Cuba by Land and Sea: Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders

  • Trip Type: Expedition Cruise
  • 11 Days | Havana to Cienfuegos
  • Group Size: Max 46

Expedition Details


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.

Trip Highlights

    • 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

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.

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

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).

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Day 11 — Cienfuegos/Miami, Florida

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our flight back to Miami. (B)

Related Trips

Special Offer

Complimentary Airfare

Book by March 7, 2018 and receive free round-trip airfare between Miami and Cuba on all departures between December 6, 2017 through March 7, 2018.

Offer is for new bookings only and is subject to availability. Please call for details.

Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


This expedition is not currently being offered.

Please note: The January 10 and February 28, 2018 departures are dedicated photography expeditions.

Learn more about photo expeditions here >>

Featured Traveler Photo

Activity Level

Light or Moderate

Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they 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 on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.

For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.

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.