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Complete Cuba

Cuba Tours

  • Small Group
  • Land Based Adventures
  • 20 Capacity
  • 10 Days
  • 2018 View Departure>
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Summary : Offering a fascinating and unforgettable opportunity to interact with the Cuban people on a deep level — making you a true ambassador and not a “tourist.” Complete Cuba surveys all of Cuba’s cultural “must sees” including Trinidad, Bay of Pigs, Vinales and, of course, Havana. Your itinerary offers a full schedule of engaging and immersive experiences focused on cultural exchange and education. But what really sets this Cuba itinerary apart is its emphasis on engaging with Cuban naturalists, birders, biologists and conservation groups as you all learn about the transformative power that real, honest conversation can have in the lives of ordinary people.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking

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Itinerary
Day 1
Arrive Miami

Your Cuba people-to-people travel program begins in Miami with a briefing and welcome reception before an overnight at the Cambria Suites Miami Airport. (Meals Aloft)

Day 2
Miami / Cienfuegos or Camaguey

Early this morning, return to the airport and board our flight to Cuba (cost of flight not included in rate). Depending on your departure day, you will travel to either Camaguey, Santa Clara or Cienfugos. Enjoy a performance by the Cienfuegos choir. Enjoy a walking tour of Cienfuegos’ city center, where wide avenues lead to the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking through the city today makes for a captivating experience, with colonial buildings — such as the Tomas Terry Theater, public squares and monuments, some of which are whitewashed and others splashed with bright Caribbean colors. Overnight at Hotel La Union or similar.

Meals: D

Day 3
Trinidad

Drive through the spectacular Valle De Los Ingenios - Valley of the Sugar Mills - an UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site to see the ruined hulls of 19th century sugar estates. During the 19th century there were more than 40 sugar mills with elaborate estate houses but now most are in ruins. Chat with villagers in Manaca Iznaga while enjoying a glass of cold mango juice. Travel to Trinidad, an architectural jewel proclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Red tiled roofs atop pastel stucco structures line the cobbled streets. This port city reflects its 16th century past and founding by Conquistadors. Eighteenth century smugglers and pirates made frequent calls here or even used this port as their base of operations in the Caribbean. The wealth and importance of Trinidad continued into the 19th century, when sugar barons reigned.

Experience the community like a local, visiting with shop owners and sampling local fare as you walk through the colonial heart of the city. At Casa Del Alfarero Santander, an artisan workshop, meet local artists and learn about traditional pottery techniques. This pottery studio has been run by the same family for decades, and the Santanders share their family history while you take a turn at the wheel. Stroll through town, with the chance to visit a music club to mingle with the locals and enjoy authentic Cuban music.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 4
Topes de Collantes / Trinidad

Enjoy a spectacular morning in the Sierra de Escambray mountains at Topes de Collantes National Park, one of the best places to enjoy Cuba's natural beauty. Wet winds coming off the Atlantic make the north face of the mountains a refugee for plants and animals, including Cuban trogron, the national bird of Cuba. After learning the history of Cuban coffee, relax over a cup of coffee while chatting with your local guide about efforts to protect the region. After lunch visit a modern art museum, seeing pieces by important artists.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 5
Trinidad / Zapata Wetlands / Bay of Pigs

The Zapata Peninsula encompasses a national park protecting Cuba’s most important wetland area. It is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve closely resembling the Florida Everglades. There are 900 species of flora, 171 species of birds (18 endemics), 31 species of reptiles and many mammal species calling the Zapata Wetlands home. Join Orlando Ramirez, a local farmer, to search for the world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird. On the Bay of Pigs, discuss the importance of the wetlands with a local environmentalist. Spend tonight at Hotel Playa Larga or similar.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 6
Bay of Pigs / Soroa

Begin your day at the Korimakao Project. If the staff is not traveling, sit in on their practices before a discussion on the transformative power of art. The project houses some of Cuba’s finest musicians and artists, who refine their skills before traveling to remote villages to perform and teach. Present art, music and dance supplies to Yander, the director. Set out toward the western part of Cuba, traveling to Pinar del Rio Province. Pay homage to Ernest Hemingway while discussing his work with Cuban Hemingway specialists at his former home, Finca Vigia, preserved as it was on the day of his death. Travelers can only peer through the open windows of this museum, but the inside is arranged almost as if the home was waiting for him to return with guests. Hemingway’s fishing boat, El Pilar, is still on the grounds. Stop at locally owned paladar, IL Divino, for lunch. Chat about the "new" Cuban economy with the entrepreneurs operating this small, private restaurant. After lunch, explore the adjacent farm, which uses sustainable agriculture to supply the restaurant. Spend two nights at Villa Soroa or similar.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 7
Soroa / Viñales

Wind your way through the Sierra de los Organos Mountains to Viñales, stopping to take photos of the breathtaking vistas. Stroll the lanes of Viñales, taking in scenes of daily life in Cuba. Sample the homegrown vegetables grown at an organic farm while meeting the family who is responsible for the land. Stop at a tobacco farm to learn about the processes and history of Cuban cigars. You have the chance to sample a famed cigar and sip a cup of Cuban coffee if you wish.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 8
Soroa / Las Terrazas / Havana

Survey an orchid garden with staff from the University of Pinar del Rio. Meet local naturalists, business owners and farmers in the planned community of Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with just 1,000 residents that was founded on a green ethic. The self-contained community is surrounded by foliage thick with indigenous species, including hibiscus, teak and ebony trees that were part of a reforestation project. Stop at Cafe de Maria for a cup of locally grown coffee and chat with the family who runs the business. Drive along the oceanfront Malecon Avenue, seeing Revolution Square. Spend two nights at the Parque Central or similar.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 9
Havana

Stroll cobblestone streets through the atmospheric squares of Old Havana, taking in fading colonial architecture, antique American cars and the pervasive music and festive atmosphere. Along the way, call on the historic haunts of Hemingway as well as chat with locals at outdoor markets. Interact with the locals as you explore an art market. Cap off your time in Havana with an excursion to hear the famed Buena Vista Social Club.

Meals: B, L, D

Day 10
Havana / Miami

Transfer to the Jose Marti Airport for your charter flight to Miami, where you connect with flights home after 8 p.m.

Meals: B

Notes

Itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes. Specific hotel accommodations in Cuba cannot be to guaranteed in advance as availability is controlled by the Cuban government.

Included:
Accommodations and meals as per the itinerary; two drinks (choice of local beer or soft drink) at group lunches and dinners; Cuban-government mandated medical insurance if departing with group from Miami; tips to porters, day guides and waiters for included meals. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; travel protection; passport and visa fees; taxes and reciprocity fees; some gratuities; items of a personal nature, such as equipment rentals, laundry, phone calls; alcoholic beverages not mentioned as included.

This trip is licensed through International Expeditions, Inc. (CT-2013-299822-1) by the United States Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to engage, organize and conduct authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba that engages participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.

Photo Credit: © International Expeditions

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