Summary : Immerse yourself in Cuban culture as you visit with friendly locals, savor traditional cuisine, tour the Arte Corte interactive museum, and enjoy musical performances, including a visit to the Casa de la Musica. Visit the citadel of San Pedro de la Roca in Santiago and take a walk through charming, colonial Cienfuegos; both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Snorkel over healthy coral reefs to view colorful tropical fish, turtles, stingrays, and other sea creatures. Stroll the atmospheric streets of Havana to discover stunning colonial architecture and sun-splashed plazas, where classic American cars complete the scene of a by-gone era.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling
Save 5% when you combine this with the Cuba and Costa Rica + Panama Canal trip. Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.
$10,980 to $20,780
Board your independent flight to Cuba. Check in to the five-star Meliá Cohiba, which overlooks the city’s famous three-mile-long Malecón, for dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast, depart overland to Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s primary tobacco growing region. Visit a local family-run farm to witness the process of creating Cuba’s legendary cigars. After lunch at the farm continue to the Viñales Valley. This World Heritage Site offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Cuba, with dramatic karst outcroppings punctuating the verdant landscape. In Cueva del Indio (Indian Cave), board a boat for a cruise along the subterranean river. Return to Havana with dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Get acquainted with Old Havana—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—on a walking tour this morning. After lunch make a stop at El Floridita Bar—the birthplace of the daiquiri and one of Hemingway’s favorite watering holes—on the way to visit Arte Corte, a hair salon and museum that preserves the history of hairdressing in Cuba. This evening, board the Hebridean Sky and begin your circumnavigation of Cuba.
Disembark in Varadero and drive to Matanzas, intersected by three rivers, and called the “City of Bridges” for the 17 bridges crossing them. Enjoy a half-day city tour, including the Matanzas Museum which traces the city’s history from 1693 to the present. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Or, choose an excursion to La Arboleda, a riverside ranch where you can go on a nature walk, go horseback riding, take a swim, or simply relax in this peaceful setting. After a typical Cuban lunch, head out on a 4x4 Jeep excursion through Rio Canimar Nature Park and take a cruise to admire the flora and fauna along the riverbanks. Continue to Cuevas de Bellamar, a fantastical cave system.
Zodiacs take you ashore at Cayo Guillermo for a day of snorkeling and diving in the crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful reef fish. Or, choose to visit the village of Moron, which offers horse-drawn carriages and small shops to browse.
Disembark in Antilla and depart overland for a half-day tour of Gibara. Enjoy stunning views from a hilltop Spanish fortress, and stroll through the leafy Parque Calixto Garcia on your way to the wonderful Museum of Natural History. Your tour ends at Baker’s Cave, where you may choose to take a dip in the underground lake before returning to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Alternatively, board a private catamaran for a full-day excursion to Cayo Saetia, an island nature reserve with a wealth of local and exotic wildlife, such as zebra, wild boar, water buffalo, and a variety of birds.
Founded in 1514, this World Heritage Site was the starting point for expeditions led by Cortés and de Soto. Your morning tour begins at San Juan Hill, where during the Spanish-American War, the conquest of Spanish troops led to Spain’s surrender in 1898. Then visit Moncada Garrison, where a young Fidel Castro led an armed assault on the barracks in 1953—the first salvo in the Cuban Revolution. Inside you will find the Museo de la Clandestinidad, covering the period from the Spanish conquest to the guerrilla movement of the 1959 revolution in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Admire some of the island’s most amazing architecture and historical sites in Parque Céspedes, the heart and soul of Santiago de Cuba. Visit the Cathedral and the First Governor’s House, home to the Colonial History Museum, as well as the Emilio Bacardi Moreau Museum. After dinner on board, step out to enjoy some local nightlife with Cuban music at Casa de la Musica.
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea and attend lectures by your onboard experts.
Arrive in Casilda this morning and drive to Trinidad, a picture-perfect Spanish colonial town which seems frozen in time. Take a walking tour around Trinidad; a living-museum of Spanish colonialism, the entire city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Or, opt for a full day at Guanayara National Park. Hike through the jungle and learn about the various species of indigenous plants, some of which are still used as herbal remedies. Enjoy lunch at Casa La Gallega, a delightful Creole restaurant surrounded by tropical flowers 1,800 feet above sea level.
After breakfast, disembark in Cienfuegos. With its French spirit and fabulous setting along Cuba’s most spectacular bay, Cienfuegos has earned UNESCO status for its outstanding architecture, which you'll discover on a guided walking tour. Then depart overland for the UNESCO-designated Zapata Wetland region. View some of the local wildlife at the Fiesta Campesina zoo-park before touring the Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) Museum; located at the site of the unsuccessful military invasion by US-backed anti-Castro forces in April 1961.
This idyllic Caribbean island offers pristine white-sand beaches, mangrove forest, and crystal-clear waters. Spend the day snorkeling, beachcombing, or simply relaxing on a picture-perfect beach.
This beautiful island offers breathtaking beaches, lush forests, and healthy coral reefs. Join naturalists on walks to search for indigenous flora and fauna, explore the rich marine environment, or soak in your surroundings on an exquisite tropical beach.
Isolated Maria La Gorda is one of the most diverse biological regions in the world—home to a variety of different natural habitats, including coral reefs, beaches, mangroves, scrublands, and evergreen forests with more than 170 species of birds and dozens of reptile and mammal species. Spend the morning snorkeling and searching for wildlife on nature walks.
This morning return to Havana and bid farewell to the Hebridean Sky. Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Optional Pre-Trip Extension: Kyoto (6 Days) From $4,980 per person
Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years and is nicknamed City of Ten Thousand Shrines. One of the best-preserved cities in Japan, Kyoto represents the heart and soul of Japanese culture. Explore exquisite temples, gardens, palaces, and elegant artisan shops, and enjoy traditional food and cultural entertainment. This extension also includes a day trip to view Nara’s splendid historic monuments. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Accommodations and meals as per the itinerary, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; snorkeling; gear certificate; services of the expedition staff, including lectures; daily group activities and excursions as per the itinerary; landing and port fees; gratuities; limited emergency medical and evacuation coverage*. Subject to change without notice.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/ cancellation travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges and alcoholic beverages other than those listed as included, email/Internet/fax/telephone charges; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.