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Havana Plaza de la Catedral

Cuba by Land and Sea: Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Panorama II (LI)
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The world’s fascination with Cuba has lasted for many generations, and for good reason. Cuba is a cultural hub, with a mix of descendants of indigenous people, European immigrants, and slaves, and its music and art draw on these diverse influences. Cuba has also exerted an outsize influence on world history. Join the Panorama II on a unique land-and-sea exploration that balances experiences in the country’s cultural centers with explorations of wild coastal sites. Be introduced to Cubans who make a difference in their fields, meet the friendly and always interesting residents, and gain a rich and rewarding understanding of this multifaceted country. It’s a fascinating time to be there, when Cuba is on the cusp of undergoing significant and rapid change.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Miami | Havana
Days 2-3 : Havana
Day 4 : Havana | Cienfuegos | Embark
Day 5 : Bay of Pigs
Day 6 : Cayo Largo
Day 7 : Trinidad
Days 8-9 : Gardens of the Queen
Day 10 : Cienfuegos
Day 11 : Cienfuegos | Depart

Highlights

  • Learn about Cuba’s history & present via extensive people-to-people visits
  • Explore some of Cuba’s superb marine habitats, coral reefs, and sea life
  • Visit the Bay of Pigs where exiles tried to overthrow the government (1961)
  • Experience rich traditions from lively music to superb Cuban cuisine
  • See colonial Trinidad, vibrant Havana & Cienfuegos, a UNESCO Heritage Site

Ship

Panorama II (LI)

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Havana Plaza de la Catedral Cuban musician Church in Trinidad, Cuba A glimpse of Cuba's past and present Explore Cuba's waters on your small ship cruise aboard the Panorama II

Day 1 Miami | Havana

  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Meet at Miami International Airport in the morning for your flight to Havana. On arrival, transfer to the city for lunch, then check in to a historic hotel, the Hotel Nacional, located on the waterfront. Stay here for three nights. The Nacional, a Havana landmark, opened in 1930 and over the decades has hosted a remarkable number of entertainers, writers, athletes and world leaders. This afternoon, meet with the members of a Cuban percussion and dance group, and take in a stirring performance of their groundbreaking music and dance. Then ride in vintage 1950s cars to dinner at a local restaurant. 

Note that flights are not included.

Day 2-3 Havana

  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
A full program of people-to-people visits is lined up for these two days, with opportunities for you to choose among programs that interest you most. Explore Old Havana on foot. It’s a World Heritage site, a trove of historic architecture, and center for Cuba’s arts and culture. See its great squares and meet with Cubans who are playing a vital role in preserving this area. Drive along the Malecón, the esplanade that runs along the waterfront. On your visits, meet with Cubans who are making a difference in their fields, and develop a rich understanding of life in Cuba. Get a perspective on Castro’s revolution at the city’s history museums. Visit art spaces. See Ernest Hemingway’s estate at Finca Vigía. Visit a cigar factory, and learn about environmental education projects at the Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez. Visit an auto workshop where classic American cars are restored. Enjoy several meals in some of Havana’s best private restaurants, which have developed a reputation for innovative cuisine. And on one evening hear the rhythms of Cuba at a private dinner, with the chance to meet the musicians—Cuba’s rich traditions have been celebrated all over the world. 

Day 4 Havana | Cienfuegos | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Have a final morning to explore Havana, with people-to-people visits. After lunch, drive to the beautiful city of Cienfuegos, on Cuba’s south coast. In the late afternoon, embark Panorama II, your home for the next seven nights, and have a welcome dinner aboard ship. 

Day 5 Bay of Pigs

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning finds you at the Bay of Pigs, an ecologically important area that became known worldwide when the 1961 U.S.-backed invasion by Cuban exiles was rapidly and thoroughly defeated by the Cuban revolutionary government, whose forces were led by Fidel Castro. Visit the museum that recounts the history of the battle, with photographs and artifacts that include a Cuban fighter plane and vessels. Meet with people who tell you about what transpired and its meaning to Cubans.
The bay lies along the Zapata Peninsula and the Zapata Swamp National Park, and you have a chance to explore the area in search of its renowned birdlife, famously including the world’s smallest bird, the endemic bee hummingbird, along with the endemic Cuban trogon (Cuba’s national bird), La Sagra's flycatcher, Cuban green woodpecker and more. Meet with experts who tell you about the vitally important role the area plays in the area’s natural history—it has been compared to the Everglades. In the late afternoon, drive back to Cienfuegos and the ship.

Day 6 Cayo Largo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This beautiful key is home to diverse marine ecosystems and a local community that serves the primarily European and Canadian visitors who come for its snorkeling and diving. This morning have a people-to-people visit to the local clinic to discuss Cuba’s medical system with local doctors and nurses. Visit a sea turtle breeding center and endangered species protection program. In the afternoon you have a chance to snorkel or, at additional cost, dive on the coral reef, in the company of environmental guides and scientists. 

Day 7 Trinidad

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A UNESCO World Heritage site and Cuban national monument, Trinidad is a splendid and meticulously preserved colonial city, perhaps Cuba’s most beautiful. It occupies a spectacular setting on a hill overlooking the Caribbean, with a backdrop of green mountains. Founded in 1514 by the conquistador Diego Velázquez, it has rich architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces, and plazas. Seemingly every building has an intriguing history.

This morning visit the Office of the City Historian, and walk through the town, interacting with residents along the way. Stop for visits to local artists, to home studios; and to a museum that recounts the history of the failed 1960s rebellion in the nearby Escambray Mountains. The museum’s bell tower offers fine views over Trinidad. In the afternoon, see the Valley of the Sugar Mills, where local guides explain sugar’s importance to Cuba’s history and you can see how the sugar barons lived. Alternatively, spend the day with a local specialist exploring the Topes de Collantes Natural Park in the Escambray mountains, with a short hike and a chance to see something of Cuba’s natural history, and explore Trinidad in the afternoon, meeting its residents.

Day 8-9 Gardens of the Queen

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) Marine Park is one of the crown jewels of the Caribbean—a place of transcendent importance to the marine ecology of Cuba and the world. Its significance is well recognized by Cubans, who have extended protection to large areas of the waters and cays, and by naturalists worldwide. Its coral reefs are among the finest in the world, and you have two days to learn about this unique habitat, meeting with ecologists who are working to describe and preserve the “Gardens.”

Snorkel and (at additional cost) dive in these prolific waters, and see some of the greatest diversity of corals, fish, and other creatures to be found anywhere, alongside Cuban dive experts and scientists who are working to preserve and protect this unique habitat. There are also opportunities to walk on some of the islands in search of birds including ospreys, frigatebirds, spoonbills, pelicans, and many other seabirds, and to swim in the azure waters. NOTE: your visit to the Gardens of the Queen is pending permission from Cuban officials, and this portion of the itinerary is subject to change. 

Day 10 Cienfuegos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the early afternoon arrive in Cienfuegos, Cuba’s “Pearl of the South” and a UNESCO World Heritage site, and spend the rest of the day exploring. Columbus is said to have been here in 1494, on his second voyage to the New World, and the area was subsequently a haven for pirates and smugglers. French settlers arrived in 1819, and the city retains a distinct liveliness and sophistication.

Explore the town center on foot, visiting the Graphic Arts Workshop for discussions and exchanges with local artists. Among places of particular interest that you can see are the Government Palace (City Hall), San Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, the Ferrer Palace, the former lyceum, and some residential houses. Have a people-to-people visit with musicians and singers, young and old, and enjoy a presentation and exchange with the internationally known, award-winning Cienfuegos Choir. Enjoy a farewell dinner aboard your ship.

Day 11 Cienfuegos | Depart

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark this morning and transfer to Cienfuegos airport for your flight to Miami, connecting with flights home. 

Panorama II (LI)

Deals

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Per person starting at
$9,500
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Category 1
Located on the lower deck. Each cabin has a queen-size bed and a large porthole high in the cabin.
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Category 2
Located on the lower deck. Each cabin has either a queen-size bed or two lower single beds, and a large porthole high in the cabin.
Panorama II Category 3 Cabins - Main Deck
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Category 3
Located on the main deck. Each cabin has either a queen-size bed or two lower single beds, and a window. Some cabins can be interconnected.
Panorama II Category 4 Cabins - Upper Deck
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Category 4
Located on the upper deck. This is the largest cabin aboard ship, and can be configured with either two lower single beds or a queen-size bed. It has two windows.
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Category 1 Single

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. 

- Please note that fares do not include port charges and possible fuel surcharges. Contact us for details.

Cost Includes:
  • All accommodations (three nights in hotel in Havana and seven nights aboard ship)
  • Meals indicated
  • People-to-people visits
  • Services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, Naturalist staff and expert guides
  • Use of Zodiacs, snorkeling equipment and wetsuits
  • Entrance fees
  • All port charges and service taxes
 Not Included:
  • Air transportation
  • Immigration/visa /passport fees
  • Personal items such as alcoholic beverages, emails, laundry, etc.
  • Discretionary tips to ship’s crew

Included

  • 10 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 10 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
Lisa Bridge

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