¡Vamos! Two Wheels to Freedom in Cuba

June 18, 2014 Evert Lamb

I’m a triathlete, which means that when I’m not running a triathlon, I’m training for one. It’s a demanding sport that requires year-round commitment, and even a two-week break can seriously disrupt your momentum and potentially throw off your whole season. So what do you do with all of your hard-earned vacation time when you can’t take time off from training? Easy: Bring your bike on an Active adventure to Cuba.

This winter, I took the Cycle Cuba tour; a two-week, two-wheeled adventure through the rural western side of the island. Our group featured a mix of travellers of all ages, abilities, and nationalities, led by our faithful Cuban CEO Andy. The game plan was simple: 1. Get off the plane. 2. Meet up at the hotel. 3. Hop on our bikes. 4. Hit the road. 5. Repeat as necessary.

We covered all sorts of terrain, from 10km (6 miles) of flatland on the first day to 70km (43miles) of mountainous route the next, and just about everything else in between. With lots of breaks for fruit and refreshments, we crossed a variety of landscapes – mountain ranges, beaches, farmland, and bustling cities – with engaging local encounters along the way. We ate incredible home-cooked meals with local families, and sampled some of the island’s best coffee, too.

But the biking was just the half of it. Hikes and nature walks got us out of the saddle and up-close with the incredible countryside, time at the beach let us cool off, and ziplining across a lake-filled valley gave us an adrenalized highlight that energized us for the next day’s ride.

While I initially came to stay in shape, I found that the trip’s relaxed pace allowed us to really experience the island more fully and appreciate the scenery we were riding through. The camaraderie that comes with travelling with active-minded people was a nice bonus, too, as every night around the dinner table we treated each other to stories of triumphant climbs and hair-raising descents. The best part: Going to bed each night with a wide grin, knowing that you’d get to do it all over again the next day. Off-season training should always be this much fun.

Bikes lined up on a path.

Our stable of two-wheeled steeds, waiting patiently.

Cycling on a paved road.

Open roads, free spirits.

woman ziplining.

Taking off on a zipline in Las Terrazas.

Men receiving ziplining instructions.

Learning to fly.

Biking over a bridge

The group heading out of town towards another adventure.

Driftwoon on white sand

Exploring the driftwood forest on a pristine beach.

ox cart on the road.

The roads were always bustling with all types of vehicles.

Hiking the caves of Cueva de los Portales

Hiking the caves of Cueva de los Portales, the training grounds for Che Guevara’s army in 1962.

Stopping for the perfect landscape shot en route.

Stopping for the perfect landscape shot en route.

Keep the energy high with stops for local fruits.

Keep the energy high with stops for local fruits.

Exploring the streets of Havana is best at warp speed.

Exploring the streets of Havana is best at warp speed.

Getting There

G Adventures runs a number of Active departures encompassing a wide range of departure dates and locations to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this ray-filled country as you’ve never seen it — check out our Cycle Cuba tour today.

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