Cycling through iconic Cuba

Cycling Cuba Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Cuba
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
MAH
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

16 Days Flight Inclusive
15 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

Cuba’s music, beaches, old cars, striking architecture and revolutionary history combine to make the perfect cultural destination with a lively atmosphere. Our cycle route passes through stunning countryside with a patchwork of plantations, fields and jungle, allowing us to appreciate the traditional way of life that continues today. Out of the saddle we can experience Trinidad’s vibrant music scene, the crumbling colonial buildings of Havana and learn about the revolutionary history of Santiago. After a day of cycling you'll no doubt welcome Cuba's speciality - a refreshing mojito!

At a Glance

  • 10 nights hotels, 4 nights in Casas Particulares
  • 12 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 90% tarmac, 10% unpaved 
  • Good level of fitness is required

Trip Highlights

  • Cycle the length of idyllic Cuba through the country's key historic colonial and revolutionary areas
  • 100% vehicle support throughout the trip with two vehicles for groups of 10 or more
  • High quality, well-maintained bikes and mechanical support throughout
  • Cycling leaders trained to UK leadership standards (CTC Bike Tour Leader Award)
  • Vibrant culture with its rum, mojito's and salsa beats!
  • Cuban Tourist Cards included for all UK residents
  • Direct flights with Virgin Atlantic usually available

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is classified Road.
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate).
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure for more important information on classification and grading.
Average daily distance: 60km (37 miles)
Number of days cycling: 12
Vehicle Support: 100%
Terrain and route: surface 90% tarmac, 10% dirt roads, some hills.

Overall the trip is not too strenuous but a good level of fitness is required. Routes follow mainly quiet back roads and can be potholed. This tour covers some remote parts of the island. Though many of the roads are in good condition you should expect potholes and poor road conditions in some sections. The roads are generally free of heavy traffic, except in some of the bigger towns/cities visited.

Terrain varies from flat around Las Tunas to hilly, and mountainous in the Sierra Maestra. In the harder areas there are some longish climbs, requiring good fitness, (particularly as Cuba is invariably hot and humid), and also some steep descents. Day 7 is particularly strenuous as we are cycling in a mountainous region.

Please remember to drink lots of water when cycling as the heat and humidity can be high (applies especially to June/July/August departures). We have added departures over the UK summer due to the popularity of the trip. This is one of the best times to visit Cuba for sun-seekers! Levels of humidity over the summer months are very high, so it's important to bear this in mind. Some group members may want to do a slightly reduced distance each day and also avoid cycling in the middle of the day. If this is the case our back up vehicle will be available. It is possible for the rest of the group to continue on the itinerary as planned, but please don't forget to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.

Please be aware that mobile networks don’t make or receive calls particularly well in Cuba, and coverage may not be available in many locations. 4G was introduced in Cuba in October 2019 for the first time but not all phone networks work in Cuba, so please check with your service provider. Also please note that few hotels have Wi-Fi. Some will have internet in their lobby, and you will also find some Wi-Fi spots in the main plazas in towns. Using the internet in Cuba is relatively expensive, around 1-3 CUC per hour and you have to purchase WiFi scratch cards at either official shops or at some hotels, often you'll encounter long queues. Wi-Fi can be very slow, so it’s best to assume that you won’t be able to find a reliable internet connection whilst travelling.

Over the years we have built strong working relationships with suppliers and we have managed to prevent any major problems from affecting our groups. Nevertheless, all travellers should be aware that last minute hotel cancellations are a possibility and could affect your trip, especially during the high season in Havana (Oct to March). In the event of any necessary changes we will endeavour to ensure a property of the same standard and similar location is used. On some occasions an overnight hotel stay may be replaced with a night in a casa, or vice versa.

In addition to being prepared for potential last minute hotel changes, it is possible that you will be confronted by other minor frustrations whilst travelling in Cuba. We encourage all travellers to go with an open mind, and with realistic expectations at what a visit to Cuba entails. If your guide announces a change of plans then please be assured that everything possible has been done behind the scenes in order to make satisfactory alternative arrangements. 

Please note: As an American owned company, Exodus programmes to Cuba are fully compliant with the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) general license for Support for the Cuban People. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

A mechanic will accompany the group throughout the trip.

Our guides are local cycle tour leaders, experienced at working with groups, English speaking, and very knowledgeable about their country.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
18

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Havana
End City:
Havana

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Havana.

    The group flight arrives in the afternoon, a transfer will be provided to take you to our hotel. Land only clients will meet the group at the start hotel in Havana.

    Accommodation: Hotel Nacional (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Cycle through Havana; transfer to Remedios via Santa Clara.

    In the morning, we will have our bike fitting before we set off on a warm-up ride through residential and modern Havana. Today we will be joined by members of the Cuban ‘Masters’ Road Cycling Club. This club is made up of veteran Cuban cyclists who regularly compete in races in their respective age groups and will give us an insight into competitive cycling in Cuba. We will cycle through various districts of the city, stopping along the route in the old town for a coffee and fruit juice at a small café run by local residents, located in a typical urban residential community. From here we’ll depart by bus and drive eastwards to begin our tour of the island. On the way towards Santa Clara, we’ll stop to eat our picnic lunch before continuing to see the Che Guevara memorial site in Santa Clara. The pretty town of Remedios is our final stop today. Upon arrival we will visit a workshop, in which they prepare for the towns’ famous event celebrated every Christmas, ‘Las Parrandas de Remedios’. This is a very lively street parade where people from the local community participate. We will enjoy a group dinner tonight at a local paladar.

    Today's driving time is approx. 4 hours.

    Accommodation: Hotel Barcelona or Hotel Mascotte (or similar) 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 23 km / 14 miles
  • Day 3

    Cycle to Mayajigua; transfer to Camaguey.

    After breakfast, we take a short transfer to just outside the town of Caibarien, where we start cycling towards Mayajigua. Along the way we stop for coffee at the home of a Cuban family, where we we can find out about life in rural Cuba. The cycling route today is mostly flat as we head eastwards along a section of the country’s ‘northern circuit’. Despite the ride not being too challenging today, there is the likelihood of encountering a headwind when cycling in this direction. After lunch we transfer to Camaguey, where we check-in to our hotel located in the centre of town. A local historian will join us for dinner this evening, to discuss the history of Camaguey, the third biggest city in Cuba.

    Today's driving is approx. 4 hours.

    Accommodation: Hotel Colon (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 53 km / 33 miles
  • Day 4

    Transfer to Puerto Padre; partial coastal ride to Gibara.

    This morning we depart the hotel by bus, driving to Puerto Padre in Las Tunas province. Starting from the coastal Malecon road, we cycle out of town heading eastwards on undulating roads. We will be greeted by a Cuban family at the town of Delicias, who will welcome us into their home and offer fresh fruit and coffee. We carry on riding from Uñas to Aguas Claras, experiencing some climbs. Today’s destination is the charming coastal fishing town of Gibara, where we will stay at a centrally located hotel. In the evening we’ll take a short walk before dinner to meet local fisherman and learn about their way of life in this remote coastal town. Dining at a private restaurant, we will have an array of seafood specialities. The town is also the unassuming destination for an annual film festival, so this evening we will be joined by a local resident involved in the running of the festival. 

    Today's driving time is approx. 2.5 hours.

    Accommodation: Hotel Arsenita (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 81 km / 50 miles
  • Day 5

    Transfer to Holguin; cycle to Biran; transfer to Santiago.

    After breakfast we take a short transfer to the outskirts of Holguin before jumping on our bikes and starting cycling towards Biran. Today’s route covers well-surfaced roads with some undulations and several fast downhill sections. Fans of Buena Vista Social Club will appreciate riding along the route that rose to fame in their song ‘Chan Chan’. In Biran we will explore a famous village with great historical significance as it is the birthplace of Raul and Fidel Castro. A farm visit will give us an insight about the sugar cane industry in Cuba. Afterwards we board the bus and transfer to Santiago. This evening we take part in a salsa class with Cuban dance partners, where each member of the group will have their own dance partner to assist in teaching salsa moves!

    Today's driving is approx. 3.5 hours.

    Accommodation: Hotel San Felix (or similar)

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 64 km / 40 miles
  • Day 6

    Morning city tour; cooking class; visit El Cobre and drive to El Salton.

    Santiago de Cuba is known as the 'City of Heroes' due to the important role it played in the battles for both the independence and the revolution. The morning is spent sightseeing, including a visit to the Moncada Barracks ‐ where the opening shots of the revolution were fired on 26 July 1953 when Castro and his men attacked the barracks. We also visit the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, where both Jose Marti and Fidel Castro are buried. No trip to Santiago would be complete without visiting Serrano park and joining a game of dominoes, which is probably the most common pastime throughout Cuba. For lunch today we will have a cooking class and learn about some traditional Cuban dishes. Expect a hands-on cooking experience, with detailed explanations and recipes to take home. After lunch, we leave the city behind and drive towards the green mountains of the Sierra Maestra, stopping to visit El Cobre, the most sacred pilgrimage site in Cuba. We will carry on our drive to our destination, El Salton.

    Today's driving is approx. 3 hours.

    Accommodation: Hotel El Salton (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Ride through the Sierra Maestra to Bayamo.

    An early start for a short walk in the mountains with a local guide, as we pass through the tropical forest and coffee plantations before stopping for coffee and fruit at a local farmer's home. We return to our hotel to prepare for a challenging ride from the hotel through the Sierra Maestra. Heading deeper into the mountains, today's route is dominated by Pico Bayamesa - at 1,730m above sea level it is Cuba's third tallest peak. This is an area of stunning natural beauty that is rarely visited by tourists. After passing through numerous villages we reach our hotel in Bayamo, where we can relax after one of our hardest rides. This city is where the Cuban national anthem was composed in the mid-19th Century and is one of the original 7 'villas' founded by the Spanish conquerors. In the afternoon, we enjoy a tour of the city with the traditional transportation of a horse and cart. During this tour we will have several stops at different sights so you can gain insider knowledge from local Cubans as you enjoy discovering Bayamo. This evening we visit a local paladar for dinner.

    Accommodation: Hotel Royalton (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 72 km / 45 miles
  • Day 8

    Cycle to Manzanillo; transfer to Camaguey.

    With a long day ahead of us, we start early today, leaving Bayamo by bike. We exit the city passing through agricultural towns and sugar cane plantations, on a fast and flat ride cycling westwards towards the coast. On route we will stop in the town of Yara to find out about Cuba’s national sport, baseball. We will visit the stadium and our guide will explain the importance of the sport in the culture of the island. We carry on cycling to Manzanillo, stopping to have a packed lunch by the water in a small park at the end of the coastal road. From here we transfer to our final location for today, Camaguey – the youngest UNESCO heritage site in Cuba. Characterized by 'tinajones' – large, earthen jugs found in the squares, churches and gardens that were originally used to store water during drought periods. Upon arrival you will be taken on a tour along the four plazas by ‘bicitaxi’, whizzing around in true Cuban style!

    Today's driving is approx. 3 hours.

    Accommodation: Hotel Colon (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 69 km / 43 miles
  • Day 9

    Transfer to Banao; cycle to Trinidad.

    After breakfast we will travel by bus to Banao. Once we reach Banao, the group will start cycling along a scenic route to the town of Trinidad. On our journey, we stop to visit a group of women from the local community, who are keeping regional traditions alive by teaching textile handicraft making to younger generations. When we arrive in Trinidad, we enjoy a welcome drink at Casa de Alberto – our group’s hub for the next two days. In the afternoon explore the town of Trinidad with a local resident, adding a different perspective to the walking tour. Trinidad has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, it is one of the best-preserved colonial towns of the island. Exploring Trinidad is like stepping back in time, the cobbled streets and horse drawn transportation whisks you back to colonial times. The tour of the city will also include a visit to the ‘Casa Templo de Santaria de Yemaya’ where we will find out about the Santeria Afro-Cuban religion. In the evening learn how to make the perfect mojito at a cocktail making class. Local Cuban bar staff will provide a tutorial before judging the group to see who has made the most authentic Cuban drink.  

    Today's driving is approx. 3.5 hours.

    Accommodation: Casa Particulares in Trinidad

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 51 km / 32 miles
  • Day 10

    Cycle to Playa Ancon; afternoon pottery making class.

    On today's ride we will be joined by members of the Trinidad Cycling Club, wtih plenty of time to chat and interact as we all cycle to the fishing village of La Boca, a popular spot with local fisherman going about their daily business. Our ride continues to Playa Ancon, a classic white sand Caribbean beach, where weather dependent we have a picnic lunch. For those who wish to, there will be swimming opportunities before we cycle back to Trinidad. On our return, we will visit the workshop used by the Trinidad Cycling Club to learn more about the local cycling culture as well as finding out how they maintain bikes without having easy access to spare parts. In the afternoon we join the Santander family and enjoy a pottery making class. Here we will learn the skills that have been passed down by several generations of this Cuban family before making our very own pottery with the guidance of a family member. This evening we enjoy dinner at a private paladar with a local collective of musicians that will perform interpretations of classic Cuban Trova songs.

    Accommodation: Casa Particulares

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 26 km / 16 miles
  • Day 11

    Cycle the coastal road to Cienfuegos.

    This morning we are joined by our new friends from the Trinidad Cycling Club for the first part of our ride on the coastal road. Literally sandwiched by the mountains and the sea, the road clings in sections to the shimmering Caribbean. We stop at Rancho La Vega farm to have fruit juice or coffee. Today's route passes small communities and crosses bridges over picturesque bays with some short sharp hills. The road then undulates through mango groves until it reaches the Botanical Garden of Cienfuegos, where we stop to relax and take a break in the serene, natural environment. Our ride finishes here, just outside the city of Cienfuegos, and from here we will be transferred by bus to our casas. Tonight, we enjoy a Cuban themed evening which will include Cuban music, delicious roast pork, rum and dominoes prepared by our fabulous host Lily.

    Accommodation: Casa Particulares

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 66 km / 41 miles
  • Day 12

    Ride to Playa Larga.

    This morning we depart by bus to the village of Navarra, from where we will start our ride. Today’s route covers a variety of landscapes – this is a day for discovering the rural heart of Cuba as we pass through small communities dedicated to agriculture and charcoal production. We ride through the Zapata Peninsula – the biggest marshland in Cuba, stopping at Playa Giron for a chance to learn about the CIA-backed ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion in 1961. This region of the Zapata Peninsula is a national park and swamp, providing a habitat for some of the most important bird species of Cuba. Afterwards continuing by bus to Playa Larga, we’ll stay in casas particulares. For our evening meal tonight, we will be joined by a local nature expert who will talk to us about the natural landscapes and characteristics of the area.

    Today's driving is approx. 1.5 hours.

    Accommodation: Casa Particulares

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 92 km / 57 miles
  • Day 13

    Cycle to organic farm for lunch: transfer to Matanzas.

    This morning, a short transfer to Jaguey Grande takes us to our starting point. Today we ride alongside citrus plantations at the heart of the island, arriving in time for a country lunch at ‘Finca Coincidencia’, an organic farm in the centre of Matanzas province. The property is home to a family venture that combines farming, art and eco-friendly agricultural methods. In the afternoon, we transfer north to the city of Matanzas where we visit a pharmaceutical museum and talk to a local expert to learn how Matanzas was well known for its innovative treatments and the legacy that still exists today.

    Today's driving time is approx. 2 hours.

    Accommodation: Hotel Velasco (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 57 km / 35 miles
  • Day 14

    Cycle to Playa Jibacoa; transfer to Havana.

    For the final ride of the tour, we depart directly from the hotel in Matanzas, climbing out of the city as we leave and head westwards. On the first section of the route we may encounter some road traffic. After we turn towards the town of Ceiba Mocha and begin the climb to Picadura Valley pass, we’ll soon find ourselves in peaceful and beautiful surroundings where we can enjoy valley views and the occasional small village. One of these is an old traditional sugar cane village, where we will stop to learn about the historical importance the industry had on Cuba. We will carry on cycling until we reach a lookout point, from there we are rewarded with a long stretch of flat and downhill roads that take us all the way to the Caribbean coastline. We will end the ride at the beach, arriving in time to have lunch at a hotel. Make the most of an all-inclusive pool bar and have a well-earned swim and cool down in the water! From Playa Jibacoa we drive back to Havana in time for a city tour in classic cars. Visiting both the old and new areas of the city, we discover the distinct neighbourhoods of the capital, stopping at points of interest. Feel free to ask questions about why the streets of Cuba are filled with classic American cars manufactured in the 1950’s and how on earth the owners manage to maintain them! Afterwards we will head back to our hotel to get ready to go out for our farewell group dinner at a paladar in Havana.

    Today's driving time is approx. 1.5 hours.

    Accommodation: Hotel Nacional (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 62 km / 39 miles
  • Day 15

    Sightseeing in Havana; visit bike workshop; transfer to airport; fly back home.

     

    This morning we have a walking tour of Old Havana – the heart of Cuba's capital and the largest city in the Caribbean. Havana is a busy, bustling, energetic capital, and one of the finest colonial cities in the Americas with narrow streets, spacious plazas and glorious architecture. There is an air of faded grandeur about the place with paint peeling off buildings. The area of Old Havana is often described as a living museum, with its marvelous monuments, cathedrals and palaces. During our tour we visit a ration store, food market and artisan market for a chance to buy some souvenirs. We will finish this tour by visiting the Velo Cuba cycling project which is run by an inspiring group of Cuban women who rent bikes and promote cycling as a form of transport. During our visit we will find out how they use limited resources to help fix people’s bikes up so that they are roadworthy and about teaching children of ‘La Habana Vieja’ how to ride!

    Those on group flights will transfer approx. 30 - 40 minutes this afternoon to Havana airport for the return flight to London. Everyone else is free to leave or make onward travel arrangements.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels & Casas Particulares

You will spend 10 nights in hotels and 4 nights in Casas Particulares (in Trinidad, Playa Larga and Cienfuegos). All of our Cuban itineraries include staying in privately-run 'Casas Particulares' in at least one destination as an alternative to staying in standard hotels. These are traditional Cuban properties that enable you to have a rewarding insight into the local lifestyle and culture by staying as a guest in a Cuban home. Rooms are on a twin-share basis, with air conditioning, and some hotels have swimming pools. Please note that power cuts do regularly occur in Cuba, and hot water supplies are not always guaranteed.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £295.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 10 dinners included, allowing the option to try some local restaurants on the other evenings.

We provide 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 often find the food choice limited. Meals will be more varied for everyone in Havana and seafood is 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 water than provided, it is available for approx. CUC 1.50 per bottle.

Transportation

The support vehicle will carry all of your luggage and personal belongings, and will follow the group all of the time, allowing you to cycle as much or as little as you like. The majority of the tour is spent on two wheels but the shape of the island does mean we have a couple of long transfers. The longest transfers are on days 2, 3 and 8 (approx. 4 hours).

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

The dry season runs from November through to April (with December to March being the peak holiday months for traditional style tourism). It is humid between May and October, with heavy rains at times and the possibility of hurricanes. July and August are some of the most popular months to visit Cuba by sun-seekers from Europe and Canada but can be very hot (average 28ºC) and wet.

Levels of humidity over these months can be very high, so it's important to
bear this in mind.

Cuba has an average of 6 hours sunshine per day with a more or less constant humidity of 62%. Water temperature normally ranges from 24 to 28ºC.

Weather Charts

Havana

Trinidad

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive

16 days, normally depart London Thu, return Fri

Itinerary Start

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Virgin Atlantic (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up-to-date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

If you arrive on the group flight then you will be met in the arrivals area by an Exodus representative who will be clearly visible with a sign.

Travelling land only

15 days, normally start Havana Thu, end Havana Thu

Itinerary Start

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Havana in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Havana
Location end:
Havana

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Cycling helmet (compulsory on this trip)
  • Water bottle(s)
  • Cycling shorts
  • Waterproof jacket
  • High factor sun cream
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Hand sanitiser

Optional Equipment

  • In order to cut back on single-use plastic you may wish to bring a Water-2-go bottle which allows you to fill it with tap water and filters the water making it safe to drink (This is recommended for when your not cycling as drinking water is provided while cycling)
  • Your own saddle
  • Your own pedals
  • Cycling gloves
  • Long sleeved shirts and light trousers are good for helping to keep mosquitoes off during the evenings.
  • Mosquito repellent containing DEET is generally thought to be the most effective deterrent.
  • GPS systems are not allowed to be brought into Cuba.

Equipment Hire

Local Bike Details: Trek 8.3 DS Mountain Bikes with hybrid tyres and mechanical disc brakes

A quality local hire bike is now included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.

2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.

3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment

4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may, of course, bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

Reading List

Reading List

Cuba Handbook Christopher P.Baker (Moon Publication)The best and most comprehensive guidebook available. 
Insight Guide to Cuba (APA Publications) Good photography, with a profile of Fidel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
In Focus: Cuba Emily Hatchwell & Simon Calder (Published by Latin America Bureau) A guide to the people, politics and culture.

Travellers Survival Kit: Cuba Simon Calder & Emily Hatchwell Probably the most popular guidebook used by independent travellers in Cuba. Strong on practical advice for independent travellers. 

Guide to Cuba Stephen Fallon (Bradt Publications) Good general guidebook - but not as useful as the Cuba Handbook. 

The Rough Guide to Cuba Good general guidebook.

Land of Miracles Stephen Smith Recently published account of travels in Cuba by a British journalist. Highly recommended.

Enduring Cuba Zoe Bran (Lonely Planet Publications 2002)

For novels based in or about Cuba try:

The Old Man and the Sea, To Have and Have Not and Islands in the Stream All by Ernest Hemingway.
Our Man in Havana Graham Greene.

MAPS

Map of Cuba

www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/caribbean/cuba

 

Practical Information

Passport

Cuba

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Cuba

British and most Western European passport holders do not require a visa but do require a tourist card. Your Cuban tourist card (valid for 30 days) is included and will be posted to you by Exodus approx. 4 weeks before travel. We will send instructions on how to fill it in but please be careful doing this as any mistakes may result in you having to purchase a new card at a cost of GBP17.00 per person + admin fee.

We will send a tourist card free of charge as long as you live at a UK or Ireland address and are national of an EU country, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan. If you are not national of one of these countries or are not resident in the UK or Eire you must contact your nearest Cuban Consulate to check what visa is required - Exodus cannot provide a tourist card for you.

Please note that these tourist cards will not be valid if you are travelling via the US. If you are travelling via the US you will be subject to compliance under the same regulations as an American citizen. You cannot use a visa (Tourist Card) purchased outside the US but will have to buy a ‘pink’ Tourist Card sold only in the US at a US airport or from a US travel agent.

The Cuban entry immigration is time-consuming and most visitors encounter delays when queuing for entry into the country.

The Cuban Government passed a law stating that all tourists visiting Cuba must have travel insurance to cover medical costs. It is possible that you may be asked to provide proof of your travel insurance policy when you arrive at Havana airport, so please ensure your documents are easily accessible.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Cuba

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Hepatitis A. We are advised that there is no risk of malaria. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐date information.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The Travel Health Pro website recommends to have a rabies vaccination on this trip, as cycling is considered a higher risk activity.

We are advised that there is no risk of malaria on this trip.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Cuba's Timezone:
America/Havana CST (GMT -05:00)

Electricity

Cuba's Electricity:

Always 2 flat pins. Most casas just have 110v, some hotels will have a combination of 110v and 220v.

Money

Cuba's Currency

The national currency of Cuba is the Cuban Convertible Peso(CUC), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2020) of approximately 1.28 to the GBP,  0.75 to the CAD, 1.17 to the EUR, 0.71 to the AUD and 0.66 to the NZD.

Please note this is the official exchange rate, however in practice, the exchange rate on the ground at official 'cadecas' changes every day.

It is prohibited to enter or leave Cuba carrying Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) currency. Please make sure you have spent or exchanged any remaining CUC prior to passing through immigrations when you leave Cuba. You can do this at the CADECA exchange office at the airport but we recommend you do this before reaching the airport as queues can be long and only a maximum of CUC300 will be exchanged into another currency. Any drinks, snacks, duty free and souvenirs will now need to be paid using a credit card or cash (GBP, CAD, AUD, USD, EUR etc.).

There is a 'cadeca' currency change facility outside of Terminal 3 at the airport (where the VS flights arrive) or the closest cadeca to the start hotel is within the Hotel Nacional. You can also usually change GBP or most common currencies over the reception desk in the start hotel. It is recommended to bring new unmarked bank notes if possible to avoid hassle in cadecas.

ATM Availability

ATMs are increasingly available in Cuba, but are not yet widespread. They are presently confined to the larger cities and resorts and should not be relied on, hence why we suggest that you take cash with you. Credit cards may be accepted for expensive purchases in tourist shops, but acceptance is not widespread and like ATMs should not be relied upon.

Important Note: Using cards for banks which are fully or partially US owned is not possible in Cuba. Australian and Canadian travellers in particular should check with their banks prior to travel if they intend to withdraw cash. Banking in Cuba is not developed at all, meaning it is a highly costly process with a worst exchange rate.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We strongly advise that you take all spending money in Euros, US Dollars or Sterling cash, which can be easily exchanged into local currency upon arrival in Cuba. Scottish currency is not accepted in Cuba. Travellers cheques are difficult to exchange and there is limited time to stop for this purpose. In addition, credit/debit cards drawn on US banks are not accepted anywhere in Cuba. The hotel in which we spend the first night in Havana has an exchange bureau situated in the back left of the lobby, around behind the main reception desk. Otherwise you can exchange money at the airport.

Tipping

If you are happy with the services of the guide and driver, we recommend a tip of 50 CUC per person, which you can divide in favour of the guide.

Tipping is at your own discretion but is very much part of the culture in Cuba and is usually expected. Your tour leader will offer to arrange and look after a group tipping kitty which will be used to tip local guides at individual museums and attractions, musicians and waiting staff for included meals etc. throughout the holiday. The guide will collect 30 CUC from each group member at the start of the trip to cover this.

Tipping is also expected in restaurants - normally add about 10% to the bill.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.