FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be a fitness guru to participate in your bicycle tours?
Answer: NO! We have had participants from age 6 to 86. Some days are longer or hillier than others, but we have a support van following our groups. We ride about 4 - 5 hours each morning and offer ride extensions for avid cyclists. After lunch, there are usually optional activities such as swimming, horseback riding, trekking or simply relaxing on your balcony sipping a mojito. You're never locked into mileage and we like to take time to smell the roses (or the jasmine, in this case)! You'll get to know Cuba and its friendly people far better on our cycle holidays than traveling by car or tour bus!
Answer: Cuba is probably one of the safest countries in the world. Crime is usually limited to "quick theft" and your physical safety should be very secure. However, you will probably meet a "jinatero" or hustler and you may find yourself saying "No Gracias" more often than you'd like. Because most Cubans are so friendly, it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security but you should remember to take the same precautions as you would when traveling anywhere.
Answer: We stock high quality Canadian-made comfort hybrids and a limited number of mountain bikes, along with replacement parts specific to those bicycles. We discourage bringing your own bike as it's not uncommon to encounter loss or damage en route. We stock replacement parts for our equipment, but parts for your bike are probably not available in Cuba.
Feel free to bring along your personal saddle, clipless pedals or helmet, all of which can be installed/outfitted on our equipment upon arrival. We equip our bikes with a rear carrier/trunk bag or handlebar/map bag, water bottle and cage and optional toe clips. You're welcome to bring along accessories such as a personal tool kit, pump (although our staff sweeps routes for mechanicals), or quick-mount computers.
Answer: Cuba welcomes U.S. tourists and as a courtesy, will stamp your tourist card rather than your passport. Please read our U.S. Participants
page. Although Cuba will welcome you, it’s not currently legal under OFAC guidelines to travel to Cuba as part of a bicycle tour. You can read more on the subject here
Answer: No, you don't have to depart from Canada, you can purchase a Land Only package. It will then be up to you to coordinate joining and departing our tour according to the schedule. We can provide flights from Canada and various Caribbean locations with Canadian charter/scheduled or Cubana Airlines and assistance with other flights as well.
Answer: This is maybe the hardest question to answer. Each tour has its own character and highlights. Don't hesitate to call or e-mail with your personal holiday interests/goals so we can best meet your requirements.
Answer: We offer extensions to all our programs. A tourist visa for Canadians is good for 90 days and can be easily extended locally for an additional 90 days. For most other nationalities the visa is good for 30 days with an option to purchase one additional month locally.
Answer: Our PEI cycle tours are more suitable for young children than our Cuba cycling programs. In Cuba, we recommend that children be at least in their teens as the cycling tends to be more challenging. The Cuba program can be culturally educational and enriching for youth 13 and over.
How much money should I bring? What's included? Top of Page
Answer: Basically, we include everything except alcohol for you and gratuities for tour staff in our bicycle tour prices. There are options such as massage ($10-$15), private restaurants ($15-$20), local attractions ($3-$5), theatre ($10) and more all along the way. Transportation to some of these events or activities is additional. You also need to save $25 for your departure tax.
Credit cards or travelers cheques issued by US banks are not valid in Cuba. Regardless of nationality, passengers should not hope to use debit cards or bank cards in the country. So, as a general guideline we recommend that you bring a minimum of $300 CUC per person, per week and more if you'd like to have emergency funds on hand. For a fee, we offer emergency cash advance service to an of our tour participants not able to use their credit cards for purchases/cash advances in Cuba. Safety deposit boxes are available - and should be used - for a small charge at the properties we visit.
Answer: We contract with various Cuban tourism agencies offering a wide variety of hotels in city, beachfront and natural settings. They are generally 3 to 4 star, clean, comfortable and occasionally quite upscale where available. Many offer twin single beds, and double or queen size beds are generally the exception, not the rule.
Answer: Food is simple, but good. However,be forewarned that people don't go to Cuba for the food! Staples include black beans & rice, fish, chicken and pork. We usually arrange at least one visit to a private Cuban restaurant (paladar). Variety and often ambience tend to be greater in private restaurants than in the state-run operations.
Answer: Most Cuban food contains meat, fish, eggs, milk and cheese. Even food normally suitable for vegans, such as rice and bean dishes, are often cooked with pork fat. As well, soy products regularly consumed by Cubans are often not readily available at tourist hotels and restaurants. Therefore, we recommend bringing protein supplements such as "instant breakfast" etc.
What's the profile of your average participant? Top of Page
Answer: Our typical participant is 55 years old, professional, adventurous, well-travelled and divided between men and women.
Answer: The simple answer is "as soon as possible". Cuba is a popular winter destination and flights to Cuba are often near or at full capacity. The very first thing we do upon receiving your registration form for a confirmed tour and confirming your spot on the tour is book your Cuba flight if not already reserved. Only occasionally are last minute seats available, most fill up weeks in advance. At two to four weeks prior to tour start (depending on the season), all unassigned rooms are released. For paid participants, all tour dates are guaranteed to depart, but groups of 1-4 travelers may only be accompanied by our tour leader rather than also by a Cuban driver and guide. The more lead time you can provide us, the more likely a group is to form for your selected travel date.