Vintage bikes like this circa-1972 Jawa 250 twin, lovingly maintained by Cuban motorcycle enthusiast Toma Rey Gutierrez, abound in Cuba. Photo by Josh Withers.
Cuba. Seemingly frozen in time following the U.S. embargo in the early 1960s, for over 50 years this Caribbean Island nation barely 100 miles off the Florida coast has been a forbidden destination for would-be American travelers. Yet as barriers between the two countries continue to fall, Cuba is once again becoming accessible to U.S. citizens. This October, join celebrated moto-journalist Christopher P. Baker in partnership with Cross Cultural Journeys for a 12-day motorcycle exploration of one of the most colorful and controversial countries in the world.
When travel restrictions for U.S. citizens began to fall a few years ago, many riders started looking into how they could tour this culturally and historically rich country. Change is coming fast to Cuba, and motorcyclists are eager see Cuba as it still is today, a country of immense beauty deeply rooted in its own unique political and cultural history.
Acclaimed Cuba expert and moto-journalist Christopher P. Baker has designed the perfect 12-day motorcycling itinerary of Western and Central Cuba. The “Motorcycle Diaries” redux program includes the Bay of Pigs, plus Santa Clara — with its close association to iconic revolutionary (and motorcyclist) Ernesto “Che” Guevara. The tour will visit the Comandancia de Che (his former headquarters), plus Cuevas de los Portales (a giant cave where Che headquartered during the Cuban Missile Crisis), along with the enchanting colonial city of Trinidad and the snow-white beaches of Cayo Santa María. The tour will also visit the capital city of Havana and head to tobacco growing country of Viñales and Matanzas.
With two decades experience motorcycling in Cuba, no one knows motorcycling around the island like Christopher. In 1996 he shipped his BMW R100GS motorcycle to Cuba and rode 7,000 miles during a three-month journey to research the Moon Cuba guidebook. His literary travel book — Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba — describing the journey was published by National Geographic Adventure Press and is a two-time national book award winner.
Seventeen years later, in 2012, Christopher secured a “people-to-people” (P2P) license from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to offer the first-ever group motorcycle travel of Cuba for U.S. citizens, and a year later finally fulfilled his dream of leading the first-ever such tour of Cuba end-to-end since the Revolution. He has since led numerous group motorcycle tours of Cuba, plus more than 70 “people-to-people” trips to Cuba on behalf of National Geographic Expeditions and other leading international tour companies.
Christopher has authored four other books about Cuba, written feature articles on Cuba for magazines from Motorcyclist to National Geographic Traveler and Playboy, and appears frequently on CNN, MSNBC, NPR and other radio and TV outlets.
Christopher guarantees that joining one of his group motorcycle tours will be immensely rewarding and memorable as he shares with you his intimate knowledge of Cuba.
The itinerary will include activities that provide a fascinating overview of the history and culture of the country while maximizing interaction with Cubans from all walks of life, from artists, baseball players and classic car owners to local harlistas (owners of pre-revolutionary Harley-Davidsons). The tour will include approximately 1,000 miles of riding easily navigated by any experienced touring enthusiast, with travel primarily on paved roads with occasional unpaved sections.
One of the first companies licensed to take travelers to Cuba, Cross Cultural Journeys has been leading Americans on legal people-to-people trips to the island since 1998. Guaranteed to be the trip of a lifetime, we encourage interested participants to sign up now as space is limited to just 15 riders.
When booking, please mention that you learned about the tour through Motorcycle Classics magazine. For full tour information including trip itinerary and cost, visit the Cuba Motorcycle Diaries page at Cross Cultural Journeys. Cross Cultural Journeys provides socially responsible travel for individuals and organizations interested in global awareness, indigenous wisdoms and societies at the crossroads.