Cuba Cycling Adventure with Beach Extension

Highlights

  • Get under the skin of local Cuban life at casa particular accommodation run by local hosts
  • Travel slowly and explore rural communities often skipped over by tourists
  • Explore Havana with an expert Cuban cycling guide and visit a cycling social enterprise project
  • Enjoy local activities like cigar rolling, rum tasting, salsa lessons and cocktail making
  • Relax on stunning white sand beaches at the end of your adventure

What you'll do

Arrival Day

– Airport arrival transfer
– Welcome meeting with Cuban guide

Welcome to Havana! Your will be waiting to greet you at Havana Airport, and from here it is an approx. 30 minute journey to the accommodation in Vedado district.

You’ll be staying in a charming boutique ‘casa particular’, a recently renovated private property providing bed and breakfast services. You’ll meet your Cuban tour guide this evening for a quick introduction and chance to ask any questions. Then, enjoy your first night in Havana and soak up the unique atmosphere of this hugely characterful city.

Accommodation

Casa Particular in Havana (Sueño Habana or similar)

Exploring Havana

– Bike fitting at Cubania bike workshop and Safety Briefing
– Havana cycling tour (23km)
– Stop at Velo Cuba cycling project
– Lunch at paladar in Old Havana
– Walking tour in Old Havana
– Evening at leisure

After breakfast, transfer via bus to the Miramar district of Havana where the bike workshop is located. Here you’ll get acquainted with your bike, fit any pedals or seats that you would like to customize, and then set off on a panoramic tour of Havana.

Visit the well-to-do Miramar district, home to the city’s foreign diplomats and some of Havana’s most striking 20th-century architecture.

You’ll then cycle through the enchanting woods of Bosque Almendares and on to Nuevo Vedado, before stopping at Plaza de la Revolución, the political heart of Castro’s Cuba. From here, wheel through young and vibrant Vedado towards the famous Hotel Nacional, which has offered shelter to many a celebrity over the years, including Winston Churchill and prominent US mafia members.

Now you whizz through bustling Centro Habana towards the famous Capitolio building. With the Capitolio behind you, veer left down the regal Paseo del Prado promenade, a favourite with street artists and skateboarders alike, where you’ll stop to visit a Cycling social enterprise project designed to get the residents of Old Havana embracing bike transport!

Your ride ends in the Old Town next to the Bay of Havana. After lunch at a restaurant in the Old Town, continue on foot, soaking up the unique sights and sounds of Cuba’s vibrant capital city whilst learning all about the city’s turbulent history and fascinating modern-day characteristics.

The evening is spent at your leisure, so you can continue exploring at your own pace. Havana is full of excellent restaurants and bars and has several artisan markets that you may wish to visit.

Accommodation

Casa Particular in Havana (Sueño Habana or similar)

Las Terrazas Reserve and Viñales

– Transfer to start point of ride in Artemisa
– Cycle to Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve (23km)
– Visit to Las Terrazas community
– Lunch
– Transfer to Viñales (approx. 1.5 hours)

Leave the hustle and bustle of Havana behind today, and head out westwards into Artemisa province and later on to Pinar del Rio province.

Transfer out of the city to a small town from where you’ll jump on your bikes and cycle a short, scenic route into the foothills of the Rosario Mountain range, which spans the western arm of the island.

Your destination is Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve, a unique community built around the concept of self-sustainability that offers a beautiful destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Visit the community including the local ‘bodega’ ration store, medical facility and other social services, before stopping for lunch.

Travelling onwards you’ll continue westwards along the ‘autopista’ before climbing and winding into the spectacular mountain scenery that surrounds the beautiful valley of Viñales, your home for the next two nights.

This evening is spent at your leisure and we recommend dinner in one of the many restaurants on the town’s main street. In the evening there is often live music to be found in the town.

Accommodation

Casa Particulares in Viñales (Yoan & Yarelis)

Rural Life in Viñales

– Cycle in circuit ride around valley (26km)
– Free time for lunch
– Evening short walk in countryside and visit to tobacco farm
– Tobacco rolling class
– Sunset dinner at organic farm

This morning, get up close and personal with rural Cuba on a wonderful circuit ride that starts and ends in Viñales town.

Jump on the bikes straight outside of the casa homestay and leave the town to the north. Some sections of the route today will involve rough terrain and potholes so the guide will be sure to give a thorough briefing beforehand so that you know what to expect.

One of the most fascinating aspects of cycling in Cuba is your ability to remove barriers and take the lesser taken routes,  of course at a slower pace to really absorb the experience.

Pass small countryside abodes and drink in an array of typical rural scenes, including working farm animals and agricultural everyday life going by.

Arriving back in Viñales town, regroup in the afternoon after some free time for lunch and head out on a walk through the rolling countryside. The valley, and this region of Cuba in general, is famed for its exquisite tobacco plant growing meaning it is the perfect place to visit a traditional tobacco ‘Vega’ and learn about the process behind one of Cuba’s most famous exports.

Try your hand at rolling a cigar and enjoy the earthy pleasures during this walk in Viñales valley. Finish for the day with dinner at an organic farm overlooking the valley with a spectacular sunset view.

Accommodation

Casa Particulares in Viñales (Yoan & Yarelis)

Community Projects and Stunning Beaches

– Transfer to Fiesta Campesina, Jaguey Grande (approx. 4 hours)
– Cycle to Proyecto Korimakao in Palpite (22km)
– Visit to Korimakao dance and music project

– Continue cycle to Playa Larga (6km)
– Packed Lunch
– Check in to accommodation
– Evening meal on beach

Leaving early this morning you’ll have a long road trip taking you back eastwards and to the southern coast of Matanzas province. Upon arriving at the Zapata peninsula, cycle through the flat low-lying region towards the small coastal town of Playa Larga, located at the mouth of the Bay of Pigs.

Shortly before arriving you’ll stop at a small community arts school in the village of Palpite, called the Korimakao project. The concept here is to educate promising dance and music students from all over the island, who then contribute by touring all over the island to provide cultural inspiration for future generations of artistic children who perhaps don’t have easy access to the arts due to the geography of where they live.

You’ll see a short workshop of either percussion or dance, depending on what is being studied at the time of your visit. Check in to your casa particular next to the beach at Playa Larga, and after a swim in the sea enjoy a relaxing evening meal in a privileged location on the quiet beach.

Accommodation

Casa Particulares in Playa Larga (Sol y Caribe)

Cycle the Bay of Pigs

– Cycle to Playa Giron (36km)
– Visit museum
– Cycle to Caleta Buena (9km)
– Lunch at Caleta Buena
– Swimming opportunity
– Transfer to Cienfuegos (approx. 1.5 hours)

Continuing your cycling exploration of the Bay of Pigs, today you’ll hug the coastline and ride next to the turquoise waters all the way to Playa Giron.

This stretch of coastline was the site of the failed CIA-backed invasion of Cuba in 1961 and you’ll learn about the historical events that took place here by visiting the museum in Playa Giron.

Back on the bikes, continue a short distance to Caleta Buena, an ideal lunchtime stop for a bite to eat and opportunity to swim in the inviting Caribbean waters.

After lunch, transfer for approx. 1.5 hours to Cienfuegos where you’ll be spending the night. You’ll take a panoramic tour of the city and discover a beautiful French-inspired coastal city with some stunning architecture and a unique layout.

The city has many good eateries and bars to choose from, and its own mini version of Havana’s iconic ‘Malecon’ coastal walkway, a popular socialising spot for locals.

Accommodation

Casa Particulares in Cienfuegos (Casa Lily)

Farm Visits and Rum Tasting

– Cycle from Cienfuegos to Botanical Gardens (24km)
– Visit to Botanical Gardens
– Transfer to Rancho La Vega
– Lunch at Rancho La Vega
– Visit to farm and community
– Transfer to Trinidad
– Evening rum tasting (Alberto) and dinner at restaurant (La Esquina)

This morning you’ll leave Cienfuegos on your bikes on a short but undulating ride taking you inland and away from the city towards the beautiful Botanical Gardens of Cienfuegos.

You’ll have a short tour of the gardens before continuing on a bus eastwards in the direction of Trinidad. Along the route, stop at a small humble property, called Rancho La Vega, where lunch will be prepared. Here you’ll learn a bit about the family that lives here and the local community, whilst visiting the small farm.

Continuing to Trinidad, you’ll arrive at one of Cuba’s most distinctive and charming destinations. Trinidad is a colourful and busy little city, with cobbled streets and music spilling out into the night.

Located in between the coast and a mountain range it makes a wonderful travel destination. After checking in to your casa homestay accommodation, head to a local restaurant in the heart of the city run by an entrepreneurial character, intent of enhancing Cuban cuisine and training young Cubans for careers in the food hospitality sector.

You’ll partake in a rum tasting session and enjoy a lovely meal. There are a host of bars and live music venues in Trinidad, so the city is your oyster for the rest of the evening…

Accommodation

Casa Particulares in Trinidad (Alberto & Osmary)

Local Artisans, Cocktails and Salsa

– Cycle to Playa Ancón
– Visit textiles emroiderer (Mery Viciedo or similar)
– Lunch at beach
– Beach time
– Cycle back to Trinidad
– Afternoon at leisure
– Evening cocktail class and salsa class at Casa

What better way to burn off last night’s rum and mojitos than a two-wheel spin to the beach for a dip in the sea? During your short ride you’ll stop to meet an inspiring character from Trinidad who took it upon herself to reintroduce traditional embroidery techniques to a class of students in Trinidad, who in turn share their techniques with others and produce some fine handmade garments. Keeping traditions alive!

Playa Ancon beach is a great place to kick back for a couple of hours and relax by the sea with a good book. You’ll have some lunch and cycle back into Trinidad, with the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. In the evening, regroup for a fun-filled cocktail making and salsa class!

Accommodation

Casa Particulares in Trinidad (Alberto & Osmary)

Explore Markets and Sugar Cane Farms

– Cycle from Trinidad to Sancti Spiritus (52km)
– Visit textile market
– Visit to Manaca Iznaga
– Packed Lunch
– Transfer to Ciego de Avila

This morning, leave Trinidad directly on your bikes on a short but undulating ride to “El Mirador”. Make a short stop for photos of the Valle de los Ingenios and set off immediately for Sancti Spiritus, on a ride through a scenic valley of sugar mills and tobacco fields.

If the group is large, you will start cycling from Mirador del Valle de los Ingenios. Your second rest stop is at Manacas Iznaga, formerly a sugar farm. From here, continue along the undulating road past field after field of sugar cane. Stop for a packed lunch along the way and then head by bus for the market town of Sancti Spiritus. The route today is challenging with plenty of hills and great views!

From Sancti Spiritus you’ll transfer for approx. 1.5 hours to Ciego de Avila where you’ll be spending the night.

Accommodation

La Rueda Hotel in Ciego de Avila

 

Last Day of Cycling

– Cycle from Ciego de Avila to Sandino ( 61km)
– Packed Lunch
– Transfer to Cayo Guillermo

For your final cycle ride of the tour, set off straight from the Hotel and cycle northwards for the last time. Today’s ride will be fast as you head for the coast and enjoy a gentle downhill route all the way.

You’ll stop for a rest in the town of Moron in the north of Cuba. The city is known for its agriculture production and fishing. Continue all the way to Sandino, the last village before the causeway which connects Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo to the mainland.

Say goodbye to your bikes here and transfer to your hotel, taking the first causeway over the sea built in Cuba. It is 17 km long at Perros Bay and unites Jardines del Rey with Ciego de Ávila province.

Accommodation

Kempinski Cayo Guillermo

Relax in Caribbean Paradise

For the next three full days, this is your chance to relax and reflect on your incredible journey through Cuba so far.

Soak up the sun on beautiful white-sand beaches and dip in the ludicrously warm Caribbean sea, the perfect tonic for tired legs at the end of your cycling adventure.

 

 

Accommodation

Kempinski Cayo Guillermo

Visit Che Guevara Memorial

– Transfer to Santa Clara (approx. 3 hour)
– Visit to Che Guevara mausoleum
– Lunch
– Transfer to Havana (approx. 4 hours)

Today is a travel day to Havana, broken up with a stop on the way to visit Santa Clara with lunch included. The provincial capital of Villa Clara province in central Cuba, the city of Santa Clara was founded in 1689 by settlers fleeing the coast and constant lootings by pirates.

Today Santa Clara is an important university town, but it’s best known for the historic events that surround revolutionist Che Guevara. Che led his rebel forces in the battle of Santa Clara, a decisive victory over Batista’s army that resulted in the triumph of the revolution.

Che’s remains were brought here from Bolivia in 1997 and are kept in an impressive mausoleum. A four-hour transfer takes you back to Havana where you’ll go out for a farewell meal together with your guide in the Old Town.

Accommodation

Kempinski Hotel

Departure Day

– Free time to enjoy in the Old Town
– Check out of Hotel
– Transfer to airport for departure flight

Today is your last opportunity to soak up the rhythms of Cuban life, before you transfer back to the airport for your return flight.

We hope you have had an unforgettable time in Cuba and leave feeling as though you have enjoyed authentic, local experiences that have allowed you to really get under the skin of this unique country.

What's included

Included

  • Cuban English-speaking tour/cycling guide to accompany group throughout
  • Transfer from Havana Airport to accommodation in taxi for all pax who have requested and provided flight details.
  • Air-conditioned private bus throughout, acts as support vehicle on rides
  • Services of bike mechanic for groups of 6 pax or more
  • Bike Hire: Trek 8.3 DS 2015 mountain bike with hybrid tyres
  • 3 litres mineral water per person on cycling days
  • Basic snacks on riding days
  • Accommodation: 9 nights in Casas Particulares
  • All breakfasts, 9 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Cubania Travel office support
  • 9 cycle rides
  • Walking tour in Old Havana
  • Visit Velo Cuba cycling project
  • Visit to Las Terrazas community
  • Tobacco rolling class
  • Visit to Korimakao dance and music project
  • Visit to museum in Playa Giron
  • Visit to Botanical Gardens in Cienfuegos
  • Visit to farm and community in Trinidad
  • Evening rum tasting (Alberto)
  • Visit to textiles emroiderer (Mery Viciedo or similar)
  • Evening cocktail class and salsa class
  • Visit to textile market
  • Visit to a sugar farm
  • Visit to Che Guevara mausoleum
Your local host

Lucy & Team

For 20 years, we have been providing exceptional and meaningful holidays to Cuba, sharing the real Cuba in an honest and positive way. Responsible travel is at the heart of what we do; from the local ground staff we employ, to the family-run restaurants and B&B’s we use, we actively support family, local businesses and communities. This is how we reveal the rich culture of Cuba and showcase its uniqueness beyond ‘cigars and old cars’. We aim for excellence in everything we do –  starting with our incredible team of trained guides and covering every aspect of your trip and the service we offer.

If you were to describe our personality, you’d use words like passionate, human, resilient, dedicated and pragmatic. These are the qualities that get to the heart of what it means to be a successful travel business focused on and committed to Cuba.

Lucy & Team image

Location

Your adventure starts and ends in Havana, where you’ll get transferred from the airport to your accommodation in the capital.

The route of the tour goes from Havana to Viñales, before heading to Cienfuegos and Trinidad via the Bay of Pigs and Playa Larga.

From there, you’ll have a few days to relax on the beach in Cayo Guillermo, before you head back to Havana for your journey home.

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