Experience biking through Cuba’s heartland on routes that get you off of the beaten path and into the true nature of the country. We start off in the provincial capital city of Santa Clara, a bustling town best known for its memorial monument to Che Guevara. Traveling south through the Escambray mountains and Topes Collantes National Park, we visit the UNESCO designated colonial town of Trinidad with cobbled streets and tiled roofs. Then along the coast to Cienfuegos with its glimmering bay and French-influenced architecture. We ride along the Bay of Pigs, snorkel over coral reefs and ride north to the port city of Matanzas, an important town in Afro-Cuban history and once the center of cult religions in Cuba. Finally, we enter the pulsing city of Havana with endless exploration possibilities. This is a tour through Cuba’s heritage and homeland from the best seat in the house – a bicycle seat. In addition to cycling we have included an optional leisurely kayak paddle suitable for novice paddlers.
You travel 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, waving palms and swathes of sugar cane. Meet with artists and students, local market vendors, National Park guides and managers, 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.
*Compare this tour with our other bike tour that explores the Western part of Cuba: Cuba Cyling Tour ~ Quintessential Cuba.
- Bike through some of Cuba’s most stunning scenery
- Explore the colonial and oceanfront towns of Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Matanzas
- Snorkel in the Bay of Pigs and visit the Parque Nacional Cienaga de Zapata
- Visit Topes de Collantes National Park and kayak on a mellow river near Trinidad
- Meet with Cuban artists, teachers, farmers, Park guides and more
- One night in Havana with an optional two-day extension
Images & Videos
Commercial flights from the United States to Havana are the standard mode of travel between the two countries, and we 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 Support for the Cuban 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 Support for the Cuban 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.
Day 1: SATURDAY - Arrive havana
Arrive in Havana and meet at around 11:00 AM. We will then drive to Santa Clara to begin the tour.
Santa Clara to Trinidad via Topes de Collantes National Park
Our days start early in order to beat the heat. First thing in the morning we fit our bicycles and then start our ride. We head southeast towards Topes de Collantes National Park on one of the most scenic riding sections of our tour. The Escambray mountains separate the interior of Cuba from the coast and rise up as a verdant curtain of biodiversity. The ride has plenty of ups and downs and is somewhat challenging. As always, our bus is nearby, so if anyone tires out it’s possible to hop on the bus for part of the ride.
We arrive at the Park and have lunch surrounded by the thick forest. After lunch we visit a coffee plantation and learn about current and historic coffee production in Cuba in an exchange with a local worker. If there’s time and group energy we take a short hike in the National Park before continuing south to the charming colonial city of Trinidad. One of the five original Spanish pueblos, Trinidad was founded in 1514 and retains many original colonial buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s a town of artists, history and culture not to be missed.
In the late afternoon we check into our Casa Particulares, home for the next two nights. Casas are essentially Bed & Breakfasts set up in people’s homes, giving you an excellent opportunity to see how average Cubans live and to get acquainted with them. By staying in the homes of Cubans, we are providing support for the Cuban people, one of the objectives of the U.S. government related to reasons to travel to Cuba.
We take a short walking tour of the town to get oriented, then meet for dinner at a local paladar. Paladars are private restaurants often located in historic mansions or colonial buildings.
- Elevation: +800/-2500 ft.
- Distance: 20 Miles
- Time: 2-3 hours with stops
- Map and GPS profile coming soon
Trinidad – Playa Ancon – River Kayaking
We offer an optional morning loop ride that cruises to the coast and Playa Ancon, one of Cuba’s most beautiful beaches. We continue our ride along the coast and then meet up with our fleet of kayaks for a lovely and leisurely 1 ½ hour paddle on a tranquil river that offers fine birdwatching and fantastic views of Trinidad perched on the hill above.
We return to town for lunch, and then walk some more within the city’s vehicle-free center. We visit a local artist for an informative exchange to learn about the role of art in Cuban society. In the early evening we meet with local photographer and entrepreneur Julio Munoz to learn more about his style of photography, his horse education project and the challenges of private business.
Our dinner is another paladar, again providing support for the Cuban people by bringing business to a Cuban entrepreneur. After dinner some may wish to explore the town’s lively music scene, including the outdoors Casa de la Musica located on the town steps in the colonial center.
- Elevation: +200 / -200 ft
- Distance: 22 Miles (optional)
- Time: 1-2 hours with stops
- Map and GPS profile come soon
Trinidad to Cienfuegos
After breakfast at our respective Casa Particulars, we take the bus a few miles out of town, unload the bikes and start our ride west along the coast towards Cienfuegos. It’s fairly level and very scenic, with towering green mountains to the north and the azure Caribbean to the south. We stop on our ride at a beach for a rest and optional swim. Then it’s on to lunch followed by a transfer into the city of Cienfuegos.
Cienfuegos is knows as the “Pearl of the South” and is legendary within Cuba for its long seaside promenade (the malecon) and the mansion-lined Prado. Settled in the 1850’s, the Spanish Crown invited French people from Bordeaux and Louisiana to populate the city. Cienfuegos is filled with fabulous architecture and is another of Cuba’s designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
We take an informative walking tour of the town visiting many of the majestic buildings including the late 19th century Teatro Tomas Terry which seats 900. If timing works out we also hear a performance by the Cienfuegos Choir, an internationally renown choir that travels to competitions throughout the world.
We dine at a local paladar located near the “Prado” or central boulevard, which has a lovely raised central walkway with trees and benches and is one of the city’s central social points. Those with energy may enjoy an evening walk along the malecon which comes alive after 9 pm with the city’s youth.
- Elevation: + 851 / - 987 ft.
- Distance: 24.4 Miles (optional +15.5 miles +565/ -411 ft.)
- Time: 3.5 hours with stops
- Map & GPS Online Profile
Cienfuegos to the Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron and Playa Larga
A short distance outside of Cienfuegos we start riding in Yaguaramas on a tranquil two-lane country road passing through agricultural lands. It’s one of our favorite stretches where it’s not uncommon to see oxen pulling plows, rice drying on roads and people working in the fields. By noon we arrive in the town of Playa Giron on the shores of the Bay of Pigs. Named for a French pirate, this is also the site of the famous U.S. orchestrated invasion of the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
After a picnic lunch we visit the Museum of the Bay of Pigs for an informative interchange with a museum guide. Then it’s a short drive or optional ride to our favorite snorkeling place here in the Zapata National Park. Cuba is home to the healthiest reef system in the Caribbean and our snorkel is an opportunity to learn more about the important research being done in the region as well as joint projects being carried out between Cuban and U.S. scientific foundations.
We transfer to the beachside town of Playa Larga and check into our Casa Particular for the evening. Before dinner we meet with a staff member of the National Park Service for an enlightening discussion to learn about the challenges facing the Park, various conservation projects and more.
Dinner is traditional Cuban food, served with care by our local hosts.
- Elevation: + 414 / - 506 ft.
- Distance 35.2 Miles
- Time: 4-5 hours with stops
- Map & GPS Online Profile
Playa Larga to Matanzas
We transfer a short distance north to Guira de Macories. Cycling north, our easygoing route take us through sugar cane plantations and fields. We pass through a number of small towns and are likely to see school children on the way to and from school. We stop for a picnic lunch in one of the small-town plazas we encounter. We’ll also stop to try “gaurapo” or sugar cane juice sold along the road.
By mid-afternoon we arrive in the historic center of Matanzas set on a bay where the Yumuri and San Juan rivers empty into the sea . We stop to visit the Castelito de San Severino, built in 1745 replete with dungeons where slaves were kept until sold to sugar plantations. It’s home to the excellent Museo de la Ruta del Esclavo (Museum of the Slave Route). A short bit further takes us to our charming and historic hotel. After checking in, if time, we walk across the town plaza to visit the fascinating Museo Farmeceutico, a former pharmacy that opened in 1882 and closed in 1964 and has been preserved just as it was.
We enjoy dinner at an outstanding local paladar and return to the hotel for a well-earned rest.
- Elevation: + 811/ - 896 ft
- Distance: 32.3 miles
- Time: 4-5 hours with stops
- Map & GPS Online Profile
Yumuri River Valley and on to Havana
We ride from the hotel out of town and into the peaceful Yumuri River valley. Palm trees, tobacco fields and other agricultural fields line our route. After a few hours of riding we load into our bus and transfer into Havana.
Havana is a bustling capital city and home to “old Havana” which is a living museum, home to what is likely the finest collection of Spanish colonial buildings in all the Americas. This is one of the greatest historical cities of the new world. We spend a couple hours on a walking tour of the historic town center, visiting the four major plazas and gazing upon architecture that blends Baroque churches, Spanish-built castles, art noveau and art deco. The 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.
After wandering through the plazas we head to our hotel to freshen up before dinner at one of the city’s fine paladars. The culinary scene in Havana has exploded in the past few years and many enterprising business people have opened restaurants offering creative and delicious fare.
After dinner some may want to explore Havana’s music scene. There’s the hip an artistic Fabrique des Artes Cubana (FAC); the Union of Cuban Writers with weekly bolero performances, the Buena Vista Social Club and much, much more.
- Elevation: + 636.1/ - 374.4 ft.
- Distance: 8.5 Miles
- Time: 1.5 hours with stops
- Map & GPS Online profile coming soon
After breakfast transfer to the airport on your own (we will help you arrange a taxi) or join our two-day Havana Extension! Remember to switch your Cuban CUC back to American currency before you leave!
*Taxis to the airport are approximately $25-30 for up to 3 people with luggage.
Note: The listed activities and itinerary above 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 Support for the Cuban People encounters and further your Cuban experience.
Dates & Rates
Rates for 2019/20 Season:
- $3490 (11-16 guests)
- $3990 (6-10 guests)
Prices above reflect our lower tiered price.
Tiered Pricing Explained
Our trips are budgeted for full or near full sign-ups which enables us to offer trips at the lowest possible price. Because of numerous fixed costs, it is more expensive to operate a trip for a small group. Therefore, on some of our trips, in order to avoid having to cancel a trip, we have a “tier-pricing” system to avoid canceling a trip with a low number of sign ups. We have found that most people also prefer this alternative to having a trip cancelled. Thus, you will note on our trip prices there may be different price for 4-7 people versus 8-16, etc. We may initially invoice you at the higher tier price, and refund the difference depending on the final group size.
*Our trips can also be booked on-demand for small and large groups. Please inquire with us to start the booking process for your group today!*
Up to 16 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.
• 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, restaurant staff
• 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, alcoholic beverages, additional entertainment outside the standard itinerary, and incidentals
FAQ & More
The "Support for the Cuban People" Cuba travel initiative permits Americans to travel to Cuba with the intention of promoting independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba through cultural exchanges. Each program emphasizes experiencing and interacting with Cuban artists, conservationists, naturalists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and culinary experts. Traveling through Cuba with a supportive 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.
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.
A trained guide will be able to make repairs to bikes on the tour and will have the necessary tools and equipment.
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.
197.2 miles over seven days.
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.
We will be using the FX S 4 Trek Bike designed for both paved and unpaved riding.
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.
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.
There is a support tour bus that hauls luggage and is available to aid riders at all times.
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.
We will provide clean drinking water at all times during the tour!
We will provide helmets, but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.
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.