Explore Cuba by bike, from vibrant Havana to Vinales and the quiet beauty of Soroa

See Cuba from two wheels as you cycle around this laidback Caribbean island. Travel the colourful streets of Havana, along dusty roads past farms and tobacco plantations in Vinales, beside vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages and get a taste of Cuba beyond the rum and cigar scene. Swim in Cayo Jutias’ clear blue waters, explore Che Guevara’s former HQ at the Cueva de los Portales and cool off in bubbling river pools near UNESCO-listed Las Terrazas. Soak up the best of Cuba as you traverse this fascinating country.


Start
Havana, Cuba
Finish
Havana, Cuba
Destination
Cuba
Style
Original
Theme
Cycling
Code
QBXC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Cycling through Caribbean Cuba gives you unique access to parts of the island that are off the beaten track

  • Cycle through the lush valley of Soroa. Known as Cuba's Rainbow, the valley is rich in plant and wildlife

  • Cuba is recognised as the world’s finest cigar manufacturer. Learn how to roll a cigar with a local tobacco farmer near the small town of Vinales

  • After a visit to the temporary HQ of Cueva de los Portales and a guided walking tour of Old Havana, you’ll understand Che Guevara's important role in the Cuban Revolution

  • Ride through an often surprising variety of scenery; from the decaying charm of Old Havana to long dusty farming roads to dramatic limestone karst landscapes Cuba has it all!

  • Indulge in some sun, sand and sea on the pristine beaches of Cayo Jutias

Is this trip right for you?

  • To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.

  • This is a cycling trip, so it requires a certain amount of cycling fitness. This being said, there’s always a comfortable, air-conditioned support vehicle following close by.

  • Cash can sometimes be difficult to access in Cuba. Credit cards (not debit cards) are essential – ideally multiple credit cards from several different banks.

  • The Caribbean climate can be very hot and humid. It's important to wear the appropriate clothing, drink plenty of water and apply sun protection regularly. Lycra cycling shorts are ideal for warmer temperatures.

  • Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's sometimes unreliable. This is, on the other hand, a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.

  • Cuba's roads aren't always paved, but when they are they can range from smooth to downright terrible. That being said, it’s a fun experience to share the road with tractors, vintage American cars and horse-drawn carriages.

  • While Cuban food can sometimes seem limited due to a ban on imported goods, your guide will steer you towards the best eateries in each destination you visit.

  • Cuba is different and that’s what makes it such a fascinating destination. You will find that things don’t always go according to plan or work the way they do back home. Regulations concerning foreigners and currency may appear strange to you, transport sometimes runs late and sometimes the water in your bathroom can run cold and the electricity fail. In order to get the most out of your holiday, a degree of patience, good humour and understanding is a definite advantage. Cuba may not be wealthy in a monetary sense, however if you approach your holiday with an open and enquiring mind, the warm welcome you receive from Cubans will ensure you a rich and rewarding holiday experience.

  • Import restrictions make the purchase of new bicycles a difficult challenge - our bikes come from a variety of different manufacturers but are all mechanically sound.

Itinerary

Bienvenido a Cuba! To make your arrival into often chaotic Cuba a bit easier a complimentary transfer from the airport to your accommodation (guesthouse) is included with your trip.

If you arrive early there are a wealth of options for you to enjoy. For a fascinating insight into the Cuban Revolution check out the Museum of the Revolution, indulge your inner literary fan on an Ernest Hemingway tour, join the locals for a stroll past the fading facades along the iconic oceanside Malecón or hire an open top vintage American car and simply cruise the streets and boulevards of Havana. There’s no shortage of restaurants or bars either – the vibrant Obispo Street area of Old Havana is sure to delight.

Today your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. As the group is sometimes spread between several (but nearby) guesthouses your leader will leave a note for you explaining where to meet and what to bring.

During the group meeting, your trip leader will ask you if you would like to contribute to the snack kitty. This is usually 20CUC per person. The snack kitty is spent on water, fruits, and local-made snacks. It is not a compulsory kitty, although as these can sometimes be hard to come by in Cuba in remote areas, the kitty is designed to make the purchasing of snacks easier and more convenient for you. The left over funds will be returned at trip end. You can find out more information from your leader upon arrival.

Your evening is then free to relax or enjoy an optional welcome dinner to get to know your riding companions a bit better – your leader will suggest some excellent options.

COMPLIMENTARY TRANSFER. Please see the Accommodation section of our Essential Trip Information for more detailed instructions.

Riding distance: none
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Ernest Hemingway tour - CUC70
  • Havana - Cigar factory tour - CUC12
  • Havana - Morro Castle - CUC3
  • Havana - Vintage American car tour - USD55
  • Havana - Revolution museum - CUC5
  • Havana Bike Hire - Ruta Bikes - CUC20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Notes: Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. This is to ensure your transfer from the airport is organised.
This morning you leave our guesthouse early with your bags and drive 15 mins to Vedado to meet your support crew and be fitted to your bike. Take a 2hr test ride from Outer Havana back to Old Havana to ensure everything is working smoothly.

Along the way we pass by John Lennon Park, Jose Marti Memorial, Plaza de la Revolucion, the Grand Theatre and the Capitol building before ending back in Old Havana at the Parque Cespedes. While the distance is a short 12kms the pace is slow as we enjoy the city and get used to riding in Cuban traffic.

Sate your appetite with lunch in a nearby café before enjoying a guided city walking tour of Old Havana, taking in the four most historic plazas, passing by Catedral de San Cristobal, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de San Francisco. Finish your walk with a special ‘one-of-a-kind’ surprise before we bundle into the support vehicle to be transported (1.5hrs) down to Soroa.

Known as the 'rainbow of Cuba', Soroa is a flourishing landscape of flora and fauna but this evening we arrive as the sun goes, with enough time to enjoy dinner then opt for sleep or meet at one of the guesthouses for Cuban cocktails and an introduction to the curious fascination Cuban’s have with the game of dominos. Be warned, the locals (and our support team!) are fiercely competitive and have spent countless hours honing their domino skills!

Riding distance: approx. 12 kms/7 miles, mostly flat with 80m/260ft of elevation gain

Road Condition – 100% tarmac in mostly good repair
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cycling Outer Havana
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning we drive a short distance before taking a guided tour of the spectacular Soroa Orchid Garden. Set in 7 acres this serene oasis of flora features 250 species of plants native to Cuba as well as numerous species of birds.

From here you cycle west on good paved roads, sharing the streets with local traffic of tractors, bicycles, vintage American cars, old Ladas and horse drawn carriages to a picturesque hillside lake. Grab a quick drink or get your first taste of the famously strong Cuban coffee. Continue on to the San Juan River for a quick lunch then it’s time to join the locals for a refreshing swim in the same bubbling waters of that irrigate the local coffee plantations.

Continue by vehicle on to the small but renowned lakeside eco-village of Comunidad Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve set in beautiful green surrounds and home to a lively art community. Grab a coffee near the main square then visit the former home of the celebrated Cuban musician Polo Montañes and current studio of the famous modern artist Lester Campa.

After our visit to Las Terrazas, we drive (approx. 30 mins) back to Soroa. Tonight you can relax at guesthouse or head for drinks, pool, internet and of course, dominos.

Riding distance: approx. 24kms/15 miles, undulating with a couple of steep hills at the start, 450m / 1500ft of elevation gain

Road Condition – 100% tarmac (80% in mostly good repair, 20% in poor/broken condition)
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Las Terrazas - Eco-village Visit
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour
  • Las Terrazas - Casa de Polo entry
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Leave Soroa by support vehicle (approx. 1.5hrs) to hilly Cueva de los Portales, where the legendary Che Guevara stayed and trained the Western Army of the Cuban Revolution. This small cave gives you a fascinating insight into the life of the military mind of Che as well as the basic conditions he and his army lived in.

From here cycle on to Vinales. Set amongst low-lying mountains, this beautifully remote area will surprise you, being reminiscent of the limestone karst scenery of Vietnam or Southern Thailand, and is a perfect place to ride with very little traffic on the roads.

Today’s cycling route is hilly and we rate it a medium to difficult day. After a 2km ride on rough roads we hit the toughest climb we have on the tour. It’s definitely steep but thankfully it’s also short so it’s over pretty quickly – and the views from the top definitely make the challenge worthwhile. On a clear day you can catch your first glimpse of the ocean! From here the road climbs and descends before leveling out as we hit the valley floor as we continue on to the cultural interaction highlight of the trip; the delightful Mama Luisa. A local farmer for many decades, as well as providing a delicious local meal Mama Luisa specialises in giving the best hugs in all of Cuba – yes, even to sweaty cyclists!

From here the road improves as we head onwards to enjoy a short visit a tobacco farm, where a local farmer will show you how tobacco is dried and then rolled into cigars. Here you have the chance to purchase cigars direct from the maker and, if you’re lucky, you may even get a taste of this famous Cuban tradition.

Climbing back into the support vehicle we drive on a short distance to the UNESCO-listed town of Vinales, with enough time for a quick shower and perhaps a mojito before visiting a hillside farm restaurant for dinner (included). All of the food here is 100% organic grown locally and is truly delicious. Drinks aren’t included here, but in a twist you only pay for the mixers – the rum is free. Classic Cuba!

Riding distance: approx. 46kms/28 miles, undulating with a couple of steep hills at the start, 575m/1890ft of elevation gain

Road Condition – 90% tarmac (40% in mostly good repair, 50% in poor/broken condition), 10% Gravel
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Tobacco farm visit
Optional Activities
  • Vinales - Salsa lesson (per hour) - CUC10
  • Vinales - Live music venues - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast we board our support vehicle and drive (approx. 10 mins) to the Diego Rivera-inspired Mural de la Prehistoria. Painted on a cliff at the foot of the Sierra de Vinales, the huge eye-catching mural took 18 people four years to finish!

From here we cycle to the sublime Cayo Jutias. Retracing part of yesterday’s route we soon leave the towering limestone karsts behind and enter smaller roads through dry and flat farmland, with barely a vehicle to be seen. We have frequent stops today to refresh and refuel – your driver is always here with cold water straight from the vehicle’s fridge.

Despite the flat terrain today is our hardest one the bike as the conditions of the road are the poor with frequent gravel and broken tarmac sections. However the destination is definitely worth the journey and the conditions improve as we cycle across the causeway and catch our first real views of the ocean.

With its surreal white beaches and pale blue waters, Cayo Jutias is one of those perfect beaches you only dream about. After your ride stretch out on the sands and enjoy a packed lunch and fresh juice. Relax, go for a swim in the warm waters or walk away from the tourist crowd to the next beach along, where the locals often park those beautiful old cars on the beach itself.

After some time to soak in the atmosphere and splash about take the support vehicle back to town. It’s a 2hr journey so there’s plenty of time to put your seat back and snooze all the way back to Vinales.

The rest of the evening is free to take at your leisure- why not try one of the many live music venues or salsa the night away. For those craving internet access the entire main street is a wifi hotspot.

Riding distance: approx. 63kms/39 miles, undulating at the start then downhill/flat near the end, 342m/1120ft of elevation gain

Road Condition – 70% tarmac (10% in mostly good repair, 60% in poor/broken condition), 30% Gravel
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vinales - Beach excursion to Cayo Jutias
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information

After breakfast drive to the nearby lookout point for a view of the Vinales Valley before descending to the flat plains. From here we start our final ride, cycling through rural landscapes, passing through many small towns and communities on some of the smoothest tarmac in Cuba. Finish on top of a small hill – one last chance to be King of the Mountain. Celebrations are in order for finishing your own tour of Cuba as we enjoy one last delicious meal before re-boarding our transport for the short drive (approx. 2hrs) back to Havana.

On arrival in Havana, we bid farewell to our bikes and our support team before checking into our guesthouse/s. Make the most of a free afternoon to reacquaint yourself with Cuba's charming capital. Perhaps visit the Jose Marti Memorial Tower or your guide can help organise a final group meal in one of the many paladars in Old Havana.

Riding distance: approx. 42kms/26 miles, lightly undulating with 320m/1050ft of elevation gain

Road Condition – 100% tarmac (90% in mostly good repair, 10% in poor/broken condition)
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Havana - Jose Marti Memorial Tower - CUC2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information

Your Cycle Cuba adventure comes to an end this morning. There are no more activities planned and you're free to depart after breakfast.

If you have not already organized a transfer to the airport your guesthouse can usually arrange one for you – please discuss this with them the day before you need to depart.

Riding distance: none
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Bicycle, Support Vehicle (Bus)

Accommodation

Guesthouse (6 nts)

Included activities

  • Cycling Outer Havana
  • Havana - Guided walking tour of Old Havana
  • Las Terrazas - Eco-village Visit
  • Soroa - Orchid garden tour
  • Las Terrazas - Casa de Polo entry
  • Vinales - Tobacco farm visit
  • Vinales - Beach excursion to Cayo Jutias

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.
3. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitably sized bike.
4. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. You are unable to purchase or hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
5. There are unprecedented changes happening in Cuba right now. It is an exciting time but it also means some patience and understanding is required for the heightened demand of infrastructure, accommodation and crowds.
6. The laws around health and safety in Cuba are very different than in more developed countries, even for government licenced accommodation. While we endeavour to source accommodation that is compliant to our own health and safety standards there will be occasions where the accommodation will not have a marked fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. Please ask your casa owner to explain the fire evacuation plan to you when you check in.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Cycle Cuba trips score an average of 4.85 out of 5 based on 68 reviews in the last year.

Cycle Cuba, May 2018

Susannah Machelak

Cycle Cuba, April 2018

Rodney Driver