Cuba Bike Tour | People-to-People Biking Tour, Cuba

A bike tour in the heart of Cuba. Not just a couple days of biking - this is the first people-to-people bike tour designed for the bike travel enthusiast.

Experience biking through Cuba’s corazón on our new tour through Central Cuba that takes you off of the beaten path and Cuba’s tourist track. Havana, with its syncopated rhythms blending with the sultry tension of salsa. Remedios, Trinidad, and Sancti Spiritus with their cobbled streets and tranquil country seats. Cienfuegos’ glimmering bays. It’s a tour through Cuba’s heritage and homeland from the best seat in the house—a bicycle seat.  New for this season, we’ve also include two leisurely kayak paddles suitable for novice paddlers.

Pedal and paddle your way through Cuba’s far-flung and less-traveled countryside on a tour that may begin in Havana, but which takes you to on routes rich in scenic views, wildlife, and meaningful interactions with Cuba’s people. Each day takes you not only across Cuba, but through it. You see Caribbean waters and limpid lakes, waving palms and swathes of sugar cane. Meet with artists and students, local market vendors and paladar owners. You hear the beats of Son salsa and find yourself wanting to dance along. Grow your own Hemingway beard (literally or figuratively) and get caught up in the bewitching, bewildering, boundless adventure waiting for you in Cuba on our original, new tour.

 

*Compare this tour with our other bike tour that explores the Western parts of Cuba: Cuba Cyling Tour ~ Quintessential Cuba.

Itinerary

Commercial flights from the United States to Cuba began in Fall 2016. We now ask that our guests book their own travel between the U.S. and Cuba. This tour will begin in Havana at approximately 11:00 AM on Day 1.  Our meeting point on Day 1 will be Havana's Jose Marti International Airport where your Tour Leader and local guides will meet you to begin your tour.

We are happy to offer guidance with scheduling your travel to and from Cuba, and our office staff is ready to answer any questions you may have.

Day 1: SATURDAY

Bienvenido Cuba! Havana

Upon landing in Havana, the city’s indefatigable, intoxicating spirit is immediately evident. We’re greeted by our tour leader as well as our local Cuban guide upon arrival. From the airport, we set off into Havana for our first Cuban adventures.  If guests arrive early, we’ll make our way first to Jaimanitas where we find the fantasy-world of legendary artist José Rodriguez Fuster. With insight and careful planning, Fuster took the raw material of an average neighborhood, and created a village-wide art exhibition Picasso would have been inspired by. We walk through Fusterlandia to see firsthand this colorful, playful world where doors, benches, roofs, and entire streets have become expressions of the artist and iconic Cuban images.

From here we make our way to a paladar, a privately owned restaurant, for lunch. During the drive, you catch your first glimpses of Cuba. From the flash of chrome as classic cars drive by to the monochromatic visage of Che Guevara solemnly gazing across the city from a billboard, Havana embodies all the energy and glamour, decay and dilapidation that makes Cuba compelling yet complex.

After lunch, we make our way to Habana Vieja, otherwise known as Colonial/Old Havana, with all its historic trappings. Its colonial buildings tell tales of swashbuckling invaders and august colonists seeking to imprint their prosperity onto the island. It’s a hodge-podge of architecture and a mish-mash of locals spilling into the narrow streets. We wander through the plazas before sitting down to a delicious meal prepared with Cuban flair at another paladar. After, guests may choose to return to the hotel or continue their night by heading out to experience the music and life of Havana by night.

ACCOMMODATION : Havana Hotel such as Hotel Presidente, Riviera, Nacional, Memories Miramar or similar.
MEALS INCLUDED : Lunch, Dinner

Havana, Palpite to Playa Larga – Biking and Optional Sunset Kayak

We eat breakfast early in Havana, then get fitted with our bikes.  We load our bus and take a drive on the main highway in Cuba, the A1, toward our Cuban biking launch point near Jaguey Grande.

On route we stop for a picnic, or perhaps at Finca Fiesta Campesina, a quirky attraction that blends a zoo with a farm. Around the farmyard peacocks, deer, and ducks wander while the more exotic jutía and manjuarí can also be found on the grounds. It’s campy and engaging, and it’s an excellent opportunity for a Cuba-renowned cup of coffee or refreshing cup of cane juice (rum optional) with lunch.

Riding through pastoral scenes of palms, sugar cane and small settlements, we are on the path where the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion was stopped, and a few billboards on the road point out key points of the failed invasion.  Soon we arrive in the small town of Pálpite, where we have a unique People-to-People visit with a local bird conservationist.

From Pálpite we enter Zapata National Park and then on to the small beachside town of Playa Larga. We check into our casa particulares (Bed & Breakfasts) and then enjoy a late afternoon stroll on the beach bordering the Bay of Pigs, or Bahía de Cochinos, before dinner. Though Playa Larga once saw the militant invasion of the Bay of Pigs, sit back and enjoy the nautical paradise whose coral reefs draw divers rather than invasions.

 

ACCOMMODATION : Casa Particulares
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Snorkeling in the Bay of Pigs, ride, then transfer to Remedios

We wake early and drive a short distance to one of our favorite snorkeling spots on the Bay of Pigs.  Cuba is home to the healthiest coral reefs in all the Caribbean, and your guides explain why this is and what to expect during this snorkel.  Colorful fish, a polychromatic array of sponge and coral and, warm azure seas make for a delightful morning.  We then transfer to the small town of Playa Giron and with a museum guide, learn about the 1961 invasion with a thorough explanation of the entire event. 

Our ride starts late morning, heading towards Yaguaramas, by way of Bermeja where we stop for a casual picnic lunch supplemented by local fruit juices from friends who run a small café perfectly located to break our ride.  There are several route options along in the area, and we may see rice drying on the roadways, getting ready to be bagged and taken to market.

At the end of our ride it’s a 3-hour shuttle to Remedios. We check into our hotel for the evening and usher in the evening with some exploration on foot. Remedios, a secluded colonial town that lacks the tourism bustle of Trinidad but radiates the same colonial tranquility, offers alluring insight into Cuba’s history without the traffic. Many sights can be found around Plaza Major, such as the Iglesia Mayor of San Juan Bautistia, Cuba’s oldest church. The ochre Baroque church features 13 golden alters. Across the square gleam the white walls of Iglesia del Buen Viaje, beautiful in its own right.  You may fall in love with Remedios that is a tranquil, quintessential town showcasing a colonial past.

Santa Clara Option - If we are unable to overnight in Remedios, we drive to Santa Clara instead. Santa Clara is fittingly nicknamed La Ciudad de Che for its revolutionary spirit and history with the insurrectionist figure. In honor of its namesake, Santa Clara hosts the Monument of Che on Plaza de la Revolución Ernesto Che Guevara. To this day, the city continues to push the boundaries of Cuban liberalizations and demonstrate the city’s voracious love of all things creative and avant-garde.

We enjoy dinner at a local paladar before returning to our hotel for the evening.

ACCOMMODATION : Hotel Real, Barcelona or Mascotte.  (If Santa Clara, Hotel America or similar.)
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Remedios to Sancti Spíritus

We begin our moderate morning ride to Sancti Spíritus. Our bike tour takes us through rolling hills and the city of Yaguajay as well as several other villages. Though our road is smooth, we can see the rugged lines of a small cordillera as well as the uncultivated verdure of the Caguanes National Park in the distance. We stop for a picnic lunch along the way, giving us some time to rest our legs and enjoy the expansive scenery around us.  

Our bike ride concludes in the quaint town of Sancti Spíritus. Sancti Spíritus is another city that invariably gets compared to Trinidad’s colonial charm and ultimately gets overshadowed by its UNESCO protected compatriot. Founded in 1514 by Diego Velázquez and one of the original seven villas, the city oozes historic appeal. Once we check into our lodgings for the night, we have the opportunity to explore the city. Walk across the Puente Yayabo, a quadruple-arched bridge that seems more fitting for the English countryside than this somnolent town, or look upon the Teatro Principal, Cuba’s oldest theater.  Our People-to-People is with a local guide at the Museum of the Guayabera, Cuba’s traditional shirt. After, relax with a tasty dinner with authentic Cuban dishes.

ACCOMMODATION : Hotel Rijo or Hotel Plaza
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Sancti Spíritus to Trinidad

We have another early morning as we depart on one of our favorite rides of the tour.  After a nice pastoral stretch of flat, we begin a long ascent through farmlands, with the verdant Escambray Mountains as a backdrop.  This is one of our more challenging rides, but with a nice tail wind, it goes well as we head towards the crossroads town of Banao.  Here we stop to enjoy an ice cream and mingle with the locals in the best kind of People-to-People experience there is, learning from regular Cubans about their daily lives.

The rippling road provides incredible views as we pedal our way toward the 18th century Manaca Iznaga estate northeast of Trinidad. Though the estate was formerly used as a slave-run plantation by crooked slave-trafficker Pedro Iznaga, it’s been transformed to a restaurant. You can climb up the 44m-high tower sitting next to the hacienda, formerly used to survey workers, and instead appreciate the stunning views. We explore the estate and enjoy lunch at the restaurant before continuing on our way to Trinidad.

We check into our Casas Particulares for the night before we hit the cobbled streets. No noisy cars flood these streets with chaos, and we can appreciate the 16th century town with its wonderfully preserved Spanish architecture as we stroll along.

We meet later to walk the cobblestone streets a short distance for a delicious dinner and afterwards, for those who have the energy, we make our way to Casa de la Musica, one of Cuba’s best musical venues usually served al fresco. Listen to salsa beats wind their way through the warm Trinidad air before heading back to your casa for the evening.

ACCOMMODATION : Casas Particulares
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Optional Morning Kayak, Hike Topes Collantes National Park

We give our legs a rest and savor the charming flavor of historic Trinidad.  Our morning highlight is an optional paddle on a beautiful river that flows past Trinidad.  Then it’s a short drive into the mountains and the park Topes de Collantes, for a hike through the forest ending at a tropical waterfall where we enjoy a picnic lunch and a welcome dip in the refreshing waters.  We learn about the forest ecosystem and local agriculture as well, including sugar cane and coffee which are both crops grown in the area.

After the hike we return to Trinidad with time to explore the town. Late afternoon we meet for a People-to-People conversation with Julio Munoz.  Julio is a well-known photographer with what he calls a “John Wayne” style of photography, meaning his camera is always ready in a “quick draw” to capture scenes as they unfold.  He shares his photography with us as well as explaining how entrepreneurs can operate in Cuba and is available for any questions we might have. 

We enjoy another fun night in town replete with a dinner feast and as much music as you might want.

  • Elevation: + / - 500 ft
  • Hiking Distance: 3-5 miles
  • Kayaking Distance: 2-3 miles

 

ACCOMMODATION : Casas Particulares
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trinidad to Cienfuegos

Today’s ride is filled with scenic views as you pedal along the coast, through rolling foothills and fields. It’s a stunning ride along the coast with mountains on one side and sea on the other.

We take a break in Yaguanabo, where you can watch the turquoise waters of the ocean brush up against the looping beaches and take a dip in the ocean if you’d like. 

We stop for lunch at a private restaurant specializing in seafood.  Then we transfer by bus to Cienfuegos, the winsome ocean-front city well deserving of the moniker “Pearl of the South.”  

Upon arrival in Cienfuegos we settle into our hotel and then head out for a walking tour of the city. We meander down the colonnaded Paseo del Prado lined with grand 20th century palaces and visit Plaza Marti to see some of the city’s historic buildings and plaza. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cienfuegos was settled in the mid-19th century when the Spanish invited French from Bordeaux and Louisiana to populate this strategic bay. Another delectable dinner awaits at a private restaurant within the city, and afterward those who wish may enjoy the city’s nightlife before returning to our hotel.

ACCOMMODATION : Hotel Jaguay or Hotel Union
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Optional Morning Kayak, Back to Havana

Our morning starts with an optional one hour kayak tour on the Bay of Cienfuegos.  Watch fishing boats ply the water and Cienfuegos wake up to the day.  We return to the hotel after the paddle to finish packing and check out.

We drive back to Havana, stopping for a simple lunch along the way.  On arrival in Havana we stop at the estate of Finca Vigía where Museo de Ernesto Hemingway lies. The museum has been refurbished from the home Hemingway lived in for nine years, and it provides visitors an opportunity to wander the halls Hemingway wandered, spy upon his favorite writing spot, and witness the mundane comforts he kept around like a worn chintz chair. We tour the museum with a specialized guide, exploring its extensive grounds before continuing onto Habana Vieja where we visit the Mercado San Jose, a huge arts and crafts market in an old waterfront warehouse, where you may wish to buy paintings or other souvenirs of your time in Cuba.  We then check into our hotel.  We meet before dinner for a romantic and fun ride in classic 1950’s automobiles passing through a few of Havana’s neighborhoods and get a sense of what Havana may have been like in days gone by. Our festive farewell dinner is a great time to reflect on all we’ve learned during the week.

 

* Our bikes are not available for use this day as they are transferred to the next trip’s departure.

ACCOMMODATION : Havana Hotel such as Hotel Presidente, Riviera, Nacional, Memories Miramar or similar.
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Adios Cuba!

We provide one morning transfer to the airport at the time when the majority of people have their flights home. Don’t forget to exchange any leftover CUCs, and then it’s time to say Adios, Cuba!

*Any airport transfers required outside of this one provided are not included. Taxis to the airport are approximately $30 for up to 3 people with luggage.

Note: The listed activities and itinerary below may undergo some changes as they are contingent upon factors such as the availability of guest speakers, weather, and transportation. In such cases, we always attempt to substitute similar activities that maintain our tour’s focus of Educational Exchange and People-to-People encounters and further your Cuban experience.  Also, in regards to specific accommodations listed below, due to the easing of travel restrictions for US citizens traveling to Cuba, and continued visitation from the rest of the world, hotel demand exceeds supply.  This is most acute in Havana.  We provide our rooming lists to our Cuban partners several months in advance of each tour and update them as people add.  We are never assured of final confirmation of hotels until 30-60 days prior to trip departure and even then, reservations may change.  While we realize this uncertainty is not ideal, it is beyond our control. We do our best to secure quality accommodations that are of moderate quality, but note that we are not using any Cuban-rated 5-star hotels.

MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast

Map

Dates & Rates

USD | GBP | EURO | AUD | CAD
DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD) 
Oct 28, 2017 to Nov 05, 2017 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW
Nov 11, 2017 to Nov 19, 2017 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977
SOLD OUT
Nov 25, 2017 to Dec 03, 2017 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW
Dec 09, 2017 to Dec 17, 2017 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW
Dec 23, 2017 to Dec 31, 2017 $4,290£3,173€3,572$5,269$5,351$4,290£3,173€3,572$5,269$5,351BOOK NOW
Jan 06, 2018 to Jan 14, 2018 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW
Jan 20, 2018 to Jan 28, 2018 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW
Feb 03, 2018 to Feb 11, 2018 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW
Feb 17, 2018 to Feb 25, 2018 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW
Mar 03, 2018 to Mar 11, 2018 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW
Mar 31, 2018 to Apr 08, 2018 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977
SOLD OUT
Apr 14, 2018 to Apr 22, 2018 $3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977$3,990£2,951€3,322$4,900$4,977BOOK NOW

Dates in bold are confirmed departures.

Supplementary Information

Note: Christmas departures have a supplemental cost ($300 per person) due to our increased prices for accommodations.

Up to 18 spaces available on each tour (depending on the number of solo travelers and available accommodations)

Single Supplement: $500

If you are traveling solo and prefer private accommodations (pending availability) you may elect to pay the single supplement fee. If you are traveling solo and wish to be paired up with another solo traveler of the same gender in order to avoid the single supplement fee, please let your Adventure Consultant know at the time of booking. We will do our best to find another traveler to pair you with, however if there is not another solo traveler of the same gender willing to share on your trip, you will be charged the single supplement fee.

Included:
•    Experienced Cuba Unbound Tour Leader
•    Experienced Cuban Group Guide
•    Specialized activity guides based on activity of trip (kayaking, biking, hiking, etc.)
•    Specialized equipment needed for activities such as kayaks, bikes, helmets, paddles, personal flotation devices, etc.
•    Private pre-tour orientation meeting
•    Cuba Unbound hand-crafted itineraries
•    Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
•    All meals as noted in itinerary
•    Certification of travel to Cuba under the U.S. Department of Treasury general license
•    Small group size (Custom tours for 2, group tours are 16-18)
•    All entrance fees to include events and activities
•    All in-country ground transportation
•    Clean drinking water available at all times
•    Gratuities for presenters, luggage handling, restaurant staff

Not Included: 
•    Round-trip air to/from Cuba 
•    Cuba Tourist Visa Fee  (ranges from $50-$100 depending on where you buy it)
•    Guide gratuities 
•    Personal expenses such as souvenirs, gifts, additional drinks/entertainment, and incidentals

Images & Videos

Cuba bike tours
Havana, Cuba

FAQ & More

Can US citizens legally travel to Cuba on a bicycle tour?

The people-to-people Cuba travel initiative permits Americans to travel to Cuba with the intention of promoting educational and cultural exchanges. Each program emphasizes experiencing and interacting with Cuban artists, conservationists, naturalists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and culinary experts. Traveling through Cuba with a people-to-people emphasis means our itineraries will take participants to places that the typical tourist seldom sees or knows to look for. Rather, our trips take participants to communities, organizations, and places that will not only be educational and enlightening, but culturally enriching for both parties involved.

Do I need extensive cycling experience?

The good news is that you don't need extensive cycling experience to enjoy our tour. However, you’ll want to spend some time training on a bike before your trip. Work your strength up to riding the same daily distances that we will cover in our tour while carrying the same gear you plan to travel with.

What if my bike breaks down?

A trained guide will be able to make repairs to bikes on the tour and will have the necessary tools and equipment.

Which tour is most suitable for me?

Our Quintessential Cycling tour takes place in Western Cuba. The towns and villages that you will visit include Viñales, Pinar del Rio and Havana. This tour is more mountainous and rural in nature. In this tour you will see Cuba’s agricultural sector and tobacco farms.

The Classic Cuba Cycling tour travels through central Cuba to some large cities like Havana, Matanzas, Remedios, Trinidad and Cienfuegos. This tour is considered less challenging than our other tour because of easier elevation. Through this tour you will get a more city-centered travel experience.

How many total miles will we be riding?

197.2 miles over seven days.

How much elevation gain/loss is there?

Currently, there are no accurate numbers. Our Classic Cuba tour is our less challenging bike tour, with the bike ride being of moderate, or intermediate, difficulty. There is less elevation gain on our Classic Cuba tour than our western tour, as this route focuses more on the central cities of Cuba.

What type of bikes will we be riding?

We will be using the FX S 4 Trek Bike designed for both paved and unpaved riding.

Will we be on paved or unpaved roads?

This tour is on 90% paved roads, but these roads do tend to be a bit rough, uneven, and have large pot holes. The unpaved portions are hard-packed, and there is no off-road or trail riding.

Can I bring my own bike?

Yes! But we unfortunately cannot offer a discount for guests who choose to bring their own bike. In addition, you will need to bring any spare parts, tubes, etc. as these will not be available in Cuba.

·         Boxes and irregularly shaped luggage will be charged at $3 per lb plus $20 per piece,

·         No piece of luggage may weigh over 70 lbs.

If you do not take our charter flight to Havana, please be sure to familiarize yourself with the policies for checking a bike for the airline with which you are flying.

Is there a support van?

There is a support tour bus that hauls luggage and is available to aid riders at all times.

Is there time to rest? What happens if I get tired?

There will be options to rest in the van for anyone who wants to take a break and/or hitch a ride to the next location. We will definitely take breaks as needed (how often and duration will depend on the group), but there is always an option of taking a break in the support van.

What about drinking water throughout the rides?

We will provide clean drinking water at all times during the tour!

Should I bring my own helmet?

We will provide helmets, but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.

Can I bring my own pedals and shoes?

You are welcome to bring your own pedals and shoes as we will have a bike technician who can swap out pedals at the beginning of the tour.

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