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.
We depart from Havana and transfer to Mariel, where we have a bike fitting and set off for the biosphere reseve of Las Terrazas in Sierra del Rosario. The area suffered badly from deforestation, but following the Revolution a community led replanting scheme was initiated and vast pines, cedar and eucalyptus trees now grow on the terraces. The reforestation has been so successful that the area is now a haven for migrating birds from the north along with the Cuban national bird, the Tocororo. Also look out for numerous species of orchids and Cuba's national flower, the mariposa. There's a lake where you can go boating, a wonderfully clean river and plenty of natural pools and waterfalls. We'll stop for a picnic lunch on the way. On arrival at Las Terrazas there's the opportunity to enjoy a zip wire adventure through the canopy. We continue cycling to San Juan River, where we can swim in the beautiful natural pools. Our overnight accommodation is in basic wooden huts by the river - a unique experience in picturesque surroundings (please note this accommodation has communal shower and toilet facilities).
Transfer approx. 35km. Ride approx. 50km.
Wake up and have a refreshing dip in the river! We transfer to Soroa after breakfast (approx. 30 minutes), then cycle downhill to a plain where we join the old Havana to Pinar del Rio Road. This scenic ride takes us through rural Cuba, passing rustic farmlands, plantations and villages for a glimpse of an unhurried lifestyle. In the fields we are likely to see traditional farming methods in use. This road is relatively flat, which allows us to reach San Diego de los Banos for a late lunch. From here, we'll transfer to Pinar del Rio town where we stay overnight.
Transfer approx. 25km. Ride approx. 60km then transfer approx. 80km.
Our route today explores some of the best tobacco country in the world. From Pinar del Rio town we cycle to San Luis and then on to San Juan Y Martinez, small villages famous for their excellent tobacco production. We'll stop at the traditional 'vega' that was once home to Alejandro Robaina, known as the 'Godfather of Cuban tobacco' and the only tobacco grower to have his name printed on cigar boxes. At the vega, which continues to be run by his family, we gain an insight into the process of growing tobacco in rural Cuba. From here, we continue our ride, which leads us towards La Guabina, a stud ranch on the banks of a lake. Afterwards we return to Pinar del Rio and then transfer to Viñales Valley where we stay overnight.
Transfer approx. 30km. Ride approx. 55km.
From our hotel, we take quiet backroads towards Puerto Esperanza on the coastline. This is a relatively easy ride towards the sea, slightly downhill and usually with a tailwind. Our route takes us past small farming communities along a rough road (almost off-road) and finally onto the causeway which leads to Cayo Jutias, a deserted island with a beautiful beach. We have lunch on the beach and can spend most of the afternoon relaxing here before we transfer by bus back to Viñales. In the evening we recommend experiencing live Cuban music in Viñales town, such as at the popular Polo Montañez Bar (CUC 2 entrance fee).
Transfer approx. 60km. Ride approx. 50km.
This morning we explore Viñales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with palm trees and tobacco farms - some of the most impressive scenery in Cuba. Huge limestone karsts (sheer-sided, flat-topped hills, also called mogotes) rise from the valley floor, riddled with caves and covered in forest. Thought to date back to the Jurassic period, these mogotes are found in just a handful of places around the world. We'll walk through the impressive stalactites and stalagmites of Cueva del Indio before arriving at an underground river where we board boats to explore deeper into the unique cave system. Emerge from the underworld and into the stunning valley where we continue to take in the scenery by bike, on a circular route stopping at some of the most spectacular view points. We stop for lunch at a huge mural on the side of one of the mogotes, the 'Mural de la Prehistoria', said to depict the theory of evolution. In the afternoon we transfer back to Havana.
Transfer approx. 200km. Ride approx. 50km.
We have a full day to explore Havana, one of the finest colonial cities in the Americas with narrow streets, spacious plazas and glorious Spanish colonial architecture. There is an air of faded grandeur about Havana, with paint peeling off buildings and '50s and '60s American automobiles still dominating the roads. Setting off from our hotel by bike, we'll take a city tour including Revolution Square and a vist to one of Havana's impressive cigar factories, where we'll be able to see the hand-rolling of tobacco in action! The afternoon is free to continue exploring Havana by foot at your own pace. In the early evening we will have a demonstration on how to make the perfect Mojito! With a cocktail to loosen us up we take our salsa class. Salsa is integral to the Cuban way of life and during this lesson, where each person will be partnered with a local Cuban, we get the opportunity to perfect some of the basic moves for our final night in Havana.
Ride approx. 20km.
Free morning in Havana. Those on group flights will be taken to the airport for their return journey to London. Land Only clients are free to leave at any time today.