At a glance
Duration: 10 Days, 9 Nights
Coverage: Miami to Havana/Cienfuegos or Santa Clara
Season: January - March, December
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Journey from French-influenced Cienfuegos to Havana aboard the 48-guest Panorama or 46-guest Panorama II on International Expeditions’ new Cuba Voyage for a distinct look at this enigmatic island as it stands poised on the brink of historic transformation.
Marvel at the expanse of shoreline claimed by this vast land mass, the Caribbean’s largest island — mountains sloping down to tropical jungles, rich wetlands and fruited plains...sunny inlets and ports long used for exporting Cuba’s abundance of fruit, sugar and coveted tobaccos.
From the French influences in the architecture and culture you’ll experience in Cienfuegos to the Spanish colonial splendor of Trinidad and the raw excitement of politically polarizing but uniquely romantic Havana your experience in Cuba will feel complete! In addition to a walking tour of 500-year-old Trinidad, as we cruise around the island’s Western crescent, we stop on the island of Cayo Largo, home to a sea turtle breeding center, the remote western Guanahacibes Peninsula and venture into the planned ecocommunity of Las Terrazas. Other highlights of this people-to-people itinerary include learning about Cuban sports, medicine and mass communication, dance lessons, local choir and theater performances, pottery workshops, visits to museums, and calling on artists in their studios.
Enjoy seven nights aboard one of our two gracious yachts Panorama or Panorama II. Each outside cabin features air-conditioning, TV and marble-finished en suite facilities. Life on board often centers around the delightful outdoor spaces, including the sun deck and an aft deck leading to the bar.
Along with a Cuban guide and locals experts in the areas we explore, accompanying your Cuba Voyage is an accomplished, knowledgeable IE Expedition Leader. Guiding several of the trips is Bolivar Sanchez. While many of our guests have raved about Boli's strong leadership and humor in the Galapagos Islands, Boli has worked with our groups in Cuba for the past three years, leading more than 10 journeys. In addition to his deep knowledge of Earth science, adding greatly to your understanding of the island’s nature, Boli is well-versed in Cuba's history, politics and culture.
- Day 1 - Arrive Miami
Our Cuba people-to-people travel program begins in Miami with welcome drinks and a briefing on what to expect the following morning and while in Cuba. Spend tonight at the Miami Airport Marriott.
- Day 2 - Miami / Cienfuegos or Santa Clara
Return to the airport and board our charter flight to Cuba. Depending on available flights, you will travel to either Santa Clara or Cienfuegos. Since its founders were originally French, Cienfuegos has a French influence in both its architecture and layout. Spend tonight at Hotel Jagua or similar. (L,D)
- Day 3 - Cienfuegos / Embarkation
Begin our day at the farmer’s market, where locals come to purchase produce for their daily meals. Enjoy a walking tour of Cienfuegos’ city center, where wide avenues lead to the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the way, a local specialist discusses the significance of buildings such as Government Palace (City Hall), San Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, Ferrer Palace and the former lyceum. Discover the transformative power of art in the lives of ordinary Cubans while visiting a graphic arts workshop. After a performance by the Cienfuegos Choir — we’re invited to join the choir for songs in the spirit of musical exchange — try out your Salsa dance skills! Tonight we board our ship, the Panorama or Panorama II home for the next seven nights of our Cuba cruise. (B,L,D)
- Day 4 - Trinidad
Enjoy a walking tour of 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. Mingle with local residents and call on artists in their studio as we wind our way through the city. Stop at either the Museum Romantico or the Architecture Museum. 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 we take a turn at the wheel. (B,L,D)
- Day 5 - Cayo Largo
The island of Cayo Largo is comprised of limestone, and boasts white-sand beaches, mangroves and salt pans. Call on a local clinic, meeting a Cuban doctor to learn about the country’s medical system. At the Sea Turtle Breeding Center, join local conservationists working to preserve the loggerhead, hawksbill and green sea turtles that nest annually on the beaches of Cayo Largo. Learn more about local wildlife at the Avalon Fly Fishing Center before returning to our ship. (B,L,D)
- Day 6 - Maria La Gorda
Explore Maria La Gorda, on the Bahía de Corrientes, beginning in La Bajada. Meet with a local naturalist at Guanahacabibes National Park, the largest of Cuba’s six nature reserves. In addition to butterflies and birdlife such as endemic bee hummingbird and yellow-headed warbler, Guanahacabibes is home to a large profusion of orchids and epiphytes, a total of 16 species, some indigenous and some recently discovered. At a Meteorological Center, learn about forecasting weather, weather patterns, and storms and hurricanes that have left their mark in Cuba, along with how historic storms have impacted ordinary Cubans. Call on a local school, mingling with students and learning about the country's education system. Guest may even share songs with the children. (B,L,D)
- Day 7 - Havana
Cruise toward Havana, where our ship anchors in the harbor off Old Havana. Stroll through the atmospheric squares of “Havana Viejo,” calling on artists in their studios as we pass. See Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Ernest Hemingway kept a room for years. The hotel served as a refuge for writing such works as For Whom the Bell Tolls and as a base for frequenting his favorite bars. After dinner onboard, stroll to nearby Café Taberna, where we enjoy Cuban music by the famed Buena Vista Social Club. (B,L,D)
- Day 8 - Havana: Las Terrazas
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. 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. (B,L,D)
- Day 9 - Havana
Discuss Havana’s past and future with our local guide while exploring both the Plaza de Revolution and Museum of the Revolution. Before an afternoon at leisure. stop at John Lennon Park. Enjoy an optional cabaret show at the Tropicana (at your own expense). (B,L,D)
- Day Havana / Miami -
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the Jose Marti Airport for our charter flight to Miami, where you connect with flights home. (B)
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Ships||C||B||A (Main)||A (Upper)|
|Dec 22, 2016||Panorama II||$5,999||$6,699||$7,199||$7,399|
|Dec 29, 2016||Panorama II||$5,999||$6,699||$7,199||$7,399|
|Jan 19, 2017||Panorama II||$5,699||$6,399||$6,899||$7,099|
|Feb 2, 2017||Panorama II||$5,699||$6,399||$6,899||$7,099|
|Mar 2, 2017||Panorama II||$5,699||$6,399||$6,899||$7,099|
|Mar 16, 2017||Panorama II||$5,699||$6,399||$6,899||$7,099|
|Mar 30, 3017||Panorama II||$5,699||$6,399||$6,899||$7,099|
The stylish Panorama II is a two-masted, state-of-the-art sail cruiser which can comfortably accommodates 44 guests (in 22 cabins) to create a truly intimate setting. View ship details...