Five Best Places to Go Mountain Biking in Cuba
Mountain biking in Viñales Valley
Get to know Cuba's rural hotspots on two wheels
If you're looking for a unique adventure and the chance to explore the sun-kissed trails of Cuba's green hills, mountain biking is the best choice and a great alternative to enjoying these untouched regions on foot.
You may have already heard about the established MTB (mountain bike) routes in tourist spots, but perhaps you're yet to discover some of the lesser-known ones. Just outside Havana, stunning mountain ranges are waiting to be explored, along with rivers, waterfalls, and caves, all of which are fantastic for releasing adrenaline!
With so much on offer, you may be feeling unsure of where to head first, so get to know our list of Cuba's finest mountain bike trails and epic natural landmarks.
Banos del San Juan, Las Terrazas
The heart of sustainable tourism can be found in La Sierra del Rosario, just a stone's throw from the San Juan River and no more than 76 km from Havana. Despite drawing large crowds throughout the year, its surroundings are perfect for mountain biking. Loma del Taburete, Mirador del Valle San Juan and Loma del Salón lie close to Las Terrazas, and are linked by roads and trails designed for hiking and mountain biking.
Mountainscape and forest in Soroa
Located 90 km southwest of Havana and approximately 20 km from Las Terrazas, Soroa is a natural enclave and biosphere reserve that borders the Sierra del Rosario. With trails that offer up that extra challenge to complement the fresh air, the area also boasts springs, a waterfall, and the "Mogote" of Soroa, a large hill with a spectacular viewpoint.
For those looking to explore beyond the typical tourist trails, make your way to Los Tumbos and roam the hills and vast countryside, although be sure to secure the knowledge and experience of a local guide as this area can be quite complex for those who are visiting.
Explore the municipality of San Cristóbal near Soroa. This area is almost entirely untouched by tourism, so you’ll only find local coffee growers and farmers. If you’re looking to include long-distance cycling in their itinerary, look no further than mountain resorts such as Las Terrazas, Soroa, and San Cristóbal.
Keep in mind that these routes require that extra bit of physical preparation as the mountain roads and rivers can be hazardous for less experienced riders. We recommend you take advantage of local knowledge by hiring a guide to accompany you on your trip.
Mountain biking in Viñales
Located in the western municipality of Pinar del Río is the internationally recognized tobacco hub of Viñales, made famous by the production of Cuba's very best brands. Naturally, the Viñales area attracts many tourists, especially during the harvest season.
In this region, you will find many well-renowned MTB trails, which run the whole gamut of difficulty levels. Viñales also hosts several mountain bike competitions around the year, making it perfect for newcomers to the biking scene looking for a more demanding experience.
Sierra del Escambray
Sierra del Escambray
Situated in central Cuba and across three provinces are the delightful cities of Sancti Spíritus, Cienfuegos, and Villa Clara. From here, you can plan your routes to Trinidad, one of the most popular and historical sites in the center of the country.
Follow the paths used by the old coffee estates to reach Topes de Collantes, a natural reserve with enchanting waterfalls. Previous mountain biking experience is recommended as some of the trails are rather tricky.
You can also visit the city of Cienfuegos, a gorgeous alternative for those wanting to take a break from the crowds. Upon arrival, you can head to Parque El Nicho, an enclave with beautiful rivers and waterfalls, although here you will encounter more tourists and a busier atmosphere than Topes.
Mountain path at Sierra Maestra
Mountain biking in Sierra Maestra
Last on our list is the Sierra Maestra, located in the east of Cuba. The area is home to the almost 2000 meter high Pico Turquino, the highest point in the country and a superb challenge recommended exclusively for expert mountain bikers.
Previously occupied by the troops of the Rebel Army, the history of the Sierra Maestra is powerfully linked to the Cuban revolution of 1959. In fact, at the top of the peak, there is a bronze statue of José Martí, a hero of Cuban independence. This monument was commissioned by Celia Sanchez, a veteran guerrilla fighter of the 1959 revolution.
Pro Riding Tips
Before you go, we'd like to share a few extra tips to ensure you get the very best out of your two-wheeled trip in Cuba.
- - Explore the municipality of San Cristóbal near Soroa. This area is almost entirely untouched by tourism, so you'll only find local coffee growers and farmers. If you're looking to include long-distance cycling in their itinerary, look no further than mountain resorts such as Las Terrazas, Soroa, and San Cristóbal.
- - The wet and hurricane season is from May to October, but you can mountain bike all year round. Bikes and equipment can be hired from local companies such as Cubanía Travel, Ruta Bikes, Jíbaro MTB Cuba, and MountainCuba. Many specialize in MTB adventures and offer tours with a guide.
- - Keep in mind that there is no internet service on some of the routes, which is why we recommend that you install maps. me, as it can be used without connection.
Written by Neus Pechero.
Published October 2022.
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