Region Overviews: Cuba Travel Guide: Overview
From its architecture to its white-sand beaches and abandoned coffee plantations, a trip to Cuba is as rich in experience as it is in magic.
Lush Viñales farmlands. White-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Historic Havana, biospheres and national parks. See it all riding side by side with the locals. We're one of the few US companies running trips in Cuba, so if you've been thinking about travel to this one-of-a-kind country, now is the time! And no one immerses you into this country's natural beauty, culture and history like we do.
THIS ITINERARY: 7 days, 6 nights
ACCOMMODATIONS: Casual Hotels
Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.
Cycle through Viñales National Park amid dramatic domed hills or mogotes | Get to know a family at their prize-winning farm and enjoy a farm-to-table feast | Visit a tobacco farm and learn how the leaves are rolled into cigars | Bike to the miles-long white-sand beaches of Cayo Jutías and dine on fresh fish | Expert salsa dancers teach you how to move to the rhythm | In the evening, join the locals for more music.
Hotel Los Jazmines is a pastel-pink colonial-style building boasting incredible views of the lush Viñales Valley. (pool) (Please note our accommodations may change to one of the hotel's sister properties: Hotel La Ermita, Villa Rancho San Vicente or similar.)
Visit the home and studio of a self-taught painter in the hills of Viñales | Along our bike route, indulge in fresh fruit and coconuts harvested by our local friends | Bike with members of the Cuban Masters Cycling Club from the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve to Havana | Artists welcome us to Las Terrazas, a sustainable eco-village within the reserve.
A unique hotel designed to blend with the forested surroundings of the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve. (pool)
Enjoy a fresh-caught seaside lunch before cycling into Havana | Discuss art and its influence during a visit to the studio of José Fuster, dubbed Picasso of the Caribbean | Kick up your feet at our rooftop pool overlooking central Havana | Join an award-winning journalist who has lived in Cuba for over 20 years for an informative Q&A session | Starting in the Plaza de Armas, Havana's oldest square, explore vibrant Habana Vieja with an expert from the city's Historian's Office and witness the preservation efforts firsthand | Local entrepreneurs and paladar (restaurant) owners share their passions and stories of how they launched their businesses | Meander through lively plazas and side streets and engage with community projects | We're treated to a performance by the young Habana Compás dance group | Stroll through a Cuban market, with a chance to test your bargaining skills.
Set in an ideal location overlooking Parque Central, this lovingly restored Old Havana building is steeped in history and has fantastic views from its rooftop pool. (pool, spa)
The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy
Click on dates for pricing, itinerary variations and to book your trip. Price is per person, double occupancy.
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. Several routes and a range of levels are offered each day so you can choose how much or how little activity you want to do. Learn more about how we determine activity levels.
The terrain on this trip ranges from fairly flat to rolling to hilly and challenging. Most of the roads we follow are paved, though there are some short sections of dirt and gravel that can be quite bumpy. On the secondary—and scenic!—roads we follow we'll encounter a significant amount of potholes, rough sections and some large gravelly sections where road work is ongoing. Also, humidity and heat can make routes feel more challenging than the mileage may suggest.
The key to a stellar day's ride is a bike that's perfectly in tune with your cycling style… Backroads has you covered with the best bike fleet in the world! Read on for your available bike options for this trip.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
Backroads remains licensed by the United States Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to engage, organize and conduct authorized Support for the Cuban People group travel to Cuba. These trips engage participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba. In order to adhere to the US government requirements for travel to Cuba, this trip does not allow for the degree of flexibility we build into all of our other itineraries; as a guest, you will have a full schedule of enriching Support for the Cuban People activities.
Under the new rules issued by the US Department of Treasury on June 5, 2019, the group People-to-People educational travel category has been eliminated. However, Backroads trips fall under the Support for the Cuban People general license category, meaning our trips remain legally licensed and we can continue to book guests and run our 2020 and beyond trips. We'll continue to deliver high-quality experiences in Cuba. You can still purchase your own commercial flights to Cuba—when doing so, select that you will be traveling under the OFAC category of Support for the Cuban People general license. Also, if you are subject to US jurisdiction you may extend your stay in Cuba and book your flights according to your added days. If you are not extending your stay before or after our Backroads trip, your flight to Cuba must arrive no earlier than the evening before the Backroads trip start and must depart no later than the morning after the trip end.
Beginning November 9, 2017, US policy also prohibits direct financial transactions to entities related to the Cuban military, including various hotels. Please feel free to contact us with questions or concerns about your travel arrangements for the days before or after your Backroads trip. And for more information on the new guidelines, please refer to OFAC's FAQs. For a complete list of restricted hotels and other entities, please refer to the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. (You'll notice that Backroads stays in some the hotels on this restricted list—we're able to do so by being "grandfathered in" since we made our reservations prior to the rollout of the government's new rules.)
When traveling abroad, things don't always go according to plan and, particularly in Cuba, itinerary changes or shifts mid-trip are quite common. In the event of a last-minute change to scheduled activities, your leaders will find alternate activities. Expect the unexpected in this region—it's all part of the adventure!
As "luxury" accommodations in Cuba can generally be very hard to find in smaller towns or be characterized as large all-inclusive, resort-style hotels, our accommodations in the towns we visit outside of Havana are not typical of the Backroads experience. While the hotels are the best available in the towns we visit, even the nicest properties in Cuba do not come close to equaling the accommodations on other Backroads trips.
Please note that although meals are fresh and tasty, the variety will be limited, with many of the same ingredients featured (such as poultry, pork, beans and rice).