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
(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, 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
(B,L,D)

Day 3 — Havana

Engage in a specially arranged question-andanswer 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
(B,L,D)

Day 4 — Cienfuegos

Leave Havana and head to Cienfuegos, a port city with architecture that reflects its Frenchcolonial 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
(B,L,D)

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
(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 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
(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. 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
(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.
Hotel Parque Central
(B,L,D)

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.
(B,L)

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:

Jan 25 - Feb 02, 2015
Mar 29 - Apr 06, 2015
Apr 12 - 20, 2015
Apr 26 - May 04, 2015
May 10 - 18, 2015
May 31 - Jun 08, 2015
Jun 14 - 22, 2015
Nov 01 - 09, 2015
Nov 15 - 23, 2015
Nov 29 - Dec 07, 2015
Jan 31 - Feb 08, 2016
Feb 14 - 22, 2016
Feb 28 - Mar 07, 2016
Mar 13 - 21, 2016
Mar 27 - Apr 04, 2016
Apr 10 - 18, 2016
Apr 24 - May 02, 2016
May 08 - 16, 2016
May 22 - 30, 2016
Jun 05 - 13, 2016
Jun 19 - 27, 2016

SEE OTHER EXPERTS »

Dates

2014
  • Dec 28, 2014 - Jan 05, 2015 (waitlist only)
2015
  • Jan 11 - 19, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Jan 18 - 26, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Jan 25 - Feb 02, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Feb 01 - 09, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Feb 08 - 16, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Feb 15 - 23, 2015
  • Mar 01 - 09, 2015
  • Mar 08 - 16, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Mar 15 - 23, 2015
  • Mar 22 - 30, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Mar 29 - Apr 06, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Apr 12 - 20, 2015 (waitlist only)
  • Apr 26 - May 04, 2015
  • May 10 - 18, 2015
  • May 17 - 25, 2015
  • May 31 - Jun 08, 2015
  • Jun 14 - 22, 2015
  • Nov 01 - 09, 2015
  • Nov 08 - 16, 2015
  • Nov 15 - 23, 2015
  • Nov 22 - 30, 2015
  • Nov 29 - Dec 07, 2015
  • Dec 06 - 14, 2015
  • Dec 13 - 21, 2015
  • Dec 20 - 28, 2015
  • Dec 27, 2015 - Jan 04, 2016
2016
  • Jan 03 - 11, 2016 ALT
  • Jan 10 - 18, 2016 ALT
  • Jan 17 - 25, 2016 ALT
  • 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

2015

January - December
$5,995
2016

January - March
                      $6,295
April - June
                       $5,995

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.