This carefully designed tour blends peaceful countryside excursions with authentic cultural encounters as you bike, kayak and hike through Cuba! With visits to Colonial Havana, the Bay of Pigs, Playa Girón, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Sancti Spíritus, you see for yourself Cuba’s fascinating history and multifaceted modernity. Colonial plazas and palaces, in a staggering array of disrepair and renovation, tell stories of a colonial past still merged with the dynamic present.
This itinerary is available as a fully legal People-to-People tour for US citizens if booked through a US tour operator or travel agency.
Note: Bikes are carried inside the bus. It’s easy to adjust biking distances on this itinerary, so they can be shortened if some rides seem too long. Kayaks are transported separately if possible and, if not, will be pulled on a trailer behind the bus.
Commercial flights from the United States to Havana began December 1st, 2016 and are effectively replacing group charter flights as the standard mode of travel between the two countries. We now ask that our guests book their own travel between the U.S. and Havana. 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.
If you are unable to fly all the way to Havana on Day 1 with an arrival before 11:00 AM, we recommend that you consider a "Day 0" for your tour and choose either of the following:
Travel to Havana on Day 0. With this option, we recommend that you overnight in a casa particular (a private home with rooms for rent) of your choosing and make your way back to the Havana Airport to meet your Tour Leader, guides, and fellow travelers the next morning.
Travel to Miami on Day 0. With this option, we recommend that you overnight in Miami and take a flight to Havana on the morning of Day 1.
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.
Note: Travel in Cuba requires a flexible attitude. Our days are full, and as required by U.S. law, we have a full-time agenda of people-to-people activities. Cuba has it’s own beat and things don’t always run on time. The activities and visits listed are not guaranteed but we endeavor to do our best to provide the content intent of this people–to-people program. Visiting developing countries can be eye-opening and life-changing, and hopefully visiting Cuba is both. Accommodations may not be up to the standards you are used to. Sometimes the hot water or air conditioning doesn’t work. We ask all our guests to appreciate the authenticity of your cultural encounters as well as the people, food, culture, and adventures that are exceptional in their difference. Our local guide, along with your Cuba Unbound Tour Leader promise to do their best to make this a fascinating and educational experience.
Arrival, Visit Havana - Walking
US travelers should plan on traveling to Cuba via one of the many direct flights now available from the USA or via a gateway such as Mexico City or Cancun. Plan on arriving in Havana no later than noon.
Your tour leader greets you upon arrival and gathers the group for a brief orientation before you make your way into Cuba’s largest city. There’s plenty of time to explore Havana throughout the afternoon!
We begin our week of adventure with a visit to a natural history research center that is instrumental in the conservation of Cuba’s natural resources, including many that we visit during our tour. During the tour, a local expert discusses their foundation’s mission with us and answers our questions.
Before or after lunch at a Paladar (or private restaurant), we pass by the Plaza de la Revolución, Havana’s city square, where political rallies still gather under the imposing murals of Cuba’s most beloved guerrilleros. We spend a delightful afternoon in old Havana for a walking tour of the neoclassic Spanish and baroque architecture — worn by pirate raids, revolution, and the simple passing of time — and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We wander the narrow streets on a guided tour and appreciate the colonial past so very alive in the bustling area.
After our day exploring, we enjoy a delicious dinner comprised of fresh Cuban fare at a local restaurant.
Travel to Playa Larga, Kayak the Bay of Pigs, Ride Zapata National Park - Kayaking and Biking
We wake early and head out of Havana to the southeast toward Playa Larga, a tranquil village on the Bay of Pigs. After lunch we paddle on the sparkling waters of the Bay of Pigs, where the legendary failed invasion of 1961 took place. After checking in to our Casa Particular, we trade paddles for pedals, fit our bikes and head out on a 8-10 mile warm up ride on the backroads of Zapata National Park on mostly level terrain. Afterwards we continue to the small village of Palpite for lunch.
In the evening we have a presentation from the Director of the National Park, Frank Medina who gives us an engaging overview of the Park’s history and goals. Then we sit down to a bountiful dinner of local fare.
- Kayak Distance: 3 miles, 1.5 – 2 hours
- Bike Distance: 8.7 Miles
- Elevation: + 188 / - 189 ft
- Time: 1 hour with stops
- Map & GPS Online Profile
Snorkel near Playa Giron, Bike towards Cienfuegos - Snorkel and Biking
Our morning adventure takes us to Playa Girón where we visit the Museum of Playa Girón, where you explore the history and artifacts of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and battle. After our visit it’s a short drive to a snorkeling spot with healthy reefs and crystal clear water. As we explore, our local guides help us understand more of this vibrant underwater ecosystem.
After lunch we get on our bikes for a scenic ride to Yaguamayas, from which we transfer by bus to Cienfuegos. There, we check into our Casa Particulares for the night.
Cienfuegos is known as Cuba’s cleanest city, and the seaside location has such an ethereal allure that it’s been named the “Pearl of the South.” Settle into your Casa Particulares and relax before setting out to explore the city with its charming waterfront and colonnaded streets. We eventually make our way to Teatro Tomás Terry, a 19th century theater well-known for its grand mosaics and whimsical frescoes. Enjoy the views and then some excellent food before making your way back to your casas for the evening.
- Bike Distance: 15-27 Miles (can be adjusted to your comfort level)
- Elevation: + 409 / - 320 ft
- Time: 2-3 hours with stops
- Map & GPS Online Profile
Kayak in the Guanaroca Nature Reserve, Bike to the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens. Continue to Trinidad. - Kayaking and Biking
We enjoy a filling breakfast before heading out for a superb paddle in the protected waters of Laguna Guanaroca. Lying south of Cienfuegos, Laguna Guanaroca’s mangrove-trimmed saline-waters make a stunning kayaking location and bird watcher’s paradise. With luck we’ll have sightings of tocororo (Cuban trogans, the National Bird of Cuba), flamingo, pelicans and more. There’s nothing like kayaking in a peaceful solitude disturbed only by the calls of birds and the shuffling of their wings in flight.
From Guanaroca we enter the bay of Cienfuegos and paddle about two hours towards a remote seaside restaurant near la Milpa, where we enjoy a fresh lunch and the sunshine.
After lunch we switch to our bicycles for a pastoral ride to the Jardin Botánico Cienfuegos, a botanical paradise where over 2000 plant species grow. Though the garden was originally created by American sugar baron Edward F. Atkins to introduce exotic sugarcane varieties into Cuba, the garden quickly became a haven for exotic tropical trees. We do a short ride through the gardens and have a short People-to-People encounter as we meet with staff members who tell us more about how the agricultural and botanical sector has played pivotal roles in Cuba’s history and culture.
From the gardens we drive to Trinidad, Cuba’s second oldest city where we find dinner and overnight.
- Kayak Distance: About 5 miles; ~ 3 hours
- Bike Distance: 14.6 Miles
- Elevation: + 635 / - 413 ft
- Time: 1-2 hours with stops
- Map & GPS Online Profile
Hike in the Topes de Collantes National Park to Magical Waterfalls, Kayak the Río Guourabo - Morning Hike and Late Afternoon Kayak
We depart Trinidad early and head into the crenellated, Caribbean pine-coated Sierra Escambray mountains, home to the Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes. Though Topes is not considered a national park in the strictest of senses, it is highly protected by the Cuban government as are the four smaller parks that make up the umbrella park of Topes.
One top choice is to hike the quintessential Topes trail, Salto del Caburní trail. This 3 mile round trip hike leads to a 190’ waterfall that crashes down overhanging cliffs into swimming holes below. The rushing water tumbles into a clefted chasm where only the most intrepid adrenaline junkies dare to jump. If the water levels are low off the Salto del Caburní trail, we may choose to go on the Vegas Grandes hike, a more level hike that leads through the fern and pine forests before finishing at a waterfall and pool as well.
Another option is to hike the Sendero La Batata, or Sweet Potato, Trail. This 4 mile hike takes us through the forest to a prehistoric cave and its underwater river. This trail explores forests rich with lichens and mosses and lucid pools disrupted only by crashing waterfalls. Topes is also home of a variety of birds, so make sure to look up on the hikes.
After our hike we enjoy lunch in the cool mountain air before descending to the coast and La Boca, where river and sea meet. Here we climb into our kayaks for a lovely river paddle. We visit the place Hernan Cortez landed in the 1500s on one of his explorations, see a myriad of birds and gaze upon views of Trinidad on the hill above us. We then return to our Casas and dinner in town.
- Hike Distance: 3-4 miles
- Kayak Distance: ~3-5 miles, 2 hours
Bike from Trinidad to Sancti Spiritus - Biking and Walking
Today we ride a beautiful road heading east from Trinidad towards 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. After, relax with a tasty dinner with authentic Cuban dishes.
- Bike Distance: 10-40 Miles (can be adjusted to your comfort level)
- Elevation: + 1660 / - 1676 ft
- Time: 4-5 hours with stops
- Map & GPS Online Profile
Sancti Spíritus to Santa Clara. Fly Home - Walking
After breakfast, there’s a bit more time to tour Sancti Spíritus and learn about its fascinating history. By late morning we transfer to Santa Clara, have lunch and then visit the Che Guevara mausoleum. We head to the airport in time for late afternoon flights to the USA.
OR Transfer to Havana - Many find flights round-trip in and out of Havana easier, so if anyone wants to transfer back to Havana, this can be arranged for an additional fee. It takes about 3.5-4 hours for this transfer.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Apr 22, 2018 to Apr 28, 2018||$3,490£0€0$0$0||$3,490£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
Note: News Years departure has a supplemental cost ($300 per person) due to our increased prices for accommodations.
12 spaces available
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.
• Experienced English-speaking guide(s)
• 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, and restaurant staff
• Round-trip air to/from Cuba
• Cuba Tourist Visa Fee (ranges from $50-$100 depending on where you buy it)
• Guide and driver gratuities
• Personal expenses such as souvenirs, gifts, additional drinks/entertainment, and incidentals
Images & Videos
FAQ & More
The good news is that you don't need extensive cycling or kayaking experience to enjoy our tour. However, you’ll want to spend some time training on a bike and paddling before your trip. Work your strength up to riding and paddling the same daily distances that we will cover in our tour while carrying the same gear you plan to travel with.
For our Cuba tours we use polymer Necky Kayaks and you'll find specific information on these models if you follow the link. These kayaks provide a qality paddling expereince and are durable enough to hold up with our active itinerary.
We will be using the Trek FX S 4. It is a hybrid/dual-sport bike with straight handlebars designed for both paved and unpaved riding.
We have both double and single kayaks in Cuba. At this time we are not offering the choice for a single kayak rental. Rather, we plan to bring between one and three singles on each tour to be shared among participants, depepnding on expressed interest.
You will cycle approximately 85 miles and paddle about 5 hours over the course of the tour. There will also be a 5 mile hike in between.
All of the kayaking and biking equipment is provided as well as personal flotation devices, dry bags and helmet. Just bring your clothing and personal gear. Do bring snorkeling gear and gloves. A complete packing list will be sent to you upon reservation. We highly suggest traveling “light” for this adventure.
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.
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. Check with your airline for restrictions and fees.
There will be a support tour bus that will be hauling luggage and will be available to riders at all times.
There will be options to rest in the bus 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.
We will provide clean drinking water at all times during the tour!
While snorkel gear is sometimes available for rent in Cuba, we advise that you bring your own snorkel and mask (fins and wet-suits not required). Your own equipment also ensures a better fit and better hygiene, as well as prescriptions if needed.