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Cuban Highlights Ride

Cycle through Cuban countryside



At a glance

* 3 nights Casas Particulares and 4 nights hotels, all en suite
* 4 days cycling with full vehicle support

* 90% tarmac roads, 10% unpaved tracks

Cycle through Cuban countryside

Following country roads we cycle around the lush Bay of Pigs, site of the
failed US 1961 invasion attempt, and swim in the inviting waters of the
Caribbean Sea. We spend time in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Cienfuegos
and Trinidad – colourful, colonial cities bursting with atmosphere. Cycling
through the tropical forest of Topes de Collantes National Park to Lake
Hanabanilla reveals the natural splendour of this island. We end the trip
learning about Cuba’s revolutionary history, visiting Che Guevara’s Mausoleum
before returning to Castro’s capital – enigmatic, charming Havana.

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/mac_1.jpg?t=1CLVp6

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
* All accommodation 
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Arrival & departure transfers
* Local bike hire
* Tourist card visa for UK residents

Food:
7 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners are included, allowing the option to
try some local restaurants on the other evenings.

We provide basic packed lunches during the day and there are plenty of water
and fruit refreshment stops. 3 litres of water per person is included on
cycling days. You may wish to bring some of your own energy snacks, as food
shops, cafes and restaurants are scarce in many of the rural areas we visit.
Cuba is not renowned for its culinary excellence (although it is improving).
Food can sometimes be relatively unexciting and expensive – in no small part
due to the long trade embargo implemented by the US. Vegetarians will find
the food choice limited. Meals will be more varied for everyone in Havana and
seafood is widely available on the coast. We recommend that you allow CUC 20
to CUC 30 pp per day for the lunches and evening meals on the days where food
is not included. If you need more bottled water than provided, it is
available for CUC 1.50 per bottle.

Start destination: Havana

End destination: Havana

Cycling profile

Day 1

The group flight arrives in the afternoon and we transfer to our hotel. Those
on Land Only arrangements should join us at the hotel in the evening.

*Standard Hotel*

Day 2

After breakfast we drive east to Cienfuegos via the Bay of Pigs. We stop mid
morning for bike fitting and cycle to Playa Larga along the coast. We stop
for a swim and picnic close to Punta Perdiz. After lunch we transfer to Playa
Giron, where we will visit a museum that commemorates the Bay of Pigs
invasion, one of the most important events in Cuba’s recent history. After
visiting the museum we drive to Cienfuegos arriving in time for a visit of
the historical centre. Casas may be located in the town centre or close to
the coastal road. There are some great paladares in the town and the coastal
road ‘malecon’ is usually a lively place to saok up the atmosphere with
locals.

*Casas Particulares*

Day 3

We set off from our casas cycling through Cienfuegos and then into the
countryside past mango groves. After some short sharp hills, we start to
enjoy stunning views of the Escambray Mountains across valleys of sugar cane.
The road then undulates close to the coastline and through gentle hills until
it reaches Guajimico, set on a coast inlet. We stop for lunch in La Vega and
then continue onwards to our hotel for the night. The rest of the day can be
spent swimming in the Caribbean, walking in the surrounding hills or enjoying
the views and sipping a mojito! 

*Standard Hotel*

Day 4

The ride today is along a road that clings to the shimmering Caribbean
coastline all the way to Trinidad. We pass small communities and cross
bridges over picture perfect bays. Some undulations just before Trinidad give
us an appetite before a restaurant lunch in the town! After we’ve reached
Trinidad we can spend the rest of the day exploring this beautiful UNESCO
World Heritage Site. 

*Casas Particulares*

Day 5

Today you can either take a break from the saddle or continue exploring Cuba
on two wheels. For the cyclists, we will make our way through the picturesque
fishing village of La Boca and then continue onwards along the coastline to
reach Ancon beach, a classic white sand Caribbean beach. We’ll then cycle or
transfer back to Trinidad for a free afternoon.

(Optional ride approx 24km)

*Casas Particulares*

Day 6

After a transfer this morning through the stunning Topes de Collantes
National Park, we start cycling along the valley floor between impressive
mountains. Scenery is lush with small farms and villages giving way to open
vistas as we descend towards Manicaragua. We stop for a picnic along the way
and then start to climb towards Hanabanilla, situated on the shores of Lake
Hanabanilla and surrounded by lush tropical hills. This is one of the most
beautiful days in terms of scenery. 

*Standard Hotel*

Day 7

In the morning we transfer to Santa Clara. This was the first major city to
be liberated by Castro’s army in December 1958. Today a number of monuments
commemorate this important period of Cuba’s history, including the mausoleum
of the legendary Che Guevara, where we stop for a visit. We then transfer to
Havana, with a short stop for lunch along the way. Havana is one of the
finest colonial cities in the Americas with narrow streets, spacious plazas
and glorious Spanish architecture. There is an air of faded grandeur about
the place with paint peeling off buildings and ’50s and ’60s American
automobiles still dominating the roads. Time permitting we explore some of
modern Havana including Revolution Square and the Capitolio building before
checking into our accommodation for the night.

*Standard Hotel*

Day 8

We dedicate the morning to sightseeing in Old Havana, taking a walking tour
of its restored plazas. Those on group flights will transfer approx. 30 – 40
minutes this afternoon to Havana airport for the return flight to London.

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Customer Feedback

Cycling Cuba – Fantastic!

Summary:
What an amazing way to see Cuba! I loved every second & Freddy, our guide,
was so knowledgeable & clearly passionate about Cuba, that it really added to
the experience. The group was great fun too. All in all a brilliant holiday.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Reaching the lake at the top after a gruelling 7km uphill on the final day
40km cycle – such an achievement

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Fantastic – highly knowledgeable & alwys ready to help

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Go!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I loved the cycling so much i’m already looking into my next trip

Read full review

Cuban Highlights Tour

Summary:
Fantastic trip with great cycling, cultural and historical aspects. The
entire trip exceeded my expectations for the quality of bikes to
accommodation and food. The cycling was relaxed and, although mostly on main
roads, traffic was not heavy (unlike the headwinds!) and there was always
full back up with the support bus. The food was simple but tasty and the
casa’s were comfortable and far more interesting than staying in a hotel.
Cuba was fantastic and everything we needed was available, just be prepared
for some unreliability such as lack of hot water, toilet paper etc

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The entire trip!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Freddy was excellent. Very knowledgeable about Cuba and it’s history and
patiently dealing with all our questions and ability to miss the (almost)
unmissable cycling stops

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Extend your trip, one week just isn’t enough

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
The most sought after items by the group were toilet paper, bug spray, wet
wipes, sanitiser and 25c for toilet stops.

Read full review

Cuban Highlights

Summary:
Very enjoyable and well organised. Lovely rides through varied countryside
and interesting towns which transported us back in time and gave fascinating
insights into the country’s history. Routes were good and the bikes ideal for
the various challenges – hills, road surface etc. Pleasant helpful supportive
staff always ready with water, snacks and repairs if needed.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Happy Cubans! Despite its troubled history and obvious deprivation it is a
land full of fun and welcome. Whether cycling through rural villages or in
towns we were always greeted with cheerful “Holas!” and waves from smiling
adults and children.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Lenay was an excellent group leader and tour guide. She speaks very good
English, has an extensive knowledge of her country’s history and culture and
is thoughtful, witty and helpful.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Just go and embrace their vibrant world of sun and salsa and have plenty of
Cuban currency. Although it is not the land of plenty and the food is bland
the facilities are very clean!

Read full review

Cuban Highlights Trip

Summary:
Wonderful holiday!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Completing the cycle without using the bus!
Learning about Cuban history and feeling sad that the West has misunderstood
Cuba all these years. They have done a great job of surviving and thriving
despite all the difficulties.
Our guide, Alex, who was full of surprises, knowledge, variety and went out
of his way to organise every detail for individuals in the group ensuring we
all had the best holiday.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Alex was great. He easily interacted with all members of the group. He was
our interpreter for language and events. He worked hard behind the scenes,
cultivating good relationships with Casa owners etc, organising travel
details for group members coming and leaving at different times, dealing with
all the tipping, giving clear instructions and direction and just generally
making sure everything was hassle free for us. He worked patriotically and
with sincerity – very catching! There was never any pressure. A great
holiday because of him.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
A universal plug ( for sinks, baths etc) would be useful.

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Historical, Hot and Colourful Cuba – on Christmas Day!

Summary:
Take what you imagine to find in Cuba – this is most likely what you will
get. I did anyway. Marinade yourself in Cuban culture with salsa, cigars and
mojitos. Get lost in the myriad of cobbled streets in Trinidad. Combine some
great sightseeing with some challenging but not impossible cycling. From
Ernest Hemingway’s bar to a tour of the city in a Cadillac, Havana is rich
and diverse in both its history and landscapes and even how the country is in
a little bit of a technological time warp adds to its charm.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Learning about the history of Castro and Che Guevara before seeing the sights
in Revolution Square was fascinating. The most thrilling moments were in the
American cars tour of Havana – one hour of exhilaration, a must-do!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Alex was informative and humorous while always putting our needs first.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take toilet paper for the casas. Not always available – the standard of the
casas within our group was variable. I was very lucky with Alfonso and his
lovely family. Also take plenty of money – its not cheap.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
The hotel in Havana is a little far from the centre but there is a nice
breakfast and pool here. Wifi is scarce in Cuba so be prepared to be cut off
from the world while you’re there – hardly a hardship though is it?

Read full review

Cuban Highlights Ride

Summary:
What a lovely trip – we had lots of laughs, learned a great deal about Cuban
history and enjoyed a wonderful Cuban crew.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Inspiration took many forms – our group discussions about Cuba, world
politics and kindness to others inspired me each day.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Have to say that both our guide and mechanic took significant efforts to
ensure we were keen to ride and well supported – from cold drinks and sweet
snacks to gentle nudges up big hills to an unwavering love of their country
that was shared each day. Our guide (Alex) was incredibly well informed,
engaged in all he did and had a great sense of humour – as he might say,
quite ‘cheeky’!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take lots of time to engage with the communities you travel through – the
people are very fun, kind and interesting. Tried to leave toiletries behind
as tips in each place we stayed – these are crazy expensive in Cuba and so
easy for travelers to share. Take the time before or after this trip to spend
an additional day or two in Havana – really great city. We also spent time on
our own in Mantanzas and found many wonderful surprises including a great art
studio, fab little bar and paper making gallery.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Thanks … truly a great journey.

Read full review

Wonderful country, beautiful and vibrant.

Summary:
I throughly enjoyed the trip, a true holiday of a lifetime! I LOVED Cuba, it
was so colourful, sunny and full of music and dance. A great tour group,
everyone was lovely and happy to join in!
Cycling was fine, I am active person but not a cyclist except for cycling
tours in the Netherlands, but the cycling was steady and I was tired at the
end of the day, but manageable.
Cycling was on tarmac roads, and mostly fairly straight, but there was little
traffic, just a 1950s car passing regularly to add to the atmosphere. There
were regular breaks, and water was provided by the guides, and the bus was
behind us all of the way.
Was glad to have cycling shorts with padding and also a gel saddle cover.
Ended up leaving my bag on the bus which was always with us, and just
cycling. It was hot and found a bag too annoying to be carting around.
Accommodation was clean and comfortable, though lacked soft furnishings, but
personally for me clean is the important bit! Staying in the Casa’s were my
favourite, gave a more authentic feel, and while simple still had air con,
and I think more comfortable beds than the hotels in my case (we broke into
smaller groups for the nights in the Casa’s).

Food was simple, a yummy meat (grilled chicken, pork that fell apart), with
rice and plantain chips. I thought it was tasty, even if less varied! Fizzy
drinks and fruit juice with meals that you bought separately.

Group tour leader, Alex was excellent. He organised on the tour excellently,
looked after us, and also taught us so much about Cuba’s history and way of
life. He was full of tips and ideas.

Non cycling time was just as fascinating, we learnt to salsa, drank mojitos,
had walking tours around and went swimming in the sea. Really liked Trinidad
and staying there two nights, and Havana town was charming.

Think that doing a tour was a really good way to see Cuba, afterwards stayed
on 4 days at the memories hotel in Jibacoa, but after the fun of the group
and wandering around and being able to mingle it felt a bit fake at the
resort – wish I had done it before the tour rather than after. Other people
in the hotel who did organised trips out weren’t that enamoured and felt
alone it was a bit complicated doing a trip to a neighbouring town or Habana.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Loved the whole Cuban experience and the friendliness of the country. The
tour itself was really well structured, and the cycling was very well
organised – good bikes, safe cycling, and good resources with snacks and
water.
Cuba is a wonderful mix of carribean, spanish language, sun, fun and music.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Group tour leader, Alex was excellent. He organised on the tour excellently,
looked after us, and also taught us so much about Cuba’s history and way of
life. He was full of tips and ideas.
Was clear with instructions and to also give some free time, but also ideas
with what to do in that free time.
Perfect balance of information and helpfulness without being intrusive.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Take a saddle cover – bikes are excellent quality but the saddles are narrow.
I wish id taken a actual sports bottle rather than using a normal water
bottle which i couldn’t undo the screw top while cycling.
Take little and cycle light!
Stop and take photos etc if you want, its not a race and everyone has to wait
at the end, however fast you cycle.
Don’t need to be a cyclist, but you do need a certain amount of fitness, and
the sun can be intense, but be reassured that the bus is behind you if you
need it.

Read full review

Fantastic Cuban Adventure

Summary:
We have just returned from Cuba having done the Cuban highlights cycle & a
beach extension in Cayo Levisa. This is a fantastic trip with very pleasant
cycling, trips to places of cultural & historical importance & some down
time.
The bikes were much better than we expected, the cycling was relaxed & not
too demanding & the motorists very mannerly. The roads were quiet. Full
backup with the bus is there at all times which is great. It was nice to be
able to leave all our things on the bus while cycling.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Trinidad is a beautiful city & cycling out of the city towards Playa Ancon
was lovely.
Staying in Casas Particulares in Trinidad & Cienfuegos was a highlight.
Cycling with a great group & an inspiring leader made this an unforgettable
holiday.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Freddy was simply amazing. Kind, courteous, really interesting & generous
with his time.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
If you want to really see Havana, spend an extra day or two there as time
there on this trip is limited.
Internet etc very limited so warn friends & family that you may not be in
contact & then relax & enjoy the freedom from technology.
If you have time, the beach extension to Cayo Levisa is very relaxing.
Gel saddle pads are useful for the bikes & bring a water bottle.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Hotel in Havana was very disappointing especially breakfast which was cold.
Hot water not always available.

Read full review

Cuban highlights ride

Summary:
Excellent trip, (I was in Jane’s group, see review below) Freddy was indeed
excellent, in addition to being a great cycle guide his knowledge and passion
for Cuba knew no bounds, I came away refreshed and more knowledgeable after a
most enjoyable holiday

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The whole trip!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
excellent, difficult to see how he could have been any better

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
cash points available in Havana and Trinidad

Read full review

Cuban Highlights

Summary:
This was a very well organised trip lead by Freddy, who was a brilliant
guide. His knowledge of Cuba and its history was exceptional. He made the
trip so interesting and his attention to detail was second to none.

Rating: 4

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Difficult to pick just one as the whole trip was fascinating.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
He was excellent.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The food is uninspiring, so don’t go with high expectations. Wi-Fi is very
limited so warn family/friends that communication will not be easy!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
It would be nice if the transfer back to Havana could be split into two days
as it is a long day of travelling. The hotel in Havana was poor – our room
was dusty and dirty and breakfast was almost inedible.

Read full review


Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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