Cycling Cuba: Havana to Trinidad

Biking through cuba village
Old Yellow Cars Havana
Biking with Locals Cuba
Horse drawn cart in Cuba
Biking through rural dirt roads in Cuba
Biking cuban roads
Cycling Cuba: Havana to Trinidad
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Cycling Cuba: Havana to Trinidad

Trip Overview

Cuba cycling tour Caribbean with Bikehike Adventure as featured in USA Today  On this culturally inspired Cuba cycling itinerary, we stay far away from the all-inclusive beach resorts and experience authentic Cuba. 

Cycling through Cuba is one of the most immersive ways to experience this fascinating country. Bicycles are the first choice of travel for local Cubans. There will be many moments when you will be riding among Cubans as you experience this vibrant Caribbean island. Even today, outside of the cities, the roads remain relatively car free.

On this adventure, we spend eight days biking through Central Cuba’s most cultural and historically rich cities, including Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and the Bay of Pigs. Cultural, rhythmic and evocative, Cuba promises to be like nowhere else you’ve cycled.  


  • You'll cycle beside vintage American cars through the streets of culturally rich Old Havana
  • You'll have time to wander and experience the vibrant culture and street scenes of a changing Havana
  • You'll bike along the Bay of Pigs, through rural villages, colonial towns and across the changing countryside of central Cuba.
  • You'll have a chance to take salsa and photography classes in UNESCO recognized Trinidad

Is Cuba legal and safe? We accept most nationalities on our trips, and travelling in Cuba with BikeHike Adventures is designed to be very supportive to the Cuban people. Our trips provide various cultural exchange opportunities and interactions. From our experiences in Cuba, we believe it is a very safe place, especially relative to other similar destinations. 

Here's a short video example of cycling through a rural town in Cuba

And here is an example of a typical Havana street scene as well as a typical live music scene in a Havana restaurant.

For more information, read our Cuba FAQs


Difficulty Level


Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Upon arrival into the Havana International Airport, a BikeHike Adventures representative will greet you and transfer you to a comfortable hotel or casa particular in Havana. The remainder of the day is spent at leisure exploring this fascinating city. You’ll find crumbling palaces, vintage American cars, and meet the local people who are frequently huddled together in the streets, smoking Cuban cigars.

Accommodation: B & B 
Meals: none

Day 2

Havana - Matanzas
We’ll start with a group orientation before fitting everyone with bikes. Then we’re off for a morning cycling tour of Havana, exploring the Presidential Palace, the most important Colonial Squares, the Revolution Square, and the Prado promenade. This is the ideal way to see Havana, as we can get into the nooks and crannies of this eclectic city and really experience the pulsing rhythm of Cuba. It is important to drop any preconceptions at the door and enter Cuba with an open mind, being ready to be shocked and surprised by everything and everyone you encounter. Havana is a fascinating city, economically poor, but architecturally opulent, culturally rich but at the same time difficult to understand. We’ll break for lunch in a restaurant and then have a bit more time to explore on your own before transferring to Matanzas, a beautiful colonial city on the coast. Here we’ll check into a comfortable hotel or casa particular and have dinner.

Biking Distance: 22 km / 14 mi
Ascent: +171 m  (561 ft)
Accommodation: B & B 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Matanzas - Playa Larga
Today we set off early from our hotel, cycling through Matanzas to the Peninsula of Zapata. We ride from north to south crossing many citrus orchards and what used to be prime sugarcane land. We’ll have a few kilometres on the Carretera Central. This single lane road is now used for local traffic, so expect to share the road with ancient Soviet tractors, inner town buses, trucks, 50’s American Cars, horses, and other cyclists. Cuba once became extremely rich farming sugarcane. We’ll cycle through villages where entire families were once employed in the crops. About 20 km / 12 mi into the ride we’ll reach Triumvirato where a monument commemorates a slave uprising and reminds us that Cuba was one of the last countries to relinquish slavery. At the 65 km / 38 mi mark , we’ll stop cycling and transfer to Pio Cua for a late lunch, usually arriving there around 2PM or later. After lunch we transfer by vehicle to our accommodation in Playa Larga, near the beach where the CIA invasion of Cuba happened in April 1961 during the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Dinner will be in one of the seafood paladars (family run restaurant) in Playa Larga.

Biking Distance: 65 km / 38 mi
Ascent: +335 m (1076 ft)
Accommodation: B & B
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Playa Larga - Bay of Pigs - Cienfuegos
After breakfast, we’ll spend the morning on our bikes. We’ll ride around the biggest swamps in Cuba (Zapata’s Peninsula). The road clings to the Bay of Pigs, giving us views of the emerald Caribbean Sea. We’ll stop at Playa Giron to learn how the CIA backed the invasion of Cuba in the early 60’s. From here we have a short ride to lunch in Caleta Buena, a natural sea pool teeming with tropical fish. There will be the opportunity to have a dip in the Caribbean after lunch. From here we’ll continue by vehicle to Cienfuegos. Tonight we’ll dine in a paladar on the waterfront of Cienfuegos. Overnight in a comfortable hotel or casa particular.

Biking Distance: 45 km / 28 mi
Ascent: +119 m (390 ft)
Accommodation: B & B
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Cienfuegos - Trinidad
We’re back on our bikes this morning, riding along an undulating coastal road with a few short steep hills that lead us through beautiful pasture lands. Around the 20 km / 12 mi mark we’ll be rewarded with the spectacular view of the Escambray Mountain range across a valley of sugarcane fields. The road then sweeps up and climbs over gentle hills until we meet the coast just beyond Guajimico. We stop for lunch after 50 km / 31 mi. The final 30 km / 19 mi is on a flat road that clings to the glistening Caribbean coastline all the way to Trinidad. There are some hilly sections just before Trinidad, but once we enter Trinidad it’s downhill all the way to our accommodation for the night. Tonight we’ll be enjoying Cuban hospitality, staying in a Cuban style bed and breakfast (casa particular). The accommodation is simple but the rooms are air-conditioned and have en-suite bathrooms. We’ll enjoy a typical Cuban dinner this evening, prepared by the hosts of one of our casa particulares, before heading out into Trinidad to explore this charming World Heritage Site. Overnight in a casa particular.

Biking Distance: 80 km / 50 mi
Ascent: +551 m (1807 ft)
Accommodation: B & B
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Free Day
Today we have a full free day in Trinidad. Trinidad is probably Cuba’s most famous provincial town and rightly so. It’s a picture-perfect colonial town with cobbled streets, pastel painted colonial homes and very little traffic in the centre – other than horses and the occasional vintage car. Walking around Trinidad is like stepping back in time. In the evenings, Trinidad welcomes visitors with live music and local bars where you can kick back and enjoy a rum cocktail or practice your salsa steps. Optional activities can be arranged locally including horseback riding, catamaran trips, and salsa classes. Overnight in the same casa particular. 

Accommodation: B & B 

Day 7

Trinidad - Manicaragua - Santa Clara
This morning we set off from Trinidad and drive on a winding road up through a pine and eucalyptus forest. At the summit of Topes Mirador, we’ll get on our bikes and ride downhill as we cycle through a national park. This is one of the most spectacular scenery days on the trip. Palm trees and other tropical plants will slowly replace pine forests. We cycle along the valley floor between impressive mountains before reaching the market town of Manicaragua where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch. Our day riding ends here and, from here, we will transfer to Santa Clara by bus, arriving in time to visit Che’s Mausoleum before checking into our hotel or casa particular for the night. Tonight you’re free to wander through the centre of Santa Clara and pick up dinner in a restaurant or paladar of your choice.

Biking Distance: 40 km / 25 mi
Ascent: +539 m (1768 ft)
Accommodation: B & B
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Santa Clara - Havana
Vintage Car Ride & Historic Tour
We’ll transfer back to Havana this morning, arriving in time for lunch. After lunch we’ll have a two-hour tour of Havana in a vintage American Car, finishing at a historic bar called Sloppy Joes for a cocktail. This evening we’ll head into Old Havana for our final dinner in a central located paladar. We’ll then return to our hotel in the Miramar district for our last evening in Cuba. 

Accommodation: B & B 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

You’ll be transferred to the Havana Airport for your flight back home.

Meals: Breakfast

Important Note: BikeHike Adventures is a Canadian based company and not a US company. Trips offered by BikeHike Adventures Inc. are land only tours within Cuba and are not official US sponsored trips. Anyone traveling through/from the US to Cuba must travel to Cuba within one of 12 US categories. 

NOTE about Ascent/Descent numbers: 

The ascent/descent numbers are usually generated using Ride with GPS. The numbers are TOTAL ascent/descent for the day and these numbers do not suggest altitude. There are usually multiple small ascents and descents added up throughout the day to reach this total ascent/descent for the day. (While our numbers are generally consistent with Ride with GPS, depending on the mapping technology used, numbers may vary).


What's Included

Meals as indicated, all accommodation (twin shared), all internal transportation, mountain bikes (Specialized Hard Rock Sport Disc.), support vehicle, airport transfers and English-speaking guides.

Gratuities, airport departure taxes, meals not indicated and items of a personal nature.

8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners

Small Hotel or Casa Particular: 8 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Cuba

Cuba’s weather is typical of its sub tropical climate. As an island in the Caribbean Sea, it is influenced greatly by trade winds blowing from the south and northeast. Weather conditions in Cuba are relatively constant year round with only moderate fluctuations in temperatures and other weather conditions. You can expect excellent weather on your holiday to Cuba at any time. If you are going to Cuba to specifically enjoy the sun, then the months with the sunniest weather are from January to April.

Travel Documents

For entry to Cuba, Canadian citizens require a passport valid for six months beyond the date of departure. Canadians must also carry a tourist card, visa, business visa or student visa. This tourist card is provided by airlines and is issued with your plane ticket. Citizens of other countries should check with their respective embassies for current requirements.

Food and Water

Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisine. The staples of all Cuban meals are rice and beans – sometimes combined together to make congri and sometimes cooked separately and served as white rice and black bean soup (potaje). Cubans eat these staples every single day. Typical meals consist of rice and beans served with pork, beef, or chicken. Plantains, avocado, and cucumber are common accents. When dining out, outside of Havana, chefs have to work with a substantially limited range of ingredients and the cuisine has very little foreign influence. So expect more of the basics on repeat in each destination throughout Cuba. 

Water is generally untreated and not safe to drink. Bottled water, fruit drinks, soft drinks, coffee and tea are all widely available and safe to drink.


How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “moderate” trip. These trips include 4-5 hours of physical activity throughout the day, with many breaks along the way. Biking trips are the most cardiovascular type of types, but there are always support vehicles available on our BikeHike Cuba trips. During the biking section, our travellers don’t have to carry anything on their backs as any packs can be carried in the support vehicle.  

The main challenge of the trip is the physical demands of consecutive days of riding. You should have a good level of fitness and the stamina to cope with being in the saddle for consecutive days. We strongly recommend that you begin a regular fitness program - that is if you are not already doing so. Three times a week, 60 minutes per session should be a minimum to prepare you for this adventure. The optimal workout would include varied cardiovascular activities such as walking, cycling and aerobics. If you are able to build in some longer cycling rides into your training, that will also help you prepare. 

Has this trip been run before?

BikeHike Adventures has been operating tours worldwide since 1994. We started running Cuba cycling trips more than 6 years ago. 

The logistics of organizing tours in Cuba is very complex. It is one of our most complex destinations to operate tours but we are very proud of our Cuba tours. We have worked tirelessly to bring this incredible tour to you. Our trip development department has spent long hours researching routes, ground operations and all of the intricate details to make your vacation in Cuba the best it can be. All itineraries are screened before they are added to our growing repertoire of adventures. 

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. A typical trip is comprised of men and women of varied ages. Our Cuba cycling travellers, in particular, are typically from 40-65 North Americans (and some Europeans) who are in good physical condition, who enjoy cycling at home as much as they do on trips and who are invigorated by cultural adventures. However, we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well. 

What should I pack for this cycling trip?

In order to ensure comfort and health, good outdoor gear is essential. We have prepared a packing list that you can download by clicking the link to the right on this page. 

Is there a support vehicle?

Yes. We will have a support vehicle shadowing our route, carrying all of the nuts and bolts (fresh water and snacks) and all of the group luggage so that riders don’t have to worry about carrying any gear while biking.

Can you tell me more about the roads and biking terrain?

Most Cubans travel by bike, rendering the roads relatively safe and car free, although there will be a few sections where the roads are busier. The terrain is mostly paved roads with a few dirt roads. There is no single-track riding on this trip, but rather road rides that sometimes require you to choose your line due to the uneven ground. For the biking days, you are only required to carry a few essentials (e.g. camera, water, snacks). You will have a support vehicle shadowing your route, carrying all of the nuts and bolts and all of the group luggage so that riders don’t have to worry about carrying any gear while biking.

Which airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

Havana. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip and depart anytime on day 9.

More about Cuba...

Will I require a visa to travel to Cuba?

All citizens (of any nationality) traveling through/from the US to Cuba must travel to Cuba within one of 12 US categories.

If you are traveling directly via another country, consult your local embassy or consulate for the latest information on entry requirements. 

Can I fly from the US to Cuba?

Multiple airlines have begun offering direct flights between the mainland US and Cuba and each airline individually manages the requirements. It is up to you to contact your airline to ask about any of the procedures. 

Can I use my credit or debit card in Cuba?

International credit cards and debit cards, including US credit cards and debit cards, are officially accepted in Cuba. However, we still do not recommend that anyone, of any nationality, rely on debit or credit as a payment method while in Cuba. The fact that Cuba "officially" accepts all cards does not mean that everywhere has the infrastructure to accept them. In fact, very few establishments in Cuba are actually equipped to accept any cards, especially in the smaller towns. Cash is king in Cuba, especially outside of Havana. It is best to arrive into Cuba with sufficient cash as well because many of the ATMs in Cuba do not work or are out of cash and unable to dispense you any money. Thus, it is best to always have sufficient backup cash on hand from the moment you arrive. Upon arrival, you can convert money into the local currency for spending. You will be unable to purchase Cuba's local currency outside of Cuba at your bank in your home country. Cuba's currency must be purchased/converted upon arrival into Cuba. 

What is the currency in Cuba?

US dollars cannot be spent in Cuba. No foreign currency can be spent in Cuba. ALL foreigners must spend the CUC (Cuban Convertible Currency). You can only buy CUC within Cuba as it is a closed currency. So, you must bring a foreign currency into Cuba to convert into CUC. You must also exchange CUC back to your own currency before leaving Cuba as foreign banks will not accept it. 

Money can be changed at the airport, your hotel, in exchange bureaus, and at banks. Banking hours tend to be Monday – Friday from 9.00 – 3.00pm but line-ups at banks are long. The best exchange rate will be at the airport (but also allow time for waiting, as these also have long lines typically). 

Cuba has a unique and divided economic system. Foreigners must use only CUC. Meanwhile, Cubans are paid Cuban Pesos that has far less value.

What kinds of meals will we eat in Cuba?

We consider our meals to be an essential ingredient to the success and authenticity of our trips. All of your Cuban meals will be enjoyed in locally run restaurants. 

While Cuba’s restaurant scene is improving, no trip to Cuba is a gourmet tour. Food rationing, which has been the norm in Cuba for the last four decades, has restricted the common availability of international dishes. Outside of Havana, chefs still have to work with a substantially limited range of ingredients and the cuisine on menus has very little foreign influence. Meals in Cuba can sometimes be rather bland and choice can sometimes be limited. Fish, chicken and pork are the most common options, with rice, beans and plantain also featuring quite heavily. The traditional Cuban meal is not served in courses; all food items are served at the same time.

Breakfast is included in all hotels and is local style, basic breakfasts. When lunches and dinners are included, they will usually be local style.  Cubans love coffee and it is usually served at the end of each meal, thick strong and sweet, espresso style.

What is a casa particular?

"Casa particular" is Spanish for "private house." These are basic Cuban style accommodations, giving you a closer connection to life in Cuba. During these stays, especially at meal times, guests have many opportunities to communicate and have meaningful interactions with the host. You might call it the Cuban equivalent to what you know in other countries as a homestay or Bed 'n Breakfast. Even if you do not speak Spanish, carrying a Spanish phrasebook will go a long way to to helping you connect with your host. Staying at private houses connects you directly with Cuba's people, culture and way of life. The interactions at the casa stays are often a true highlight of the trip for BikeHike's Cuba travellers.  

Is internet available in Cuba?

Yes. On a limited basis. It's best to prepare for a few days unplugged while in Cuba.

To access internet, you must purchase an ETECSA internet card from an official office or from your hotel reception. The wifi will only be accessible from special public wifi hotspots such as the town square or some hotel lobbies. However, be prepared that these zones are mass public internet sharing zones with slow, unreliable connections.

What hotel standards can one expect in Cuba?

The hotel standards in Cuba will vary from what you may have experienced in other countries. While standards are reasonable, many factors have affected Cuba’s ability to maintain the same international standards one might experience elsewhere in the Caribbean. To best understand this answer, listen to our full answer here.

Also, you can listen to one traveller’s comparison of the cultural experience and standards staying a week at a beach resort in Cuba with the overall experience while on a bike tour through Central Cuba here.

Why isn't Cuba cheap? What costs can one expect in Cuba?

Cuba is NOT a cheap country. The standard trading currency for foreigners is CUC (Cuba Convertible Currency) and a CUC converts to roughly 1 USD. Most prices are on par with, or higher than, they are in Canada for the United States. To better understand why Cuba is not a cheap country despite being a relatively poor economy, listen to our longer answer here. 

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

Many of our travellers (both men and women) join as singles. On average, BikeHike groups are 75% single travellers and 25% couples. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We always do our best to accommodate special dietary requests but please ask us about your request when signing up for the trip.

Cuba has limited access to international ingredients so gluten-free type requests are a challenge. However, we can provide advice for making the trip work within these restraints. Cuban meals are already quite basic, usually with very simple and often organic ingredients. If you are willing to bring some of your snacks from home, it is likely you will be able to manage the duration of the trip. We have experience welcoming various vegetarian travellers on past trips by working around the limitations this way.  

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

While most of our trips are created with adults in mind, many of our itineraries are suitable for strong and active older teenagers. This trip is generally not a family focused trip but could accommodate older teenagers. However, we do offer many Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.


Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. This includes accommodation that provides a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings that reflect the destination. BikeHike's common practice is to build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, and this remains the case in Cuba. That being said, Cuba is a difficult place to explain to first time visitors.  Accommodation in Cuba is one of the topics that visitors to Cuba have the most trouble understanding. 

If restricting one’s Cuba visit to a beach vacation, one can stay a large, all-inclusive resort (most of these are near the established beach resort town of Varadero). Outside of the resort areas, the only options are staying in a small hotel or a “casa particular." However, as our vacation tours are not beach vacations and are highly cultural, BikeHike travellers only stay at small hotels and in casa particulars.

"Casa particular" is Spanish for "private house." These are basic Cuban style accommodations, giving you a closer connection to life in Cuba. During these stays, especially at meal times, guests have many opportunities to communicate and have meaningful interactions with the host. You might call it the Cuban equivalent to what you know in other countries as a homestay or Bed 'n Breakfast. Even if you do not speak Spanish, carrying a Spanish phrasebook will go a long way to helping you connect with your host. Staying at private houses connects you directly with Cuba's people, culture and way of life. The interactions at the casa stays are often a true highlight of the trip for BikeHike's Cuba travellers.  

Also, as part of that experience, it is important to note that outside of large resorts, Cuba’s hotels generally lack updated furnishings. Cuba is not a cheap place to travel because even small hotels and casas are generally quite expensive. So many travellers are surprised when they find that hotels may feel rundown and completely outdated for the  price when compared to hotels elsewhere in  the  world. This is one of Cuba’s quirks.    

While Cuba is certainly a bit rough around the edges, that is also much of its charm. The value in going there now is in seeing its roughness, the real Cuba.

Adventure Dates

  • Oct 14 - Oct 22, 2023
  • Nov 18 - Nov 26, 2023
  • Dec 16 - Dec 24, 2023
  • Jan 27 - Feb 04, 2024
  • Mar 09 - Mar 17, 2024
  • May 18 - May 26, 2024
  • Jun 15 - Jun 23, 2024
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(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
per person

No single supplement fees
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Day Destination Activity Distance Ascent / Descent Lodging Meals
— / —
B & B
Havana - Matanzas
22 km
14 mi
+ 171 m (561 ft)
B & B
Matanzas - Playa Larga
65 km
38 mi
+ 335 m (1076 ft)
B & B
Playa Larga - Bay of Pigs - Cienfuegos
45 km
28 mi
+ 119 m (390 ft)
B & B
Cienfuegos - Trinidad
80 km
50 mi 
+551 m (1807 ft)
B & B
Free Day
— / —
B & B
Trinidad - Manicaragua - Santa Clara
40 km
25 mi
+ 539 m (1768 ft)
B & B
Santa Clara - Havana
Vintage Car Ride & Historic Tour
— / —
B & B
— / —

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Anne B
December 2, 2016

I did a cycling trip in Cuba with BikeHike in November. The trip was flawlessly organized. We had lots of advance information so we were well prepared for what to expect. Our guide and full time babysitter Jackson was really great. He made sure things ran exactly on time all the time, and was flexible if we wanted to tweak the plans just a little - like cycle more than the itinerary called for, or make an unplanned stop for a swim. I thought the design of the tour was perfect. Just enough challenging and easy days, but most importantly, there was enough time to get a flavour of Cuba and its people. I will definitely do another trip with BikeHike.

Calgary, Canada
Dian E
October 7, 2016

I have travelled extensively and this was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Cuba is a wonderful country, but it has it's challenges. You will not get luxury accommodations that you can in other parts of the world. Bike Hike works hard to ensure you have the best of what Cuba can offer. Really good guides, decent spots to lay your head and a superb cycling experience through rural Cuba. You get to really know the country and the issues it is experiencing as it slowly joins the USA tourism market. Awesome tour, thanks Bike Hike

Toronto, Ontario
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