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Cycle Cuba: East

Cuba

Cycle Cuba: East

Biking
·
Start: Havana
·
End: Havana

Explore eastern Cuba by bike, from Havana to Varadero

Activity
Biking
LocationCuba
Duration8 days
Start / EndHavana / Havana
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Cuba

Cycle Cuba: East

Biking·
8 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Havana
·
End: Havana

Description

Experience Cuba from two wheels as you cycle around the east of this laidback Caribbean island. Travel the colourful streets of Havana, cycling alongside vintage cars on your way to the verdant Bay of Pigs. Discover the UNESCO Word Heritage sites of Cienfuegos and Trinidad, pay homage at Che Guevara’s final resting place in Santa Clara, cycle the pristine and undiscovered Yumuri Valley, and enj...

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Itinerary

Day 1Havana
Bienvenido a Cuba! To make your arrival into often chaotic Cuba a bit easier a complimentary transfer from the airport to your accommodation (guesthouse) is included with your trip (Please see the Accommodation section of our Essential Trip Information for more detailed instructions). Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your tour leader and travel group. As the group is sometimes spread between several (but nearby) guesthouses your leader will leave a note for you explaining where to meet and what to bring. Your evening is then free to relax or enjoy an optional welcome dinner to get to know your riding companions a bit better – your leader will suggest some excellent options. If you arrive early there are a wealth of options for you to enjoy. For a fascinating insight into the Cuban Revolution check out the Museum of the Revolution. Indulge your inner literary fan on an Ernest Hemingway tour or join the locals for a stroll past the fading facades along the iconic oceanside Malecon. For a splashier introduction to Havana, why not hire an open-top vintage American car and check out the sights while cruising the streets. There’s no shortage of restaurants or bars either – the vibrant Obispo Street area of Old Havana is sure to delight.
Day 2Bay of Pigs & Cienfuegos
Start the day with a bike fitting which will help to perfect your posture and ensure comfort while cycling, then transfer to the Bahia de Cochinos, better known as the Bay of Pigs, for your first cycling tour (approx. 30 kms). Begin at Playa Larga; sitting at the head of the bay, this is one of the two beaches that was invaded by US-sponsored exiles in 1961. Cycle along the tree-lined eastern shoreline, past an incredible flooded cave called Cueva de los Peces (the Cave of Fish) to the peaceful sandy arc of Playa Giron – the other beach that was invaded – where you’ll get to rest your weary legs in the crystal-clear Caribbean waters. The bay boasts a deep underwater well and an outstanding variety of coral and fish – it’s the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing dip. For an extra treat, once you've finished swimming in the salty sea simply cross the beachside road and jump in the refreshing waters of a beautiful cenote, a flooded cave full of tropical fish. Afterwards, head to Cienfuegos. Set out on an orientation walk with your leader before a free evening to spend how you please. Riding Distance: about 30 kms/18 miles on sealed tarmac roads with approx. 190m/620ft of elevation gain
Day 3Trinidad
After fuelling up on an included breakfast, today you’ll set out on a 60-kilometre/37-mile bike ride to Trinidad. Cycle through along the rolling hills and past mango trees in the tranquil countryside before nearing the coast and it's stunning views. Sitting on the picturesque Caribbean coast, Trinidad is a standout destination for many visitors. With its well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture, large plazas and sizzling salsa scene, it’s not hard to see why. Get acquainted with the town’s once-grand mansions, pasted-hued buildings, cobble streets and stunning gardens on an orientation walk. In the evening, why not practice your dance moves at one of the many live music venues or take in a folklore show at an open-air venue. Your tour leader can suggest a few of the latest hotspots for a night out on the town. Riding Distance: about 60 kms/37 miles on 100% tarmac roads. Rolling terrain with approx. 460m/1510ft of elevation gain
Day 4Santa Clara
Now that you’ve experienced Cuba’s serene coast and atmospheric towns, today you’ll discover the country’s lush, tropical side at Parque Natural Topes de Collantes. This heavily protected nature reserve is a jungle-covered wonderland of limestone mountains, cascading waterfalls, caves, grottoes and incredible flora and fauna. Drive to Topes de Collantes (approx. 20km), stopping at Mirador del Escambray to enjoy a fantastic view of Trinidad and the Caribbean, then climb onto the bikes and explore the Guanayara section of the reserve by bike, covering about 40-kilometres on mixed tarmac and gravel terrain, both within and outside of the reserve. Make a stop at Mirador del Hanabanilla for sweeping views of Lake Hanabanilla then lunch with the local before a swim in a natural pool with a beautiful waterfall. Ride on a further 20kms then board the support vehicle and make tracks for the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial. Check out the bronze statue of Che bearing his rifle and learn about his incredible life before arriving in Santa Clara, where you’ll enjoy an orientation walk with your group leader. While mainly downhill today’s ride can be a tough one due to the short sharp inclines – but the views alone make it worth it (and the support vehicle is always there if you want the views without the effort) Riding Distance: about 40 kms/25 miles, in hilly terrain on a mixture of approx. 70% tarmac and 30% gravel roads, with approx. 570m/1870ft of elevation gain
Day 5Varadero
After breakfast, drive 2.5hrs east towards Matanzas province and to the small town of Jovellanos where you begin riding today. The province is thankfully largely flat, with an enormous marsh to the south, rocky terrain to the north-west and cays and mangroves to the north-east. Uncover part of this vast province on a 30 kms bike tour, enjoying mostly flat roads passing through little towns and citrus and sugar cane plantations before arriving into the maritime port city of Cárdenas. This is a historical city where many things happened for the first time in Cuba, including the first ever raising of the modern Cuban flag. It is also considered to be the Cuban city of bicycles due to the amount of cyclists in the city. From here it’s just a short drive (30 mins) to the resort town of Varadero and its outstanding beaches. Your accommodation for tonight is a bit more authentic than the string of all-inclusive resorts that line the coast however – you’ll be staying in a Varadero guesthouse. Riding Distance: about 30 kms/20 miles with approx. 180m/590ft of elevation gain
Day 6Varadero
Experience Cuba’s version of beach life with a free day in Varadero. After the past few cycling-heavy days, free time in the sun and sand is bound to be a welcome change of pace. Ask your tour leader about possible water-based activities and optional excursions on offer. Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and snorkelling are all popular options. Perhaps head out on a dolphin-watching expedition or take a boat trip to nearby mangroves where flamingos, crocodiles, parrots and other wildlife can be found. Alternatively, simply find a patch of golden sand, grab a pina colada and enjoy the glorious views. Riding Distance: none
Day 7Havana
Today is an early start as we drive (approx. 45 mins) to Matanzas before getting on our bikes to explore the historic city then riding on to a seldom-visited paradise not far from Varadero’s popular beaches – the Yumuri Valley. Tucked behind the hills that line the province’s northern edges, your 20-kilometre bike tour of the Yumuri Valley will reveal a stunning mix of rolling pastures, fields of palm trees, small forests and agricultural plots, with views of a faded colonial city and of course the beautiful valley itself. The road in the valley is poorly maintained as is practically deserted and traffic free, meaning there are frequent potholes, but this only adds to the feeling of cycling through a part of Cuba so few tourists ever experience. This is your last planned bike ride for the trip, so make sure to enjoy it. Afterwards, head to Matanzas city, the capital of Matanzas province, for a guided walking tour with your leader. Though slightly rough around the edges, Matanzas boasts a fantastic literary and musical heritage. It’s known for its poets, Afro-Cuban folklore and as the birthplace of danzon and rumba (two important Cuban dances). Then it’s a 2 hour drive to return to Havana. Take a closer look at Old Havana on a leader-led walking tour, finishing up at an excellent micro-brewery where you can toast the end of your active adventure a cold brew. Riding Distance: about 20 kms/12 miles on poorly maintained tarmac and gravel roads, with approx. 290m/950ft of elevation gain
Day 8Havana
Your Cuba cycling adventure comes to an end this morning after breakfast. There are no activities or cycling planned for the day. If you have not already organized a transfer to the airport, your guesthouse can usually arrange one for you – please discuss this with them the day before you need to depart.

More info

Trip title

Cycle Cuba: East

Trip code

QBXE

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Experience Cuba from two wheels as you cycle around the east of this laidback Caribbean island. Travel the colourful streets of Havana, cycling alongside vintage cars on your way to the verdant Bay of Pigs. Discover the UNESCO Word Heritage sites of Cienfuegos and Trinidad, pay homage at Che Guevara’s final resting place in Santa Clara, cycle the pristine and undiscovered Yumuri Valley, and enjoy ... Read more

Style

Original

Themes

Cycling

Transport

Bicycle,Support Vehicle (Bus)

Physical Rating

3

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do fo... Read more

Joining point

A Guesthouse (various)

Joining point instructions

ARRIVAL TRANSFER: A complimentary arrival transfer is included with your trip and your driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse - To book your arrival transfer you must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. After collecting your luggage, please continue walking through the 'Main Arrivals Hall' of the airport (Do not exit through the s... Read more

Finish point

A Guesthouse (various)

Important information

1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking. 2. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. 3. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitably sized bike. 4. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. You are una... Read more

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other g... Read more

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you w... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

Cycling through Caribbean Cuba gives you unique access to parts of the island that are off the beaten track

Is this trip right for you

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed) This is a cycling trip, so it requires a certain amount of cycling fitness. This being said, there’s always a comfortable, air-conditioned support veh... Read more

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/o... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will also be able to suggest resta... Read more

Money matters

Cuba currency information - The official currencies of Cuba are the Cuban Peso Convertible (CUC) and the National Peso (CUP also known as Moneda Nacional M.N.). Non-Cubans deal almost exclusively in convertibles (CUC). The National Peso (CUP) has very limited use, especially for travellers. What's confusing for travellers is that the Cubans call both currencies 'pesos', so you must ask or know the... Read more

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to pur... Read more

Climate and seasonal

WEATHER CONTINGENCIES: Please note that Hurricane season is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors these situations as they may arise, so that itineraries or activities can be amended as necessary.

A couple of rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the loca... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us INTERNET IN CUBA:  There are WIFI hotspots located at larger hotels and at major public squares in most cities. You will need to purchase an ETECSA internet card from the ETECSA shop or larger hotel. Usuall... Read more

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity an... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving... Read more

Transport notes

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of c... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more

Accommodation

Local Guesthouse (7 nts)
8days
€1,075per person
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Havana
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Havana
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