Cuba by Land & Sea: Cultural Heritage & Natural Wonders


Cuba by Land & Sea: Cultural Heritage & Natural Wonders



> 1 year ago


11 Days


December - March


USD 9,500.00 per person


Mar 22, 2018
Cuba by Land & Sea: Cultural Heritage & Natural Wonders
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Cruise back in time to a place rooted in culture and history, where the people are as warm and welcoming as the climate. This 11-day program spends three days in Havana, and seven days exploring Cuba’s southern coast aboard the sailing yacht Panorama II. This extraordinary people-to-people visit to Cuba introduces you to locals who are making a difference in their fields to gain a rich and rewarding understanding of this multifaceted country. It’s a fascinating time to visit Cuba, as it is on the cusp of undergoing significant and rapid change.

This Cuba cruise, led by National Geographic naturalists, guides and guest hosts, offers an authentic people-to-people interaction with opportunities for meaningful exchanges with locals. Explore Old Havana and experience the renovation of its historic architecture. Land at the site of the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion, also an ecologically important area, where you will hear the stories of the battle and see photographs and artifacts, including a Cuban fighter plane and historic vessels. Snorkel in Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) Marine Park, the crown jewel of the Caribbean, with some of the finest coral reefs in the world. Tour Trinidad, the meticulously well-preserved Spanish colonial city, as well as Cienfuegos, the Pearl of the South with its cluster of Neoclassical structures. The cultural people-to-people visits paired with the trademark National Geographic exploration of Cuba’s marine ecology will surely be an experience of a lifetime.


Rates vary by season and cabin. Please see website for full details on rates.


Day 1: Fly From Miami To Havana & Embark
Havana, Cuba

Meet at Miami International Airport in the morning for your flight to Havana. On arrival, transfer to Havana for lunch. In the afternoon, visit Fusterlandia, the home and neighborhood of the artist José Fuster. The entire area is spectacularly decorated with his sculptures and mosaics of mermaids, trees, human figures and as many things as the mind can conceive. These colorful, large and extravagant works take up several blocks of the area. Following the visit, check in to the historic hotel, the Hotel Nacional, located on the waterfront where you will stay three nights. Hotel Nacional, a Havana landmark, opened in 1930 and over the decades has hosted a remarkable number of entertainers, writers, athletes and world leaders. Later ride in vintage 1950s cars to dinner at a local restaurant.


MEALS: lunch and dinner

Days 2-3: Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba

Enjoy a full program of people-to-people visits over these two days, with opportunities to choose among programs that interest you most. Explore Old Havana on foot; it's a World Heritage site, trove of historic architecture and center for Cuba’s arts and culture. Immerse yourself in its great squares and meet with Cubans who are playing a vital role in preserving this area. Drive along the Malecón, the esplanade that runs along the waterfront. On your visits, meet with Cubans who are making a difference in their fields and develop a rich understanding of life in Cuba. Get a perspective on Castro’s revolution at the Museum of the Revolution. Visit art spaces. See Ernest Hemingway’s estate at Finca Vigía. Visit a cigar factory and have a chance to visit an organic farm located on the outskirts of town. Visit an auto workshop where classic American cars are restored. Be entertained by performances by members of the Habana Compás group, which fuses rhythms of traditional Spanish dances with Afro-Cuban styles in a stirring expression of Cuban soul. Enjoy several meals in some of Havana’s best private restaurants, which have developed a reputation for innovative cuisine. One evening you'll hear the rhythms of Cuba at a private dinner, with the chance to meet the extraordinary musicians. Truly experience Havana and all the reasons why Cuba’s rich traditions have been celebrated the world over.


MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4: Embark Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos, Cuba

This morning, enjoy one final exploration of Havana with people-to-people visits. After lunch, drive to the beautiful city of Cienfuegos on Cuba’s south coast, where you'll hear a performance by a stirring choral group based here. In the late afternoon, embark Harmony V, your home for the next seven nights, and enjoy a welcome dinner aboard.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Harmony V: Lindblad

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5: Bay Of Pigs
Bay of Pigs, Cuba

This morning, drive from Cienfuegos to the Bay of Pigs, an ecologically important area that became known worldwide when the 1961 US-backed invasion by Cuban exiles was defeated by the Cuban revolutionary government, whose forces were led by Fidel Castro. Visit the museum that recounts the history of the battle, with photographs and artifacts that include a Cuban fighter plane and vessels. Meet locals who can tell about what transpired and its meaning to Cubans. The bay lies along the Zapata Peninsula and the Zapata Swamp National Parl. You may choose to explore the area in search of its renowned birdlife, famously including the endemic bee hummingbird (the world’s smallest bird), along with the endemic Cuban trogon (Cuba’s national bird), La Sagra's flycatcher, Cuban green woodpecker and more. Meet with experts to learn what vitally important role the area plays in Cuba's natural history, which has been compared to the Everglades. Another option is to swim, snorkel or dive (for certified divers only, added cost & weather permitting) at the Bay of Pigs. After lunch, meet with the member of an artists' colony and see demonstrations of their work and music. In the late afternoon, drive back to Cienfuegos and the ship.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Harmony V: Lindblad

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6: Trinidad
Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba

A UNESCO World Heritage site and Cuban national monument, Trinidad is a splendid and meticulously preserved colonial city, perhaps Cuba’s most beautiful. It occupies a spectacular setting on a hill overlooking the Caribbean, with a backdrop of green mountains. Founded in 1514 by the conquistador Diego Velázquez, it has rich architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas. Seemingly every building has an intriguing history. This morning, visit the Office of the City Historian and walk through the town, interacting with residents along the way. There may be visits to local artists, home studios, the municipal museum, and the museum’s bell tower that offers fine views over Trinidad. In the afternoon, see the Valley of the Sugar Mills, where local guides explain sugar’s importance to Cuba’s history and you will see how the sugar barons lived. Alternatively, spend the day with a local specialist exploring the Topes de Collantes Natural Park in the Escambray Mountains, with a short hike and a chance to see something of Cuba’s natural history. Explore Trinidad in the afternoon and enjoy meeting some of its residents.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Harmony V: Lindblad

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7: At Sea
Sancti Spiritus, Cuba

A day at sea gives you the chance to enjoy talks by staff about Cuba, work on your photographs with National Geographic photo instructors on board, and reflect on the things you've seen.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Harmony V: Lindblad

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8: Isla De La Juventud (Isle Of Youth)
Isla de la Juventud, Cuba

The Isle of Youth, formerly known as the Isle of Pines, is a large island off the south coast of the main island of Cuba. It occupies an important role in Cuban history as the place where Fidel and Raúl Castro and others were imprisoned, and where many people considered to be “social undesirables” were at one time exiled. It is today a friendly place, which because of its relative isolation from the rest of Cuba gets very few outside visitors—the presence of foreign travelers gets heads to turn. Anchoring at Siguanea Bay, drive about 40 minutes to the island’s main city, Nueva Gerona. Visit a maternity hospital to learn about the care that mothers receive and the art school on the central plaza. Stroll the "Boulevard" lined with local shops, meeting with local residents and seeing cultural performances along the way. After lunch, visit the Presidio Modelo, the prison where Fidel and Raúl Castro and 23 other revolutionaries were confined between 1953 and 1955, following their failed attack on the Moncada barracks near Santiago de Cuba. The area where the revolutionaries were confined is now a museum with interesting exhibits. The ruins of the large, circular buildings where other prisoners were held are extremely evocative. Return to the ship with a brief stop if time permits at the Hotel El Colony, improbably opened as a Hilton in 1958 and reportedly financed by the Mafia.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Harmony V: Lindblad

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9: Cayo Largo
Cayo Largo del Sur, Isla de la Juventud, Cuba

This beautiful key is home to diverse marine ecosystems and a small local community that serves the primarily European and Canadian visitors who come here. This morning enjoy a people-to-people visit to the local clinic to discuss Cuba’s medical system with local doctors and nurses. Visit a sea turtle breeding center and endangered species protection program, then have a chance to explore the island’s marine world by swimming or snorkeling.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Harmony V: Lindblad

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 10: Disembark Cienfuegos & Fly To Miami
Cienfuegos, Cuba

Today, explore Cienfuegos on foot, Cuba’s "Pearl of the South" and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Columbus is said to have been here in 1494, on his second voyage to the New World, and the area was subsequently a haven for pirates and smugglers. French settlers arrived in 1819, and the city retains a distinct liveliness and sophistication. Among places of particular interest are the Government Palace (City Hall), the Teatro Tomás Terry and the beautiful main square, Plaza Martí. Continue to the Benny Moré School of Art, named after the great Cuban singer and bandleader who came from this region. It is a lively school, where young people get a strong education in the performing arts. Meet teachers and students and see performances. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll have a chance to visit the home of a local family, meet the residents and learn about their lives. Enjoy a moving children’s performance of "Cucarachita Martina," a children’s tale known to all Cubans. A Cienfuegos rooftop provides an ideal venue for sunset drinks before returning to the ship for a farewell dinner.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Harmony V: Lindblad

MEALS: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 11: Disembark Cienfuegos & Fly To Miami
Cienfuegos, Cuba

Disembark this morning, and if there is a game or practice in progress, head straight to the Cienfuegos baseball stadium. Cubans are passionate about baseball and it is an important part of Cuban life. Then visit the countryside village of Pepito Tey, where sugar used to be processed. On this people-to-people visit that gives excellent insight into Cuban agriculture and rural life, meet with a local historian who tells about efforts to bring new employment to the former sugar cane workers who live here. Time permitting, you may also visit the Botanical Garden. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to Cienfuegos airport for your return flight to Miami, which arrives about 7:15pm.


MEALS: breakfast & lunch


  • All accommodations (three nights in hotel in Havana and seven nights aboard ship); meals indicated; people-to-people visits; services of Lindblad Expeditions’ leader, naturalist staff and expert guides;
  • use of Zodiacs, snorkeling equipment and wetsuits; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes.


Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the captain's discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

*This Cuba cruise itinerary also runs in reverse from Cienfuegos to Havana.

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