your tour guide will officially introduce themselves to the group and we’ll start off in style by getting picked up in classic American cars for a memorable tour of Old Havana.

    • 15 km
    • Casa Particular, Havana
    • Breakfast
  • Day 3
    Day 3

    TO PINAR DEL RÍO AND VIÑALES

    This morning we transfer to Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba.

    • 50km
    • Casa Particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast
  • Day 4
    Day 4

    CAYO JUTÍAS

    Today we cycle through the Sierra de los Organos mountains to Cayo Jutias, a beautiful islet off the coast of Pinar del Rio.

    • 55km
    • Casa Particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast
  • Day 5
    Day 5

    VIÑALES

    This morning we’ll do some exploring on foot, taking a short hike through Viñales’ spectacular Jurassic landscape.

    • Casa Particular, Viñales
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 6
    Day 6

    LAS TERRAZAS

    Today we cycle northwards out of Viñales, stopping to visit Cueva de los Portales where Che Guevara’s Headquarters during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    • 90km
    • Hotel La Moka, Las Terrazas
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 7
    Day 7

    TO THE BAY OF PIGS AND CIENFUEGOS

    We’ll follow the coastline along the edge of the Bay of Pigs and finish at Playa Giron where we will learn about the failed CIA backed invasion of Cuba in April 1961.

    • 65km
    • Casa Particular, Cienfuegos
    • Breakfast
  • Day 8
    Day 8

    TO TRINIDAD

    In the morning we’ll set off on our bikes eastwards in the direction of Trinidad. For lunch, we will stop at La Vega community…

    • 80km
    • Casa Particular, Trinidad
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 9
    Day 9

    TRINIDAD

    This morning we’ll have a walking tour of Trinidad. Named an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, Trinidad’s collection of beautifully preserved colonial buildings have the Sierra del Escambray as a backdrop and overlook the Caribbean Sea.

    • Casa Particular, Trinidad
    • Breakfast
  • Day 10
    Day 10

    TO SANCTI SPIRITUS

    This morning we cycle to Valle de los Ingenios, a 12-kilometre long valley that was once home to over fifty sugar cane mills. We’ll…

    • 80km
    • Hotel in Sancti Spiritus
    • Breakfast, Lunch
  • Day 11
    Day 11

    TO CAIBARIÉN AND CAYO SANTA MARÍA

    This morning we ride along rural roads to the colonial town of Remedios, famous for its raucous Christmas celebrations. We’ll have a short tour…

    • 40km
    • Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 12
    Day 12

    CAYO SANTA MARÍA

    Enjoy a day of total relaxation on beautiful Cayo Santa María.

    • Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 13
    Day 13

    DEPARTURE DAY

    After breakfast we say goodbye to Cayo Santa Maria and transfer back to Havana where the tour ends.

    • Breakfast
  • ?
    FAQ
    Ask us

    FAQ

  • Day 1

    Day 1: ARRIVAL IN HAVANA

  • Day 2

    Day 2: BIKE FITTING AND CITY TOUR

  • Day 3

    Day 3: TO PINAR DEL RÍO AND VIÑALES

  • Day 4

    Day 4: CAYO JUTÍAS

  • Day 5

    Day 5: VIÑALES

  • Day 6

    Day 6: LAS TERRAZAS

  • Day 7

    Day 7: TO THE BAY OF PIGS AND CIENFUEGOS

  • Day 8

    Day 8: TO TRINIDAD

  • Day 9

    Day 9: TRINIDAD

  • Day 10

    Day 10: TO SANCTI SPIRITUS

  • Day 11

    Day 11: TO CAIBARIÉN AND CAYO SANTA MARÍA

  • Day 12

    Day 12: CAYO SANTA MARÍA

  • Day 13

    Day 13: DEPARTURE DAY

Ask us

FAQ

What is included?

  • Transfers from airport upon arrival and departure if on first and last days of tour
  • Transfer of luggage throughout but not hotel porterage
  • Bike Hire: Corratec E-Power with a Bosch Active Motor.  4 support grades and 8 gears, front fork suspension.  Male and female styles frames available in a range of sizes.
  • Accommodation: 4 nights in hotels, 8 nights in casas particulares on B&B basis
  • Meals: all breakfasts, 6 lunches and 3 dinners.  Lunches will be in restaurants or picnics depending on the day. 
  • Classic American car tour of Havana; entrances to tobacco factory, Cueva de los Portales, Las Terrazas Biosphere, walking tour of Trinidad and visit to community project in Caibarien.
  • Staff:  Local multilingual 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 in private air-conditioned vehicle
  • Support: 100% vehicle support during rides
  • Mineral water 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)
  • Extension nights (e.g. in Havana) and transfers to airports thereafter
  • 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 40 – CUC 50 to be shared between the local staff.

Is this tour right for me?

  • Group Size 2 – 12 people of mixed nationalities and cycling ability. Minimum age 16 years (under 18s to be 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. 
  • Mostly on paved, quiet rural roads, with some pot-holes.
  • Some challenging climb sections (see daily ride profiles in itinerary)
  • No. of days cycling: 8
  • Total Distance:  475 km
  • Average Daily Distance: 60 km
  • 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!

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.
  • 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 gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes.

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. Fortunately, it´s warm enough most days that the lack of hot water is not a major problem!

Hotal La Moka and the hotel in Sancti Spiritus are both 3 star with en suite bathrooms and air conditioning. Hotel Melia in Cayo Santa Maria is listed as a 5 star all-inclusive beach hotel.

We will use Casas Particulares in Havana, Viñales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. 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. Our bike guides are trained in leading E-biking trips.

Day 1: ARRIVAL IN HAVANA

  • Casa Particular, Havana

Welcome to Havana! You will be met at the airport and transferred to your casa particular (private B&B – service with a more personal touch) in a central location in vibrant Havana. Enjoy a rest after your flight and take your time this evening to soak up the atmosphere.

Day 2: BIKE FITTING AND CITY TOUR

  • 15 km
  • Casa Particular, Havana
  • Breakfast

This morning your tour guide will officially introduce themselves to the group and we’ll start off in style by getting picked up in classic American cars for a memorable tour of Old Havana. Once the key to the New World, Havana’s elegant colonial townhouses and opulent plazas are vivid reminders of its past splendour. Enjoy lunch at a local paladar in the old town before having a bike fitting and safety briefing as we jump on to our e-bikes for the first time. Our ride is to the modern neighbourhoods of Vedado and Miramar. We’ll stop on the way at Revolution Square, the face of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary Cuba, before continuing to Colon Cemetery, the largest cemetery in Latin America. After a spin around the impressive mansion-lined streets of Miramar district, we’ll head back east, stopping at the iconic Hotel Nacional for a cocktail. The hotel Nacional opened in 1930 and has since hosted many famous (and infamous) personalities. Its splendid gardens overlook the Malecon sea wall and are the perfect place to enjoy a sunset Mojito. Later on this evening there’s the option of visiting the legendary Tropicana show or other venues that your guide will suggest.

Day 3: TO PINAR DEL RÍO AND VIÑALES

  • 50km
  • Casa Particular, Viñales
  • Breakfast

This morning we transfer to Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba. Pinar del Rio is home to the best tobacco in the world, as well as some of the most stunning landscapes on the island. We’ll stop in the provincial capital for a tour, including a visit to a tobacco factory where we’ll see highly skilled torcedores rolling cigars by hand. In the afternoon we bike to Viñales, a luscious valley famed for its mogotes, or karsts – rounded mountains that seem to bubble out of the ground. This striking phenomenon dates back to the Jurassic Period when the area was a cave system that collapsed, leaving steep walls that turned into these unique mountains. Check in to Casas Particulares which will be our homes for the next three nights.

Day 4: CAYO JUTÍAS

  • 55km
  • Casa Particular, Viñales
  • Breakfast

Today we cycle through the Sierra de los Organos mountains to Cayo Jutias, a beautiful islet off the coast of Pinar del Rio. We’ll cycle through charming rural scenes, sharing the road with horses, oxen and more than a few pot holes! Once we reach the coast we cycle along a causeway for 14 kilometres before arriving at the beach where our efforts will be rewarded with a refreshing dip! Have some lunch (optional) at a seaside café and spend the afternoon relaxing and snorkelling in the cayo’s crystalline waters. Later on, you’ll have the option of returning to Viñales either by e-bike or on the bus.

Day 5: VIÑALES

  • Casa Particular, Viñales
  • Breakfast, Lunch

This morning we’ll do some exploring on foot, taking a short hike through Viñales’ spectacular Jurassic landscape. The valley’s fertile soil is home to a variety of vegetation and farm animals, as well as an abundance of tobacco plants. We will stop at a farm to get to know a little about tobacco cultivation and daily life in rural Cuba. After a packed lunch you’ll have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to try some horse-riding, have a go on Viñales thrilling zip-line or simply chill out and enjoy the breath-taking scenery.

Day 6: LAS TERRAZAS

  • 90km
  • Hotel La Moka, Las Terrazas
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we cycle northwards out of Viñales, stopping to visit Cueva de los Portales where Che Guevara’s Headquarters during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We’ll have a packed lunch in either Cueva de los Portales or the neighbouring Parque Nacional La Güira. We’ll then continue through the Sierra del Rosario mountain range to our final destination, Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve. Las Terrazas is an eco-village that was founded in 1968 and is dedicated to reforestation and ecotourism. As well as being a subtropical paradise, it has a vibrant arts and crafts scene with opportunities to get to know local artisans and members of the community. Tonight we will stay at La Moka, an ecological hotel that was built to complement the surrounding landscape. Overlooking the small community of Las Terrazas, the hotel is surrounded by wooded hills and wild nature. La Moka’s unique atmosphere makes it the perfect place to relax and spend the night.

Day 7: TO THE BAY OF PIGS AND CIENFUEGOS

  • 65km
  • Casa Particular, Cienfuegos
  • Breakfast

Today we start with a long drive to central Cuba (approx. 5 hours). We’ll stop to visit an old sugar mill village called Australia, where we can learn about the sugar trade. From here we’ll jump on the e-Bikes and ride southwards through the Cienaga de Zapata, a large swampland area which is home to all kinds of birdlife and wildlife, including crocodiles! We’ll follow the coastline along the edge of the Bay of Pigs and finish at Playa Giron where we will learn about the failed CIA backed invasion of Cuba in April 1961. From here we’ll drive the short distance east to Cienfuegos, a beautiful coastal city characterised by its 19th century French architecture. Take in the architectural delights of Cienfuegos on foot and stop at the opulent Palacio del Valle for a sunset cocktail overlooking the bay.

Day 8: TO TRINIDAD

  • 80km
  • Casa Particular, Trinidad
  • Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning we’ll set off on our bikes eastwards in the direction of Trinidad. For lunch, we will stop at La Vega community and from here you’ll have the option of either walking or going on horseback the short distance down to a nearby beach. After lunch, continue cycling along the scenic road to Trinidad. In the evening (optional) a trip through the romantic-musical nightlife of the city, where live music and dance are very popular, for example, in the Casa de la Música or Casa de la Trova.

Day 9: TRINIDAD

  • Casa Particular, Trinidad
  • Breakfast

This morning we’ll have a walking tour of Trinidad. Named an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, Trinidad’s collection of beautifully preserved colonial buildings have the Sierra del Escambray as a backdrop and overlook the Caribbean Sea. Much of the city’s fortune was made during the sugar boom of the early 19th century when the city’s nucleus of elegant mansions was built. Trinidad is best explored on foot, following its winding cobbled streets to open market places where innovative locals sell artisanal goods, from hand-woven tablecloths to pottery. We will visit the rustic Canchánchara bar, and then enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Trinidad has several interesting museums, or you may like to ride your e-bike to the nearby Playa Ancon and spend the afternoon relaxing on this beautiful Caribbean beach.

Day 10: TO SANCTI SPIRITUS

  • 80km
  • Hotel in Sancti Spiritus
  • Breakfast, Lunch

This morning we cycle to Valle de los Ingenios, a 12-kilometre long valley that was once home to over fifty sugar cane mills. We’ll stop to visit the former estate of Baron Iznaga, with its imposing bell tower, once the tallest structure in Cuba. We’ll continue along the foothills of the Sierra del Escambray to Sancti Spiritus, the provincial capital and one of the first seven villages founded by the Spanish 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 11: TO CAIBARIÉN AND CAYO SANTA MARÍA

  • 40km
  • Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we ride along rural roads to the colonial town of Remedios, famous for its raucous Christmas celebrations. We’ll have a short tour around the centre of the town and then stop to eat a packed lunch. In the afternoon we continue to Caibarién, a quiet fishing village on the north coast of central Cuba. We’ll have a quick walking tour of the historic centre and visit a pioneering community project run by local artists. We’ll then get on the bus to drive along the 48km-long causeway to Cayo Santa Maria, where we’ll check into our beach hotel.

Day 12: CAYO SANTA MARÍA

  • Hotel in Cayo Santa Maria
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy a day of total relaxation on beautiful Cayo Santa María.

Day 13: DEPARTURE DAY

  • Breakfast

After breakfast we say goodbye to Cayo Santa Maria and transfer back to Havana where the tour ends.

What's included?

Accommodation

4 nights in hotels, 8 nights in casas particulares

Meals

All Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 3 Dinners

Staff

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

Support

100% vehicle support during rides, Cubania office 24 hour contact

Gear

Bike Hire (E-bike)

What to bring

1. Cycling helmet

compulsory

2. Water bottle

standard water bottle holder on each bike

3. Sun protection

high strength sunscreen, sunglasses for cycling, sun hat

4. 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 the highlights of Western and Central Cuba on an electronic bike

Difficulty Level: Moderate

You are used to exercising, have a good level of fitness and enjoy being active.

Group style: Small

2 - 12 people, mixed nationalities and cycling ability. Minimum age 16 years (under 18s to be 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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2. Number of passengers
3. Billing details
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