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Self-Guided Cycling – 9 Nights

Your first night’s lodging is in the heart of Old Havana. From there ride west hugging Cuba’s north shore past the beach/artist community of Banes to the Las Terrazas sustainable development community. Explore the Sierra del Rosario biosphere reserve for a couple of nights – outdoor activity options include ziplines, rivers, hiking to French coffee plantation ruins, organic gardens, or just kicking back and enjoying some Cuban coffee with lush mountain views. Stop at Mirador de San Diego next door to thermal springs and one of the best birdwatching areas in Cuba before hitting one of our favorite rural properties in Viñales for two nights. Viñales is a National Park and National Monument. Return to Havana via collective bus service. Overnight in Old Havana, then continue east to the off-the-beaten path area of Canasi, a managed flora reserve. Snorkelling, paddleboarding and more available there. The last leg of your journey takes you to the coastal town of Matanzas, city of bridges where you can tour one of Cuba’s most famous theatres, an architectural masterpiece, visit local art galleries/cafes, or check out some of the interesting cave formations close to town. Bike pickup is included on arrival. WoWCuba can assist with arranging trip extensions if required.

Self-Guided Bicycle tour FAQ’s
Self-Guided Bicycle Pre-Tour Information

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havana-vinales-matanzas-9nights-distance-graph
Route ride ~ kms Destination # nights Lodging Category
La Habana 1 Old Havana B&B
Havana – Las Terrazas 89 La Moka 1 eco lodge
Las Terrazas Excursion optional
Las Terrazas – San Diego de los Baños 74 Mirador de San Diego 1 semi-rural hotel
San Diego de los Baños – Viñales 63 Viñales 2 nature B&B
Viñales – Moncada – Viñales 34
Prehistory Mural – Viñales Bus Station, Havana Bus Station – Old Havana 9 Havana 1 private B&B
Havana – Canasi 66 Canasi 1 nature B&B
Canasi – Matanzas 33 Matanzas 1 period hotel
Total Distance (km): 368

Route Statistics & Elevation Chart

Distance 4.032 km Total Ascent/Descent 24 m / 35 m
Lowest Point 13 m (at 3.87 km) Highest Point 30 m (at 1.71 km)
Uphill 0.99 km (24.6%) Downhill 1.62 km (40.2%)
Flat 1.35 km (33.5%) Height Gain 17 m
Steepest Uphill +4.4% (at 1.17 km) Steepest Downhill -4.4% (at 2.61 km)
Longest Uphill 0.63 km (at 1.17 km) Longest Downhill 0.45 km (at 1.80 km)
USD per person
Group size
1 pax
2 pax
3 pax
4 pax
5 pax 6 pax
DBL occ $1947.34 $1669.93 $1531.23  $1522.96 $1400.91
SGL occ $3363.13 $2233.48 $1956.07 $1817.36  $1809.10  $1687.05
  • Specialized performance hybrid rental bicycle (up to 9 rental days) equipped with handlebar or trunk bag and helmet. If your head is difficult to fit, we recommend traveling with your own helmet. We are happy to switch out our saddles/pedals for your personal equipment upon outfitting.
  • 1 Garmin cycling computer per group pre-loaded with programmed routes
  • printed route cards with highlighted map, detailed daily itinerary
  • 1 spare tube per bike ($5 CUC/tube if you use it, payable at end of rental period)
  • 9 nights lodging in venues hand-selected by our local team
  • 9 breakfasts, 1 dinner (Canasi)
  • collective bus transfer service (Day 8 return from Viñales to Havana)
  • luggage transfers (with options for bike pickups/equipment exchange on that schedule). *excludes luggage transfer on Day 8 from Viñales to Havana when you’ll be traveling back to Havana by bus. To avoid inflating tour costs, we suggest coordinating taxis locally between accommodations/bus stations for this route. To avoid inflating tour costs, we suggest coordinating taxis for this route. Your Viñales host can help with arranging a taxi to the bus station for your bags, and official taxis are readily available on arrival in Havana. Just note the license plate/vehicle # when giving the driver the address of your confirmed Havana accommodations to deliver your gear.
  • bike pickup on Day 9 @ 17:00 in Matanzas
  • insider tips for meals and activities
  • For CicloCuba’s rental equipment, emergency road repair services* are free when a) notified in advance and b) combinable with scheduled luggage transfer services.

*What if you have a mechanical enroute that you can’t fix yourself? We’re on call outside of luggage transfer schedules for a fee. Or if saving $ is a priority and the luggage transfer is already underway/completed for that ride, then if you can hitch a ride to your next destination, just let us know when you get there and we can arrange to have your CicloCuba bike fixed or replaced first thing the next morning.

  •  $200 USD/bicycle pre-authorization (security deposit) on primary traveler’s credit card
  • local payments for meal services not expressly indicated as included
  • gratuities, payable locally
  • collective bus transfers with bicycles require local cash payment for the bicycle supplement (~10% of passenger fare)
  • transport between accommodations and airports/bus stations/CicloCuba.
  • ongoing passenger transport from Matanzas on Day 10.
  • we recommend you bring your own lock, pump, tire irons & multi-tool for minor repairs.
  •  Optional bilingual cycling guide services ($100 USD/day excluding guide’s transportation to/from start/end of trip, accommodations &meals)
  • Local cell phone SIM card for emergency calls (prepaid phone/message/data credit not included) $3 CUC/day
  • Basic rental locks: $1 CUC/day, payable locally
  • Emergency road repair services
    • Notified in advance and combinable with luggage transfer services:
      • Your personal equipment: ∙$10 CUC/hour (roundtrip time) for mecanic (parts not supplied).
    • No advance notice &/ not combinable with luggage transfer services:
      • CicloCuba equipment: $rate/km based on roundtrip mileage from CicloCuba
        ∙Your personal equipment: $rate/km based on roundtrip mileage from CicloCuba + $10 CUC/hour (roundtrip time) for mechanic (parts not supplied).
Total route length Base Rate* CUC/km
0-99.9 $1.00
100-199.9 $0.75
200-299.9 $0.65
300-499.9 $0.55
500+ $0.50

*Base rate excludes transit on any unpaved or poorly-paved roads where the support vehicle cannot maintain 80 km/h i.e. the section of road between La Mulata & Palma Rubia Supplement $1/km (based on return mileage) for rough terrain

Supplement for payment in USD by credit card: $15 CUC administrative fee + 8% banking fees

Itinerary

Overnight in Old Havana at the charming Madero B&B, walking distance to the handcraft fair, beer gardens, Havana Club Rum Museum, restaurants, colonial squares, churches and concert halls. And, of course, CicloCuba!

After breakfast, stroll over to CicloCuba for bicycle outfitting. You don’t need to bring your luggage – we’ll pick it up. Today’s longish ride hugs the northern coastline. The coastline section of your route is relatively flat, and usually with tailwinds to accompany the ride. You’ll pass the Latin American School of Medicine, the coastal town of Baracoa, Banes Beach and more as you ride west along the coast to the industrial port town of Mariel. From there you’ll head inland bordering the lush Sierra del Rosario mountains and biosphere reserve’s forested areas. A short section of the route (~13 km) has broken pavement, but is navigable by most bikes (except narrower slick tires). Your destination is the ecolodge La Moka, nestled in the terraced hills of Las Terrazas community, a successful experiment in sustainable development and reforestation. In the biosphere reserve you can enjoy ziplines, boating, hiking to the ruins of French coffee plantations, swimming in rivers, small waterfalls, museums, a variety of restaurants featuring Cuban cuisine, ecological dining, and even a cafe specializing in Cuban coffee.

Distance (km): 89.1

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ciclocuba-las-terrazas-distance-graph

Route Statistics & Elevation Chart

Distance 103.269 km Total Ascent/Descent 952 m / 811 m
Lowest Point 0 m (at 8.01 km) Highest Point 184 m (at 101.52 km)
Uphill 41.31 km (40.0%) Downhill 36.54 km (35.4%)
Flat 25.38 km (24.6%) Height Gain 184 m
Steepest Uphill +13.3% (at 85.95 km) Steepest Downhill -11.1% (at 102.24 km)
Longest Uphill 1.17 km (at 91.44 km) Longest Downhill 1.44 km (at 47.43 km)

La Moka is located within a larger community called Las Terrazas, conceived by Osmani Cienfuegos, a Cuban architect, as a project in sustainable development and reforestation after the triumph of the Revolution. The community is rich  cultural, historic but especially natural attractions that are well worth exploring while there. If you’d rather get more biking in, then the surrounding hills can offer some challenging climbs and rewarding vistas. or perhpas you might want to wander into nearby Artemisa or Candelaria, both towns rich in Revolutionary history.

Distance (km): optional

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Leaving La Moka you’ll have a climb to get your legs pumping, but every climb is rewarded with a nice downhill, in this case to Soroa, home of a lovely waterfall, orchid gardens and more. Continue along the winding Central Road heading west through small country towns and villages until you reach San Diego de los Baños. Your destination is Mirador de San Diego, located beside the local mineral baths, a great reward for your body after a day of cycling. Nearby is La Guira Park, a birder’s and naturalists’ paradise.

Distance (km): 73.7

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terrazas-sandiego-banos-distance-graph

Route Statistics & Elevation Chart

Distance 73.702 km Total Ascent/Descent 906 m / 1027 m
Lowest Point 44 m (at 32.85 km) Highest Point 377 m (at 13.95 km)
Uphill 30.24 km (41.0%) Downhill 31.77 km (43.1%)
Flat 11.61 km (15.8%) Height Gain 333 m
Steepest Uphill +26.7% (at 13.50 km) Steepest Downhill -17.8% (at 14.31 km)
Longest Uphill 1.89 km (at 11.25 km) Longest Downhill 2.07 km (at 22.23 km)

Begin your ride this morning through La Guira Park, formerly a lavish rural hacienda owned by a trader in precious woods. The reforestation and park was a project spearheaded by Celia Sanchez at the turn of the Revolution. You’ll be challenging your legs with an ascent to one of the highlights, the Los Portales Cave on the western side of the park. It served as Che Guevara’s headquarters during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. When you leave the park, your rural ride borders picturesque pincushion hills, known as “mogotes”, as you make your way to National Park & National Monument, Viñales. Our suggested accommodation is near one of Cuba’s best market cuisine restaurants, which either grows or accesses all of its supplies locally.

Distance (km): 62.6

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sandiego-banos-vinales-distance-graph

Route Statistics & Elevation Chart

Distance 62.547 km Total Ascent/Descent 1102 m / 1046 m
Lowest Point 54 m (at 48.60 km) Highest Point 291 m (at 8.46 km)
Uphill 27.72 km (44.3%) Downhill 27.63 km (44.2%)
Flat 7.11 km (11.4%) Height Gain 237 m
Steepest Uphill +30.0% (at 52.74 km) Steepest Downhill -31.1% (at 53.55 km)
Longest Uphill 1.71 km (at 6.39 km) Longest Downhill 1.26 km (at 28.08 km)

There are any number of excursions that you can take from Viñales and all can be arranged locally through your host. But if you’re interested in riding, then we like the ride west to the Santo Tomas Cave and Moncada Community. There’s a zipline enroute. And if you’re not interested in exploring the largest cave system in Cuba, then just keep riding west to Pons. The scenery is delicious and the road sees little traffic. Later this afternoon you may want to check out local musicians in town, or perhaps the view from the Finca Agroecologica El Paraiso. We love their patented anti-stress cocktails.

Distance (km): 33.8

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vinales-santo-tomas-distance-graph

Route Statistics & Elevation Chart

Distance 33.826 km Total Ascent/Descent 591 m / 593 m
Lowest Point 123 m (at 0.27 km) Highest Point 223 m (at 9.00 km)
Uphill 14.58 km (43.1%) Downhill 15.12 km (44.7%)
Flat 4.05 km (12.0%) Height Gain 100 m
Steepest Uphill +22.2% (at 33.03 km) Steepest Downhill -25.6% (at 33.12 km)
Longest Uphill 0.90 km (at 21.51 km) Longest Downhill 0.81 km (at 27.36 km)

The bus leaves the station in the center of town at 08:00 and arrives in Havana at 11:15. Your Viñales host can assist with arranging for a taxi to take your luggage to town, and on arrival in Havana, taxis are readily available at the station. To avoid unnecessarily inflating your tour costs, luggage transfer services are excluded from your package today. The supplement for transporting your bicycle on the bus service is ~$1 CUC/bicycle. On arrival in Havana, you can check your bags at your accommodations and ride or stroll around town. There’s also the option of taking the Bike Boat (very close to your accommodations) across the bay to CasaBlanca for one of the most iconic views of the city from the Christ Statue.

Distance (km): 8.5

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mogoteart-vinales-busstation-distance-graph

Route Statistics & Elevation Chart

Distance 4.502 km Total Ascent/Descent 95 m / 70 m
Lowest Point 122 m (at 0.27 km) Highest Point 155 m (at 0.72 km)
Uphill 2.43 km (54.0%) Downhill 1.53 km (34.0%)
Flat 0.54 km (12.0%) Height Gain 33 m
Steepest Uphill +26.7% (at 0.63 km) Steepest Downhill -22.2% (at 0.72 km)
Longest Uphill 0.45 km (at 1.08 km) Longest Downhill 0.27 km (at 0.00 km)

Take the Bike Boat across Havana Bay this morning to Casablanca, then head past the fishing village of Cojimar, Havana’s Eastern Beaches, and you’ll be riding east bordering the north shore on the Via Blanca road, Cuba’s first highway, built to connect Havana and Varadero. The prevailing winds are not favorable when heading east. A number of spots along the route  offer pulled pork sandwiches, a local specialty. We also rarely miss a stop at the Peñon del Frayle to indulge in some sweet Cuban expresso. The beach at Jibacoa is popular with locals and visitors – there’s a spectacular lookout perched on the hill if your legs are up for that kind of a climb. Your destination today is a managed flora reserve, the Boca de Canasi. MontECOrales is near a river and features paddleboards for guests, as well as assistance arranging a number of adventurous excursions to actively explore the local area. The simple but cosy rural Cuban house has banana, mango & coconut trees, a small natural pool and they offer ecological meals on site.

Distance (km): 65.7

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viazul-busstation-hostal-madero-distance-graph

Route Statistics & Elevation Chart

Distance 4.029 km Total Ascent/Descent 24 m / 35 m
Lowest Point 13 m (at 3.87 km) Highest Point 30 m (at 1.71 km)
Uphill 1.08 km (26.8%) Downhill 1.53 km (38.0%)
Flat 1.35 km (33.5%) Height Gain 17 m
Steepest Uphill +4.4% (at 1.26 km) Steepest Downhill -4.4% (at 0.81 km)
Longest Uphill 0.90 km (at 0.90 km) Longest Downhill 0.54 km (at 0.36 km)

Pass Puerto Escondido and the Bacunayagua Bridge (and lookout) as you make your way east to the port city of Matanzas. On arrival, we highly recommend the view from La Ermita de Monserrate. We also love the cave exploration opportunities behind the town at Cuevas de Bellamar. Or if you like swimming in caves, maybe you want to go a little further and check out the Cueva de Saturno on the airport road. Its waters are cool and crystal clear. Parts of the city have undergone a recent transformation, and the Sauto Theater is an architectural masterpiece worth touring. It’s one of a trilogy of classic theaters in Cuba. Nearby you’ll discover the music school and a charming pedestrian walk along the river featuring small cafes, restaurants and artist galleries, as well as sculptures and public recreation areas. Overnight at the colonial Hotel Velasco facing the main square in the middle of town. We’ll pick up your bikes at the hotel at 5 pm.

Distance (km): 32.7

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ciclocuba-montecorales-distance-graph

Route Statistics & Elevation Chart

Distance 65.720 km Total Ascent/Descent 581 m / 585 m
Lowest Point 0 m (at 0.81 km) Highest Point 112 m (at 59.58 km)
Uphill 26.19 km (39.9%) Downhill 23.49 km (35.7%)
Flat 16.02 km (24.4%) Height Gain 112 m
Steepest Uphill +11.1% (at 58.32 km) Steepest Downhill -11.1% (at 49.32 km)
Longest Uphill 1.80 km (at 22.95 km) Longest Downhill 1.53 km (at 61.02 km)

Breakfast is included at your hotel. WoWCuba can assist with arranging extensions if required.

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