Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Havana by Bike
In my opinion, the best way for a foreigner to explore Havana is by bike. With a
bike, you will be able to cover a lot of distance and still have the flexibility to
choose your own route and stop to explore wherever and whenever you want,
without having to walk all day. Perhaps most importantly, on a bike you will be able
to wander without being bothered by locals constantly trying to strike up conversa-
tions or offering you taxi rides. Biking in Havana is relatively safe, compared to oth-
er large, metropolitan destinations since traffic generally moves slowly and drivers
are very careful.
If you are interested in biking around Havana, it is highly advisable to bring your
own bike. A simple, inexpensive used bicycle will be perfectly fine. Most airlines
permit travelers to transport a bike for free or at a nominal cost. Overall, this will be
the most cost effective approach, even if you have to buy a cheap used bicycle
specifically for your trip, and then pay a supplemental fee to transport it with you to
In terms of renting a bike, your options are very limited. While there are locations
which offer rental services, most are located in the Miramar neighborhood, close to
the foreign embassies. Prices can be very high, often 25 CUC per day or more for
a basic bike. Your best option for a bike rental is to simply approach a local with a
bike and offer them a bit of money to borrow it for the day. Even if the person de-
clines your offer, they may refer you to somebody else with a bike available. If you
are successful, you can usually expect to pay a local about 5 CUC per day for a
bike rental. If you are staying at a casa particular, you should also ask your land-
lord about a bike rental. On rare occasion, they may have a bike or know some-
body who does, and might be interested in renting it out.
Buying a Cheap Bike
Buying a bike in Havana is relatively difficult and can be very expensive. Further-
more, the quality of the bikes available, both new and used, is very low. For ex-
ample, a new bike, purchased at a state store will usually cost at least 120 CUC. It
will be a very basic mountain bike and will often require considerable assembly. On
the used market, the cheapest adult bikes will be about $40. These bikes will usu-
ally be a mishmash of rusted, antiquated parts with worn out tires. Better bikes can
be had, but will cost much more.
Nevertheless, if you find yourself in Havana and in need of a bike, your best option
may be to pay a bit more for a used bike that is in reasonable condition. The best
location to search for a used bike is near the intersection of Maximo Gomez and
Manglar streets, in the Central Havana neighborhood, beside the old Cuatro Cami-
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