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Cycle Cuba: West

Cycle Cuba: West

Want to know how it feels to ride alongside tractors and vintage cars, past tobacco farms and the smell of cigars, to have the Caribbean wind whip through your (helmet-covered) hair on a two-wheeled journey through the rich history and crumbling ruins of Old Havana? Find out, on this small group cycling adventure through Cuba’s west. Experience Cuban culture from handle-bar height as you take a leisurely peddle through the capital’s colourful streets, cycle to the pristine shores of Cayo Jutias to cool-off from the heat, and end a rewarding day in the saddle in Vinales with a farm-to-plate feast. From the flora and fauna-filled valleys of Saroa to the welcoming arms of renowned farmer Mama Luisa, take a ‘brake’ from the beaten path and access unique parts of the island that you can only reach on a trusty bicycle.

Tour At a Glance

  • Experience Cuba’s dynamic scenery on two-wheels, from the decaying charm of Old Havana to the dramatic limestone landscapes of Vinales.
  • Immerse yourself in everyday life as you share the Cuban roads with local traffic: ride alongside tractors, vintage American cars, old Ladas and horse-drawn carriages.
  • Enjoy a delicious farm-to-plate experience in a hilltop restaurant – the produce is 100% organic and locally grown, oh, and the rum is free!
  • Recognised as the world’s finest cigar manufacturer, top-off your Cuban experience at a tobacco plantation and witness a local farmer expertly roll an iconic Cuban ‘habana’.
  • Stretch your legs along the pristine beaches of Cayo Jutias, enjoy free time to flop and drop on the sands or go for a refreshing dip in the Caribbean.
  • Tour code: QBXC
  • Group Adventure

7 Days fr £ 752* pp

Itinerary details

  • Havana
    1 Havana

    Bienvenido a Cuba! To make your arr Bienvenido a Cuba! To make your arrival into often chaotic Cuba a bit easier, a complimentary transfer from the airport to your accommodation (guesthouse) is included with your trip. Then, enjoy free time until your welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early there are a wealth of options for you to enjoy in Havana. For a fascinating insight into the Cuban Revolution check out the Museum of the Revolution, indulge your inner literary fan on an Ernest Hemingway tour, join the locals for a stroll past the fading facades along the iconic oceanside Malecon or hire an open top vintage American car and simply cruise the streets and boulevards of Havana. After the meeting, why not get to know your riding companions over an optional group dinner in one of the city’s many restaurants.

    Accommodation :
    Guesthouse ( Night)

    Optional Activities
    Havana - Half-day Ernest Hemingway Tour (guide and transport included) - CUC70Havana - Cigar Factory Tour (entrance fee and guide) - CUC12Havana - Morro Castle (entrance fee included, no guide, no transport) - CUC3Havana - American Vintage Car Tour (guide and transport included) - CUC55Havana - Museum of the Revolution (entrance fee) - CUC5Havana Bike Hire - Ruta Bikes - CUC20

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  • Soroa
    2 Soroa

    Take a short drive to Vedado this m Take a short drive to Vedado this morning to meet your support crew (approximately 15 minutes) and be fitted to your bike. Take your new wheels for a spin on a 2-hour leisurely ride from Outer Havana back to Old Havana, passing John Lennon Park, the Grand Theatre and the Capitol building along the way before finishing back in Old Havana. Enjoy lunch in a nearby cafe before stretching your legs on a guided walking tour of Old Havana, taking in the four most historic plazas. Finish your walk with a 360-degree panoramic view of Old Havana through the eyes of The Camera Obscurer – the only one of its kind in Latin American and the Caribbean, before heading to Saroa in the support vehicle (approximately 1.5-hours). Known as the 'rainbow of Cuba', Soroa is a flourishing landscape of flora and fauna. As the sun sets, enjoy dinner, then perhaps head to a local guesthouse for cocktails and an introduction to the curious fascination the Cuban’s have with the game of dominos. Be warned, the locals (and your support team) are fiercely competitive and have spent countless hours honing their domino skills!

    Accommodation :
    Guesthouse ( Night)

    Included Activities
    Cycling Outer HavanaHavana - Leader-led walking tour of Old Havana

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  • Soroa/Las Terrazas
    3 Soroa/Las Terrazas

    This morning, enjoy a guided tour o This morning, enjoy a guided tour of the spectacular Soroa Orchid Garden, located just a short drive away. Set among seven acres, this serene oasis of flora features 250 plant varieties native to Cuba as well as numerous species of birds. Afterwards, cycle west (on well-paved roads), sharing the streets with local traffic: tractors, vintage American cars, old Ladas and horse-drawn carriages, until you reach a picturesque hillside lake. Take a break for a quick drink before stopping by the San Juan River for lunch and a refreshing swim. Continue by vehicle on to the small but renowned lakeside eco-village of Comunidad Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve set in beautiful green surrounds and home to a lively art community. Grab a coffee near the main square then visit the former home of the celebrated Cuban musician Polo Montanes, and current studio of the famous modern artist, Lester Campa. Return to Soroa (approximately 30 minutes) and spend the evening relaxing, playing pool, or perhaps take the opportunity to improve on your domino skills.

    Accommodation :
    Guesthouse ( Night)

    Included Activities
    Las Terrazas - Eco-village VisitSoroa - Orchid Garden (entrance fee and guide included)Las Terrazas - Casa de Polo entry

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  • Viñales
    4 Viñales

    Drive to the hilly Cueva de los Por Drive to the hilly Cueva de los Portales, where the legendary Che Guevara stayed and trained the Western Army of the Cuban Revolution (approximately 1.5 hours). From here, cycle on to the UNESCO-listed town of Vinales. Set among low-lying mountains, this beautifully remote area is reminiscent of the limestone karst scenery of Vietnam and is the perfect place to ride with very little traffic on the roads. Push your pedals a short distance uphill and be rewarded with spectacular views before continuing on to meet the delightful Mama Luisa, a seasoned farmer who’ll provide you with a delicious local meal (and a hug!). Afterwards, ride to a tobacco farm where you’ll meet another farmer who’ll show you how tobacco is dried and then rolled into cigars – here you have the chance to purchase this Cuban speciality directly from the maker. Jump back into the support vehicle and return to Vinales in time for a delicious farm-to-plate experience at a hillside restaurant. The food here is 100% organic and grown locally, and although drinks aren’t included, you only pay for the mixers as the rum is free, classic Cuba!

    Accommodation :
    Guesthouse ( Night)

    Included Activities
    Vinales - Tobacco farm visit

    Optional Activities
    Vinales - Salsa Dance Lesson (per hour) - CUC10Vinales - Live music venues (entrance fee) from - CUC2

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  • Vinales / Cayo Jutias
    5 Vinales / Cayo Jutias

    After breakfast, drive to the Diego After breakfast, drive to the Diego Rivera-inspired Mural de la Prehistoria (approximately 10 minutes). Painted on a cliff at the foot of the Sierra de Vinales, the huge eye-catching mural took 18 people four years to finish. From here, leave the towering limestone karsts behind as you cycle to the sublime Cayo Jutias, traversing smaller roads through dry and flat farmland, with barely a vehicle to be seen, until you reach the surreal white beaches and pale blue waters of Cayo Jutias. After your ride, stretch out on the shoreline and enjoy a packed lunch and fresh juice. Then enjoy free time to relax – swim in the warm waters or perhaps walk to the neighbouring beach where the locals often park their beautiful old cars on the sands. After some time to soak up the atmosphere, take the support vehicle back to Vinales (approximately 2 hours). The rest of the evening is at leisure – why not try one of the many live music venues or salsa the night away. Note: In late 2019 the road to Cayo Jutias was closed for repairs with no formal timeframe on it's reopening. Until it reopens we will visit a different beach nearby.

    Accommodation :
    Guesthouse ( Night)

    Included Activities
    Vinales - Beach excursion to Cayo Jutias

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  • Havana
    6 Havana

    After breakfast, drive to the nearb After breakfast, drive to the nearby lookout point for a view of the Vinales Valley before descending to the flat plains where you’ll begin your final ride – cycling through rural landscapes, passing many small towns and communities along some of the smoothest tarmac in Cuba, before finishing on top of a small hill. Celebrations are in order as you enjoy one last delicious meal before re-boarding your transport for the short drive (approximately 2 hours) back to Havana. On arrival in Havana, bid farewell to your bikes and your support team before checking into your guesthouse. Make the most of a free afternoon to reacquaint yourself with Cuba's charming capital, perhaps visit the Jose Marti Memorial Tower or your guide can help organise a final group meal in one of the many paladars in Old Havana.

    Accommodation :
    Guesthouse ( Night)

    Optional Activities
    Havana - Jose Marti Memorial Tower (entrance fee) - CUC2

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  • Havana
    7 Havana

    Your Cycle Cuba adventure comes to Your Cycle Cuba adventure comes to an end this morning. There are no more activities planned and you're free to depart after breakfast.

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Dates & Prices

Cycle Cuba: West

Is this trip right for you.

  • This is a cycling trip, so it requires a certain amount of cycling fitness. This being said, there’s always a comfortable, air-conditioned support vehicle following close by.
  • To complete this trip, it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.
  • Import restrictions make the purchase of new bicycles a difficult challenge. Our bikes come from a variety of different manufacturers but are all mechanically sound.
  • On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a backmarker where needed).
  • The Caribbean climate can be very hot and humid. It's important to wear the appropriate clothing, drink plenty of water and apply sun protection regularly. Lycra cycling shorts are ideal for warmer temperatures.
  • Cuba's roads aren't always paved, but when they are, they can range from smooth to downright terrible. However, it’s a fun experience to share the road with tractors, vintage American cars and horse-drawn carriages.
  • Part of Cuba’s appeal is its old-fashioned style – this includes the banking systems. Funds in Cuba can be difficult to access. Ideally bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure.
  • Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's often unreliable and expensive. Treat this as a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.
  • While Cuban food can sometimes seem limited due to a ban on imported goods, your guide will steer you towards the best eateries in each destination you visit.
  • Cuba is different and that’s what makes it such a fascinating destination. You will find that things don’t always go according to plan or work the way they do back home. Regulations concerning foreigners and currency may appear strange to you, transport sometimes runs late and sometimes the water in your bathroom can run cold and the electricity fail. In order to get the most out of your holiday, a degree of patience, good humour and understanding is a definite advantage. Cuba may not be wealthy in a monetary sense, however if you approach your holiday with an open and enquiring mind, the warm welcome you receive from Cubans will ensure you a rich and rewarding holiday experience.

Accommodation

  • Guesthouse (6 nts)

Joining point description

Cuban Guesthouses (known locally as Casas) are more similar in style to B&Bs than they are homestays. Families do not necessarily live in the residence and most houses we contract are primarily a business. While some guesthouse managers and owners speak English, interaction mostly consists of gestures, smiles and ‘Spanglish’. Just like the residences in your own neighbourhood, each casa is unique; expect there to be differences between the rooms you and your travelling companions stay in (generally we arrange things so that there are 1-4 group members in each house). Each room has a private bathroom with towels, and occasionally basic toiletries are provided. Premium guesthouses at least will not have electric shower heads although as with many developing countries, power cuts do occur on occasion, meaning that hot water can’t always be guaranteed regardless of the standard.

Joining point instructions

    We have an expansive contracted list of guesthouses across the Havana neighbourhoods of Vedado, Central Havana and Old Havana. Please advise bedding configuration requests to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel to aid guesthouse and rooming allocations, which are finalised 10 days prior to departure based on the configuration of each travelling party. You may request your confirmed guesthouse name and address inside 7 days of departure from your booking agent. For this reason, a complimentary airport arrival transfer is included, and the transfer driver will know the address of your assigned guesthouse; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 5 days prior to travel.

    ARRIVAL TRANSFER:

    After collecting your luggage, exit through the main arrivals’ door. If you arrive in Terminal 3, look for someone inside the terminal holding a small sign with the Intrepid Travel logo. If you arrive in Terminal 2, you will need to exit the building to find with your driver holding a small sign with the Intrepid Travel logo. If you can't locate the driver, go to Terminal 3, find the exit door number 8, and locate the free-standing pull-up banner with the Intrepid Travel logo and wait there until the driver takes the same initiative. The transfer will be provided in a yellow taxi-branded car; however, all drivers are specifically contracted to us so please trust they will know the address of your assigned guesthouse. For assistance call +53 5333 8121 or +53 5438 9140; see the Problems and Emergency Contact Information section in your Essential Trip Information document for more details to successfully connect.

    LOCAL ASSISTANCE:

    We have a desk located in the listed address below; providing a 24-hour service with English speaking employees if any assistance is required.

    La Gargola Guesthouse

    1st floor #82 Cuba street, Old Havana (between Cuarteles & Chacon Streets) PH: +53 (7) 8605493

    The Spanish translation is Casa La Gargola 1° Piso #82 Calle Cuba, entre Cuarteles y Chacon, Havana Vieja.

Finish point description

Cuban Guesthouses (known locally as Casas) are more similar in style to B&Bs than they are homestays. Families do not necessarily live in the residence and most houses we contract are primarily a business. While some guesthouse managers and owners speak English, interaction mostly consists of gestures, smiles and ‘Spanglish’. Just like the residences in your own neighbourhood, each casa is unique; expect there to be differences between the rooms you and your travelling companions stay in (generally we arrange things so that there are 1-4 group members in each house). Usually each room has a private bathroom (occasionally two rooms will share one bathroom) with towels provided, though make sure to bring any toiletries you might require as not all casas provide soap and shampoo. Note that electric shower heads with visible wires are a normality in Cuba! And as with many developing countries, power cuts do occur on occasion, meaning that hot water can’t always be guaranteed regardless of the standard.

Finish point instructions

  • Intrepid offers a pre-arranged departure transfer service to Havana Airport at an additional fee. If you require this service, please advise your flight arrival details at least 5 days prior to your trip departure.
  • If you have a transfer to the Airport your transfer driver will collect, you from your guesthouse 3.5 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the guesthouse staff to call +53 5438 9140 or our Cuba Emergency number, listed under the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section of this document.
  • Alternatively, you can travel from your guesthouse to the International Airport by taxi. The leader will be able to assist you with booking a taxi. The taxi will cost approximately 30CUC and takes approximately 25 minutes depending on traffic.

Safety

  • We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you wear shoes that cover the toes while riding. SUPPORT VEHICLES We usually have a support vehicle following us if first-aid is ever necessary or people are feeling too tired to ride. BIKES: Our bikes are serviced regularly, and we get them checked by experts before each and every trip. Should you choose to bring your own please note that while we are happy to assist where we can with repairs you are responsible for the safety and suitability of your own equipment. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! There are times when traffic conditions make sections of our planned riding route unsafe – in this instance we will use the support vehicle. WEATHER Due to inclement weather posing a serious health or safety issue there may be times when we use the support vehicle instead of doing the planned ride. We will endeavour to reroute if possible but at times may have to cancel the planned ride.
  • Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.
  • In this destination the traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road. Drivers are generally respectful and careful of cyclists but it is important to be aware at all times.
  • THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
  • LOCAL LODGINGS: On this trip you will be staying in some restored houses and local lodges - these are one of the charms of this journey, but their staircases, balconies and passages etc may not always comply with western safety standards. Please do not expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state.
  • FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
  • SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

Medical and health information

    GENERAL HEALTH

  • All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
  • You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling.
  • COVID-19

  • The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here
  • HEALTH SCREENING

  • If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader.
  • MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY

  • All travellers on Intrepid trips (outside Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands) are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. From 1 December 2021, all travellers on Intrepid trips, including in Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands, are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
  • This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit
  • MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES

  • Some regions of Central & South America can experience outbreaks of dengue fever. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent, and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please let your leader know right away. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria by taking measures to avoid insect bites.
  • ZIKA VIRUS

  • There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.
  • CYCLING HEALTH

  • Riding across unfamiliar terrain in weather conditions that you are not used to can potentially lead to cycling-related health issues.
  • By far the most common issue is that of dehydration. While this is most common on warm/hot days, it is also a factor during cold weather as you continue to sweat. Research shows most riders will typically lose 500-1000 ml of water per hour. While we schedule in frequent rest stops and encourage you to refill water bottles at every opportunity, it is the responsibility of each cyclist to monitor their own levels of hydration while cycling. The key point to remember is not to wait until you’re thirsty but to drink small amounts regularly from the start of your ride.
  • Adding an electrolyte solution can aid in replenishing the salts/electrolytes lost through physical activity. This is especially important on days when you are drinking a lot of the bike.

Food and dietary requirements

  • To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will also be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip.
  • DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

  • More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, celiac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend bringing your own supply of snacks with you.
  • Vegetarians should be aware that while you can get vegetarian meals in Cuba, you generally won't find much variety and you may get tired of being offered the same every day (i.e. - rice, beans, omelette and salad). Vegetarians are often surprised that their meals are no cheaper than those containing meat, and this is because vegetables on the free market in Cuba are of similar prices to those of meat.
  • Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.
  • FOOD IN CUBA

  • Food in Cuba has a reputation for being bland and lacking variety, however it has improved dramatically over the last two years. There are very limited snacks available in Cuba; convenience stores exist but are certainly not as prevalent nor sell the quantity or variety of snacks or junk food you may be used to at home. You may wish to bring your favourite chocolates, candy or healthy snacks like muesli bars.
  • Beans and rice are the staples, with cucumber, tomato and cabbage being the conventional ingredients for a Cuban salad. Chicken and pork are the most common meats served in Cuba, however fish and a variety of seafood is also frequently on offer. Please be aware that it is a cultural trait to serve meals larger than you are expected to finish, but be assured nothing will go to waste.
  • It can be hard to find a suitable place to eat while travelling in Cuba, as roadside restaurants tend to cater for large tour groups and either offer a fixed meal or a very limited selection of snacks. In the cities and towns small privately-owned restaurants, paladares, offer a little more choice but can often only seat a maximum of twelve people (the number for which they are officially licensed).
  • SNACK KITTY

  • During the group meeting, your trip leader will ask you if you would like to contribute to the snack kitty. This is usually 20CUC per person. The snack kitty is spent on water, fruits, and local-made snacks. It is not a compulsory kitty, although as these can sometimes be hard to come by in Cuba in remote areas, the kitty is designed to make the purchasing of snacks easier and more convenient for you. The left over funds will be returned at trip end. You can find out more information from your leader upon arrival.

Important Notes

  • Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips.
  • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this).
  • There are some destinations where you are unable to purchase or hire appropriate helmets locally so you will need to bring your own please check the 'Important Notes' section to see if this is the case.
  • Padded bike shorts
  • Quick-dry jerseys – you can definitely get away with a few cotton t-shirts but having a few light and breathable jerseys will make your cycling a lot more comfortable, especially in warmer/humid climates.
  • Quick-dry socks
  • Cycling gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycle gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in case of a fall.
  • Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road
  • Light breathable waterproof/windproof – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when the wind-chill becomes a factor.
  • Water bottle – we don't provide bottles but all our bikes have one bottle holder fitted (and a second one can be fitted if required). Please bring a cycling-specific water bottle as other types will fall out of the holders. A Camelbak will make drinking on-the-go easier.
  • Sunglasses – well fitted sports sunglasses help protect against dust, insects and (of course) the sun
  • Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main bag, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea.
  • Suncream – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF 50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle can really expose you to the sun
  • Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all of our trips however you may want to consider a flat shoe with a relatively stiff sole as it makes pedalling a lot more efficient. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own cycling-specific shoes however we recommended 'mountain bike' style shoes that have grip on the sole rather than road bike' shoes as you will still be walking around while on the rides (cafe/photo/toilet stops, etc.). For safety reasons we require that you wear shoes that completely cover the toes while riding.
  • Saddles – are saddles are standard, unisex models –less experienced cyclists may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring your own saddle – our leader will assist in fitting it to your bike
  • Pedals – all bikes come with flat pedals. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own pedals – our leader will assist in fitting them to your bike
  • As space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small luggage bag with you rather than larger bags or suitcases.
  • Please note that suitable quality bicycle helmets are extremely difficult to purchase or hire locally in Cuba so it is important to bring your own from home.
  • Please note that stand alone GPS units (such as a Garmin) are a restricted item requiring pre-authorisation to bring into Cuba. To avoid the risk of having it confiscated on arrival we recommend not bringing such devices with you on this trip.
  • What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.
  • Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).
  • If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.
  • You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.
  • Below we have listed the essentials for this trip
  • YOUR OWN BIKE

  • If you would like to bring your own bike please see the 'Transport' section of your Essential Trip Information.
  • Most travellers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You'll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips.
  • Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip
  • ESSENTIAL

  • Warm as well as light clothing. Central America is often assumed to have hot weather, but it can get cold in the countryside, mountains and at night in the winter so we suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer
  • Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings
  • Sun protection hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
  • Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments
  • RECOMMENDED

  • Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, travel insurance etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary
  • Reusable straw 
  • Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com)
  • Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and Band-Aids
  • Insect repellent
  • Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
  • Swimwear
  • Travel beach towel
  • Tissues &/or toilet paper &/or wet wipes
  • Insect repellent
  • Toiletries. We recommend you to take your own supply of shampoo, soap and toilet paper to use in the guesthouses and public toilets. We also encourage women to take their own supply of sanitary items as these items are not widely available for purchase in Cuba
  • Despite their low income levels, Cubans love to dress up smartly and fashionably whenever they can. For going out in the evenings, casual dress is acceptable everywhere although one collared shirt for males is recommended, otherwise there's no need to bring clothes or footwear especially for this
  • OPTIONAL

  • Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate
  • Phrase book
  • VALUABLES

  • Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your safe if available. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
  • LAUNDRY

  • A laundry service is offered at some hotels used on this trip, or in some guesthouses if you’re travelling in Cuba. You might need to wait for a two-night stop to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats which are also an option, usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (approximately USD$5 per kilo).
  • GIFTS

  • Given the difficulty of securing basic goods in Cuba, surplus items that you have at home such as soap, shampoo, perfumes, sewing kits, toothbrushes and pens or pencils are warmly accepted. We do encourage you to discuss gift giving with your leader so that items can be distributed to organisations in need. If you decide to hand out gifts without the leader’s guidance, we suggest you distribute as a sign of appreciation after a genuine interaction, whether that be a conversation or offered help, rather than a means to create engagement. Please always refrain from handing items directly to children. It is not necessary to bring gifts for the guesthouse owners in Cuba; these are not a homestay experience and as they are a business they are most-likely run by some of the more well-off families who will be happy enough with just your good-natured presence.

Passport and visas

PASSPORT

You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the passport details you provide are accurate. Any errors provided may result in extra fees for making corrections in bookings. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends.

VISAS

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip.

COVID-19 ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS

Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, you must monitor your government's foreign travel advice for the most up-to-date border measures and entry requirements as they may change without notice. See Intrepid Travel Alert page for some commonly used government travel advice websites:

Entry requirements may include but not limited to the presentation of a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test, health declaration form, passenger locator form, or proof of hotel or tour booking. Lack of any required documents may result in denial of entry.

Airline boarding requirements may differ, or be in addition to, a destination’s entry requirements. Monitor your airline’s requirements regularly in the lead up to travel. Being allowed to board a flight doesn’t guarantee entry to a destination.

Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that extends to cover COVID-19 related expenses.

RETURN TRAVEL

Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour.

We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested.

Cuba - Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Cuba for the most up to date information. To enter the country, visitors are required to have evidence of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay, proof of travel medical insurance, as well as onward travel ticket.

Passport holders from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are required to obtain a Tourist Card (Tarjeta de Turista) which is valid for 30 days from date of entry. In some cases, you may be required to buy the card at your departure airport (Eg. YTO, MEX, CUN, SJO, LIM, PTY), either at the check in counter or at the flight gate itself some minutes before departure. Others need to buy the tourist card from their travel agency, but policies vary (eg Canadian airlines give out tourist cards during the flight), so you'll need to check ahead with the airline office. In some cases, you can arrange a visa prior to departing your home country but this is usually more expensive and time consuming. All Tourist Cards are the same, except if you are flying direct to Cuba from the USA (including flights that transit via the USA), please read below.

Anyone travelling from the United States, regardless of citizenship and nationality, must comply with the regulations set by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Individuals travelling to Cuba are not required to obtain licenses from OFAC if their travel is covered by a general license. Under the general license, there are 12 permitted reasons for travel and as such the license category “Support for the Cuban People” (516.574) allows individuals to holiday in Cuba, however, please be advised that the discretion lies with airport officials. The Cuban Tourist Card cannot be arranged prior to arrival in the USA and must be purchased from the airport before boarding your flight to Cuba (Pink in colour; costing USD$50). This should be obtained by presenting your boarding pass at the check-in counter, or for some airports, at the gate. Please note that at check-in you might be asked to present your trip vouchers and Essential Trip Information (ETIs) Document when procuring the Cuban Tourist Card, so be sure to bring printed copies of these with you. Your chosen airline should have more information about the departing airport’s process on flying directly from the United States to Cuba. If you are an American citizen, American permanent resident, or hold any type of American Visa, and are considering travelling to Cuba, please refer to the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website - – and the U.S. Department of the Treasury - - for the latest advice.

If you are British or reside in Great Britain with a passport from the European union, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, you can apply for Tourist Card here - - (This type of tourist card would not be valid for travel to Cuba from the USA, Puerto Rico or US Virgin Islands) – Please read above for more information about travelling to Cuba directly from America. You may use this local address to apply for your Tourist Card - Casa La Gargola, 1st floor #82 Cuba street, Old Havana. Alternatively, you can apply direct (postal only) to the Consulate .

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting.

For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below:

TRAVEL INSURANCE:

The Cuban government has declared that travel insurance (which covers at least medical expenses) is compulsory for all travellers to Cuba. Proof of travel insurance may be requested at Havana airport by immigration officials. Travellers failing to produce a valid document will be required to purchase a new policy at the airport, before being granted access to Cuba. Cuban authorities also announced that they will not recognise any insurance policy issued or underwritten by any insurance company which has an affiliation with a US company. You should take this into account when purchasing your insurance before departure from your home country.

Responsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

Climate and seasonal

Please note that Hurricane season is June to October, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors these situations as they may arise, so that itineraries or activities can be amended as necessary.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

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