Cycling Western Cuba
Designed for and by cycling enthusiasts, this immersive eight-day adventure takes in some of western Cuba’s most magnificent landscapes. From the vibrant streets of Havana, you’ll journey well off-the-beaten-tourist-track to meet communities and people who provide a face to the country’s legendary reputation.
Pedal through emerald fields of tobacco plants and beneath towering limestone mogotes while learning about the country’s indigenous inhabitants and colonial conquerors. Be mesmerized by Cuba’s verdant biospheres and white sandy beaches, which have lured everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Graham Greene.
When Cuba’s doors were closed to the United States, the country gained a near-mythical status and this cycling tour is all about unraveling the legends to experience the heart and soul of this fascinating country.
*Note: The following itinerary is subject to change, depending on the weather, transportation, and the availability of guest speakers. If changes are necessary, we always try and substitute similar activities that maintain our commitment to promoting independent activities that help to support Cuban society through meaningful cultural exchanges.
It’s important to keep in mind 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 be aware of these issues and embrace them as part of the authenticity of the experience.
Images & Videos
Fly into Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport at your leisure, with our official start time being around 11:00 am on Day 1. If you are unable to arrive before that time on Day 1, we recommend that you book your flight for the previous day (Day 0) and overnight in a local casa particular (private residence) before returning to Jose Marti International Airport the following day to meet your tour leader and fellow travelers.
You also have the option of flying to Miami on Day 0 and overnighting there before taking an early flight to Havana on Day 1. We are happy to offer recommendations and guidance for scheduling your travel to and from Cuba but ask that guests make the flight bookings themselves.
Welcome to Havana!
After gathering at Jose Marti International Airport, we’ll make our way to a local paladar (privately-owned restaurant) for your first taste of the island’s Caribbean-inspired cuisine. We’ll then walk it off with a tour of Habana Vieja, the old part of the city, which is brimming with atmospheric colonial architecture. Despite being so rich in history, the area is still bustling with modern life and offers a fascinating glimpse into modern-day Cuba.
In the evening, we’ll visit another local paladar for dinner before returning to your casa particular for a restful night’s sleep. Alternatively, you may opt to delve into Havana’s legendary live music scene at one of the local nightlife venues.
Cycle Havana to Las Terrazas
After an early breakfast, we’ll escape the urban sprawl of Havana and drive towards San Antonio de Los Baños. It’s affectionately known by locals as the “capital of humor” and is home to a humor museum and film school that was founded with the help of Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez.
From here, we’ll begin our cycling tour towards Las Terrazas, with the journey taking us through Vereda, Caimito, Guayabal, and Cayajabos. Agricultural fields and citrus plantations line the gently undulating route, with Artemisa Province renowned for its orchards and cooperatives. We’ll stop at one to sample the delicious fruit and chat with the manager about the role of cooperatives in Cuba and how their agricultural resources are managed.
Back on our bikes, we’ll continue cycling to Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere that was created as part of Fidel Castro’s 1968 reforestation proposal. Over-exploited for centuries by Spanish conquistadors and once blanketed in coffee plantations, it’s been transformed into a haven for a diversity of bird species that include the endemic tocororo and zorzal.
If time allows, we may visit an artist’s workshop to hear how environmental politics are addressed through the artistic passions of the local community. We’ll then make our way to a casa particular for the evening where a delicious dinner awaits.
• Biking Distance: 30.9 Miles
• Elevation: + 1233 / - 939 ft.
Cycle Las Terrazas to Viñales
Today you will experience some of Cuba’s most spectacular landscapes as we cycle between Las Terrazas and Viñales. Combining a variety of road surfaces, be prepared for an adventure as we pedal through the forests, grasslands, and palm-dotted hills of La Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve. In addition to taking in some fascinating rock formations, our route includes a stop in the town of Bahía Honda for lunch and passes through Cabañas and Palma Rubia.
On arrival in La Palma, we’ll be picked up and transported to Viñales, which nestles in a valley surrounded by limestone mogotes and the pine-covered hills of the Sierra de los Órganos. You'll have time to explore some of its awe-inspiring scenery before relaxing for the evening at our casa particular.
• Biking Distance: 38.4 Miles
• Elevation: + 1953 / - 2400 ft.
Explore Puerto Esperanza and Viñales
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll set off cycling to explore the karst landscapes of the Viñales Valley en route to Puerto Esperanza. Bright green tobacco plantations lie juxtaposed against recently plowed, rust-colored fields and rural villages where life hums along with an enticing serenity.
Around lunchtime, we’ll arrive in the fishing village of Puerto Esperanza and be greeted by a stand of mango trees that were planted in the 19th century. Listen to the gentle crashing of waves as you enjoy lunch in this placid town before we’re transferred back to our lodgings in Viñales.
In the afternoon, you’ll have the option to walk along the “train systems” that traverse the valley and lead to the near-vertical walls of its mogotes. Alternatively, you can visit one of the nearby organic farms and speak with the local farmers about their everyday life.
In the evening, we’ll reconvene for a meal featuring fresh, local ingredients before retiring for the night.
• Biking Distance: 20.9 Miles
• Elevation: + 853 / - 1295 ft.
Cycle Viñales to Pinar del Río
From Viñales, we’ll be transferred to the rural town of Puente de Cabezas where we’ll begin cycling through its undulating fields. Today, we’ll be traversing the San Carlos Valley, which boasts incredible views of limestone bluffs, palm-fringed tobacco fields, and rural huts. Listen to the sounds of Cuba’s birdlife as we enjoy a box lunch en route before arriving in the center of the country’s tobacco industry, San Juan y Martínez.
Here we’ll visit the Alejandro Robaina Tobacco Plantation to see its fields that have been producing high-quality tobacco leaves since 1845. It wasn’t until the late 1990s, however, that Vegas Robaina cigars rose to international acclaim. You’ll gain insight into all aspects of the cigar-production process, from the rainfall that’s required for plant growth to how the finished product is expertly rolled.
We’ll then continue cycling to Pinar del Río, which is named after the pine trees that line its river banks. It’s renowned for its beautifully preserved Neoclassical architecture and jinteros, with a unique energy emanating from the city streets. After checking into our casa, we’ll reconvene for dinner at a local restaurant.
• Biking Distance: 43 Miles
• Elevation: + 1467 / - 1760 ft.
Cycle Pinar del Río to San Diego de Los Banos
Today’s cycle takes us along La Carretera Central, a highway that runs along the length of the island from west to east. We’ll pass by Herradura, Capilla, and Paseo Real de San Diego before our final destination, the village of Fierro. In addition to meeting some local beekeepers, we’ll stop for a picnic to enjoy the natural scenery along the way.
At the end of our ride, we’ll be transferred back to Havana and have time to settle into our casa particular before dinner at a paladar. If you’re weary, you may opt to retire for the evening or take advantage of the city’s incredible live music scene.
• Biking Distance: 31.8 Miles
• Elevation: + 1175 / - 1122 ft.
A day in Havana
With our cycling adventure over, it’s time to explore Havana on foot, beginning in the fantasy-world of José Rodriguez Fuster at Jaimanitas. The renowned Naïve artist transformed the town into an art exhibition known as Fusterlandia, with many of its buildings, benches, and streets becoming his canvas.
We’ll return to Havana through the leafy suburbs of Miramar where several international embassies are situated and visit the Museo de Ernesto Hemingway at Finca Vigía, the author’s former home. Learn about the life and work of one of Cuba’s favorite expatriates before stopping in the seaside hamlet of Cojimar where Hemingway’s boat, Pilar, was moored.
After lunch at one of the local paladars, you’ll have time to stroll along the iconic Malecón, get lost in the charming streets of Habana Vieja, or visit one of the city’s fine museums. As night begins to fall, we’ll explore the city from a different angle - in one of Cuba’s classic cars! Our final night will be spent dining at a paladar before hitting one of Havana’s salsa clubs.
It’s time to say goodbye to Cuba as you make your way back to Jose Marti International Airport for your return flight home. We can help you to organize a taxi from the casa particular (around $30-40 for up to three people with luggage) or you may opt to join our two-day Havana Extension!
*Note: 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
Dates: Guaranteed departures for 2 or more people on any Sunday! Please inquire today to begin the booking process.
Rates for 2024 season:
- $4190 per person
Note: Christmas departures have a supplemental cost ($300 per person) due to our increased prices for accommodations.
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, and restaurant staff
• Round-trip air to/from Cuba
• Cuba Tourist Visa Fee (ranges from $50-$100 depending on where you buy it)
• Guide and driver gratuities
• Personal expenses such as souvenirs, gifts, alcoholic beverages, additional entertainment outside the standard itinerary, and incidentals