Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced Cuba by Land and Sea: Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders, a 10-night people-to-people program that combines people-to-people visits with an exploration of Cuba’s natural history and pristine marine habitats. The first program departs December 7, 2016, with 16 consecutive departures through March 2017.
The itinerary beings with a three-night stay at the historic Hotel Nacional, a Havana landmark on the waterfront. Guests will be able to meet Cubans and explore the many cultural experiences—history, art, architecture, music, dance, and the cigar and car subcultures—that Havana has to offer.
The people-to-people program will then take guests on a seven-night cruise that will combine cultural exchanges with natural history as it explores Cuba’s southern coast aboard Panorama ll, a 44-guest sail cruiser. Along the way, guests will learn about these pristine places from the Cuban conservationists who have made studying them their life’s work.
Guests will also be able to take part in people-to-people visits in Trinidad and Cienfuegos, as well as explore the country’s colonial architecture. The trip will include a visit to the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) Marine Park in the company of marine researchers, with a chance to go snorkeling or scuba diving (additional cost). Travelers can also hike on the islands to look for ospreys, frigate birds, spoonbills, pelicans, and more.
At Zapata Swamp National Park, guests will have the chance to discuss conservation efforts and spot rich birdlife, such as the Cuban trogon and the bee hummingbird (the smallest bird in the world), with local naturalists. Travelers will also 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.
For history buffs, a visit to the Bay of Pigs, where exiles landed in 1961 in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government, will offer a chance to meet with Cuban nationals who will discuss what transpired and its meaning to Cubans. Music aficionados can take part in 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. For foodies, the trip will stop at some of Havana’s best paladares, or privately owned restaurants.
Visits to the Gardens of the Queen and the Bay of Pigs are pending permission from Cuban officials.
In addition to the people-to-people program, guests will learn from Lindblad’s expert onboard team of naturalists, cultural specialists and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified Photo Instructor. Rates begin at $9,550 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin.