Sea Kayaking Cuba
Unlike any other Latin American sea kayaking destination, our Cuba kayaking adventures mix paddling on a kayak tour with the discovery of a colorful, fun and complex island culture in an immersive, natural way. These are lodge-based kayaking tours, getting you out into nature during the day and enjoying the comforts of a hot shower and bed at night. Most of our kayak excursions are two to three hours in length, with some that may be as long as four hours. Our accommodations range from simple Bed & Breakfasts where you meet Cubans who are benefitting from the opportunity to earn a living from the tourism economy, to small-to-medium sized hotels with historic charm.
Sea Kayak Adventures is the leading kayak company in Cuba and hundreds of people have joined our Cuba kayak adventures since our launch on this Caribbean island in 2015. We brought with us our 25+ years of experience operating international sea kayak tours around the world and continue to be on the forefront, developing new kayak destinations in Cuba. As the only U.S.-based sea kayak company operating in Cuba, our tours are fully legal for U.S. travelers, meeting all OFAC requirements for People-to-People travel.
Along with our Cuba Unbound guides, these trips feature talented Cuban kayak guides who share their knowledge of the local natural history, while also providing great support and broad smiles. In addition to kayaking, we spend time exploring towns and cities where we dive deep into Cuba’s current politics, history and culinary culture. Each day we have special People-to-People exchanges to learn about Cuba and share our own experiences and perspectives. These exchanges are with Cubans from a wide variety of background including National Park directors and rangers, local entrepreneurs, city history experts, museum guides, artists, teachers and more.
Music is everywhere in Cuba! There’s plenty of opportunity to savor the sounds of salsa, son, rumba and other Cuban favorites from live musicians we meet with almost daily. Some trips include special dance and music performances as well as optional salsa lessons.
Sea kayaking in Cuba takes place in a wide variety of environments. Most of our Cuba kayak tours are in protected waters, but we have some open water routes as well. Sometimes the waters are classic Caribbean blue, with transparent views to the bottom below us. Other times we’re in bays with some turbidity or paddling among mangroves. We also kayak on some of the rivers of Cuba, often places with superb birdwatching. With the healthiest marine ecosystem in the Caribbean, kayaking Cuba is truly a unique paddling opportunity.
We offer several fantastic kayak adventures in Cuba! In addition, for small groups we can customize a trip to different parts of the island, or with longer paddling distances, etc.
Cuba by Kayak is our classic kayak trip that starts and ends in Havana. With an amazing collection of Spanish colonial architecture, lively streets, a budding culinary scene and music everywhere, Havana is not to be missed! From Havana our Cuba kayak tour heads southeast to Playa Larga and the Bay of Pigs. Here we explore Zapata National Park and paddle on shallow, crystal clear water with a local Park guide. We also have a sunset paddle in the Bay of Pigs, site of the failed 1961 invasion and, take time to snorkel near Playa Giron among colorful tropical fishes while also learning more about the Caribbean reefs and corals.
Heading east we visit Trinidad, the third oldest city in Cuba. An art haven with beautiful colonial houses and churches, Trinidad is made even more charming with its vehicle-free cobblestone-street center. We paddle the river where Hernan Cortes landed some 500 years ago, hike in nearby Topas de Collantes National Park, visit local artists and much more.
Then it’s west toward Cienfuegos and a paddle in Guanaroca Nature Reserve where we almost always see the resident flock of pink flamingos. A delicious seaside lunch, walking tour of Cienfuegos and other treats await us.
We return to Havana with an afternoon to explore. When our kayak tour of Cuba ends, we can arrange custom extensions to see more of Havana or other parts of Cuba.
Our Kayaking Revolutionary Cuba tour takes place in the east of Cuba where few tourists venture. Starting in Holguin, (third largest of Cuban cities, with daily air service from the USA and other parts of the world), we explore several bays and estuaries during this exclusive Cuba kayak adventure. There’s the Bay of Puerto Padre, Gibara river and bay and, the magical, turquoise waters of Cayo Saetia.
This trip has a relaxed pace, with three nights in the tranquil seaside town of Gibara where we find three of the nicest hotels in all of Cuba! We also visit Cuba’s second-highest waterfall, have time for a salsa lesson, hear a small-town jazz band and visit a print shop that still operates century-old printing presses.
We offer a couple of hiking trip extensions after this trip, including one that visits Alexander Von Humboldt National Park in the extreme northeast corner of Cuba, and the vibrant city of Santiago.
NEW! Kayaking and Hiking Cuba’s Far East
An Exploration of Santiago, Baracoa and Humboldt National Park. We’re taking advantage of new flights from Miami to Santiago for this nature-based and culturally rich Cuba kayak tour that is another Sea Kayak Adventures pioneering exclusive! Starting in Santiago, we learn about Cuba’s revolutionary history that always started in this region. The musical center of Cuba, with a throbbing beat and rhythmic soul, Santiago’s music scene complements its spectacular setting on the water backdropped with mountains of green.
We allow a full day to explore the city including the famous cemetery where a number of famous Cubans are buried, and the changing of the guards is filled with pomp and circumstance. We visit San Juan Hill where Teddy Roosevelt led the Rough Riders in 1898 during the Spanish-Cuban-American War, and the Moncada Barracks where Cuba’s modern revolution had an inauspicious start.
We drive east to Guantanamo for a special dance performance of Tumba Francesca, a tradition that came from Haiti in the late 1700’s. We continue to Baracoa, a sea port town that wasn’t connected by road to the rest of Cuba until the 1960’s. Cuba’s oldest colonial settlement, it’s the portal to Alexander Von Humboldt National Park and we spend three nights here. We paddle in nearby bays and hike in deeply-incised river canyons. It’s a natural paradise with neotropical species and a culinary culture focused on coconut and chocolate. From Baracoa we continue along the northwest coast, driving west, past the nickel-mining town of Moa and on to Mayeri. Here we stop to paddle in sparkling transparent waters and snorkel among colorful fish at the island of Cayo Saetia. Our last day includes a walk to the second highest waterfall in Cuba and ends in the city of Holguin where daily flights transport you to Miami and beyond.