Take to the Caribbean aboard the Harmony V on an expedition that draws together Cuba’s colorful culture and its rare marine wonders. In colonial cities from Havana to Trinidad and Cienfuegos, meet artists, musicians, historians and more who are safeguarding Cuban traditions and shaping them for the future. Then explore seldom-visited isles off the southern coast, and discover pristine wildlife sanctuaries through the eyes of local conservationists.
Experience Cuba’s cultural and natural wonders on a voyage aboard the Harmony V, exploring colorful colonial cities and cruising to pristine coastal isles
Delve into the country’s past and present
while getting to know Cuban artists,
musicians, medical professionals,
merchants, and more.
Get a local perspective on the Bay of Pigs
invasion, and go ashore on the seldom
visited Isla de la Juventud, where Fidel and
Raúl Castro were once exiled.
In Ciénaga de Zapata National Park, seek
out endemic birdlife with local naturalists,
and meet with researchers at a sea turtle
breeding center on Cayo Largo.
Itinerary - 11 Days
Day 1 — Miami, Florida/Havana, Cuba
From Miami, take a flight to Havana and transfer
to our hotel. Enjoy a lively dance percussion
performance and meet members of the troupe.
Later, drive along the Malecón, the waterfront
esplanade where Cubans from all walks of life
come to stroll and socialize. Hotel Nacional de Cuba (L,D)
Days 2 & 3 — Havana
Get acquainted with local life through your choice
of people-to-people excursions: Visit an auto
workshop where inventive mechanics repair
classic American cars, wander through Ernest
Hemingway’s estate at Finca Vigía, or get a Cuban
perspective on Castro’s revolution at the city’s
history museums. Set out on a walking tour, tracing
the story of the city as told through its people and
its buildings, and learn about ongoing efforts to
preserve Old Havana. Visit a cigar factory, or learn
about environmental education projects at the
Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez. Enjoy meals
in some of Havana’s best paladares, or privately
owned restaurants, and hear the signature rhythms
of Cuba at an evening performance. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Havana/Cienfuegos
After another chance to meet with residents of
Havana this morning, drive to Cienfuegos and
embark our ship. Gather for a welcome dinner on
board. Harmony V (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Bay of Pigs
This morning, we drive to the Bay of Pigs, an
ecologically important area that gained worldwide
renown when U.S.-backed Cuban exiles attempted to invade in 1961. In the beach town
of Playa Girón, visit a museum that recounts the
failed invasion, and talk to local people to learn
what the episode means to Cubans today. In
nearby Ciénaga de Zapata National Park, meet
with naturalists and look for endemic birdlife.
Weather permitting, go diving (at an added cost). (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Trinidad
Today we’ll go ashore at Trinidad, a UNESCO
World Heritage site of cobbled streets and colonial
houses originally founded in 1514. Go for a
walk, visiting museums and meeting entrepreneurs
and artists. After lunch, stroll this charming
town and get to know its residents. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — At Sea
A day at sea gives us the chance to have talks by our staff about Cuba, work on our photographs with the Lindblad-National Geographic photo instructor on board, and reflect on the things we’ve seen. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Isla de la Juventud
Anchor at Siguanea Bay on Isla de la Juventud—
or the Isle of Youth—once home to an infamous
penal colony. Drive to the city of Nueva Gerona,
where we’ll visit a clinic and art school. Stroll the
main boulevard, meeting with local residents
and taking in cultural performances along our
walk. After lunch, visit the Presidio Modelo,
the prison where Fidel and Raúl Castro, along
with their fellow revolutionaries, were confined
following their failed attack on the Moncada barracks near Santiago de Cuba. On our return
drive to the ship, we’ll stop at the Hotel El Colony
if time permits. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Cayo Largo
On Cayo Largo, pay a visit to a local clinic to discuss
Cuba’s medical system with island doctors
and nurses. Then meet with researchers at a sea
turtle breeding center and endangered-species
protection program. In the afternoon, explore
the island, or go swimming or snorkeling in the
company of Cuban guides (schedule permitting). (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Cienfuegos
Sail into the port of Cienfuegos, a World Heritage
site stretched along a bay and filled with elegant
French-inspired architecture. Head into the town
center on foot, seeing palaces, schools, churches, and residential houses. At the Benny Moré Art
School, get to know students and teachers and
learn about their careers. Meet with musicians
and singers in the afternoon and take in a
musical performance. Later, return to the ship
to toast our Cuban voyage at a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Cienfuegos/Miami, Florida
Disembark this morning and transfer to the
airport for our flight back to Miami.
Book by December 31, 2017 and receive free round-trip airfare between Miami and Cuba on all departures between December 6, 2017 through March 21, 2018. In addition, receive a $500 air credit towards the round-trip flight between your hometown and Miami on the December 13, 2017 departure.
Offer may not be combined with other offers, and is subject to availability. Please call for details.
Ralph Lee Hopkins is a popular photo instructor and geologist who also serves as an expedition leader aboard the National Geographic fleet. He served as a photographer on the historic Arctic Expedition for Climate Action in July 2008 and has traveled beyond both the Arctic and the Antarctic Circles many times during the past two decades. His wildlife images have appeared in National Geographic's books, magazines, and online galleries, and are represented in the National Geographic Image Collection.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin, add $4,750 in Category 1 and $5,100 in Category 2. Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Round-trip airfare from Miami to Havana and return from Cienfuegos is $365 per person.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
What To Expect
Please Note: This trip is permitted through the
people-to-people general license category authorized
by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of
Foreign Assets Control. The itinerary was designed to
provide an in-depth cultural experience with numerous
opportunities for meaningful interaction with Cubans.
Travel restrictions in Cuba, such as limits on what
may be purchased and brought back into the U.S., will be provided in your pre-departure materials. While we do our best to adhere to the itinerary listed here, traveling in Cuba requires flexibility, and changes to hotels and activities may occur.