“Travel right across this eclectic Caribbean island on two wheels - seeing Cuban culture and gorgeous landscapes up close from your saddle rather than through a bus window.”

Highlights

Havana | Matanzas | Playa Larga | Bay of Pigs | Cienfuegos | Cycling in countryside and along coast | Trinidad | Sancti Spiritus | Camaguey | Bayamo | Cycling into Sierra Maestra mountains | Santiago | Santa Clara | Optional catamaran tour

Description of Cuba cycling tour

This fantastic 16 day cycling in Cuba tour encapsulates the country’s Latin American passion and Caribbean charm with a revolutionary back story all set to capture the hearts and minds of cyclists all the way from downtown Havana to the coastal city of Santiago de Cuba.

As you’d hope from a relaxed cycling tour, Cuba presents an eclectic range of ever-changing scenery with rolling countryside morphing into agricultural plantations and dense jungles interspersed with rural villages where local life comes alive to a laid-back rhythm that never fails to ease any aches.

The chance to combine traditional lifestyles with the vibrancy of an urban environment makes this cycling in Cuba tour a real eye opener with plenty of moments to appreciate out of the saddle including sightseeing in Havana and Santiago de Cuba as well as a free day at the beach in Trinidad.

What better way to kick back and relax after a cycling tour in Cuba other than with a mojito overlooking the Caribbean, and if you’re hoping to soak up some sun as well as some fascinating cultural heritage then get in touch to find out how you can put some power into your pedals.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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24 May 2018
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26 Jul 2018
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Our top tip:
Gel seat covers are recommended, as are padded shorts. It's hot - but your backside will be grateful.
Trip type:
Small group. 5-18 people (average 12). Min. age 16.
Activity level:
Moderate. 10 days cycling, 25-87km/day (av. 70km).
Accomm:
12 nights hotels, 2 homestays.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available (except over Christmas) with surcharge.
Included:
Accom., guide, support vehicle, listed activities, transfers. Flights if booked. Cycle hire extra.
Meals:
14 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 4 dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Cuba cycling tour

Environment

Activity:
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a cycling trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We operate on a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy and local guides enforce this through responsible tourism briefings. These should help clients better understand the living situation for many and the environmental issues in the area. We also aim to benefit Cuban communities as much as possible by frequently stopping to use local restaurants, cafes and services.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend 11 nights in hotels and 3 nights in ‘Casas Particulares.’ These are privately-owned Bed and Breakfast properties which enable you to have a rewarding insight into the local lifestyle by staying in a family home. Where meals are provided, fresh and local ingredients are always used. Although this is largely out of necessity, we can ensure that local farmers and vendors benefit. We visit a number of local, family-run restaurants called ‘Paladares’ throughout the trip. These sell a variety of authentic Cuban dishes like fresh lobster, black beans and rice, roast pork and chickpea stew.

Local Craft and Culture:
We visit several important cultural and historical sites on this tour, where our entrance fees contribute towards the preservation of artefacts and monuments that commemorate events integral to Cuban heritage. These include the Bay of Pigs museum and Guevara’s Mausoleum in Santa Clara. We encounter small handicraft stalls in most towns, so guests are able to purchase local crafts. Trinidad is famous for ceramic and lacework, and Havana’s Almacenes de San Juan is a great place to buy art, crafts, shoes, clothes, hats, instruments and food. A huge part of Cuban culture is music and dance so there will also be ample opportunity to experience this in some local bars and clubs.

Charity:
Our local operator sponsors two schools in the Matanzas Province. The first is the local Primary School in Playa Giron, where they have repainted the school and provided educational supplies such as notepads, pens and sporting equipment. The second school is the Special Needs School in Matanzas City. Here, they have made a number of donations- from school materials and clothes to fans and sheets. We discourage giving to beggars on the trip as we don’t want to encourage this behaviour. Instead, our guides will help visitors to donate presents and supplies where the goods can really be utilised.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

3 Reviews of Cuba cycling tour

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 26 Mar 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Although I cannot pick just one, the guide (leader) has played a huge role. It would have been a totally different trip had the guide been of somehow lower quality professional, even if we went through all the same activities and places.

The two drivers who did much more than just being drivers were the best and nicest as well. Impressive. As of being a Japanese origin who has turned a
Canadian years ago, I also sensed the internal power of UK as well by spending a good time with them in the group. Connecting with people outside my familiar box, to see and get to know the reality of Cuba, not by reading books or Internet but by myself cycling there lead by an excellent local guide was memorable and exciting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


-Be an adventurer who tolerates some inconvenience such as not too clean washrooms or poor plumbing of the facilities.
-Take brighter colour long-sleeve shirts with you, do not cycle with heavy backpack and put a pair of solid-sole shoes if not the
cycling special ones. People who missed any one of those suffered more or less. (everybody brought padded pants which is an absolute necessity)
-Just do it! It is not simply "all fun", but so profound that you shall come back home somehow changed.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not really, except the job-wise (guide, drivers, hotels, restaurants, retails and et cetera). For instance, Patagonia (California based outdoor activities outfit company) donate 1% of its profit to environmental organization every year. I found Cuba needs to clean up garbage for locals and tourism on top of pure environmental issue, to neuter street dogs and cats and to control the car exhaust for the better.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Eye and mind opening, six stars out of five!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Yumiko,
Firstly, thank you for your comments, we are delighted that overall you had a great trip.
We’d like to give you a little more information regarding your comments on question 3. While it is true that the local community generally benefit from our commerce we do take every step to ensure that the positive impact of our business is felt by as many as possible. Our decision to stay in ‘Casas Particulares’ ensures that local families benefit from our stay and our visits to local family run restaurants also ensure that the economic benefits of our stay are widely distributed.

Many of the sites visited also ensure a contribution to the preservation of Cuban heritage. Regarding reducing environmental impacts this is something that we are constantly working on. The availability of buses that are right for the group size is a bit of a challenge in Cuba as
minibuses are not currently widely available. Clearly, things are changing fast in Cuba however so we are continuing to push for vehicles that match the group size. Another initiative we are soon to introduce will be the inclusion of drinking water on all of our Cuba trips so we can reduce the use of plastic here and manage our environmental impacts better.
We also donate a percentage of our profits annually to worldwide community and environmental projects and initiatives.

These are wide ranging from providing sanitation and water to remote villages to installing solar cookers in mountain communities. Although we don’t have a project in Cuba at this
moment in time we are working on an initiative where we will be sending school children on an educational day out to introduce them to more of their own natural heritage and teach them re the value of such heritage. We believe that this investment in future generations is fundamental to ensuring the long-term conservation of delicate ecosystems.
We do hope that this explanation provides an adequate response to your review and offers you reassurance that we are continuously working on ensuring our trips are as responsible as possible. We hope to welcome you back to Cuba one day.

Reviewed on 24 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


When we went through the small towns seeing the excited children waving at us as we cycled passed.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


I would suggest that in the summer months at least this trip is harder than moderate level so make sure you are fit before you go.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Definitely, it was nice that fruit was always bought from local stalls and we definitely stayed in Casas where possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I thought it was excellent, really well organised with the right balance of culture, history, cycling and relaxing.

Reviewed on 23 Nov 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Dancing salsa outside in Granada after a lovely meal, mojitos and cycling.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take a padded cycle seat but you don’t need to be cycle-mad. Read up about Cuba as it is a fascinating country and this tour offers a good chance to find out about this country as well as to explore on a bike. Take your dancing shoes. Be ready to accept the country with all its pros and cons.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes provided local employment and local restaurants and hotels used. Minimised environment as much as it could considering bus was needed.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Brilliant and a great way to explore the country as a solo traveller.

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