Any visit to Cuba is memorable . . . but to explore the island on a bike is always going to be something special. This eight day tour, which begins and ends in the stunning capital city Havana, allows you to see so many of the highlights and get fit along the way. After exploring Havana you will ride to Cienfuegos, the Bay of Pigs, historic Trinidad and on to Santa Clara, the final resting place of famous revolutionary Che Guevara.
This cycle trip makes a great add on to any longer stay on the island of Cuba and can be taken at any time during your visit. It begins and ends in the capital city Havana and you can join your group either straight from the airport after arriving or from your hotel. There is so much to see and do in Havana and you should leave plenty of time, either before or at the end of the trip, to explore and take in all the sights.
Havana to Bay Of Pigs
After being fitted with our bikes we have a cycling tour of Havana with members of the Cuban ‘Masters’ Road Cycling Club. This club is made up of veteran Cuban cyclists who regularly compete in races in their respective age groups and will give us an insight into competitive cycling in Cuba. We stop for coffee at Cuba Libro, the only English-speaking second-hand bookshop in Havana and a hub for creative projects.
Following a transfer to Playa Larga, we stay overnight at the Bay of Pigs and have dinner at a small beachfront restaurant with a large Cuban welcome. The speciality here is fresh fish caught by local fisherman just off the coast.
Coastal Ride to Cienfuegos
Our day begins with a coastal cycle ride from Playa Larga to Playa Giron where we visit a museum to learn about the Bay of Pigs invasion and the region's historical significance. Afterwards we cycle to the coast and a place called Caleta Buena for lunch and a swim, before transferring onwards to Cienfuegos. Today’s riding will be along a flat road that clings to the shimmering Caribbean coastline. The city of Cienfuegos is full of architectural delights, with a beautiful main square and restored buildings. One of the best ways to get around is by Bici Taxi, a fun tour using Cuba’s eco-friendly and typical city transport. Each Bici Taxi can accommodate two people and will be pedalled by a local resident (most of whom like to introduce their guests to reggaeton music!) The Bici Taxi tour is a great time to talk to local Cienfuegos residents and have a go at practising your Spanish. Afterwards we check into our casas for the night. Casas will be located close to the town centre, and to some great paladares. The malecon coastal road is usually a lively place to soak up the atmosphere with locals.
Cienfuegos - Trinidad
This morning we cycle from Cienfuegos to La Vega community. During our visit we’ll discover some of the communal services such as the ration shop and medical facility. Trinidad has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988 and is perhaps the best-preserved colonial town on the island. Exploring Trinidad can feel like entering a time warp, its colourful, cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisking us back. There are many interesting museums housed in old colonial buildings and music drifts through the streets and plazas, bringing the town to life. We will be joined by a local resident to have a walking tour who will give us an insider perspective of what it’s like to live in Trinidad.
We'll stay overnight in charming Casa Particulares, private Bed and Breakfast accommodation in local Cuban houses. Our dinner this evening will be at Alberto & Osmary’s new restaurant or casa, where a local collective of musicians will perform interpretations of classic Cuban trova songs.
Cycle to Playa Ancon
We cycle to the fishing village of La Boca which is a popular spot with local fisherman going about their daily business, before continuing our ride to Playa Ancon, a classic white sand Caribbean beach, where weather dependent we will have a picnic lunch. Otherwise our cycle continues to Casilda where our lunch will be taken at La Marinera, a private family run paladar.
We will have a short cycle to get back to Trinidad, where this evening we take part in a salsa class with Cuban dance partners. There will be one dance partner for each member of the group, to assist with teaching the correct salsa moves. Trinidad is known for its nightlife, so after we’ve learnt the basics of salsa we’ll go to the town’s ‘Casa de la Trova’ live music venue to listen to local musicians playing authentic Cuban music. This venue is always lively and sociable, with plenty of local Cuban’s keen to let us practice our dancing with them!
Topes de Collantes National Park
After a drive this morning through the stunning Topes de Collantes National Park, you start cycling along the valley floor between impressive mountains. Scenery is lush with small farms and villages giving way to open vistas as you descend towards Manicaragua. Stop for a picnic along the way and then start to climb towards Hanabanilla, which is situated on the shores of Lake Hanabanilla and surrounded by lush tropical hills. This is one of the most beautiful days in terms of scenery.
In the morning you are taken to Santa Clara. This was the first major city to be liberated by Castro's army in December 1958. Today a number of monuments commemorate this important period of Cuba's history, including the mausoleum of the legendary Che Guevara, which you visit. Then return to Havana, with a short stop for lunch along the way. Havana is one of the finest colonial cities in the Americas with narrow streets, spacious plazas and glorious Spanish architecture.
Your Cuban Highlights ride tour comes to an end today but not before you have seen more of the sights in Havana. There is an air of faded grandeur about the place with paint peeling off buildings and '50s and '60s American automobiles still dominating the roads. Time permitting you can explore some of modern Havana including Revolution Square and the Capitolio building before checking into your hotel for the night or heading to the airport.