While most bike tourists I know head to Europe and South America, Flat roads, friendly people, and open/safe beaches make Cuba ideal for long-distance bike touring. Though highways and roads can be bumpy for cars going at high speeds, the generous and smooth shoulder provides a comfortable route for cyclists throughout much of the country. Note that bike shops in Cuba are very few and far between and are very poorly stocked so anyone planning their own bike touring trip should bring ALL gear and parts they anticipate needing during the trip, particularly spare tubes, patches, lube, chains, and tools.
Bike enthusiasts not ready (or lacking sufficient time) to travel the island by bike can still enjoy renting bikes in major cities to explore local attractions. After leading four fun-filled bike-themed trips to Cuba in 2017, I'm excited to be planning another group tour to Cuba in 2018. In order to combine the convenience and time efficiency of cars and the fun of biking, we'll drive between Havana, Vinales, and the Bay of Pigs, where we will rent bikes and ride to beaches, tobacco plantations, underground rivers, and more. Check out my December 2018 trip to Cuba for more info!
If you're planning a long-distance bike tour through Cuba, you will absolutely want to bring your own bike since high-quality bikes are hard to come by and it's unlikely you'll find one that fits you well and has all the required components and gear. For shorter trips, leave your bike at home and skip the airline fees that can run up to $150 each way, For shorter trips, I recommend renting bikes in Cuba or bringing a folding bike, like a Bike Friday. I have relationships with several bike shops, bike tour operators, and local families who include bikes at the B&Bs that I connect my clients with.
For additional fun, I take my group trips on a bike ride with my good friend, Felix Guirola, who rides the tallest bike in the world and is currently seeking recognition with the Guinness Book of World Records. If you're brave, he'll even let you climb his tallest bike or ride with him on one of his "small" tall bikes. He's well-known in Havana so if you find yourself in Old Havana, just ask around for him
"Many people love to travel but few are actually good at it. Cassandra is one of these rare specimens that can pull it together wherever she's at. With a sense of adventure and also a keen idea of how to relax, she is capable of maneuvering in many situations. Cassandra is also completely bilingual in Spanish and English, which means she can help you achieve a truly unique experience - not just the touristy stuff. With her help, I was able to make the most of a week-long escapade to Cuba and I hope to be able to travel with her soon."
- Megan Frye, editor of Savoteur (Mexico City), May 2016
"EscapingNY customized a special travel plan for me focusing on an in-depth, authentic Havana experience. During my short stay, I made many interesting local friends, biked off-off-beaten paths, and learned about Cuban culture. I'd highly recommend EscapingNY to anyone interested in really getting to know a country. Thanks again!"
- Wei C., (New York City), July 2017
"I joined one of EscapingNYs 10-day group tours to Cuba and had an absolutely amazing time and I can't say enough good things about the trip. I went snorkeling in and cycling around the Bay of Pigs, admired colonial architecture in Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad, and met many genuinely, lovely open-hearted people in every city. I so much enjoyed meeting a variety of Cubans from different walks of life to learn about their daily life and culture."
- Susan, New York City, February, 2017
"Zip lining and scuba diving were great, I enjoyed the trip very much! We would not have done this many activities if we had gone on our own. Thanks!"
- Mei C., New York City, April, 2017
"I joined a 10-day group trip to Cuba and had an excellent time. We went on a flamingo-watching boat ride in a nature preserve, jumped off waterfalls in the jungle, cycled through Old Havana, visited several beautiful beaches, and went salsa dancing in a hot nightclub built inside a cave. I had limited expectations of Cuba because I don't speak Spanish and I'd never traveled to a "non-westernized" country. My expectations were absolutely exceeded. Cassandra opened my eyes to much more adventure and culture then I was ever expecting."
- Amy M, New York City, December, 2015
See my previous blog posts to help you plan your upcoming trip to Cuba and to get a feel for the day-to-day life that few tourists encounter.