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 musicians and dancers 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 — Miami, U.S./Havana, Cuba

Depart Miami on a charter flight. 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 (D)

Day 2 — Havana

Learn about the restoration of Havana from a local preservation expert. Then explore Old Havana, stopping in at local businesses to meet the workers. After lunch, meet with community members at a socio-cultural project focused on preserving traditional Afro-Cuban religion, dance, music, and culture. Discuss race relations and other issues during a meeting and short film screening with Afro-Cuban filmmakers. Attend a special musical performance after dinner.
Hotel Parque Central (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Havana

Engage in a specially arranged discussion with Cuban professionals on education, economics, the role of government, and other topics of interest. Then visit the sports stadium where the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame was established and discuss the historical and political importance of baseball in Cuba with local sports journalists. 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

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 José Martí, named after the renowned author and leader in Cuba’s quest for independence from Spain. Engage local cuentapropistas (self-employed workers) on Cienfuegos’s main commercial street. Then visit Benny Moré Art School to meet with teachers and students of music, dance, and art. Later, gather with local athletes to discuss the importance of sports in Cuban culture.
Hotel Jagua (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Topes de Collantes/Cienfuegos

Explore Topes de Collantes, a beautiful nature reserve in the Escambray Mountains that abounds with caves, waterfalls, natural pools, and many species of birds. Visit coffee farmers and local residents to experience the traditions of this area, and meet a botany expert to learn about native flora and fauna. Visit a sustainable eco-village that uses art, music, and theater as a means for social improvement in the surrounding community. After dinner, there will be an opportunity to get to know local residents in Cienfuegos.
Hotel Jagua (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Trinidad/Cienfuegos

Travel to Trinidad, where we explore Cuba’s best preserved colonial city with a restoration expert. 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 guest house business. Visit Julio’s colonial-era house and stables, the base for his program promoting equine care. Tonight, enjoy a choral performance and discussion with a world-renowned a cappella group, the Choir of Cienfuegos.
Hotel Jagua (B,L)

Day 7 — Bay of Pigs/Havana

Today, head to the historic Bay of Pigs. Set foot on the famous Playa Girón, one of two landing sites for the 1961 U.S.–backed invasion. Visit Finca Vigía, the former home of Ernest Hemingway, and meet with the museum director for a tour of the property. Learn about Hemingway’s strong connection to the Cuban people and the Cuban way of life.
Hotel Parque Central (B,L)

Day 8 — Havana/Jaimanitas

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)

Related Trips

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:

Nov 01 - 09, 2015
Nov 15 - 23, 2015
Nov 29 - Dec 07, 2015
Jan 31 - Feb 08, 2016
Feb 14 - 22, 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

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

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.

Please Note: The itinerary shown describes the 2016 departures. The 2015 departures follow a slightly modified itinerary on Days 4 through 6 while in Trinidad and Cienfuegos.

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 through the People-to-People general license category 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.