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

$2,895

Land Cost

Group size

Book 10 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

$2,595

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 transferred to your hotel. You will be able to check-in, change money. You will have the remainder of the afternoon to explore your surroundings before your 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. In the afternoon visit Organoponico Vivero Alamar, an incredible urban garden located outside of central Havana, widely considered one of the most successful organic farms in the city After the economic collapse in the early 1990s Cuba was forced to develop new methods to feed its population without the support of the Soviet Union. Now, the country is filled with more than 7,000 urban allotments of "organoponicos", which cover approximately 81,000 acres. 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

Travel to Soroa. 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. Also visit the Soroa - Waterfall & Orchidarium "Cascada y orquideario". Continue on to Vinales for dinner and overnight.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Particular

Vinales

Day 4

This morning visit Cueva de Indio, a limestone cave set adjacent to hills covered in lush vegetation. Here, we will board a boat and enjoy an underground magical world of stalagmites, stalactites, and folklore as we 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 as well as visit a tobacco farm. Dinner this evening is 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 you will travel to the Zapata Peninsula, also known as the Bay of Pigs, which is home to the largest wetlands in the Caribbean. 70% of the area is a Biosphere Reserve and Cuba's largest national park. The Zapata area consists of scrub, mangrove swamp, and coastline, and over 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 short excursion crossing the Tesoro Lagoon to visit the Taina Village, where Cuban sculptor Rita Longa has depicted the primitive way of life, skills, and habits of the Cuba native inhabitants through creating of life sized statues. After lunch at a local restaurant, receive an introduction and welcome to Zapata National Park. Afterwards continue with a visit to the town of Palpite to interact with the artists community here part of 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. Optional stop at Cueva de los Peces for additional snorkeling opportunity. 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 wetland. Next, you visit Criadero de Cocodrilos, a crocodile breeding facility.

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

Old Havana

Day 8

This morning return to Havana. Lunch on own and time at leisure in Old Havana. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner before the Buena Vista Social Club show.

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