Everywhere you visit in Cuba you’ll see the iconic image of the revolutionary Che Guevara.
It’s one of the most recognisable two-tone portraits in the world, but most people don’t know it was designed by the Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick
. They also don’t know that Che Guevara was an avid cyclist. In one trip alone he travelled 4,500 kilometres around Argentina by bike!
Che Guevara eventually made it to the idyllic Caribbean island of Cuba
and the rest, as they say, is history. The gorgeous island of Cuba is still a haven for cyclists (even if you don’t have the help of a small engine on your bicycle as Che Guevara did on his earlier trips!)
Due to the remarkably light traffic in the country, cycling is one of the best ways to discover the island paradise. And with a variety of terrains and meandering trails Cuba is sure to satisfy your thirst for adventure!
Cycling in Cuba: 5 highlights
As you cycle around the island you will discover all that Cuba has to offer from the crumbling colonial buildings of Havana
to the crystalline waters of the coast and everything in between.
Check out these five highlights of exploring Cuba from the saddle!
1. Don’t miss Havana
Havana is the charming capital city of Cuba and you will have plenty of time to explore it first-hand as you cycle through its sunny streets lined with colourful vintage cars. As a 500 year old city, Havana has
an eclectic architectural landscape to satisfy your inner history buff! From the Baroque asymmetry of the Havana Cathedral to the modernist 1950s high rises, Cuba’s vibrant capital blurs the lines between past and present worlds for a truly unique experience.
As the centre of the Cuban government, the tour of Havana includes a trip to the infamous Plaza de la Revolucion. The city square is a historical site synonymous with political rallies and important speeches, and displays an emotive memorial image of Che Guevara overlooking the entire plaza.
2. Cuban Countryside
With a variety of terrains and tracks and stunning scenery, the Cuban countryside is a cycle-lover’s paradise. Travel back in time and experience the authentic daily life of Cuba’s rural inhabitants, where roadsides are adorned with memorials of fallen Cuban soldiers, sugar cane grows high and thick, and farmers travel the streets by horse and cart.
A warm welcome from friendly locals is guaranteed as you ride through the quaint villages of these small agricultural communities so don’t forget to wave back!
3. The Sierra Maestra Mountains
If you’re up for a challenge then cycling the route from Bayamo into the Sierra Maestra mountain range will be right up your street! This area of Cuba is rarely visited by tourists, meaning you will be one of very few to experience the incredible natural beauty of the area.
After a hard day on difficult terrain it is time to hop off the saddle where you will be met by a local guide who will accompany you on a gentle trek into the tropical mountains of lush green foliage.
4. The Bay of Pigs
The Bay of Pigs is an inlet on the southern coast of Cuba that is a natural adventure lover’s paradise. With stunning coral reefs to the west of the bay and two long stretches of sandy beaches, you can go snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, watch out for exotic wildlife, or simply lie back and relax while sipping on a refreshing mojito!
The Bay of Pigs is also an area of historical significance as it was the landing site of a failed CIA-sponsored military mission to overthrow the new government of Fidel Castro in April 1961.
5. Santiago de Cuba
If you’re a self-confessed culture vulture then you will thoroughly enjoy giving the saddle a break and wandering around Santiago de Cuba
. Known locally as the City of Heroes, Santiago de Cuba is steeped in centuries of history and is often hailed as the country’s cultural hub.
The area boasts rich traditions of dance, music, and art which have been heavily influenced by the significant Afro-Cuban population in the city.
Once the sun goes down the streets come alive as locals spill out of their homes playing music and dancing the traditional son which is similar to modern salsa. If you want to see what Cuban nightlife has to offer and let loose after your action-packed trip – Santiago de Cuba is the place to do it.
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