Expedition Details

 

Experience Cuban culture the most authentic way possible— through its people. On this unique and inspiring program, get acquainted with Cubans in diverse settings, from Old Havana to colonial Cienfuegos. Engage the local people directly in discussions about their lives and work, culture and traditions. Meet with Cuban historians, teachers, students, artists, naturalists, and others, and experience this fast-changing island nation through their eyes.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Old Havana and Trinidad with Cuban experts.
  • Spend time with local artists and musicians in the colonial city of Cienfuegos.
  • Witness Cuba’s shifting cultural and economic landscape on visits to schools, art studios, and privately owned restaurants.
  • Meet "horse whisperer" Julio Muñoz, and learn about his program promoting equine care.

Itinerary - 9 Days

Day 1 — U.S./Havana, Cuba

Depart from Miami on a charter flight. Upon arrival in Havana, enjoy a traditional Cuban lunch. Visit with an Afro-Cuban dance group this afternoon and enjoy an energetic performance before transferring to our hotel. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner tonight.
Hotel Parque Central
(L,D)

Day 2 — Havana

Learn about the restoration and changing landscape of Havana from a local preservation expert. Then set out to explore Old Havana, stopping in at local businesses and meeting the workers. After lunch, explore a community project at Muraleando, where local and international artists have been changing a downtrodden neighborhood into a living work of art. Tonight, attend a special musical performance after dinner.
(B,L,D)

Day 3 — Havana

Engage in a specially arranged question-and-answer session with Cuban professionals, discussing education, economics, the role of government, and other topics of interest. Later, meet the instructors and students of La Colmenita, an after-school program that uses song and dance performance as a social development tool.
(B,L,D)

Day 4 — Cienfuegos

Leave Havana and head to Cienfuegos, a port city with architecture that reflects its French colonial roots. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city and meet local residents in Parque Martí. See the statue commemorating José Martí, a renowned author and a leader in Cuba’s quest for independence from Spain. Engage local cuentapropistas (self-employed), who are part of an expanding private sector, on Cienfuegos’ main commercial street. Then visit Benny Moré Art School to meet with teachers and students of music, dance, and art.
Hotel Jagua
(B,L,D)

Day 5 — Trinidad

Travel to Trinidad, where we explore Cuba’s best-preserved colonial city with a restoration expert and interact with local community members, including a Santería priest. Then meet Julio Muñoz, a local photographer and “horse whisperer” whose wife and niece appeared in an October 1999 National Geographic magazine article, and learn about his casa particular (guest house). Visit Julio’s colonial-era house and stables, the base for his program promoting equine care.
(B,L)

Day 6 — Cienfuegos

Near Cienfuegos, visit Cuba’s oldest botanical garden with a botany expert. Stop in a former sugar mill town and interact with the town’s present day inhabitants. Later, enjoy a choral performance and discussion with a world renowned a cappella group, the Choir of Cienfuegos. After dinner, there will be an opportunity to meet with local residents in Cienfuegos.
(B,L,D)

Day 7 — Bay of Pigs/Havana

Today, head to the historic Bay of Pigs. Set foot on the famous Playa Girón, one of the two landing sites for the 1961 U.S.–backed invasion. Visit Australia, a former sugar mill town and Fidel Castro’s headquarters during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Here, meet with former mill workers and ride an old steam train through the sugarcane fields.
Hotel Parque Central
(B,L)

Day 8 — Havana/Jaimanitas

This morning, travel to the charming fishing village of Jaimanitas to visit the workshop and home of ceramic artist José Fuster, called the “Picasso of Cuba.” Then attend a question-and-answer session with American author and Havana resident, Marc Frank. Meet with Marc and a Cuban journalist to discuss their perspectives on Cuba’s past, present, and future. Celebrate our Cuban experience together at a farewell dinner tonight.
(B,L,D)

Day 9 — Havana/U.S.

After breakfast, visit an organopónico (urban organic farm) to learn about the growing agrarian movement and Cuban cuisine. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Miami.
(B)

National Geographic Expert

Christopher Baker

Christopher BakerThe Lowell Thomas Award 2008 ‘Travel Journalist of the Year,' photographer and writer Christopher Baker is one of the world's foremost authorities on Costa Rica and Cuba. He has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama in the National Geographic Traveler series. He is also the author of the award-winning Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba, published by National Geographic Adventure Press. His more than 20 other books include the coffee-table book Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles. He has written for more than 200 publications, from National Geographic Traveler to Newsweek, and has been an invited speaker at National Geographic headquarters, the National Press Club, and the World Affairs Council, among other prestigious organizations. Christopher has been profiled in USA Today and featured on the National Geographic Channel, NPR, and dozens of other radio and TV outlets.

Christopher will join the following departures:

Oct 26 - Nov 03, 2014
Nov 22 - 30, 2014
Dec 21 - 29, 2014
Jan 25 - Feb 02, 2015
Mar 22 - 30, 2015
Apr 12 - 20, 2015
Apr 26 - May 04, 2015
May 10 - 18, 2015
May 31 - Jun 08, 2015
Jun 14 - 22, 2015

SEE OTHER EXPERTS »

Dates

2014
  • Oct 26 - Nov 03, 2014
  • Nov 02 - 10, 2014 (waitlist only)
  • Nov 09 - 17, 2014
  • Nov 22 - 30, 2014
  • Dec 21 - 29, 2014 (waitlist only)
  • Dec 28, 2014 - Jan 05, 2015
2015
  • Jan 04 - 12, 2015
  • Jan 11 - 19, 2015
  • Jan 18 - 26, 2015
  • Jan 25 - Feb 02, 2015
  • Feb 01 - 09, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Feb 08 - 16, 2015
  • Feb 15 - 23, 2015
  • Feb 22 - Mar 02, 2015
  • Mar 01 - 09, 2015
  • Mar 08 - 16, 2015
  • Mar 15 - 23, 2015
  • Mar 22 - 30, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Apr 12 - 20, 2015
  • Apr 26 - May 04, 2015
  • May 10 - 18, 2015
  • May 17 - 25, 2015
  • May 31 - Jun 08, 2015
  • Jun 14 - 22, 2015

Expedition Cost

2014 - 2015

$5,995

Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $700. On the December 21 and 28, 2014 departures, there is an additional holiday surcharge of $600 per person.

Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Round-trip charter airfare between Miami and Havana is $550 per person. A $75 per person airfare supplement applies for the December 21 and 28, 2014 departures.

What To Expect

This trip is permitted by a special People-to-People license from 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 how much one may spend and what may be purchased, 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.