The Coast to Coast Adventure: A Cycling Holiday in Cuba Itinerary, was developed with the assistance of a tourism student of the University of the West Indies’ St. Augustine campus, as part of the Endless Caribbean internship programme.
Sometimes taking the uncommon route is the most fulfilling way to experience the beauty of the Caribbean. You can explore the island, but without the help of tour buses, taxi cars, and public transportation. Instead, your mode of transportation is a bicycle. Cuba is an excellent example of an island that is ripe for exploration by bike. In fact, this is one of the most powerful ways to discover the rugged and picturesque landscape in Cuba and experience sights and sounds off the beaten path.
The ability for locals and tourists to get on bikes and go exploring around the island comes after many years of exciting history and memorable events. The history of Cuba begins with its first inhabitants who were various groups of native groups such as the Taino, Ciboney and Guanahatabey. However, after the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the island, and the subsequent colonisation by Spain, many of the natives died or were killed. Since then, the island has seen stories of slavery, battles, and fights for dominance between Spain and the English and French, and an awakening that changed the island.
Today Cuba is one the most popular Caribbean destinations for alternative tourism experiences. In addition to culture, heritage and historical attractions, the island is also popular for birdwatching, trekking, wildlife and cycling tourism. Because the island has maintained its natural beauty and has a diverse landscape, it is an attractive destination for nature and cycling holidays and tours.
- Viewing the mosaics and furniture once owned by Dulce María Loynaz
- Exploring the cultural and heritage memorials in Santa Clara
- Viewing the memorial created in honour of the Battle of Santa Clara
- Cycling to the historic city of Sancti Spiritus
- Touring the heritage city of Trinidad
- Visiting Lake Hanabanilla and the Escambray Mountains
Day 1: Arrive in Santa Clara, Cuba
Day 2: Explore the heritage and culture sites in Santa Clara
Day 3: Visit memorials for the Cuban Revolution
Days 4 – 12: Embark on the Central/ West Cycle Tour with Cuba 1 Tours
Day 13: Depart Cuba
There are 36 airports in Cuba which include a mixture of national (21), international (10), and military (5) airports. Flights to international airports the international airports of Depending on where you are in the world, you may require special permission to visit Cuba. Travellers from the United States must certify that their flight falls into one of eleven categories. Those travelling from Canada to Cuba require a valid Canadian passport and a tourist card. Travellers in the United Kingdom and Europe must apply for a visa to enter Cuba.
Day 1: Welcome to Cuba and the Hostal D’Cordero
The Hostal D’Cordero is a comfortable and friendly place to stay in Santa Clara. The house is a historic treasure that was once the residence of Dr. Elio Fileno de Cárdenas, Senator of the Republic for the province of Las Villas. It is a beautiful Caribbean property that is tastefully furnished and designed with French and Venetian styles. D’Cordero has four rooms, each of which have air conditioning, art pieces from local artists and collections of lamps, porcelain and crystals. The collection also includes mosaics and furniture that was once owned by Dulce María Loynaz, a renowned Cuban poet.
When you arrive at the Hostal, you will feel the warmth of a traditional Cuban homestay property. The property is close to several attractions such as the Museum of Decorative Arts, Leoncio Vidal Park and North Cayeria. After check-in you will settle into your room and take a light nap. Then you will walk to Restaurante La Casona Guevara for an authentic Cuban meal. There is also the option to purchase to-go meals for a late supper. When you return to the Hostal D’Cordero, you will get ready for bed and make preparations for your upcoming bike tour.
Day 2: Exploring the Heritage and Culture Sites in Santa Clara
On your first morning in Santa Clara, you will head to the Restaurante La Casona Guevara for breakfast. After breakfast take a walk on the vibrant Cuban streets to the Che Guevara Mausoleum. At the mausoleum, you will visit the memorial and museum of the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara and 29 of his fellow combatants. They were killed in 1967 during Guevara’s attempt to spur an armed uprising in Bolivia. For lunch, you will head back to the Restaurante La Casona Guevara for a nap and a bit of relaxation. Then, in the evening you will walk to the Piraterías-Bar de tapas for music, dinner, and drinks.
Day 3: Observing the Cuban Revolution
After breakfast at La Casona Guevara you will take a leisurely walk to Monumento a la Toma del Tren Blindado. This is a national monument, memorial park and museum of the Cuban Revolution. Cuban sculptor Jose Delar created the memorial in honour of the Battle of Santa Clara on 29 December 1958. After the museum, guests will walk back to the Restaurante La Casona Guevara for lunch. Then, you will return to your room to complete your packing for you cycle tour. For dinner, you will head to Piraterías-Bar de tapas.
Days 4 – 12: A Cuba Bike Tour to Remember
This is the day that you set off on your bike tour with Cuba 1 Tours. It is a ten-day tour that takes you from Santa Clara to central and western towns in Cuba. Some of the points of interest are the towns of Encrucijada, Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Cumanayagua, and Manicaragua. Other places of interest are Lake Hanabanilla and the Escambray mountains. The tour includes all accommodation, daily breakfast and dinner, a Cuban guide and driver, bus assistance, guided city tours and a Canadian tour leader.
Day 13: Hard to Say Goodbye
As you get set to leave Cuba, reminisce on a fulfilling and thought-provoking trip. This Cycling Holiday in Cuba itinerary is a mix of culture, heritage, history and sightseeing and exploration via hiking. The beauty about vacations in Cuba is that you can make a plan to do it again next year.
Image: Daniel Sessler via Unsplash