Join acclaimed moto-journalist & Cuba expert Christopher P. Baker on a U.S. legal motorcycling adventure in “support of the Cuban people,” customized for your group
Do you have a group interested in riding Cuba? Whether you’re a bunch of pals or a motorcycle club, I can customize a road adventure to your desire. The following 10-day itinerary is the most popular itinerary and offers a complete Cuban experience, from the tobacco fields of Viñales and UNESCO World Heritage Site colonial cities to the beaches of Varadero, and even the Bay of Pigs. Shorter or longer itineraries can easily be arranged. Plus, you get a choice of bike fleets (four companies currently maintain fleets in Cuba) from BMW F700s exclusively, a choice of BMWs and Harley-Davidsons, or Harley-Davidsons exclusively..
You’ll ride with me as tour leader, and either my close friend and ace mechanics Luis Enrique González or Anivar Hayes as your road guide,… or perhaps even Ernesto Guevara!.
Our days will be full of fun meetings with Cubans from all walks of life… such as artists, tobacco farmers, owners of B&Bs and private restaurants, and above all Cuba’s resourceful and indefatigable harlistas (owners of pre-revolutionary Harley-Davidsons) and other motorcycle enthusiasts.
CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER: It’s true to say… no-one knows Cuba as well as Christopher, the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 ‘Travel Journalist of the Year’ and the author of six travel guidebooks about Cuba. National Geographic acclaimed him “one of the world’s leading authorities on Cuba travel and culture.” In 1996, Chris shipped his BMW R100GS PD to Cuba and made a three-month, 7,000-mile journey as a licensed journalist, resulting in publication of his Moon Cuba guidebook and his award-winning travelogue Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba. In January 2013, Christopher led the first licensed U.S. motorcycle group tour of Cuba end-to-end since the 1959 Revolution. He has since led numerous motorcycle tours in Cuba on behalf of MotoDiscovery, Edelweiss Bike Travel, Bob’s BMW of Maine, and the BMW Riding Academy of Turkey, as well as almost one hundred tours to Cuba on behalf of National Geographic Expeditions and other tour companies. In addition to riding “sweep,” ensuring the cohesion of the group, and attending to logistics, Christopher brings something unique to these tours… an ability to share a profound knowledge of Cuba, providing unparalleled context for your travel experience.
LUIS ENRIQUE GONZÁLEZ: Luis Enrique has more experience leading group motorcycle tours in Cuba than any other Cuban motorcycle enthusiast and road guide. Between 2013-16 he worked alongside Chris to lead the very first motorcycle tours in Cuba for U.S. citizens using BMW 1200GSs, F700s, and a medley of Harley-Davidsons. Since 2017, he has acted as lead guide for Profil-Reisen and has led scores of tours throughout Cuba end-to-end. An English-speaker, he’s a natural raconteur and all-around “colorful character” with a Rolodex of contacts throughout Cuba (his personal history includes as a mariner and, in the 1980s, as a Lieutenant in Cuba’s Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias in charge of an anti-aircraft battery in Angola). Luis is also responsible for maintaining Profil-Reisen’s fleet of F700s in Cuba. A superb mechanic, Luis exemplifies Cubans’ resourcefulness, ingenuity and indefatigable good humor. When not leading tours, Luis loves tinkering with his collection of pre-revolutionary Harley-Davidsons, a miscellany of other antique motos, plus his 1948 Buick.
ANIVAR HAYES: Anivar Hayes and Chris have led several tours of Cuba together on behalf of Edelweiss Bike Travel — the world’s largest bike touring company. Anivar is responsible for maintaining a Cuban fleet of BMWs F700s and 1200GSs, plus various Harley-Davidsons, owned by Austria’s Edelweiss Bike Travel. A harlista (Cuba’s proud owners of pre-revolutionary Harley-Davidsons), Anivar is an exceptional guide with an intimate knowledge of virtually every road in Cuba. Like Luis and other fellow harlistas, he’s also an astoundingly gifted and creative mechanic, capable of at diagnosing and fixing virtually any mechanical problem. Anivar has led dozens of group motorcycle tours around Cuba and is dedicated to guests’ welfare. His calm, amenable personality combines with professional training at the Edelweiss Tourguide Academy, in Austria. You could not be in more capable hands!
If Anivar or Luis are unavailable, we will work with another trusted road guide.
OPTION 1: BMW F700s exclusively. Each will be fitted with twin side panniers. Either with or without a support van.
OPTION 2: Selection of BMW F700s, BMW 1200GS and Harley-Davidsons. Each will be fitted with twin side panniers. Either with or without a support van.
Day 1: Meet in Havana
The U.S. “support for the Cuban people” license allows individuals to travel freely to Cuba as they wish. We’ll meet this evening at our B&B in Habana Vieja (Old Havana) for a welcome reception. Our welcome dinner will be nearby at Chacón 162, a popular bikers’ bar and restaurant.
Overnight: Casas particular (B&B), Habana Vieja
Day 2 (50 miles): Habana Vieja / Greater Havana
After breakfast, we discover the colonial-era core of Havana, which celebrated its 500th anniversary in November 2019. Chris will guide us on foot through the cobbled pedestrian-only plazas of this magnificent historical quarter. After lunch in Plaza Vieja, we return to our hotel to change into our motorcycle gear and pick up our motorbikes. In order to get familiar with your bike, we’ll make a circuit of greater Havana, including such iconic sites as the Malecón, Plaza de la Revolución, Museo Ernest Hemingway at Finca Vigía (the author’s former home), and the Castillo del Morro fortress. Dinner is at leisure tonight—a chance to also enjoy the show at Tropicana, Cuba’s famous cabaret nightclub.
Overnight: Casas particulares (B&Bs), Habana Vieja
Day 3 (200 miles): Sierra del Rosario / Las Terrazas / Viñales
Ride through Havana’s chic Miramar suburb to Jaimanitas, stopping at “Fusterlandia” to marvel at artist José Fuster’s amazing community project. Passing through Mariel, we reach the low Sierra del Rosario mountain range and the nature reserve of Las Terrazas, with plenty of off-road trails perfect for our enduros. After lunch at Casona de Mercedes, we’ll combine the deteriorated Circuito Norte coast road and backcountry mountain trails that lead through the stunning Sierra de los Órganos mountains to “Cueva de los Portales.” This cave is fantastically situated and was used as headquarters by Ernesto Che Guevara during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1960. We’ll have further off-road training from Shawn before continuing our tour to Viñales. This colonial-era village is in the midst of Cuba’s most impressive scenery—the Valle de Viñales—studded with massive freestanding mogotes (limestone formations) that rise over the tobacco fields.Meals: BLD
Overnight: Casas particulares (B&Bs), Viñales
Day 4 (280 miles): María La Gorda / Cabo San Antonio / Pinar del Río
An early start for a long day today as we follow sensational and little-trafficked route through the Cordillera de Guaniguanico mountains via Guane and Sumidero to Parque Nacional Guanahacabibes. We’ll lunch beside the Caribbean Sea at the scuba diving center of María La Gorda before continuing along a stunning limestone peninsula to Cabo San Antonio, Cuba’s westernmost point. We’ll return via the Carretera Central to Pinar del Río city for overnight.
Overnight: Hotel Pinar del Río, Pinar del Río
Day 5 (290 miles): Vuelto Abajo / Cienfuegos
This morning we head through the heart of Vuelto Abajo, Cuba’s main tobacco-growing area, to visit Cuba’s most famous private tobacco farm—Finca El Pinar Robaina. Chris’ friend, owner Hiroshi Robaina. will give us a private tour. We then continue east along the Carretera Central (the arterial road running through Cuba end-to-end) to the Autopista—the freeway—which delivers us to Playa Larga (“Bay of Pigs”). From here, we’ll follow a dirt track along the Caribbean shore to reach the lovely bay city of Cienfuegos in late afternoon. Tonight, enjoy a roast suckling pig dinner alfresco at our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Jagua, Cienfuegos
Day 6 (85 miles): El Nicho / Trinidad
This morning we’ll meet with one of Chris’ friends–Xavier, pitcher for the Cienfuegos baseball team, to learn about beísbol in Cuba. Then we trade a superbly scenic route as we climb into the Sierra Escambray mountains for lunch at El Nicho waterfall. We’ll then follow convoluted and challenging forest trails to the mist-shrouded summit at Topes de Collantes, then take a switchback down to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Trinidad—Cuba’s most authentic and perfectly preserved colonial city. This evening enjoy strolling the cobbled colonial streets, plus music and dance at one of Trinidad’s many clubs.
Overnight: Casas particulares (B&Bs), Trinidad
Day 7 (100 miles): Valle de los Ingenios / Santa Clara / Remedios
This morning before we ride through the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), another UNESCO World Heritage Site dotted with colonial-era sugar haciendas. We’ll visit Hacienda Guajimiro, then wind over the Guamahaya Mountains to Santa Clara for lunch. We’ll then visit the Conjunto Escultórico Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara–the vast monument, mausoleum, and museum dominating Plaza de la Revolución–and other key sites associated with the final battle, in December 1958, that eventually toppled the brutal Batista regime. We then continue the short distance to Remedios, a beautifully preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site colonial city. Our dinner will be hosted at one of our two casas particulares.
Overnight: Casas particulares (B&Bs), Remedios
Day 8 (184 miles): Sagua la Grande / Varadero
Today we follow the Circuito Norte (North Coast Road) through the Vuelto Arriba tobacco country and beautiful coastal mountain landscapes of Villa Clara. We’ll lunch beside the sea in the fishing village and former rum-and-sugar port of Isabela de Sagua. Then continue via Cárdenas to Varadero, Cuba’s premier beach resort, where a sugar-white beach, and scores of hotels, spill along the full 8-mile length of the Hicacos Peninsula. Tonight enjoy dinner at Salsa Suárez paladar, and take in the varied nightlife of Varadero.
Overnight: Casas particulares (B&Bs), Varadero
Day 8 (100 miles): Matanzas / Havana
Our last riding day is a beauty as we head west along the Atlantic shoreline for the bay city of Matanzas. We’ll lunch at Café Ajiaco, in the fishing village of Cojímar, a few miles east of Havana. We then head into the city. After return of the motorbikes, the transfer bus takes us back to our B&B in Habana Vieja. After cleaning up, we’ll ride in convertible classic cars to our farewell dinner at La Guarida, Cuba’s most sensational restaurant.
Overnight: Hostal Maletas, Habana Vieja
Day 10: End of trip
Today transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Or, if you wish, you can stay some more days in Cuba.
REQUEST A QUOTE & AVAILABILITY TODAY
Every U.S. citizen can still legally travel to Cuba, pre-approved, under the “support for the Cuban people” license. This program is designed to maximize “support for the Cuban people” through stays at private B&Bs, meals at private restaurants, and interactions with independent artists, private tobacco farmers, owners of classic convertible taxis, etc.