Cycle Cuba!

15 Days Starting and ending in Havana

Visiting: Havana, Soroa, Las Terrazas, San Diego de los Banos, Vinales, Cayo Levisa, Bay of Pigs, Cienfuegos, Guajimico, Trinidad, Topes de Collantes, Santa Clara, Valle Yumurí

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

CCC

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:

None

Age range:

16-

Special diets catered:

Vegans, Vegetarians

Tour operated in:

English

Activities:

Cycling

From: $2690 $2353 Operator discount: -$270 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$67 -13%

NB: Prices correct on 19-Jul-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Explore the scenic and cultural highlights of Cuba on two wheels. Pedal your way along the Caribbean coast, past the limestone landscapes of Vinales and through tropical forests in Topes de Collantes. Along the way, step back in time in Trinidad, explore the colourful, crumbling streets of Havana and witness monuments to the Revolution in Santa Clara.

Cycle Cuba - Hop in the saddle to explore Cuba's unforgettable landscapes and iconic cities and towns.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites - From Havana to Trinidad, discover why these bucket-listed destinations have gained UNESCO status.

Casa Particulares - Get to grips with Cuban life, staying in private homestays with locals.

Highlights

  • Appreciate the Cuban pace of life on two wheels

  • Discover the colonial delights of Havana & Trinidad

  • Cycle through the beautiful regions of Pinar del Rio Province and Viñales

Itinerary

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Day 1: Join Tour In Havana

Location: Havana

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Havana

Our tour starts today in Havana - home to salsa, mojitos, and revolutionary spirit. Cuba's capital is one of the most impressive cities in the Americas, almost frozen in time with crumbling tenement blocks and 1950s American Cadillacs rubbing shoulders with grand colonial buildings and monuments to the revolution.



Due to the number of evening flights into Havana, our tour leader will meet you for a welcome meeting after breakfast at 8am on Day 2. Details of timings will be left in the hotel reception, as well as information about anything else you'll need for the day.



There are no activities planned today, so you're free to arrive at any time. If you'd like an airport transfer, you'll need to arrive into Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) which is around a 30-minute drive from the airport. A representative from our local partners in Cuba will meet you at Havana Airport and assist you with the transfer formalities.



During our tour, we'll stay in 'casa particulares' (local guesthouses), a type of accommodation that's unique to Cuba. The industry began in the early 1990s when entrepreneurial homeowners would rent out rooms in their homes. The side hustle was initially illegal as communist Cuba didn't allow for private enterprises but was legalised in 1997. Today, it's common to find large casas that run as bed and breakfasts, however, the majority - particularly in Havana - are still a couple of rooms in the owner's house. This gives you a truly unique, local experience as no two casas are the same - you'll have ensuite bathrooms, air-conditioning, and a delicious breakfast across the board but that's where the similarity ends. We choose to use these casas particulares as they give a truly authentic Cuban experience, an alternative to standard hotels, and a new perspective on local life.



Whilst some casas still have live-in owners (giving you a great opportunity to interact with locals), others are entirely independent. In Trinidad, your casa might offer some outdoor space, however, in Havana, many are in communist-style apartment blocks.



Your airport transfer will take you to a 'reception' casa in Havana (Hostal Saxo Habana: Ave 3ra, #56 entre E y F, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba), where you'll be met by the host and shown to your room in one of the other nearby casas. We use different casas for each group and most are located in the Vedado area of Havana. You'll find several restaurants and bars within walking distance and Old Havana is just a short taxi ride away.

Day 2: Visit Old Havana; Drive To Soroa

Location: Havana, Soroa

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Villa Soroa

Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning, we'll gather for a welcome meeting at 8am before heading out to explore the Vieja District (old town). Havana is a patchwork of crumbling, colourful buildings and historical monuments and we'll take a relaxed walk to discover the most important sites and buildings.



After lunch, we'll head off by bus to Soroa, nestled in the forested hills about an hour west of Havana. After checking in to our hotel, there might be time to stretch our legs on a walk, perhaps up to the top of a hill with views over the surrounding mountains and towards the sea.

Day 3: Cycle Through Tropical Forests To Las Terrazas

Location: Las Terrazas, Soroa

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Villa Soroa

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today, we'll take our first bike ride with an excursion into the surrounding hills. The ride is very rewarding - through almost tropical forests with plenty of flowers and interesting plants along the way - eventually leading us to the enchanting settlement of Las Terrazas, perched on the edge of a lake and the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Sierra de Rosario.



This is an internationally acclaimed reforestation project and model '70s communist settlement, set in the mountains at altitudes of around 500 metres/1,640 feet where pine forests alternate with old coffee plantations. We'll have the opportunity to take a swim in a natural pool in the San Juan River before we have lunch when you'll have the chance to try Cuba's most original, community-run vegetarian restaurant. Afterwards, we'll head back to our hotel in Soroa by bus. Keen cyclists can do a few more miles if they wish. The support bus can only accompany short sections at the beginning and end of today's cycle route due to road conditions.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 21 kilometres/13 miles (300 metres/985 feet ascent).

Day 4: Cycle To The Cuban Spa Town Of San Diego De Los Banos

Location: San Diego de los Banos

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Mirador de San Diego

Meals Included: Breakfast

Early this morning there'll be the chance to visit the splendid Soroa orchid garden. We'll start cycling downhill out of the Sierra, using smaller roads and a quieter section of Cuba's Carretera Central. We'll ride through picturesque countryside with rolling hills, palm trees and farmhouses in small hamlets, eventually arriving in the Cuban spa town of San Diego de los Baños. The surrounding virgin countryside and forests are fabulous.



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 58 kilometres/36 miles (100 metres/328 feet ascent).

Day 5: Ride Past Banana And Coffee Plantations To Vinales

Location: Vinales

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Vinales

Meals Included: Breakfast

We'll continue cycling along Cuba's dramatic western mountain range, passing banana and coffee plantations and tobacco fields in one of the most remote rural areas of this trip. We'll stop at the Cueva de los Portales - a famous site in the jungle where Che Guevara set up headquarters during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Soon we'll catch a first glimpse of the Viñales Valley - one of Cuba's natural highlights and an area of outstanding beauty.



The area is home to some of the most spectacular and colourful scenery in Cuba. Millions of years ago underground rivers cut tunnels through the limestone hills and when the roofs collapsed, strange hills or 'Mogotes' were left sticking up from the otherwise flat valley floor. In between the jungle-clad saw tooth karst mountains the rich, red soil has been worked into a patchwork of fields growing some of the best tobacco in the world - the raw material for the famous Havana cigars.



The cycle distance today is 43 kilometres/26.6 miles if starting from Cueva de lo Portales and there is the option to extend this to 58 kilometres/36 miles by starting the ride from the hotel and paying a national park entrance fee directly (approximately 5 CUC ).



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 43 to 58 kilometres/26.6 to 36 miles (100 to 400/328 to 1,312 feet metres ascent).

Day 6: Orientation Tour Of The Vinales Valley

Location: Vinales

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Vinales

Meals Included: Breakfast

We'll spend two entire days in this beautiful area. Today we'll start with an orientation tour of the Vinales Valley by bike, exploring the valley in depth as well as taking some time to stroll through Vinales itself - a small laid-back town with a charming main street built in neo-classical style, leaving the afternoon free to explore the area further. Those interested can visit the limestone cave 'Cueva del Indio' and the Botanical Gardens in Vinales. The support bus does not accompany the ride today but is on call if needed.



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 25 kilometres/15.5 miles.

Day 7: Free Day To Relax Or Explore The Island Of Cayo Levisa

Location: Cayo Levisa

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Vinales

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today is free for relaxing or to take an excursion to Cayo Levisa, an island near Vinales just off the north coast with lovely beaches. Alternatively, you may wish to take the bikes to explore more of the area.



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 20 to 45 kilometres/12.4 to 28 miles (optional).

Day 8: Drive To Cienfuegos Via Bay Of Pigs

Location: Bay of Pigs, Cienfuegos

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Rancho Luna

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

We have a full day of travelling ahead of us today as we make our way to Cienfuegos. We'll start the day with a bus ride (approximately five to six hours) across western Cuba to the Bay of Pigs - infamous for the ill-fated invasion attempt by Cuban exiles who landed here in April 1961 with the help of the US government. This, together with the missile crisis a year later, led the Americans to conclude that only a total trade embargo against the island could discredit and ultimately oust Castro. However, Castro's Cuba continues to resist.



We'll visit Cueva de Los Peces for a quick swim in this sinkhole or cenote that is connected to the warm Caribbean waters and has resident tropical fish. We'll then continue by bus (approximately one to two hours) to the elegant town of Cienfuegos, which was founded in 1819 by French farmers who had abandoned their plantations in Haiti after a slave rebellion led to formal independence there. The French brought their classical construction style of houses and quite an entrepreneurial spirit, thus triggering the sugar boom in the area. Depending on our arrival time into Cienfuegos, we'll either visit the town today or tomorrow morning.



Our hotel tonight is a 15-minute drive from the town, on the outskirts of Cienfuegos.



No cycling today.

Day 9: Cycle To Trinidad Via Yaguanabo Beach

Location: Guajimico, Trinidad

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Trinidad

Meals Included: Breakfast

We'll start our day with a quick exploration of Cienfuegos (if we didn't have time yesterday) before driving for around one hour to Guajimico where we'll commence today's cycling. Our ride will be set against a backdrop of the Sierra Escambray Mountains, getting ever more impressive as we get closer to Trinidad. We'll have a chance to stop en route for a swim in the Caribbean at Yaguanabo Beach before continuing by bike to Trinidad.



The town became incredibly wealthy in the 18th and 19th centuries and almost all the palaces and stately homes of the rich families remain, their grandeur undiminished by time and the cobbled stone streets add extra charm to this colonial gem. In the evening, we can head out to enjoy some of Trinidad's live music. One of the best spots is the Casa de la Trova where they play 'Trova' (Cuban Folk Music) and 'Son', the essence of Salsa. Those with some basic knowledge of Latin dancing (or at least the willingness to try) it's a great opportunity to practice.



On arrival in Trinidad, we'll have a short orientation walk in town, exploring the central square and surroundings. Whilst in Trinidad, we'll stay in casas particulares - local homestay guesthouses.



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 41 kilometres/25.4 miles (250 metres/820 miles ascent).

Day 10: Visit The Sugar Cane Valley And Old Sugar Mills By Bike

Location: Trinidad

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Trinidad

Meals Included: Breakfast

We have two full days to explore this wonderful town and its surroundings.



Today we'll take a ride into the very scenic Valle de Ingenios (sugar cane valley) towards Santi Spiritus where we can see the old sugar mills. The support bus will accompany the ride and help take people back to Trinidad. There is the option to ride back unaccompanied.



This afternoon we'll visit the colonial heart of Trinidad on foot and hopefully have the opportunity to hear some live music.



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 37 kilometres/23 miles (230 metres/755 feet ascent).

Day 11: Free Day For A Boat Trip, Snorkelling And Relaxation

Location: Trinidad

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Trinidad

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today is free to take a rewarding optional Catamaran trip to the small island of Cayo Blanco - where you can snorkel on the reef and enjoy a seafood lunch on the island. Alternatively, you can relax on the beaches south of Trinidad.

Day 12: Scenic Downhill Ride From Topes De Collantes; Bus To Santa Clara

Location: Topes de Collantes, Santa Clara

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Los Caneyes Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast

Just a few miles behind Trinidad looms the Sierra Escambray, one of the three main mountain chains in Cuba. It has peaks up to 1,100 metres/3,609 feet, an incredible abundance of tropical and semi-tropical vegetation on its slopes, and some of the best Cuban coffee is also produced here.



Climbing up into the Sierra on the road from Trinidad is an experience, with slopes as steep as 20% (don't worry, we do this bit by bus!). However, those keen to take on a challenge (the most challenging ride in Cuba to be exact) might want to leave in the early hours of the day to give it a go before being picked up by the group later.



We'll start cycling on the highest sections of the road with some ascent still to go, near Topes de Collantes, a village and mountain retreat built in the early 1950s. From the village, we'll have a scenic downhill through the jungle. Before leaving the mountains, we can stop at a local coffee farmer's home to enjoy a meal (not included) and see the process of coffee tasting and, of course, try it, too. We'll then head north, passing through the village of Jibacoa, before finally reaching Manicaragua where we'll finish our final ride. We'll then take a short bus ride to our hotel on the outskirts of Santa Clara.



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 35 kilometres/21.7 feet (350 metres/1,150 feet ascent).

Day 13: Drive To Havana Via Yumuri Valley

Location: Valle Yumurí, Havana

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Havana

Meals Included: Breakfast

Santa Clara is a busy Cuban provincial town and home to the Che Guevara monument and mausoleum which we'll visit alongside a museum dedicated to his life.



Afterwards, we'll continue by bus (approximately two to three hours) to Matanzas where we'll get back onto the bikes for an afternoon ride into the Yumuri Valley, surprisingly still unknown to most western visitors. As we ride our final stretch of rural Cuba, we'll see vegetation, palm trees, crops and plenty of birds. Once on the coastal road, we'll continue to the stunning Bacunayagua Canyon with a great viewpoint and is allegedly the best Pina Colada served anywhere in Cuba. The support bus can only accompany short sections at the beginning and end of today's cycle route due to road conditions. Later, we'll continue by bus for around one hour to Havana.



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 17 kilometres/10.5 miles (150 metres/500 feet ascent).

Day 14: Explore Havana On Foot Or By Bike

Location: Havana

Accommodation: Casas Particulares

Accommodation Name: Casa Particulares - Havana

Meals Included: Breakfast

Today is free to see more of Havana. You might like to take an optional cycle to explore the capital. Despite growing traffic, it's still a wonderful way to get to know the city.



Our total cycling distance today is approximately 23 kilometres/14.2 miles (100 metres/328 feet ascent) (optional).

Day 15: Tour Ends In Havana

Location: Havana

Meals Included: Breakfast

The trip ends after breakfast at our casa particular in Havana.



There are no activities planned today, so you're free to depart from Havana at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you'd like an airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Havana's Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) which is around a 30-minute drive from the hotel.

What's Included

  • Meals – Breakfast Only

  • Fully Guided

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Accommodation

What's Not Included

  • Country Entry Visas

  • Tipping and Gratuities

Why Book this Tour

Unlike many other operators, we include the hire of your bike in the overall cost of the holiday: you don't need to bring your own or pay extra to hire one locally. We also provide a support vehicle, spare parts and take care of day to day bike maintenance. All you need bring is your own helmet.

Meals

Breakfasts: 14
Dinners: 1

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Check out our Q&As

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    No

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    No

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    No

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Benjamin  

Cycle Cuba!

This was my first solo trip with Explore and it wa

This was my first solo trip with Explore and it was brilliant! I would not hesitate to recommend this cycling trip to Cuba.

Helen  

Cycle Cuba!

Would recommend.

Michael  

Cycle Cuba!

Overall an excellent trip. Great people and guide.

Overall an excellent trip. Great people and guide. The bike mechanic, Dany, was excellent. We saw parts of Cuba I don't think we would have seen on another type of holiday to Cuba.

Mary  

Cycle Cuba!

We generally had an excellent holiday despite the

We generally had an excellent holiday despite the accommodation and it was made by our guide Carlos.

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Friday - Friday

Oct 25, 2024 - Nov 08, 2024
$2690 $2353

Operator discount: -$270

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$67

Friday - Friday

Nov 08, 2024 - Nov 22, 2024
$2850 $2772

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$78

Saturday - Saturday

Jan 11, 2025 - Jan 25, 2025
$2620 $2548

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$72

Saturday - Saturday

Feb 01, 2025 - Feb 15, 2025
$2620 $2548

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$72

Saturday - Saturday

Feb 15, 2025 - Mar 01, 2025
$2620 $2548

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$72

Saturday - Saturday

Mar 29, 2025 - Apr 12, 2025
$2620 $2548

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$72

Saturday - Saturday

Oct 25, 2025 - Nov 08, 2025
$2620 $2548

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$72

Saturday - Saturday

Nov 08, 2025 - Nov 22, 2025
$2620 $2548

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$72

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 70 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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