Cuba, a country on the cusp of change, has become folkloric. Travel with our gay group to penetrate its almost-mythical façade. Cycling through the countryside we can truly experience Cuba’s heartfelt music, redolent landscapes, and friendly people. This tour is a legal, licensed Support for the Cuban People exchange. Yes, you can go to Cuba!
Cuba creates legends and imbues folklore. Items used daily such as a rolled cigar, a sugarcane juice spiked glass of rum, a classic and vibrant car all become something more—gather an almost-mythical facade and a story that remained in the consciousness of America even when Cuba closed its doors. With its undulating appearance, heartfelt music, and redolent landscapes, it’s no surprise that Graham Green, Hemingway, Churchill and Sinatra—all legends in their deserved right—were drawn to Cuba.
Join us for our new Cuba Bike West tour and experience for yourself why Cuba is not solely breathtaking, but legendary. Journey through spirited Havana and its streets paved in the revolution. Cycle amongst fields of spring green tobacco plants where rustling leaves create harmony with the haunting sounds of vagueries. Stand outside of caves whose eroded faces tell tales of previous indigenous tenants hiding from invaders. See towering walls of limestone in Valle de Viñales. Pedal down beaches of white sand, past crumbling yet luxurious buildings, and through deep, verdant biospheres on a trip that may leave you speechless just as easily as it turns you into a storyteller.
Our gay tour through western Cuba takes you onto a less-traveled tourist track and down roads where the history of Cuba may not have been created, but where it was lived daily. It reveals to you Cuba’s faithful resource, its true legend: its people.
November 07 to 14 – $4798.00 USD
Duration: 8 Days
Starts In: Havana, Cuba
Ends In: Havana, Cuba
Deposit: $1000 USD
Airport/Hotel transfers within Cuba; Comfortable accommodations for 7 nights in Cuba; All breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners with alcoholic beverages at welcome and farewell dinners; Bicycle rental; All activities, entrance fees, and transportation as described. Services of a knowledgeable HE Travel tour host (with a minimum number of participants); This tour may include complimentary Cuban Medical Insurance, pending requirements as regulations evolve.
Airfare to and from Havana; Cuba Visa, Personal items including alcoholic beverages, snacks, laundry, telephone calls; and Gratuities for Local Cycling guide(s) and HE Travel host.
After a day full of exploring Havana Vieja’s many sights, we head to another local paladar to sit down for dinner. Tonight we can hit the town and dive into Havana’s music scene.
Our tranquil Cuba cycling excursion takes us southwest past Vereda, Caimito, Guayabal, and Cayajabos. The path is fairly smooth and rolling as we travel past the citrus plantations. We’ll stop to sample some of this region’s famous crops. Learn about Cuba’s agriculture, the people who manage these resources and the role of cooperatives in the market in the economy.
Our trail concludes in Las Terrazas, a UNESCO protected biosphere that was created originally as part of Castro’s 1968 reforestation proposal. What had been an over-logged area since the enterprising days of Spanish conquistadors and coffee plantations, the region is now a verdant paradise for over 117 bird species. We’ll stretch our legs and stroll around the thriving pastures. If time permits, we may visit a local artist workshop where we learn about how artistic passions blend with politics of the environment within the small community.
Later, we head to our accommodations for the night. Before turning in, enjoy the sultry evening air as well as a delectable dinner.
We pause for a moment at La Palma, where we are picked up and brought to Viñales, a region surrounded by the pine-covered, misty hills of the Sierra de Los Órganos. Valley de Viñales has a magical appearance with its stocky limestone mogotes abruptly appearing from flat plains and labyrinths of caves secretly tucked away in cragged overhangs. We’ll have drinks and dinner together tonight before returning to our casas particulares, private homes where we’ll be welcomed guests.
We land in the Puerto Esperanza around lunchtime, a fishing village that serves as a primary port for Viñales. Expansive mango trees said to have been planted in the 1800s, surround the entry road to town. We grab lunch before getting picked up and transferred back inland to our Viñales lodgings.
After we’ve arrived back in the valley with the afternoon ahead of us, we have the opportunity to visit a nearby organic farm to meet or walk one of the many trails. The unique landscape may surprise us when we come upon vertical rising walls of mogotes, obscure river systems or pitted faces of the cavern.
Later, we will enjoy another dinner prepared with Cuban authenticity and fresh ingredients before turning in for the night.
Our ride leads us to Cuba’s tobacco mecca San Juan y Martínez, where some of the country’s finest tobacco leaves are produced by the abundant rainfall. We’ll visit the Alejandro Robaina Tobacco Plantation. Though the fields (known as vegas) have been producing quality tobacco since 1845, it took until the 1990s for the Vegas Robaina cigars to launch to international acclaim. Explore the grounds and gain insight into the process of cigar production from sprouting plant to fragrantly wrapped and rolled treat.
From here, we get back on our bikes and ride northeast to Pinar del Río. The city lives up to its name as pines litter its river banks. Though the city has a bit of a reputation for its wealth of jinteros, it’s energy and abundance of well-maintained neoclassical architecture is more than intriguing. We’ll have time to check into the hotel and freshen up before regrouping for dinner at a local restaurant.
This afternoon takes us back to Havana for dinner together and plenty to explore tonight in the vibrant city.
We’ll also make a midday visit to the Museo de Ernesto Hemingway located in his former home at Finca Vigía. Gain insight into the life and mind of Cuba’s favorite literary expatriate by exploring the restored facilities. Then, a seaside visit to Cojimar for lunch together.
This afternoon we’ll have time to explore more of Old Havana on foot, walking along the famed Malecon. As night falls we explore the city as Cubans do—in classic cars that haven’t misplaced their 1950s glamour. We finish our day together with a final dinner of Cuban classics and authentic dishes with a Havana flair. Enjoy the salsa-filled nightlife of Havana before returning to the hotel to rest up for tomorrow’s flight!
“From the seat of a bicycle on bumpy roads, we saw a beautiful, complicated island struggling to carve a new identity after centuries of domination by US and European imperialism, military coups and a controversial dictator. With the US trade embargo in place and no $$ from the Soviets, resourcefulness has become Cuba’s legacy.” – Tony M., New York, NY
“Cuba is certainly a country in transition. It’s amazing to see this evolution up-close and personal. It’s like nowhere else I’ve been. I am so glad I went on this trip!” — Brian W., Denver, CO
“Cuba is a unique and interesting cycling adventure that takes you back to another era. People are incredibly friendly and the countryside is pretty amazing!” – Jerry H., San Diego, CA
What if I am traveling alone?
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want to guarantee a bedroom to yourself.
For selected trips, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
Where does the tour start and end?
This tour starts and ends in Havana, Cuba.
What is the Activity Level of This Tour?
The terrain on this trip is varied and colorful. Topography ranges from flat to rolling to strenuous. To fully enjoy this trip, you should be able to comfortably bike 35-75 miles over rolling countryside. Cuba has a tropical climate, which may mean more humidity than we’re used to, including warm rains or breezy days. Some restaurants and local sites will not have air-conditioning.
What kind of bicycles will we ride?
The bike model we’ll be using in Cuba is the Trek FX S4. This bike comes with standard pedals with an optional strap to use as a toe cage. Guests may bring their own pedals if they prefer, and our guides/mechanics can switch them out. We will be providing helmets.
What will the hotels be like?
We stay in a mix of nicer hotels and casas particulares in Cuba. Casas particulares are the Cuban version of a Bed & Breakfast, with rooms for rent in private homes. In some locations this feels like a boutique hotel. In others it is even more intimate; for example, a private home with 2-4 rooms for rent where our guests get a very memorable, personal, and authentic experience interacting with and conversing with a Cuban family. In all cases, we search out the best casas and will return to them repeatedly on our tours. So the casa owners and families know us and our guides, it enhances the people-to-people trip experience for our guests.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174
47 Elizabeth Bay Road
Elizabeth Bay NSW
02 8667 3336