Hundreds of thousands of Canadians visit Cuba every winter, but few get the chance to tour on a motorcycle, or explore beyond the boundaries of their resort (although its possible to rent a scooter and get a small two-wheeled fix that way). That should change very soon.
Canadian outfit WowCuba has been trying to start motorcycle tours for a while, but have had to cancel their plans the last couple years; now, their website offers dates for an 11-day 2013 tour. Their tour will take you from Havana to Trinidad and back, with plenty of stops along the way; they only have room for 19 motorcyclists on the trip, so if you want to participate, book now.
Motodiscovery’s tours could start even sooner, perhaps as early as this fall. Since Motodiscovery is a U.S.-based organization, they needed special permission to conduct the tours. The U.S.’s Helms-Burton Act puts a huge damper on tourism and trade with Cuba. But Motodiscovery managed to get the paperwork they needed from the U.S., and they are hoping to take three nine-day tours through Cuba this tourism season, and three 14-day tours.
Some of their tours will be led by Christopher P. Baker, the man who literally wrote the book on motorcycle travel through Cuba. Baker leads National Geographic non-motorcycle tours through Cuba all the time, so he should be an expert guide.
Thanks to the enormous amount of red tape surrounding the licenses granted from the U.S. government, Motodiscovery isn’t sure yet whether or not they can take Canadians on their tours.
They’re also still working out dates for their tours and other details; they’re hoping to offer BMW motorcycles for the tours. They’re unsure of final pricing, but the nine-day tour will likely cost somewhere around $6,000 U.S.; they don’t have any numbers for the 14-day tour.
WowCuba’s plan is to ship their customers’ motorcycles to Cuba from Halifax. Their 11-day tour has a price tag of about $2900 Canadian, which does not include airfare, or the cost of getting your bike to Halifax. Because the organizers at WowCuba have close ties to Cuba’s Harley-Davidson community, their tour includes a stopover at Cuba’s second international Harley-Davidson rally in Varadero.
News of these two tours is a big step in the right direction – for years, the only motorcycle tour company operating in Cuba was a Danish outfit; now, with two new North American companies offering tours, perhaps the country will become much more open to motorcycle travel.