Accommodations in the heart of Old Havana at the classic Hotel Sevilla (or similar). As flight arrivals are generally staggered, participants normally take taxis between the airport and hotel. While prepaid taxis are available through WoWCuba (optional, $), in our experience they’re not necessarily the best option. You’ll be contacted by a WoWCuba representative at your hotel.
Coffee is a staple to Cuban social interactions. So for those with morning/afternoon arrivals, our suggested afternoon activity is Cuban Coffee 101 partaken nearby in (a cafe close to Cathedral Square, providing you with the valuable opportunity to gain firsthand insight into Cuban café culture at leisure. If ice cream/gelato is more your speed, you might also delight in some of the icy temptations at Helad’Oro or sweets (including vegan options) at Bianchini. All of these installations are privately owned and operated.
If you’ll be in town in time to explore tonight, for any participants able/wishing to get together at an alternative venue for a meet & greet we usually offer to coordinate a 7:30 group dinner restaurant at one of our preferred venues outside of the hotel.
No Meals | (0 km/0 mi)
Early breakfast at the hotel and 08:30 pickup for a short drive east of Havana. During the 45-minute trip your WoWCuba team will brief you on local etiquette including currency, bathrooms, lineups, water, personal safety and safe cycling as part of our outfitting session.
Our group riding system includes a lead rider, a sweep rider and a support bus that accompanies the group at all times, provides refreshment stops and advances to points of navigational difficulty as required. Ride from the Escaleras de Jaruco Park (a Natural Protected Landscape) north to the towns of Hershey and Santa Cruz with elevated views of the north coast enroute. Some of the plants in the park include male cedar, mahogany, white quava, cigua, caisimón, white oak, and a local shiny-leafed poison ivy plant called “guao”. Among the endemic species are the manuí spur, guairaje, Cuban platanillo, cat’s tai, walnut and more. Near our stop at El Árabe you can appreciate the Orchid Tree (Bauhinia), curujeyes, ferns, epiphytes and many other species. Our ride ends with lunch in Guanabo beach at El Piccolo, a paladar restaurant where wood-fired brick oven pizza’s the specialty. They feature a small-scale urban agriculture project with sale of fruit, vegetables, in-house cured meats, plus a fowl/small animal collection.
Guanabo or Santa Maria beach time can be provided. Dune protection programs are in place here; climate change regulations and enforcement regarding coastal reconstruction limitations will eventually change the face of the community. Continue into Havana for a panoramic city orientation by bus before cleaning up for your dinner tonight at 5 Esquinas Trattoria, one of our favorite Italian spots for alfresco dining close to the hotel.
BB, LB, DB | (33.8 km/21 mi)
Breakfast at the hotel, depart by van then cycle inland to the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve featuring a mesic forest with evergreen, semi-deciduous environments and 35% endemic plants.
On Feb. 15, 1984, the area was one of the first to be classified in Cuba as a Biosphere Reserve and an IUCN Managed Resource Protected Area. Our ride ends at Soroa Hotel where we have lunch at the entrance to the waterfall. This afternoon: take a guided tour of the orchid gardens, or go hiking. On your hike you may sight bats, birds including the bee hummingbird or the yellow-striped Pygmy Eleuth, or one the smallest frogs in the world.
Late afternoon transfer to the town of San Diego de los Baños for lodging at Mirador de San Diego. San Diego’s medicinal sulphur spring baths are what made the town an international health tourism destination in its hey-day. They’re available to visitors and often combined with acupuncture, mud treatments, massage and more as part of traditional medicine techniques. A visit to the baths and a partial massage is included if you’re game. If you’d like us to schedule additional time for a full-body treatment, the supplement is only around $10 CUC/person, well worth indulging. The staff can also be booked for early morning tai chi or therapeutic treaments if you’re so inclined.
Dinner at the hotel.
BB, LB, DB | (26 km/16.2 mi)
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the Escogida to learn of the tobacco selection process & de-veining. Begin cycling the central road through small villages to Viñales, stopping for a million dollar view of the valley from the Los Jazmines lookout before a farm-to-table lunch at El Cajuani.
Viñales is a National Park and National Monument, and since 1999, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is distinguished by an “outstanding karst landscape in which traditional methods of agriculture (notably tobacco growing) have survived unchanged for several centuries. The region also preserves a rich vernacular tradition in its architecture, crafts and music”. This afternoon your tour leaders can offer the opportunity to explore the valley’s back roads by horseback, discovering local rivers, growers, and coffee plantations enroute.
BB, LB, DB | (48 km/29.8 mi)
Breakfast at the hotel and return to Viñales to cycle through the valley bordering the Sierra del Infierno to Pons. Continue through Cabeza to the mountains for lunch at La Guabina. The ranch is surrounded by a tranquil lake, soft mountains, valleys and a river. With over 1000 hectares, cattle and horse breeding are the ranch’s main activities. View coffee plantations enroute, plus a tobacco shop with tobacco rolling demonstration. Bus tour of Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s province noted for growing the best tobacco in the world.
After lunch return to Viñales for a tour of a private botanical garden founded in 1918 featuring creepy symbols of Cuban superstitions, orchids, lilies, cinammon, almond, a “beer tree” (Danny’s favorite) and more in the sprawling space.
Dinner at El Olivo.
BB, LB, DB | (52.5 km/32.6 mi)
Breakfast at the hotel. Cycle along the north shore in Bahia Honda municipality with its tropical rainforest climate. The Sierra del Rosario has been a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1985 and has an Ecological Research Station. Las Terrazas is a very successful experiment in sustainable development and its reforestation is characterized by the presence of evergreen, deciduous, xeromorphic, scrub and pine forests.
The Ecological Station is dedicated to constant monitoring of ecosystem research related to ecological restoration, forestry development, environmental education, birds, local development, conservation of agricultural biodiversity and various scientific projects, while simultaneously offering specialized ecotourism tours. It links the local community to projects related to the rescue of genetic plant resources, contributing to food security as well as sustainable tourism and the biological diversity of its ecosystems. The station conducts activities geared to community children and youth. The Las Terrazas Environmental Interest Circle features Bird and Educational lectures, Workshops, Participatory Contests, and Celebration of World Environment Day as part of their grassroots efforts to elevate the environmental education level of its inhabitants and achieve sustainable development in the region.
Specialized ecotourism tours include birdwatching, hiking to French coffee plantation ruins, learning Cuban coffee traditions and sampling at Café Maria, zip lines with a scenic view over the lake and vibrant community with its own microeconomy, swimming at the hotel pool, San Juan or Bayate rivers and more.
Accommodations and dinner at La Moka eco lodge.
BB, LB, DB | (47.1 km/29.3 mi)
Breakfast and ride the central road through Artemisa towards Havana. Artemisa, formerly of Pinar del Rio province, is the area from which many of the fighters for Cuban independence as part of the 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks originated. The Martyrs Mausoleum there is a National Monument. Keep an eye out for the many beekeeping operations that dot the road in Artemisa, one of the agricultural capitals of Cuba. If a slot is available, experience a true farm-to-table lunch today in Caimito at Finca Marta, and at the same time discover the secret of where some of Havana’s best paladars get their supply of fresh organic vegetables. Beekeeping, solar energy, bio gas, and rainwater collection are some of the other interesting permaculture techniques you can see close-up at the farm. If Finca Marta’s limited visitor schedule is full, we’ll visit Finca La Burgambilia and sample fresh local juices, fruits, take a tour of their farm featuring artistic melipona beehives, and then continue for a family-style lunch a Conde de Baraca on the outskirts of the city.
Exposure to Havana’s history, culture, music is on today’s afternoon menu.
Check in to Hotel Sevilla. Your tour leader will provide background one of Cuba’s staples and primary export products, rum, and lead a sampling session to enable participants to appreciate the various varieties available in the local marketplace and their unique nuances.
Clean up for farewell dinner hosted by your representative tonight at San Cristobal paladar in Central Havana.
BB, LB, DB | (45 km/28 mi)
Breakfast at the hotel. End of services.
BB | (0 km/0 mi)
The standard version of this trip includes Havana accommodation at the classic Hotel Sevilla.
Supplements available for upgrades to Parque Central or Saratoga hotels (all within a several block radius).
Reductions available to exclude Havana accommodations if booking your own B&B for Days 1/2/7, or a shortened version of this trip.
*All transport between base tour hotel(s) and independent Havana lodging is the traveler’s responsibility.
- BB: breakfast w/ beverage
- LB: lunch w/ beverage
- DB: dinner w/ beverage
- AI: All Inclusive
Itinerary and hotels subject to availability.