Explore some of Cuba’s most stunning scenery on this eight-day cycling tour into the heart of the country. From the provincial capital of Santa Clara, you’ll venture south through the rugged Escambray Mountains to visit Topes Collantes National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Trinidad. Wander through its cobblestone streets before pedaling along the coast to Cienfuegos to admire its French-influenced architecture.
This cycling tour is designed to immerse you in Cuba’s rich culture and heritage while offering meaningful interactions with the local communities. Meet with artists, restaurant owners, market vendors, and park guides, and discover the stories behind the legend that is Cuba.
Note: The following itinerary is subject to change, depending on the weather, transportation, and the availability of guest speakers. We will do our best to try and substitute similar activities while maintaining our commitment to promoting independent activities that support Cuban society and provide meaningful cultural exchanges.
Before booking this trip, you should be aware that travel in Cuba requires a flexible attitude and things don’t always run on time. The accommodation may not be up to the standards you are used to, with hot water and air conditioning systems sometimes not working. Our local guides will always do their best to make this a comfortable and educational tour but we ask our guests to keep in mind these issues and embrace them as part of an authentic Cuban experience.
Images & Videos
Make your way to Santa Clara, with one commercial flight operating from the United States per day with American Airlines. We highly recommend that you try to arrive a day before the tour starts.
Your tour officially starts at 11 am on Day 1.
Arrive in Santa Clara
Once you arrive, transfer to the tour hotel on your own. Today you may relax, or simply enjoy walking around Santa Clara. In town you can visit the Parque Vidal or visit the mausoleum of Che Guevara and learn about the fascinating events of the Cuban Revolution.
In the early evening, you’ll meet your tour guide for an orientation meeting with dinner to follow.
Santa Clara to Trinidad
After an early breakfast, we’ll jump onto our bikes and head southeast to Topes de Collantes National Park in the rugged Escambray Mountains. With lots of ups and downs, this can be a challenging ride for some but our support bus is always nearby if you need a break. The total distance covered will be around 20 miles, with an elevation change of +800/-2500 ft.
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the park before we visit a coffee plantation to learn about what goes into making the perfect cup. Depending on the group’s interest, we have the option to do a short hike in Topes de Collantes National Park before heading south to Trinidad. Founded in 1514, this charming town has retained many of its colonial buildings and boasts a rich artistic heritage.
For the next two nights, we will be staying in casas particulares, bed and breakfast-style accommodation that has been set up in people’s homes. It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about the everyday lives of Cubans and support local entrepreneurs. Dinner will be enjoyed at a paladar, with these private restaurants often housed within historic buildings.
Trinidad to Playa Ancon
In the morning, you may opt to do a loop ride to Playa Ancon, which is considered one of Cuba’s most beautiful beaches. The ride (22 miles, +200/-200 ft elevation change) will take us along the coast to meet up with our kayaks for a leisurely paddle (1.5 hours) along a peaceful river. In addition to offering impressive views of Trinidad, you’ll be treated to exceptional birdwatching.
After lunch in Trinidad, we’ll take the time to explore the town’s pedestrianized center and visit a local artist to learn about their experiences. In the early evening, Julio Munoz, a talented photographer, will share with us his journey and the challenges of running a private business in Cuba.
After dinner at a local paladar, you’ll have the opportunity to discover Trinidad’s legendary music scene at the Casa de la Musica.
Trinidad to Cienfuegos
After breakfast, we’ll head out of town to begin the day’s bike ride (24 miles, +851/-987 ft elevation) along the coast to Cienfuegos. This scenic and relatively flat ride offers magnificent views across the Caribbean Sea, with the opportunity to stop and swim along the way. We’ll refuel over lunch before being transferred into the center of Cienfuegos, which is often referred to as the “Pearl of the South”.
Settled in the mid-19th century, Cienfuegos is famed for its seaside malecon and beautiful architecture, which of which is protected as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a walking tour, we’ll visit some of the city’s most majestic buildings, including the Teatro Tomas Terry. Dinner will be at a local paladar near the “Prado”, one of the city’s most popular places to socialize.
Cienfuegos to the Bay of Pigs
Today’s ride (35 miles, +414/-506 ft elevation change) begins in Yaguaramas on the outskirts of Cienfuegos and takes us through tranquil rural landscapes where people can be seen working in the fields alongside their oxen. By midday, we will reach Playa Giron on the Bay of Pigs, which is synonymous with the United States orchestrated invasion of 1961.
After lunch, we’ll have time to visit the Museum of the Bay of Pigs before an optional snorkel in Zapata National Park to discover what is one of the Caribbean’s healthiest reef systems. During this excursion, you’ll learn about the research being done to support the area’s marine life in collaboration with U.S.-based institutions.
This evening, we will be staying in a casa particular in the beachside town of Playa Larga. Before dinner, we will be treated to an informative chat with a ranger from the National Park Service to learn about the challenges of conservation in Cuba.
Playa Larga to Havana
After breakfast, we’ll begin the ride from Playa Larga to Palpite to visit a local school dedicated to art and music. While interacting with the students, we’ll learn about the classes they take in everything from dance to drumming and pottery. Afterward, we’ll have the opportunity to view the world’s smallest hummingbird, the bee hummingbird, which reliably visits a flowering tree nearby.
In the afternoon, we will continue to Havana to visit the Parque Historico Militar Morro-Cabana, an immense military complex built by the Spanish. Stroll around its fortifications before exploring the hamlet of Casablanca with its marble statue of Christ. Sculpted by Jima Madera, it enjoys impressive views across Havana’s bay. If time allows, we will also visit the Church of the Black Virgin and spend time learning about the Cuban-born religion of Santeria.
After checking into our hotel, we’ll enjoy dinner out at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, an art gallery and music venue within a former cooking oil factory.
Today will be spent exploring Havana, beginning with a drive to Hemingway’s former house and museum at Finca La Vigia. Designed by the Catalan architect Miguel Pascual y Baguer, this beautiful estate nestles amidst lush palms and is home to the writer’s beloved boat, “Pilar”. Afterward, we will continue to another of Hemmingway’s favorite haunts, Cojimar, and have lunch at Paladar Ajiaco.
In the afternoon, we’ll wander the historic streets of Havana Vieja, with its beautiful plazas and lovingly restored buildings. Take time to stroll along the seafront malecon or explore the city at your leisure before we meet for our farewell dinner in the evening.
Departure - Goodbye Havana!
After breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to Havana as you make your way to the airport for your return flight home. Taxis cost roughly USD25-30 for up to three people and their luggage.
*Don’t forget to exchange your Cuban pesos back into US dollars before leaving the country.
Dates & Rates
|Jan 01, 2024 to Dec 31, 2024
Guaranteed departures for 2 or more people
Note: Travel in Cuba requires a flexible attitude. Our days are full, and as required by U.S. law, we have a full-time agenda of Support for the Cuban People activities. Cuba has it’s own beat and things don’t always run on time. The activities and visits listed are not guaranteed but we endeavor to do our best to provide the content intent of this Support for the Cuban People program. Visiting developing countries can be eye-opening and life-changing, and hopefully visiting Cuba is both. Accommodations may not be up to the standards you are used to. Sometimes the hot water or air conditioning doesn’t work. We ask all our guests to appreciate the authenticity of your cultural encounters as well as the people, food, culture, and adventures that are exceptional in their difference. Our local guide, along with your Cuba Unbound Tour Leader promise to do their best to make this a fascinating and educational experience.
Dates: Guaranteed departures for 4 or more people on any Saturday! Please inquire today to begin the booking process.
Rates for 2024 Season:
- $4190 per person
Prices above reflect our lower tiered price.
Up to 16 spaces available on each tour (depending on the number of solo travelers and available accommodations)
Single Supplement: $500
If you are traveling solo and prefer private accommodations (pending availability) you may elect to pay the single supplement fee. If you are traveling solo and wish to be paired up with another solo traveler of the same gender in order to avoid the single supplement fee, please let your Adventure Consultant know at the time of booking. We will do our best to find another traveler to pair you with, however if there is not another solo traveler of the same gender willing to share on your trip, you will be charged the single supplement fee.
- Experienced English-speaking guide(s)
- Specialized activity guides based on activity of trip (kayaking, biking, hiking, etc.)
- Specialized equipment needed for activities such as kayaks, bikes, helmets, paddles, personal flotation devices, etc.
- Private pre-tour orientation meeting
- Cuba Unbound hand-crafted itineraries
- Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
- All meals as noted in itinerary
- Certification of travel to Cuba under the U.S. Department of Treasury general license
- Small group size (Custom tours for 2, group tours are 16-18)
- All entrance fees to include events and activities
- All in-country ground transportation
- Clean drinking water available at all times
- Gratuities for presenters, luggage handling, restaurant staff
- Round-trip air to/from Cuba
- Transfers to or from airports in Cuba
- Cuba Tourist Visa Fee (ranges from $50-$100 depending on where you buy it)
- Guide gratuities
- Personal expenses such as souvenirs, gifts, alcoholic beverages, additional entertainment outside the standard itinerary, and incidentals