Cycling in Cuba travel guide

Cuba may be famous for its classic cars, yet one of the best things about cycling here is the absence of vehicles once you pedal beyond Havana. Along the way, you’ll spend time with Cuban families, sharing their homes, their meals and their stories. While other travelers bus between Havana and Trinidad and Santiago, you’ll discover the plantations, pueblos and music-filled plazas, where the buses don’t pass. With local guides on hand to translate and offer encouragement, and mechanics in support vehicles to repair punctures and transport luggage, there’s only one way to travel in Cuba. And that’s by bike.
Our tours include local guides, bike mechanics and even opportunities to cycle with ex-pro cyclists. Straight from the off you're cycling in Cuba with Cubans. You just don't get that on any other type of tour.
Our cycling tours employ local people as guides, stay in casas particulares (privately owned B&Bs), and visit out of the way destinations that are no longer accessible via domestic flights. Charitable workshops, local clubs and ex-pro cyclists all help travelers connect with Cuba’s contemporary cycling culture, as well as retelling plenty of two-wheeled tales related to the past.

Cycling in Cuba is…

a great chance to meet local people, learn a little Spanish and benefit communities living in out of the way locations.

Cycling in Cuba isn't…

about five star comforts and flat, unblemished road surfaces. You’ll need to get fit; but not that fit. It’s a vacation after all.

Is a cuba cycling vacation for you?

Go on a cycling vacation in Cuba if…

… you’re not a hardcore cyclist. While some road routes to the east are challenging and recommend you bring your own road bike from home, most routes in central Cuba, and to the west, include a fully fitted hybrid or mountain bike and are actually quite leisurely – more a way to admire the scenery and get from A to B than really testing your calves. … you’re not confident with bike maintenance. Expert tour leaders and local guides are with you to ensure everything’s in working order – you just need to be able to ride. Support vehicles with local mechanics also follow you 100 percent of the way. … you want to benefit local people. Staying in casas particulares (private homes) and eating out at privately owned restaurants (paladares) not only provides a much more authentic and characterful outlook on Cuba, it also guarantees money spent goes directly into the pockets of local people. … you’re not keen on traffic. Cuba is as famous for its classic cars as its cigars, but outside of the main cities the refurbished Chevys are few and far between. You’re more likely to be sharing the road with other cyclists on Flying Pigeons (Chinese imported bikes) and donkey carts.

Don’t go on a cycling vacation in Cuba if…

… you’re not happy in tropical weather. Midwinter offers cooler, drier air, but this is still the Caribbean; cycling is sure to keep you warm and help you lose a few pounds as you pedal.
… you’re a diehard foodie. Cuban cuisine gets a bad rap – and it's certainly not a destination you'd choose because of its food. Hotel buffets score lowest for the quality of the cuisine, closely followed by state-owned restaurants. However, home-cooked meals at casas particulares are delicious – with fresh seafood, black beans and tropical fruit – as are the dishes served at locally-owned paladares.
… you’re racing to the finishing line. A cycling vacation is just as cultural as any other trip to Cuba – it’s just that you’re pedalling from highlight to highlight instead of driving. So take your time, stop to chat, keep your camera close by and enjoy the ride.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Cuba cycling or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to go on a cycling vacation in Cuba

Escape the cold climes of the northern hemisphere as you seek out Cuba's sunny cycling conditions either side of Christmas.
Winter is the best time to go on a cycling vacation to Cuba as temperatures are cooler (particularly Dec-Jan), humidity is low and it’s generally dry – just be sure to book well ahead if traveling in the peak Christmas or Easter vacations. May-October are characterised by rain, heat, humidity and the odd hurricane; this is not the ideal season for cycling unless you’re tied to the school vacations. The eastern regions are the warmest and wettest; waterproof bags and rain ponchos are highly recommended! Vibrant festivals and events take place year round, so you’re bound to stumble across music, dance, theatre and general celebrations whenever you travel.

Havana Weather Chart

RAIN (mm)
Adam Roberts from our cycling in Cuba specialists, Cubania:
“The heat can be a bit of an issue if you're going in May-Sept. We design our trips so you're not cycling in the hottest part of the day, especially if you're on a really exposed section of the route, we'll factor that in for the morning. We start things off with shorter rides so that people get acclimatised, both to the heat and the distance.”


Either side of Christmas – November and January – are good times to go on a cycling vacation in Cuba, particularly on a more challenging road cycling tour in the east of the island. Flight prices, rainfall, and temperatures are low (ish – it’s always pretty hot) at the start of the year and there’s every chance of blue skies and sunshine. Weather conditions in December are also more comfortable for cycling; however, accommodation and flights will be more expensive and harder to find around Christmas, especially in Havana. February, March and April are also favourable for cyclists although, since the Pope’s visit in 2012, Easter (mid-April) has now become one of the island’s busiest times of year. Book as far ahead as possible; flights will fill up fast. Occasional showers arrive at the end of April and into early May, especially in the southeast around Santiago de Cuba. Just make sure you pack a stowaway rain coat or poncho to be prepared. June, July and August are exceptionally hot so not the best time to go cycling in Cuba, especially if you’re planning on tackling longer distances on the road to Baracoa. Flight prices to Havana also increase during July and August to coincide with Europe’s school summer vacations. September and October can be particularly tropical with heavy downpours, storms and high humidity. August, September and October are not the best months to cycle close to Cuba’s Caribbean coastline, as this is where and when hurricanes are most likely to occur.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Cubania Travel] [Is/isn't: Cubania Travel] [Go/don't go if...: Exodus Travels] [Temp chart: Vicki Brown]