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

Upon arrival in Havana, visit an organopónico (urban organic farm) to learn about the growing agrarian movement and Cuban cuisine. Check in to our hotel before gathering for a welcome reception and dinner tonight.
Hotel Parque Central

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, meet with community members at a socio-cultural project that focuses on preserving traditional Afro-Cuban religion, dance, music, and culture. Tonight, attend a special musical performance after dinner.
Hotel Parque Central

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. 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. Later, meet the instructors and students of La Colmenita, an after-school program that uses song and dance performance as a social development tool.
Hotel Parque Central

Day 4 — Cienfuegos

Leave Havana and head to Cienfuegos, a port city with architecture that reflects its French colonial roots. After an orientation tour of the city, engage local cuentapropistas (self-employed workers), who are part of an expanding private sector, on Cienfuegos’ main commercial street. Then visit the Benny Moré Art School to meet with teachers and students of music, dance, and art.
Hotel Jagua

Day 5 — Trinidad

Travel to Trinidad, Cuba’s best-preserved colonial city. Explore 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) business. Visit Julio’s colonial-era house and stables, the base for his program promoting equine care.
Hotel Jagua

Day 6 — Cienfuegos

Near Cienfuegos, visit Cuba’s oldest botanical garden with a botany expert. Stop in a former sugar mill town and meet 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 get to know local residents in Cienfuegos.
Hotel Jagua

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. In Australia, once a sugar mill town and Fidel Castro’s headquarters during the Bay of Pigs invasion, enjoy a conversation with former mill workers.
Hotel Parque Central

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.
Hotel Parque Central

Day 9 — Havana/U.S.

After breakfast, talk with troupe members of an Afro-Cuban dance group and enjoy an energetic private performance. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Miami.

National Geographic Expert

Robert Hernandez

Robert HernandezBorn in the U.S. but raised in Spain and Cuba, Rob Hernandez was in Havana during the pivotal early years of the Cuban Revolution. After leaving in 1960, he first returned in 1987 with the hope of gaining access on behalf of the National Geographic to what at that time was largely a closed nation. He has traveled widely throughout the island and will enjoy sharing with you his broad knowledge of the history, culture, and environments of this enigmatic nation that's still struggling to reconcile its past with its future. A 28-year veteran of the Society, Rob first served as a senior editor for the magazine, later becoming Senior Vice President and head of the Society's International Publishing division that produces books, magazines, and other media in more than 35 languages. An ecologist by education, he spent his early career doing field research and documenting through films and photography many of the world's more remote places, work that has appeared in leading global publications. After spending two years circumnavigating the Indian and Pacific Oceans in a small sailboat, he went on to lead many expeditions to Africa, the Arctic and Antarctic, Southeast Asia, and South America, among other regions.

Robert will join the following departures:

Jan 17 - 25, 2016
May 15 - 23, 2016



  • May 31 - Jun 08, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Jun 07 - 15, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Jun 14 - 22, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Nov 01 - 09, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Nov 08 - 16, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Nov 15 - 23, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Nov 22 - 30, 2015
  • Nov 29 - Dec 07, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Dec 06 - 14, 2015
  • Dec 13 - 21, 2015
  • Dec 20 - 28, 2015
  • Dec 27, 2015 - Jan 04, 2016
  • Jan 03 - 11, 2016 ALT
  • Jan 10 - 18, 2016 ALT
  • Jan 17 - 25, 2016 ALT (waitlist only)
  • Jan 24 - Feb 01, 2016 ALT
  • Jan 31 - Feb 08, 2016 ALT
  • Feb 07 - 15, 2016 ALT
  • Feb 14 - 22, 2016 ALT
  • Feb 21 - 29, 2016 ALT
  • Feb 28 - Mar 07, 2016 ALT
  • Mar 06 - 14, 2016 ALT
  • Mar 13 - 21, 2016 ALT
  • Mar 20 - 28, 2016 ALT
  • Mar 27 - Apr 04, 2016 ALT
  • Apr 10 - 18, 2016 ALT
  • Apr 24 - May 02, 2016 ALT
  • May 08 - 16, 2016 ALT
  • May 15 - 23, 2016 ALT
  • May 22 - 30, 2016 ALT
  • Jun 05 - 13, 2016 ALT
  • Jun 19 - 27, 2016 ALT

ALT indicates a departure that has a slightly different itinerary than the one shown on this page. Click the ALT icon to see the day-to-day itinerary.

Expedition Cost


January - December

January - March
April - June

Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $700 in 2015 and $800 in 2016. There is an additional holiday surcharge of $600 per person on the December 20 and 27, 2015 departures.

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 20 and 27, 2015 departures.

Featured Expedition Moment

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.