Adventures / Remote Rides

Cycle the Backroads of Cuba

A revolutionary ride through western Cuba's beautiful interior and Caribbean coastline

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Trip Ref #10435

Adventures / Remote Rides

Cycle the Backroads of Cuba

A revolutionary ride through western Cuba's beautiful interior and Caribbean coastline

DURATION

7 nights

LOCATION

Cuba

ANNUAL LEAVE

1 week off work

SEASON

Nov-Aug

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Havana Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Casa particular · Stilted hut · Lodge

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

You'll need some fitness and a bit of cycling experience to be happy in the saddle for several hours a day

Roll through the verdant Jurassic landscapes of Viñales and along sparkling stretches of Caribbean coastal roads

Pedal into the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve and cool off with a wild swim in the San Juan River

Sip mojitos in Havana, dance with the locals in old fishing villages, kick back on white sand beaches and cycle up to Che Guevara's hideouts

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

Included

Guides

Expert, local, English-speaking cycle guide

Accommodation

5 nights in casas particulares, 1 in a stilted hut and 1 in an eco-lodge

Meals

7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

Trek 8.3 DS 2015 front suspension bike

Support Vehicle

To hop in to if your legs need a rest

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Jose Marti Airport, Havana. Terminal 3.

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Jose Marti Airport, Havana. Terminal 3.

Anytime on Day 8

Transfers

Your host will meet you on arrival at José Martí International Airport in Havana at Terminal 3 (where all international flights from Europe and Canada arrive) and transfer you to your casa particular accommodation in the artsy area of Vedado. On Day 8, your host will transfer you back to the airport in time for your onward flight.

If you wish to arrive before the trip start date or stay on longer at the end, your host can arrange private airport transfers and casa particular accommodation in the Vedado district of Havana - see Optional Extras for prices. Your host can also arrange pre and post-trip accommodation at a selection of other Havana hotels, and also at beachside locations such as Playa Jibacoa, 1.5 hours east of Havana and Cayo Levisa, an island 3 hours to the west.

Travel options

There are direct international flights to Havana from various major hubs in Europe.

Day 1

Casa particular · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Stilted hut · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Lodge · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4 – Day 7

Casa particular · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

You'll be tucking into rice, black beans, slow-roasted pork and chicken, fresh fish, lobster and plenty of tropical fruit. It can be difficult to find a good sandwich in Cuba, so your guide will often arrange a sit-down lunch. If you like, you can bring along some of your favourite snack bars for some protein and energy on the adventure, though this is optional since your host will provide local snacks, fruit and peanuts. Of course, Cuba is the land of the Mojito, Daiquiri and Cuba Libre. You'll find plenty of rum-based drinks all over the country, ranging from 50-150 Cuban Pesos for most cocktails. Beware, they are free-poured and might be stronger than the ones you get at home!

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form. Vegans especially should be prepared for a limited menu, since there are very few vegetarians and vegans in Cuba.

What is the accommodation like?

Casas particulares

You'll spend 5 nights of the trip staying in casas particulares - the quintessential way to see the real Cuba while getting a good night sleep after a long day of adventuring. See the FAQ section for more insight into staying in a casa particular. The casas are dotted throughout the itinerary, first in Vedado; an artsy and cultural neighbourhood in Havana, then the fishing village of Puerto Esperanza, Cayo Jutias with its white sand beach, and finally in Viñales town. In the casas, you'll stay in same-sex, twin-share rooms with a shared bathroom. Cuban homes have simple facilities, a warm welcome and clean rooms. There will be air conditioning and you’ll be spoilt at breakfast in the mornings.

Mil Cumbres

In the Mil Cumbres National Park you'll stay at a lodge in clean, simple dormitory style accommodation with shared bathrooms.

Las Terrazas

In the Sierra del Rosario Nature and Biosphere Reserve you'll stay at Complejo Las Terrazas, located on the banks of the Río San Juan. You'll be bunking down in a series of stilted huts, each one named after a Cuban bird species. The huts are twin-share and kitted out with mattresses, pillows, blankets and a fan. At night you can hear the sound of the river and the trill of nocturnal species in the Cuban countryside. There are shared toilet and shower facilities, though you are also welcome to take a refreshing dip and bathe in the river.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge. See Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (subject to availability). Note this does not cover the stay at Mil Cumbres - there are no single rooms available there.

Day 1

Welcome to Cuba!

Catch your first glimpse of Hemingway’s much-loved Havana as your host meets you at the airport and transfers you to the artsy barrio of Vedado. Settle into your casa particular and go for a stroll around the colourful streets. Around 6 pm you'll meet your guide and the rest of the group and head out to a nearby paladar for your first Cuban feast of the trip.

Day 2

Cycle to Las Terrazas

Cycling

25km · 210m up · 120m down

Head to the outskirts of Havana to start your first ride on Cuban roads. Pedal towards the Sierra de Rosario, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to the Las Terrazas community. In 1971, farmers in the area were living in poverty and isolation, so Las Terrazas was formed for the farmers to instead participate in reforestation. Nowadays it is a self-sufficient community surrounded by spectacular landscapes. You’ll enjoy a traditional lunch in a community-run restaurant before riding Las Terrazas’ famous zip line (optional) for an adrenaline-fuelled panorama over the lush biosphere. Later cycle down hill to the San Juan River, check into your stilted hut and wash off the day’s cycling with swims in the river before tucking into dinner at Cuba’s first vegetarian restaurant.

Day 3

Las Terrazas to Mil Cumbres

Cycling

65km · 900m up · 900m down

Wake up to birdsong and cycle to Hotel Moka for breakfast before today's ride to Mil Cumbres. You'll be rolling through spectacular forest and pasture land, along semi-asphalted roads which no one but the locals use. The area is rich in endemic flora like cork palm and orchids, and a myriad of bird life, with the peak of Pan de Guajaibon Hill (699m) - the highest mountain in western Cuba - in the distance. Finish up the ride at your lodge for the night, ready for a meal made by the local community in their country hideout.

Day 4

Mil Cumbres to Puerto Esperanza

Cycling

63km · 250m up · 400m down

Today you’ll head to the Caribbean coast with a ride from Mil Cumbres to the picturesque fishing village of Puerto Esperanza, to the north of Viñales. This is a quiet area almost unvisited by tourists with the main activity being fishing, agriculture and tobacco production. As with other parts of Cuba, you'll have the feeling that you have stepped back in time. After checking into your next casa particular you'll meet up with Puerto Esperanza’s community cultural project, La Camorra, for a session of traditional Creole music.

Day 5

Puerto Esperanza to Viñales via Cayo Jutias

Cycling

47km · 110m up · 110m down

Fuel up on breakfast at your casa particular before leaving Puerto Esperanza, turning off the main road and onto another backroad - expect lots of potholes and very little tarmac! Your efforts on the backroads are rewarded with a stunning 11 km coastal stretch into Cayo Jutias - a white sand beach that has yet to be discovered by most travellers. Enjoy lunch on the beach and some downtime in the afternoon to relax and go for a swim or snorkel in the Caribbean Sea. Later in the afternoon, you’ll hop in the support vehicle for a lift to your next stop; Viñales.

Day 6

Viñales Valley

Cycling

38km · 300m up · 100m down

Spend today exploring the spectacular scenery of Viñales Valley by bike. Pull up at the Mural de la Prehistoria - a colourful mural painted on a stone hillside, and then head down farm tracks to explore the countryside further. The valley is a World Heritage Site, famed for its unique farming practices which have enhanced and protected the unusual Jurassic landscape. Visit a tobacco farm and learn about one of Cuba’s most famous exports - cigars - and take in some fruit farms for good measure. Later, head to Cueva del Indio with its underground river. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore Viñales town at your own pace.

Day 7

Viñales to Havana

Cycling

46km · 350m up · 270m down

Fuel up on brekkie at Yoan and Yareli's casa before you bid them farewell and head off for a final ride in Viñales Valley. You’ll pedal north with views of the Viñales mountains and sheer ‘mogotes’ on either side of the road. Stop for a visit to the Los Portales cave where Che Guevara was based during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. After a picnic lunch you'll continue by bus to Havana and check back into your casa particular from the first night of the trip. The last night of any Cuban adventure means one thing: dinner and cocktails in a local paladar before heading out to find some street music to dance to.

Day 8

Adios Cuba

One last bit of adventuring to do as your host shows you around Havana's food scene - depending on your flight departure time - before transferring you back to Havana Airport in time for your onward flight.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Trek 8.3 DS hardtail mountain bike with front suspension (Size options: S, M, L, XL, XXL)

What do I need to bring?

CYCLING

  • Your own helmet (compulsory)
  • Cycling shoes (bring your own pedals if using cleats)
  • Pedals and saddle if you would rather use your own (these will be fitted to the bike for you)

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Small daypack, bumbag or frame/handbar bag to carry basic essentials while riding

CLOTHES

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Sports top or cycling jersey
  • Fleece jacket or similar for the evenings
  • Trousers/leggings for the evenings
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Cycling gloves
  • Buff or neck scarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Sandals

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellant
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle (x1 litre)
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system

Cuba visa

Payable Before Departure

Cuba visa

Per Person

Single room in Vedado casa particular

Payable Before Departure

Single room in Vedado casa particular

Per Night

Twin/double room in Vedado casa particular

Payable Before Departure

Twin/double room in Vedado casa particular

Per Night

Optional private room upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional private room upgrade

Havana airport to Vedado casa particular - each way (3-5 people)

Payable Before Departure

Havana airport to Vedado casa particular - each way (3-5 people)

Havana airport to Vedado casa particular - each way (up to 2 people)

Payable Before Departure

Havana airport to Vedado casa particular - each way (up to 2 people)

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 128kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

It's no secret that we love cycling and many of us at HQ think it's the best way to see a country, however, we realise that organising your own trip can be a total faff. On our cycling trips, we've found a local guide who has put together a perfect route and will navigate for you all the way. We even send a van that transports your overnight luggage and provide high-quality bikes and delicious snacks to keep you going. Faff eliminated! All you have to do is turn up, pedal and take in the landscape with your fellow tourers. You don't need to be a lycra-clad 'roadie' although they're welcome too!

You will be using Trek 8.3 DS 2015 front suspension bike with hybrid tyres. These are light hardtail aluminium mountain bikes - perfect for riding on road and rough tracks. The bikes are equipped with a water bottle cage and standard flat pedals. If you would like to bring your own SPD pedals and saddle, these can be fitted for you.

Bikes are available in the following sizes:

  • Small (for people 155cm - 165cm tall)
  • Medium (for people 165cm - 175cm tall)
  • Large (for people 175cm - 183cm tall)
  • Extra Large (for people 183cm - 193cm tall)
  • Extra Extra Large (for people 193cm - 203cm tall)

If you are outside of these ranges our local host suggests you bring your own bike and the cost of bike hire can be deducted from your trip after booking.

You'll need some decent fitness levels to cover the distances and to stay comfortable and happy with 6 consecutive days of cycling. The riding itself is of easy to moderate difficulty. There are no lung busting climbs and definitely no technical descents to navigate, so realistically anyone who can ride a bike relatively well can join this trip. Some experience of cycling on roads is required. You'll be riding on mainly paved roads, but with variable terrain and plenty of potholes to keep an eye out for!

Casas particulares are Cuba’s answer to the B&B - a Cuban home that rents out at least one room to guests. They became legal to operate in 1997 and have since become the most popular type of accommodation on the island. You'll experience a real Cuban home as the family usually lives in the property they rent out, giving you a unique insight into the way Cubans live. Staying in a casa particular is by far the best way to do things the Cuban way. Not only does it bring you closer to the real Cuba, it’s also a great way to contribute directly to the local economy. The money you spend in a casa particular stays with the family and gets reinvested in their community, making it the simplest way to practice sustainable tourism in Cuba. Your host family will provide breakfast at each of the casas particulars that you stay at on this trip.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you in the support vehicle. You can cycle with a small daypack if you prefer to keep some supplies each day - this is optional.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however, we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

£5/€6/$6.50 per person per day. Please note that the Cuban Peso is quite unstable as a currency, so your guides would hugely appreciate their tips in a hard currency, particularly Euros which are widely accepted in Cuba. Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality.

Your host provides 3 litres of mineral water per person per day. On top of that you'll need to filter your own water since the tap water in Cuba is not safe to drink. The best option here is to bring a water bottle with a built in water filter, although water treatment tablets are also fine. Have a read of our article on the best water filters for adventurers

Cuba is always warm, but certain months are better to visit than others. High season is November to mid-April, with pleasant temperatures in the mid-late twenties celsius, and plenty of clear skies. September and October bring a higher risk of hurricanes in the Caribbean, so we don't offer trips during those months. Temperatures are higher in the low season, particularly July and August with highs of 32°C / 90°F in Western Cuba. April-June is the shoulder season and can be an excellent time to travel, as the weather is pleasant and there are generally fewer visitors. The month of May can be wet, though it’s considered good luck to get wet in the first May showers!

Nationals of most countries, including the UK, all EU countries, Australia, Canada and US require a visa to enter Cuba. The required tourist visa, known as a tourist card, allows the holder to stay in Cuba for 30 days and is valid for a single entry. You must provide proof of a confirmed return flight and booked accommodation. This tourist card can be renewed for a further 30 days in Cuba. The tourist card is valid for one entry of 30 days within 180 days of issue and can be extended in Cuba for a further 30 days.

So long as you are a UK or European Passport holder resident in the UK, you can buy a visa through the local host that we have partnered up with for this trip. Please see optional extras to add to your booking - the cost is £25 and this includes postage within the UK. Please allow at least 2 weeks before your departure date.

Alternatively, you can obtain a visa from the Cuban Consulate in person or by post. Allow up to four weeks for visa processing.

Yes, you can leave any excess luggage at your host's base in Havana.

We recommend checking out the country-specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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