Cuba | A Mosaic of Culture, Community, and Ecological Riches

Cuba | A Mosaic of Culture, Community, and Ecological Riches

About this trip

Over the course of centuries, Cuba’s culture has been shaped by its natural riches, resulting in a blend of Indigenous, European, and African influences. Discover how these identities live on today as you journey to the country’s capital and its heartland. Learn how Old Havana is preserving its one-of-a-kind architectural heritage, and see a show at the iconic Buena Vista Social Club. Delve into the natural beauty of Viñales and the Zapata Peninsula, exploring forests and farmlands, wetlands and rocky coastlines, and even an ancient limestone cave. Most importantly, meet with local Cuban people like farmers, artists, conservationists, and entrepreneurs to gain firsthand insight into their daily lives, and the ways Cuba’s natural and cultural history impact them.

Highlights

  • Explore the many historical influences that have shaped Cuba as you explore colonial Old Havana on foot.
  • Learn about the island’s urban agricultural initiatives and organic farming at Alamar Organoponic Gardens.
  • Visit Las Terrazas, a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve and self-sustained ecological community that began as a reforestation project and is now a model of sustainability and ecotourism.
  • Hike among the distinctive limestone formations known as mogotes and take a boat ride through an underground cave system in Viñales Valley.
  • Venture to the Zapata Peninsula to seek out endemic flora and fauna in the national park, go snorkeling, and learn about the famous events of the Bay of Pigs invasion.
11 Travelers

$3,495

Land Cost

Group size

Book 10 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

$3,295

Land Cost

Group size

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

Old Havana

Day 1

Upon arrival at the José Martí International Airport, you will be met by your guide and driver, and taken to your hotel. You will be able to check in and exchange currency. Then, enjoy the remainder of the afternoon exploring the surroundings before a group orientation and welcome dinner at a paladar.

Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Particular

Old Havana

Day 2

Explore Old Havana's cobblestone streets, visiting the Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco de Asís, Plaza de la Catedral, and Plaza Vieja. Next, visit Organopónico Vivero Alamar, an incredible urban garden located outside of central Havana, widely considered one of the most successful organic farms in the city. During the tour, learn about the advances Cuba has made with respect to organic farming.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Particular

Vinales

Day 3

Depart for the western province of Pinar del Río. En route, visit Sierra del Rosario, 25,000 hectares of evergreen forest and home of Las Terrazas, a self sustained community named after the reforestation project initiated in 1967. While at Las Terrazas, learn about their history, enjoy delicious coffee from their plantation, and visit an artist's studio. Continue on to Viñales for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Particular

Vinales

Day 4

This morning, visit Cueva del Indio, a limestone cave set adjacent to hills covered in lush vegetation. Here, board a boat and marvel at an underground magical world of stalagmites, stalactites, and folklore as you enjoy a short cruise through this cavernous wonderland. The cave is an ancient indigenous dwelling rediscovered in 1920. This afternoon, hike the mogotes, unusual geologic formations in the area, and visit a tobacco farm. In the evening, enjoy dinner at a paladar called the Agro Ecológico in the hills surrounding Viñales. Arrive early to meet the owners and learn how they juggle family, the farm, a paladar operation, and life in Cuba, and then savor the dishes made with the farm's fresh produce.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Particular

Zapata

Day 5

Today, travel to the Zapata Peninsula, also known as the Bay of Pigs, which is home to the largest wetlands in the Caribbean. Seventy percent of the area is a Biosphere Reserve and Cuba's largest national park. The Zapata area consists of scrub, mangrove swamp, and coastline, and more than 200 bird species have been recorded here. This is one of the most remote regions of Cuba, yet intrepid wildlife watchers will reap the benefits: not only incredible diversity of birds, but endemic reptile and plant species can be seen on the mangrove-lined waterways here. Zapata's wetlands give rise to more than 1000 species of plants and 37 species of reptiles including the endemic Cuban crocodile. Upon arrival, embark on a short excursion crossing the Tesoro Lagoon to visit the Taína Village, where Cuban sculptor Rita Longa has depicted the primitive way of life, skills, and habits of the native Cuban inhabitants through creating life sized statues. Afterward, continue with a visit to the town of Palpite to interact with the artistic community here part of the Korimakao project. the Korimakao project.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Enrique or similar

Zapata

Day 6

After breakfast visit the town of Playa Girón and its museum to learn about the famous events of the Bay of Pigs invasion. Have lunch at Caleta Buena, a beautiful inlet in the heart of the bay. After lunch, enjoy snorkeling to explore the marine biodiversity of the area. Later, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. There will be an opportunity for an optional stop at Cueva de los Peces for additional snorkeling. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local paladar.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Enrique or similar

Zapata

Day 7

Today, learn about the Zapata National Park with a lecture about the ecosystem of the Zapata wetlands. Next, visit Criadero de Cocodrilos, a crocodile breeding facility. Learn about the various breeding stages and the programs roles in this process.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Enrique or similar

Old Havana

Day 8

This morning, return to Havana. Enjoy lunch on your own and time at leisure in Old Havana. This evening, explore the city in an antique car, passing by the Malecón and ending at Hotel Nacional to enjoy a farewell dinner before a Buena Vista Social Club performance.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Particular

Departure

Day 9

This morning you will be transferred to the Havana airport for your flight home.

Breakfast- included