A new land and cruise tour to Cuba by Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic begins in early December and continues through March 2017. It’s a 10-night people-to-people program starting with three days in Havana before guests board the 44-passenger Panorama II cruise ship to explore the rest of the island.
The trip, called Cuba by Land and Sea: Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders, provides accommodations at the historic Hotel Nacional, a Havana landmark on the waterfront. Guests will have a rich menu of options to see, do learn and engage, meeting Cubans and exploring the many cultural experiences—history, art, architecture, music, dance, and even the iconic cigar and car subcultures—the capital has to offer.
The people-to-people program will then take to the sea for a seven-night voyage that will combine cultural exchanges with natural history as it explores Cuba’s southern coast. Cuba’s unspoiled reefs and marine life have been little explored, and remain in an excellent state of preservation. Along the way, guests will learn about these pristine places from the Cuban conservationists who have made studying them their life’s work.
Prices begin at $9,550 per person, double occupancy. Highlights of the trip include:
* Gaining an understanding of Cuba’s history and present through extensive people-to-people visits in the cities of Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos.
* Exploring Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) Marine Park in the company of the researchers working to protect them. Go snorkeling, or opt to scuba dive (additional cost). Hike on the islands to look for ospreys, frigate birds, spoonbills, pelicans, and more.
* Learning about conservation efforts and seeing birdlife, such as the Cuban trogon and the bee hummingbird (the smallest bird in the world), with local naturalists at the Zapata Swamp National Park. Cross to the Cuban Keys to meet with researchers at a sea turtle breeding center and endangered species protection program at Cayo Largo del Sur.
* Visiting the Bay of Pigs, where exiles landed in 1961 in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government, and meet with Cuban nationals who will discuss what transpired and its meaning to Cubans.
* Experiencing Cuba’s celebrated music tradition on several occasions including a musical outing in Havana with a chance to meet with the musicians; a people-to-people visit with musicians and singers, young and old, in Cienfuegos; and a presentation and exchange with the internationally known, award-winning Cienfuegos Choir.
Travelers must secure their own visas for travel to the country.