Bicycling Central Cuba

Bicycling Central Cuba

Cycle inland through the dynamic cities of Remedios, Trinidad, and Sancti Spiritus with their cobbled streets and tranquil countryside energy. You'll visit local farms, entrepreneurs and artists, pedal through national parks, snorkel in the Bay of Pigs, and taste some of the finest Cuban cuisine. Finally, you’ll have a chance to take in Havana’s colorful rhythm as you explore the city’s culture, architecture, and history.

All of our itineraries meet the United States requirements for a People-to-People licensed trip and we will provide all licensing documents necessary for our American travelers. Recent loosening of regulations has allowed airlines to schedule direct flights from Miami and Houston into a variety of Cuban cities making this fascinating country more accessible than ever before.

If this sounds great but you'd like to explore more of Cuba, join us on the Grand Cycling Tour of Cuba: Central and Western.

Please Remember: With over 50 years of a trade embargo by the United States (and sanctions if other countries trade with them) and an economy that has boomed, busted and never truly found its way, Cuba is like no other place you have traveled. We choose to travel by bicycle because we know that getting off the buses and into the heart of a country on two wheels is one of the best ways to truly experience a place. With that said, you will notice that buildings are in need of repair, sometimes including portions of the hotels we use. Air conditioning, though present in 100% of your hotel rooms, may break down. Hot water and water pressure can vary. Internet access is sporadic and hard to find. But, the people in Cuba are some of the warmest and friendliest people on earth. They genuinely want to share and talk about their lives with travelers from all over the world - especially Americans.

We recommend you bring an attitude of flexibility and an understanding that you may not find the amenities that exist in other destinations. But, a trip to Cuba could be one of the most fulfilling travel experiences you can have.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 235 km (146 miles) - 303 km (188 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 47 km (29 miles) - 61 km (38 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 2.0
  • Countries / Cuba
  • Begin/End / Remedios / Havana
  • Price / From USD$4795
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  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Colonial cities and architecture of Cuba, Historic Trinidad, Bay of Pigs museum, Snorkel the Bay of Pigs, Take a swim in Playa Larga, Havana

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    Please remember, Cuba is in a Zika prone area so be aware it is not recommended to travel there if you are pregnant.
  • Includes
    7 nights' accommodation; full van support; bilingual tour leaders; 6 dinners, most lunches, all breakfasts; and the usual (see below).

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Santa Clara / Havana
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    78km / 527m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    3
    55km / 382m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    4
    35km / 104m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    5
    40km / 379m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    6
    81km / 265m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    7
    Rest day
    8
    0km / 0m
    difficulty level

    Tour Level Note: Shuttles are used more frequently than most ExperiencePlus! tours because of lodging logistics.

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive in Santa Clara - transfer to Remedios

Highlights: Exploring Remedios, Fit Bikes

Fly into Santa Clara and take a taxi (45 minute transfer) to the city of Remedios. Once in Remedios we will have an orientation talk and bike fitting. If you arrive in Santa Clara a day early, you'll see why the city is fittingly nicknamed Ciudade de Che for the spirit and history of this revolutionary figure.

  • Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: Remedios to Sancti Spíritus

Highlights: Quiet roads, sugar cane fields and colonial Sancti Spíritus

Ride today from Remedios to Sancti Spíritus, pedaling through rolling hills, past small villages, and regal colonial facades worn by time. Lunch is en route before we end our day in quaint Sancti Spíritus. Founded in 1514 by Diego Velázquez and one of the original seven villas, the city is full of historic and colonial charm. Before we enjoy a delicious dinner, take time to explore: Walk across the Puente Yayabo, a quadruple-arched bridge fit for an English countryside, stroll through the plaza and admire the Teatro Principal, Cuba's oldest theater.

  • Distance: 78 km (49 mi)
  • Gain: 527 m (1729 ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: Day Level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: Sancti Spíritus to Trinidad

Highlights: Manaca Iznaga estate, walking tour of Trinidad

Today's ride takes you towards beautiful colonial Trinidad. Enjoy rolling hills as we cycle to 18th century Manaca Iznaga estate northeast of Trinidad. Climb up the town's 44-meter tower for a bird's eye view of Valle de los Ingenios and its stunning surroundings. Climb up the tower for the beautiful view before we shuttle into Trinidad for lunch. We check into our Casa Particulares (B&B) for the night before we hit the cobbled streets of this 16th century town for a walking tour. For those interested in the music scene, we recommend strolling the streets after dinner as there is often live music in the main square. Listen to salsa beats floating on warm Trinidad air turning in for the night.

  • Distance: 55 km (34 mi)
  • Gain: 382 m (1253 ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: Day Level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: Trinidad Loop

Highlights: Loop ride or rest and explore Trinidad

Take a rest day and explore Trinidad or join us on a short bike ride to the pristine waters of Playa Ancon and local fishing villages. This visit provides an interesting glimpse into the contrast between sleepy fishing towns and the tourism economy on the beach and in Trinidad.

  • Distance: 35 km (22 mi)
  • Gain: 104 m (341 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5: Trinidad to Cienfuegos

Highlights: Ride along the coast, fresh seafood lunch

We say goodbye to Trinidad and pedal toward the southern coast cycling past Cuba's fields, beaches and estuaries where you might be able to spy flamingos. Take a swim or stop for a snack at a beachside bar. At lunch we'll enjoy lobster and shrimp caught just a few miles away. We'll shuttle to Cienfuegos after lunch. Settle into our centrally located hotel before joining our tour of the colonnaded Paseo del Prado or the Punta Gorda with its grand 20th century palaces.

  • Distance: 40 km (25 mi)
  • Gain: 379 m (1243 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: Cienfuegos to Playa Larga

Highlights: Snorkeling the Bay of Pigs, Pedal the Coast

We shuttle out of Cienfuegos and then pedal past rice paddies toward Playa Girón, today's first stop, also known as the landing for the Bay of Pigs invasion. We continue to pedal along the Bay towards Playa Larga. We have a guided visit of the museum and then continue to pedal along the beautiful Bay. For those who want to take a swim, we'll stop at a spot where you can snorkel. From there you can extend the ride all the way to the hotel or jump in the shuttle to reach our final destination for the evening. Tonight's lodging is a fabulous example of how the tourist economy can vitalize a town through private enterprise. A wonderful home-cooked meal awaits us tonight at our hotel.

  • Distance: 81 km (51 mi)
  • Gain: 265 m (869 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: Playa Larga to Havana

Highlights: Korimacao Community Project, tour Havana

We shuttle to Havana today but not without first visiting the Korimacao Community Project and its teachers and young Cubans investing in local performance and musical arts. We'll be in Havana in time for lunch. After lunch we'll take a tour of town before checking into our hotel to unwind. After dinner in a local restaurant take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some live music.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: Adios Havana!

Highlights: Havana

We’ll have breakfast together before sending you on your way to explore more of Havana or head home!

If this sounds great, but you'd like more Cuba join us on the Grand Cycling Tour of Cuba: Central and Western.

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Arrive in Santa Clara - transfer to Remedios

Lodging:

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

Meeting time 1:30 p.m. - on Day 1: meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Santa Clara Airport (SNU) (right outside the airport, you can't miss them).

Book your flight arrival into Santa Clara no later than 1 p.m.

Arrival at Santa Clara:

  • Meet our shuttle (see information bolded above).
  • In case you can't make the meeting time specified above, take a taxi from Santa Clara Airport to the tour starting location in Remedios (40 min/CUC 40-60)

Arrival into Havana (HAV):

  • Bus from Havana Airport to the Santa Clara Airport - remember the meeting time above as you plan (4.5 hours/prices vary)

Note:

  • Private transfers: We will gladly arrange a private transfer for you (this can be done about 3-4 weeks prior to your tour start date). Cost will be available upon request, but it will likely be more expensive than a taxi. If you arrive early, your place of accommodation can oftentimes help with transfers as well.
  • If you spend time in Cuba before the tour start, we ask that you come meet the complimentary ExperiencePlus shuttle on Day 1

Day 8: Departure Information

Adios Havana!

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

We recommend flying out of the Havana Airport (HAV)

  • Taxi from the ending hotel to the Havana airport (25 min/CUC 20-30)

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

Please remember, Cuba is in a Zika prone area so be aware it is not recommended to travel there if you are pregnant.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two) and a water bottle (or two) and in some cases a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • The rare opportunity to experience the "real" Cuba, seeing the country from the vantage point of a bicycle seat and meeting people one-on-one. This trip is unlike any other Cuba tour. The best experience was riding along the sea coast with no traffic and a beautiful view of the Caribbean. The second best experience was riding in a restored 1952 Ford Victoria convertible through downtown Havana. This was a great trip and I am so pleased that I was there. I''m interested in returning some day for another Cuba ride.

    Dave G., Denver, CO - February 2018
  • How would you describe this tour to a friend? An amazing blend of excellent cycling conditions, interesting and educational cultural experiences, fun activities and plenty of good food and beverages!

    Lauren B., Naples, FL - December 2017
  • How would you describe this tour to a friend? An incredible adventure that was beautiful and educational. The landscapes, the snorkeling, the comradary and the educational aspects of this were outstanding. The bikes were terrific and we loved our hosts. Highly recommended.

    Denise G., San Diego, CA - December 2017
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? 1) biking to the coast from Trinidad and snorkeling...there were only 7-8 of us there! 2) the convertibles on the town in Havana 3) Taking a salsa dancing lesson on the roof in Trinidad 4) Talking politics with our Cuban tour guide Alex. Good cultural experience, learning politics and history from a different perspective. Relatively easy riding, but infrastructure was a little daunting (lack of cell phone, credit cards & internet).

    Tim C., Fort Collins, CO - December 2017
  • How would you describe this tour to a friend? It was amazing. Having the opportunity to see Cuba as it really is, was a gift. I enjoyed the time going from rural to urban.

    Annette P., San Diego, CA - December 2017
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? The Havana tour in the class car convertibles was the most thrilling part of the trip. My favorite overall experience was having the opportunity to see different parts of Cuba - big city, small city, small town. I also really liked the cultural/historical discussions and activities.

    Roseanna N., Lafayette, CO - January 2018
  • The trip to Cuba was one of my all time favorite trips. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole week. The rides were well planned, activities were fun and informative, and the leaders were very supportive. Thank you to all for making this a great vacation.

    Dick C., Denver, CO - February 2018
  • This is a terrific trip for those interested in learning about Cuban life, culture, music and history and exploring rural Cuba on bike. It''s probably not the best trip for foodies or for those who desire a five-star hotel experience. Biggest surprise: Lots of opportunities to hear Cuban music!

    Deb B., St Paul, MY - December 2017
  • How would you describe this tour to a friend? In many ways, " it was like Mexico, without the crime concern". Great people and scenic rides. Love the horses and way of life. Very good trip! Excellent Company. The office people and guides are first rate.

    David V., Newport, RI - January 2018
  • How would you describe this tour to a friend? Cuba is fascinating. It is not like any other county I have visited. It has a unique economic and political system and in some ways feels very third world like traveling in a rural Latin American or south East Asian country. The history is fascinating and just trying to see world through Cuban eyes and their cultural norms is very challenging. I always felt very safe in a group or on our own. Great trip! Thank you.

    Susan C., Fort Collins, CO - December 2017
  • How would you describe this tour to a friend? Excellent cultural experience, great chance to see Cuba and its people.

    Sonny L., Aurora, CO - February 2018
  • Good food, well thought out routes designed to avoid the hottest part of the day, knowledgeable guides, fun activities, like snorkeling.

    Jeff B., Philadelphia, PA - December 2017
  • The Cuban People are the best. They are warm, patient and inventive. Great trip and I would highly recommend it. What was your favorite experience on this trip? The interaction with the Cuban people. Whether it was listening to an amazing accapella choir, an energenic modern dance group at the artist colony, or watching a smile grow on the face of a child as I handed them a small drawing book with crayons. Awesome trip. Experiencing Cuba from the seat of a bike was amazing. Thanks for making it happen!

    Suzi V., Newport, RI - January 2018
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