Cycle Cuba

Trip Code: QBXCC

Why we love it

Cycling through Caribbean Cuba gives you unique access to parts of the island that are off the beaten track., Cycle through the lush valleys of Soroa and Yum i, one known as Cuba's Rainbow and rich in plant and wildlife, the other an untouched paradise far off the usual tourist track., Cuba is recognised as the world’s finest cigar manufacturer. Learn how to roll a cigar with a local tobacco farmer near the small town of Vinales., After a visit to the temporary HQ of Cueva de los Portales, a guided walking tour of Old Havana, and a visit to his final resting place in Santa Clara, you’ll understand Che Guevara's important role in the Cuban Revolution., Ride through an often surprising variety of scenery; from the decaying charm of Old Havana to long dusty farming roads to dramatic limestone karst landscapes. Cuba has it all!

Is this trip right for me?

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.

On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed)

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.

Part of Cuba’s appeal is its old-fashioned style – this includes the banking systems. Funds in Cuba can be difficult to access. Please read our Essential Trip Information to be fully prepared

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.

Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it's available it's sometimes unreliable. This is, on the other hand, a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.

Cuba's roads aren't always paved, but when they are they can range from smooth to downright terrible. That being said, it’s a fun experience to share the road with tractors, vintage American cars and horse-drawn carriages.

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.

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.

Important information

2019 is the first year we have run this combined East and West Cuba itinerary (although we have run trips very successfully in the west of Cuba for the last 5 years)
1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitably sized bike.
4. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. You are unable to purchase or hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
5. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed)
6. There are unprecedented changes happening in Cuba right now. It is an exciting time but it also means some patience and understanding is required for the heightened demand of infrastructure, accommodation and crowds.
7. The laws around health and safety in Cuba are very different than in more developed countries, even for government licenced accommodation. While we endeavour to source accommodation that is compliant to our own health and safety standards there will be occasions where the accommodation will not have a marked fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. Please ask your casa owner to explain the fire evacuation plan to you when you check in.
8. Please note that Hurricane season is June to November, 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.
9. The Cuban government has declared that from 1 May 2010, travel insurance (which covers at least medical expenses) to be compulsory for all travellers to Cuba. Proof of travel insurance will 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.
10. Travel is always an adventure and, as destinations reopen, there are a few challenges as everyone gets back up to speed and adjusts to the new normal. Our leaders are experts when it comes to dealing with anything unexpected along the journey, so pack your understanding and flexibility, sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.
11. There have been issues reported about transiting through US to/from Cuba, including being denied boarding. Please check your government travel advisories, the embassy and your airline directly to be clear on the requirements to transit through US for your trip.

What to bring/pack

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:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, BRINGING 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.

Physical rating

3

PHYSICAL PREPARATION
There are regular rest breaks each day, however it is important to note that you will be riding over multiple and consecutive days in a climate and terrain that may be unfamiliar. While it can be tempting to start out riding as hard and fast as you can (we get it!) we recommend taking it easy on the first few days while your body gets used to the rides and the climate.

As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling, or spend time on exercise bikes in the gym. The more your muscles (and bottom) are prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful countryside and people you meet while riding. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential!

It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle, both solo and in a group environment.

CYCLING DISTANCES:
The information listed in the itinerary is a guide to the approximate distances and terrain cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days.

In Cuba we ride relatively short distances, the shortest being 12kms and the longest 63kms. However the terrain is quite hilly and the Caribbean heat and humidity can have an effect, as can the poor state of the road in many places meaning the physical effort can sometimes be harder than expected.

Joining your group

A Guesthouse, Central Havana, Havana, CUBA

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 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. For assistance call +53 5333 8121 or +53 5438 9140, or, if you are in terminal 3, stop by the ECOTUR office; 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.

Finishing your trip

A Guesthouse, Central Havana, Havana, CUBA

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.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 13

Lunches included: 8

Dinners included: 3

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 40CUC 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.

Climate & seasonal information

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.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES
For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us

CRISES AND EMERGENCIES
Please be aware that communication lines in Cuba are unreliable and establishing a clear line requires patience. Please follow these instructions to ensure our operators can assist you in times of need. Since voicemail isn't an option and most incoming call phone numbers are automatically blocked, our operator will not be able to return any missed calls. The only solution to this problem is persistence. Keep calling the line until an operator answers the call. Alternatively, the emergency line is a mobile number that can be reached via text. If you cannot establish a connection to our operators over the phone, please send a text with your full name, any reference codes (if known), the issue at hand and a return contact number. You will most likely receive a response via text. 

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please contact our local office:
Intrepid's Local Operator (located in Havana): +53 5333 8121 or +53 5510 5525

In Cuba, if necessary, you may use *99 prior to dialling to make a reverse charge call. 

If you cannot reach the operator using the above numbers, alternatively you may try our Cuba representative located in Australia +61 430 504 636

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

We have classified guesthouse rooms into two standards for the comfort levels of our trips: Standard and Premium. Most differences can be a little hard to tell at first, particularly when taking aesthetic into account which varies greatly not only between rooms but also between cities and provinces. For this itinerary, guesthouse rooms will have an ensuite and air-conditioning however will not necessarily have a split system, an in-room or in-house safe or imported bedding.

Stairs are prevalent in Cuban homes. If this presents a problem to you, then please advise us at time of booking so we can request rooms on or closer to ground level.

PRE-TOUR ACCOMMODATION:
We aim to confirm the first night of your tour in Old Havana however occasionally due to availability we will confirm it in either Central Havana or Vedado. If you book pre-tour accommodation through us we will also aim to book these nights in Old Havana. Please note: Late requests and requests of 3 nights or more have a lower chance of being confirmed in Old Havana.

POST-TOUR ACCOMMODATION
The final night of your tour may be booked in either Vedado, Central Havana or Old Havana. If you book post-tour accommodation through us, we aim to confirm it at the same property of your final tour-night (regardless of the area we have secured) to avoid the inconvenience of you having to move. If you specifically prefer your post accommodation to be booked in old Havana (knowing you may have to move areas on your own accord), you must inform your booking agent and we will request this. Please note: Late requests and requests of 3 nights or more have a lower chance of being confirmed in Old Havana.

COMPLIMENTARY INCLUDED ARRIVAL TRANSFER

Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel so the transfer can be organised. The driver will have the address of your guesthouse. After collecting your luggage, continue through the 'Main Arrivals Hall' of the airport (do not exit through the side door). An Intrepid representative holding a sign with Intrepid's logo will be waiting to take you to your pre-arranged transfer. If you can't locate the Intrepid representative, please call +53 52506496. Do not rely on somebody else to call for you as they may be seeking commission to direct you to another transfer company.

If you arrive earlier than trip's start day you may be in different accommodation than the rest of the group. It is your responsibility to arrange a transfer to the start point guesthouse.

AIR CONDITIONING

On this trip all rooms we sleep in have air conditioning (please note that during albeit infrequent power cuts the air-con won't work, but this is rare)

Transportation

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others.

Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle

BICYCLES USED ON THIS TRIP

Due to heavy import restrictions we do not have a consistent fleet of bicycles in Cuba, and use a variety of different makes and models (including Giant, Specialized, Scott, Bergamont, Trek and Raleigh). While the bikes are not new they come in a variety of sizes, are in sound mechanical order and suitable for the type of riding we do in Cuba.

BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE INTO CUBA

If you would prefer to bring your own bike into Cuba, that is fine. However, please bear in mind that the bike will need to be in perfect working order with no worn parts. This is because spare parts are almost impossible to source in Cuba. You may also be required to complete paperwork both on arrival and on departure to prove to airport authorities that the bike has left Cuban soil.

BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE

If you are planning to bring your own bike please note we strongly recommend against bringing a road bike. The often poor condition of the roads in Cuba (broken tarmac, gravel and frequent potholes) require front suspension, so a mountain bike or hybrid (with suspension) is recommended.

Quality spare bike parts are extremely hard to come by in Cuba so please bring any you feel you may require.

Arriving with oversize luggage.
Havana’s Jose Marti airport has oversize luggage delivery at both ends of the baggage terminal. Oversize items (such as bicycles) can come out of either - regardless of where your main luggage came out - and can take up to 2hrs if multiple flights are arriving around the same time.

BICYCLE RENTAL HAVANA

If you arrive early and wish to hire a bicycle there are a number of reputable bicycle hire companies. We recommend RUTA Bikes, located in the Vedado region of Havana. Rates vary by the type of bike but we'd recommend either a mountain bike or touring bike option due to the large number of potholes on Havana's streets. For further info (including location & current prices) see their website at http://www.rutabikes.com/rent-a-bicycle/ or to hire a bike email info@rutabikes.com directly.

NAVIGATING YOUR WAY WITHOUT THE INTERNET

To make it easier to find your way around (especially in the main cities) we recommend downloading offline maps (such as Google maps) to your mobile device/phone – that way you can use live GPS mapping while your mobile device is in ‘Flight Mode’, saving battery and internet time.

BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE
While we’re confident in the quality and suitability of the bikes we include, we do recognise that sometimes you just need the comfort of your own bike to enjoy the ride. If you are thinking of bringing your own bike on this trip, please advise us at time of booking and take note of the below information. If you do choose to bring your own bike, please note that we will not being carrying a spare bike for you.

SUITABLE TYPE OF BIKE
Although the surfaces of the roads we travel on are generally good there are occasionally gravel or potholed sections of road/track. As such, we recommend a 'mountain' or 'hybrid' style bike with plenty of gear selections for easy cruising. For more details on the type of roads we’ll be riding on see the ‘Physical Rating’ section of your Essential Trip Information. Please contact your booking agent if you have any questions about the suitability of your bike.

OUR BIKES
We use Cannondale Quick 6 ‘hybrid’ bikes on this trip. These bikes are a hybrid/fitness bike-style with an alloy frame, flat bars, rim brakes, a fixed front fork and 21 gears. For more specific information please see https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bikes/active/fitness/quick/quick-6

We usually cannot accept tandem bikes on our trips as they are often too large for our transport. In some destinations we can make an exception. Please ask your booking agent if you are interested in bringing a tandem bike.

BEFORE THE TRIP
We recommend that you have a full service of your bike performed by a trained mechanic to help minimise any issues you may have during the trip. Please also ensure that you have specific and adequate cover for loss, damage or theft for your bike under your travel, home and contents or specialist insurance policy.

DURING THE TRIP
Your bike will be transported in the same way as our included bikes, usually in the support vehicle or on the bike trailer. While we endeavour to take the best care we can, you should recognise that transported bikes do get the occasional bump or scratch along the way. The same applies when we take other forms of transport, such as a train, where we are unable to pack the bikes ourselves. Your bike will be secured in the same way as our included bikes. This can occasionally be outside the vehicle (where the bikes are locked together).

In order to reach our destination, it is necessary for us to travel via various modes of transportation, including planes and trains. Any extra costs involved with transporting personal bikes are your responsibility. This includes (but is not limited to) additional transport costs and customs/import fees.

While our mechanics can usually assist with minor repairs, you are responsible for the safety and upkeep of your own bicycle. This includes conducting regular safety checks of your bike during the trip and cleaning your bike. In addition, any parts that require replacing are your responsibility. Most destinations have access to only limited spares along the way and access to bike shops can be days apart. Therefore, please ensure you bring any spare parts that you may require (especially specialist parts).

TRANSPORTING YOUR BIKE TO/FROM THE DESTINATION
Your preferred airline should have no problem carrying your bike, but many will charge an extra fee. Contact them before departing to discuss their arrangements for transporting bikes.

A well-padded bike box (obtainable from a bike shop) is usually the best method of plane transportation. We recommend that you accompany your bicycle on the flight. Unaccompanied bicycles have been known to spend some extra days in the hands of customs authorities.

Many taxis are not large enough to transport a bike box/bag so you may be delayed waiting for a suitably sized vehicle.

INCLUDED OR HIRE BIKES: CONDITIONS OF USE
You must not mistreat the bicycle and must return it in the same condition as when you received it (excepting ordinary wear and tear). You should immediately inform the supplier in the case of breakdown or loss. The provider is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the bicycle during the period of hire. You must also make sure that the bicycle is secured when not in use. If the equipment is lost or stolen you may be liable for the replacement value of the bicycle. The bicycle remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, rent out or part possession with the bicycle. You must not use the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


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