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Expedition Details


Take to the Caribbean aboard the Panorama II 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

    • Delve into Cuba’s past and present while getting to know the residents of Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos.
    • Discuss conservation efforts and spot rich birdlife with local naturalists in Ciénaga de Zapata National Park.
    • Get a local perspective on the Bay of Pigs invasion, and then cross to Cayo Largo to learn about efforts to protect endangered species.

Itinerary - 11 Days

Day 1 — Miami, Florida/Havana, Cuba

From Miami, take a charter flight to Havana and transfer to our hotel. Set out on a walking tour, tracing the story of the city as told through its people and its buildings, from 400-year-old Spanish churches to the art deco high-rises of the early 20th century. Meander through historic squares, interacting with merchants and locals, and learn about ongoing efforts to preserve Old Havana. 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

Spend two days getting acquainted with life in Havana 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. 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.
Panorama II

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 such as the Cuban trogon and the bee hummingbird—the smallest bird in the world.

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. Take a walk with a representative of the Office of the City Historian, 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 maternity hospital 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 23 other 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, you’ll have a chance to explore the island or go diving (at an additional cost), in the company of environmental guides, scientists, or a Cuban dive expert.

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 Graphic Arts Workshop, get to know local artists and learn about their lives and careers. Meet up 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

National Geographic Expert

Fabio Amador

Fabio AmadorFabio Amador was for many years a Senior Program Officer for the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, which is dedicated to funding exploratory research around the world. He has traveled and worked extensively throughout Latin America and is presently collaborating with research projects in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Peru, El Salvador, and Madagascar. He has also traveled regularly to Cuba over the past five years on educational and scientific missions for National Geographic. As a trained archaeologist, his interest in Taino Indian culture (which spanned the Greater Antilles, including Cuba) is focused on the sacred landscape and the use of caves for ritual activity. In his role at National Geographic, Fabio used imaging and visualization technologies to provide new ways of capturing data and to document the experience of conducting research and exploration. His initiative in supporting National Geographic research and exploration projects worldwide has resulted in a workshop titled The Art of Communicating Science. Fabio uses photography, cinematography, and other multimedia tools to reach large audiences through his public lectures at universities and on expeditions, presentations at international scientific and professional symposia, publications in scholarly journals and on National Geographic’s Explorers Journal and NatGeo News Watch blogs.

Fabio will join the following departures:

Dec 06 - 16, 2017
Dec 13 - 23, 2017


Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


  • Dec 06 - 16, 2017
  • Dec 13 - 23, 2017
  • Dec 20 - 30, 2017
  • Dec 27, 2017 - Jan 06, 2018
  • Jan 03 - 13, 2018
  • Jan 10 - 20, 2018
  • Jan 17 - 27, 2018
  • Jan 24 - Feb 03, 2018
  • Jan 31 - Feb 10, 2018
  • Feb 07 - 17, 2018
  • Feb 14 - 24, 2018
  • Feb 21 - Mar 03, 2018
  • Feb 28 - Mar 10, 2018
  • Mar 07 - 17, 2018
  • Mar 14 - 24, 2018
  • Mar 21 - 31, 2018

Expedition Cost

Category 1 $9,500
Category 2 $10,200
Category 3 $11,000
Category 4 $11,500

Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin, add $4,750 in Category 1. Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Round-trip charter airfare from Miami to Havana and return from Cienfuegos is $440 per person.

Please note: the pricing above is valid for December 2017 departures and beyond when booked by March 31, 2017.

View Ship/Deck Plan

Featured Traveler Photo

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.