Grand Cycling Tour of Cuba

Grand Cycling Tour of Cuba

This 15-day tour combines our central and western tours to give you an in depth experience of one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Pedal past much of Cuba’s less-traveled countryside on quiet roads with visits to local farms, national parks, and even snorkeling in the Bay of Pigs. You’ll have a chance to take in Havana’s colorful rhythm as you explore the city’s culture, architecture, and history. Then continue cycle off the tourist track and into the heart of Cuba. Along the way you will see Cuban cigars being rolled, taste some of the finest food the country has to offer and spend time with locals learning about the history of agriculture and revolution in this lush land. From its crystal blue coast to it’s lush forested hills, this stunning route will show off the best of Cuba's culture and landscapes.

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 also allowed for a number of 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're short on time check out Bicycling Central Cuba or Bicycling Western Cuba

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.

There are no upcoming tours scheduled at this time.

Tour Style: Hold A Space Request Private Departure Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 15 Days
  • Total Distance / 543 km (337 miles) - 611 km (380 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 54 - 61 kms (34 - 36 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 3.0
  • Countries / Cuba
  • Begin/End / Santa Clara / Havana
  • Price / From USD$8795
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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, Cycle To The “Rainbow of Cuba”, Tobacco Plantation/Cuban Cigars, San Carlos Valley, Limestone caves of Vinales, Organic farm visit, La Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve
  • Includes
    13 dinners, bilingual tour leaders; most lunches, all breakfasts, all activities as described in itinerary - compliant with People to People General License for group travel. And the usual (see below).

  • Arrive / Depart
    Santa Clara or Havana / Havana
  • Overall Tour Level
    3.0 difficulty level 3.0

    Some days there are optional longer options. Shuttles in and out of towns are included more than usual on this tour due to lodging logistics.

  • 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
    Rest day
    9
    48km / 622m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    10
    57km / 308m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    11
    52km / 437m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    12
    Hike option
    13
    45km / 272m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    14
    49km / 537m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.0
    15
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download 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: 78km (49mi)
  • Gain: 527m (1729ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty 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: 55km (34mi)
  • Gain: 382m (1253ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty 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: 35km (22mi)
  • Gain: 104m (341ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty 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: 40km (25mi)
  • Gain: 379m (1243ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty 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: 81km (51mi)
  • Gain: 265m (869ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty 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: Havana

Highlights: Explore Havana

Join a guided tour of Havana or the museum if we have already had a walking tour the day before. The rest of the day is for you to explore all the wonderful sights of this bustling city. We'll meet for dinner and to gather with anyone joining us for the second part of the trip.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 9: Transfer and bike to Soroa

Highlights: Bicycle Carretera Central, cycle to the Rainbow of Cuba

An hour long shuttle takes us out of Havana today before we begin our ride through western Cuba. The bustle of the city fades away as you bicycle quiet roads into Las Terrazas. Aptly named the Rainbow of Cuba, as rainbows frequently shimmer over the rivers, waterfalls, and orchid-laden trees. Located in the Cordillera de Guaniguanico, our hotel is nestled in a lush and tropical garden filled with orchids. Have a cool drink by the pool before dinner.

  • Distance: 48km (30mi)
  • Gain: 622m (2040ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: Soroa to San Diego de los Banos and Pinar del Rio

Highlights: Learn about Cuban Cigars

Follow Cuba's Carretera Central as you pedal deeper into the heart of tobacco country. Coast down to the plains and wind your way through small towns to San Diego de Los Banos, an old thermal hot springs vacation town brimming with colonial architecture. We'll have lunch after our ride and then shuttle to Pinar del Rio. This evening we'll visit a local arts organization that works with adults and kids who would otherwise not have anything to do. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • Distance: 57km (36mi)
  • Gain: 308m (1010ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11: Pinar to Viñales

Highlights: Cycle through the San Carlos Valley, Mogotes and limestone caves.

Today we continue West from Pinar del Río, named after its river banks adorned with pines. After a shuttle out of town you'll cycle one of the prettiest valleys in the area, the San Carlos Valley boasting incredible views of limestone bluffs blanketed in lush forests overlooking isolated huts and rust-colored tobacco fields. The stocky limestone mogotes abruptly rising from flat plains give it a fantastical appearance. Lunch is along the way before shuttling into Viñales. Tonight we have dinner at our hotel.

  • Distance: 52km (33mi)
  • Gain: 437m (1433ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: Viñales - Rest day

Highlights: Explore the limestone caves of Vinales, visit an organic farm

Take the day to stretch out your legs and explore the wonderful town of Viñales. There is plenty of hiking to be done in the valley just behind this charming town. We'll organize a group hike to walk in the Mogote National park before heading to lunch where we'll learn about the small farms working to create a sustainable way of farming as we visit a local organic farm.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13: Viñales to Soroa/Las Terrazas

Highlights: Pedal the Carretera del Norte

We pedal North away from the tourist track today as you leave the Vinales Valley. Your route takes you through small rural farming villages on your way to Palma Rubia where we'll regroup, have lunch and then shuttle back to the hills for a tour of the beautiful botanic gardens in Soroa or a relaxing stay at Las Terrazas.

  • Distance: 45km (28mi)
  • Gain: 272m (892ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: Soroa/Las Terrazas to Havana

Highlights: Pedal ridgeline roads

Our ride today takes us through a variety of routes with varying terrains and views. Enjoy some of Cuba's lushest landscapes as we head out of La Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve where stretches of forests and grasslands, rounded hills and waving royal palm trees surround you. The beautiful lush hills then give way to cultivated farmland and small rural towns as we pedal our final kilometers outside Havana. We'll regroup for a picnic lunch before shuttling into Havana. We'll celebrate the end of our tour in style tonight at a local restaurant in Havana for dinner.

  • Distance: 49km (31mi)
  • Gain: 537m (1761ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: Adios Havana!

Highlights: Explore Havana or head home

We'll have breakfast early before sending you on your way to explore Cuba or head home!

If this sounds great but you're short on time check out our Bicycling Central Cuba or Bicycling Western Cuba

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Arrive in Santa Clara - transfer to Remedios

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 15: 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)

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Refer to your Tour Packet/Itinerary to see step-by-step arrival and departure information for your tour, 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.
  • Begin your chosen training program.
  • Final payment is due 90 days (120 days for Bike &Barge/Boat tours) prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail we send 10 days prior to the due date for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Start reading one of the books or watching one of the movies from our Reading and Movie Lists: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/
  • Plan what you are going to pack and start packing! Refer to the Packing Lists on our website at https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/packing/.
  • We'll email you your access code to Digital Daysheets, Hotel Itinerary, Participant Roster, names and contact information of your Tour Leaders, emergency phone numbers, and other important departure information about 2 weeks prior to your tour start date. All this will be provided to you via a feature called Experiences via the RideWithGPS App (tracks available but not necessary for navigation on Classic, Expedition and Bike & Boat tours).

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

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Sailing the boat, every afternoon relaxing on the boat after biking and swimming, lovely dinners, hearty breakfasts, bee keepers, traditional dinner out, rides through the islands (up and down!), guides, fellow passengers, crew on the boat-- really it was ALL great.

    Cheryl A., Colchester, VT - June 2021

Awards, Memberships and Reviews