Top 5 Cuban Rides

Topes de Collantes

Cuban Highlights Ride - day 6

1 - Topes de Collantes

What makes this ride unique is the awesome variety of scenery and terrain that you’ll experience over the course of the day. Leaving Trinidad and its nearby beaches behind, an incredibly scenic transfer journey winds up a serpentine road through ever changing jungle scenery. Most people are glad to sit back and enjoy the view as the road climbs about 900m through the Escambray Mountains, with some very steep sections. At the top there is a visitor’s centre with some spectacular views, both back to the coast as well as deeper into the mountain range. ‘What goes up, must come down’ as they say and there is certainly plenty of fabulous downhill riding to enjoy on this day ride. The route heads across an almost alpine plateau, before descending through varied forests of plantain, banana, jasmine, begonias, tall pines, eucalyptus, orchids, ferns and Mariposa (Butterfly lily, Cuba’s national flower). The day does have a sting in the tail, with quite a long climb from Manicaragua up to the hotel at Lago Hanabanilla, but the stunning lakeside setting here makes the effort worthwhile. Ride approx. 43km.

2. Sierra Maestra

Cycling Cuba - day 9  

Cyclists photographing, Sierra Maestra

Down in the far south of the island, and half way through the Cycling Cuba trip, we depart the town of Bayamo and set off towards the Sierra Maestra, Cuba´s highest mountain range. This area is known for being the seat of Fidel Castro’s Revolutionary Forces in the 1950s, when the ‘26th of July Movement’ began fighting to topple the US-backed Batista regime. From their strategic HQ ‘Comandancia La Plata’ up in the mountains, Castro and Che Guevara went on to fight government troops all the way up to Havana, ultimately declaring a victory for the revolution in 1959, a legacy that remains to this day. As we cycle upwards, the scenery becomes lusher and villages scarcer. The climb is tough, but the majestic views more than make up for it. We finish the ride at our lodge hotel, tucked into the tropical forest, situated by a waterfall where we enjoy a refreshing swim upon arrival! Ride approx. 75km.

3. Coastal ride to Trinidad

Cycling Cuba - day 5

3 - Coastal to Trinidad The ride from Cienfuegos to Trinidad is a classic Cuban route, deserving to be included on any cycling holiday to the centre of the island. Setting off at sea level in Cienfuegos, the route passes vast mango groves before climbing the nippy hills, which provide a rollercoaster ride towards the Escambray Mountains. For the rest of the day we pass quintessentially Cuban panoramas of sugar cane fields and small villages, with the Escambray Mountain range on our left. Approaching Trinidad, the road hugs the Caribbean coastline, with bridges passing over creeks and picture-perfect inlets, before making a final climb into one of the most picturesque of all Cuban towns. Truly a day to remember! Ride approx. 87km.

4. Viñales

Cuban Biking Adventure - day 3

DSC00717 - Cubania

From our Family trip ‘Cuban Biking Adventure’, this ride isn´t necessarily the most challenging, but it certainly offers plenty of scenery and ‘wow factor’. The day is spent riding amid the most spectacular parts of the Viñales Valley, situated in the Piñar del Rio region, to the west of Havana. Jurassic limestone has created a magical landscape of lush, green mountain karsts which burst vertically out of the equally lush valley floor. The area is justifiably classified as a World Heritage Site; the farmers of Viñales have maintained traditional farming methods that ensure the valley´s natural beauty is sustained. We set off in the morning and visit ‘Cueva del Indio’, part of a huge underground cave system. From here we spend the day cycling along quaint back roads on a gentle route that leads us back down to the charming small town of Viñales. Ride approx. 30km.

5. Bay of Pigs

Cuban Highlights Ride - day 2 IMG_2790

As the first leg of our Cuban Highlights Ride itinerary, this is another interesting and historically significant route that passes fields of sugar cane, citrus plantations, and the occasional sleepy village where time appears to stands still. The scenery becomes more memorable as we approach the coast, with regular glimpses of beautiful bays and beaches, ideal for snorkelling and swimming. We reach the coastline at Playa Larga and continue onwards before stopping for a swim and picnic close to Punta Perdiz. Next we continue to Playa Giron to visit a museum that commemorates one of the most important events in Cuba's recent history. The Bay of Pigs (Bahia de Cochinos) was the site of a failed military invasion of Cuba in April 1961, undertaken by CIA-sponsored pro-Batista forces intent on overthrowing the revolutionary left-wing government of Fidel Castro. Launched from Guatemala, the invasion attempt was defeated within three days by the Cuban armed forces, under the direct command of Castro. Predictably, this only strengthened his reputation in the eyes of his faithful followers and a visit to this area is a fascinating insight into revolutionary Cuba. After Playa Giron, there is another beautiful swimming opportunity in a natural pool teeming with tropical fish at Caleta Buena. Keep your eyes peeled, as this protected habitat is native to the bee hummingbird – the smallest bird in the world! Ride approx. 40km.

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Cuban Highlights Ride

Cycling Cuba

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