Following country roads we cycle around the lush Bay of Pigs, site of the failed US 1961 invasion attempt, and swim in the inviting waters of the Caribbean Sea. We spend time in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Cienfuegos and Trinidad - colourful, colonial cities bursting with atmosphere. Cycling through the tropical forest of Topes de Collantes National Park to Lake Hanabanilla reveals the natural splendour of this island. We end the trip learning about Cuba's revolutionary history, visiting Che Guevara's Mausoleum before returning to Castro's capital - enigmatic, charming Havana.
After breakfast we drive east to Cienfuegos via the Bay of Pigs. We stop mid morning for bike fitting and cycle to Playa Larga along the coast. We stop for a swim and picnic close to Punta Perdiz. After lunch we transfer to Playa Giron, where we will visit a museum that commemorates the Bay of Pigs invasion, one of the most important events in Cuba's recent history. After visiting the museum we drive to Cienfuegos arriving in time for a visit of the historical centre.
We set off from the hotel cycling through Cienfuegos and then into the countryside past mango groves. After some short sharp hills, we start to enjoy stunning views of the Escambray Mountains across valleys of sugar cane. The road then undulates close to the coastline and through gentle hills until it reaches Guajimico, sometimes we will continue a bit further to Yuguanabo depending upon which hotel we are using. The rest of the day can be spent swimming in the Caribbean, walking in the surrounding hills or enjoying the views and sipping a mojito!
The ride today is along a road that clings to the shimmering Caribbean coastline all the way to Trinidad. We pass small communities and cross bridges over picture perfect bays. Some undulations just before Trinidad give us an appetite before a restaurant lunch in the town! After we've reached Trinidad we can spend the rest of the day exploring this beautiful World Heritage Site.
Today you can either take a break from the saddle or continue exploring Cuba on two wheels. For the cyclists, we will make our way through the picturesque fishing village of La Boca and then continue onwards along the coastline to reach Ancon beach, a classic white sand Caribbean beach. We'll then cycle or transfer back to Trinidad for a free afternoon. If you'd like to recharge your batteries with a well deserved day off, take the optional catamaran trip to Cayo Macho instead - a chance to get away from it all on another of Cuba's pristine beaches. Look out for the tame iguanas!
After a transfer this morning through the stunning Topes de Collantes National Park, we start cycling along the valley floor between impressive mountains. Scenery is lush with small farms and villages giving way to open vistas as we descend towards Manicaragua. We stop for a picnic along the way and then start to climb towards Hanabanilla, situated on the shores of Lake Hanabanilla and surrounded by lush tropical hills. This is one of the most beautiful days in terms of scenery.
In the morning we transfer to Santa Clara. This was the first major city to be liberated by Castro's army in December 1958. Today a number of monuments commemorate this important period of Cuba's history, including the mausoleum of the legendary Che Guevara, where we stop for a visit. We then transfer to Havana, with a short stop for lunch along the way. Havana is one of the finest colonial cities in the Americas with narrow streets, spacious plazas and glorious Spanish architecture. There is an air of faded grandeur about the place with paint peeling off buildings and '50s and '60s American automobiles still dominating the roads. Time permitting we explore some of modern Havana including Revolution Square and the Capitolio building before checking into our hotel for the night.