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
On today’s cycle ride we are joined by members of the Cienfuegos Cycling team, there will be plenty of time to chat before and during the ride at the various pit-stops. This morning we cycle from Cienfuegos to Rancho La Vega farm. During our visit we will have time to have some fruit juices or coffee.
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!
Cycle to Rio Seibabo; transfer to Hanabanilla
After breakfast we will cycle to Rio Seibabo in the heart of the Sierra del Escambray mountain range. On route we will stop at the Manaca Iznaga textiles market where we will meet traditional textile makers and sellers. Our next stop will be at the house of campesinos and are introduced to a local farmer and his family who make delicious honey. We will also go to a small coffee farm where a family of coffee growers welcome us to taste their freshly roasted coffee. Hanabanilla 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. Afterwards we will transfer to Hanabanilla, we eat at a private paladar for a taste of authentic Cuban cuisine
Santa Clara- Havana
This morning we have short ride from Hanabanilla to Matagua, stopping along the way to visit a tobacco factory before transferring onwards to Santa Clara. Santa Clara was the first major city to be liberated by Castro's army in December 1958. Today several monuments commemorate this important period of Cuba's history, including the mausoleum of the legendary Che Guevara, where we'll stop for a short visit. Afterwards we transfer back to Havana. There is no better way to see Havana than by classic car, travelling in immaculately looked after classic cars in vibrant colours. Visiting both the old and new areas of the city, we discover the distinct neighbourhoods of the capital, stopping at points of interest for explanations and stories. Feel free to ask questions about why the streets of Cuba are filled with classic American cars manufactured in the 1950’s and how on earth the owners manage to maintain them! This evening we have dinner at a private paladar in Havana.
This morning we'll have a walking tour of old and new Havana, Cuba's capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. Havana is a busy, bustling, energetic capital. It is one of the finest colonial cities in the Americas with narrow streets, spacious plazas and glorious architecture. There is an air of faded grandeur about the place with paint peeling off buildings. The area of Old Havana is often described as a living museum, with its marvellous monuments, cathedrals and palaces. During our tour we visit a ration store, food market and artisan market for a chance to buy some souvenirs.