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Havana Plaza de la Catedral

Cuba Under Sail

Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Le Ponant (ZE)
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Gain a rare and valuable perspective into the daily lives of Cuba’s citizens on this 17-day tour. The 56-guest ship, Le Ponant, provides the perfect way to see the sights and enjoy the exquisite coastal scenery. Tour the Arte Corte interactive museum and enjoy musical performances, including a visit to the Buena Vista Social Club. Visit the citadel of San Pedro de la Roca in Santiago and stroll through charming, colonial Cienfuegos; both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Snorkel or dive over healthy coral reefs to view colorful tropical fish, turtles, sting rays, and other sea creatures. Stroll the atmospheric streets of Havana to discover stunning colonial architecture and sun-splashed plazas, where classic American cars complete the scene of a by-gone era.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Miami
Day 2 : Miami | Havana, Cuba
Day 3 : Havana
Day 4 : Havana | Embark Le Ponant
Day 5 : Matanzas
Day 6 : Cayo Guillermo
Day 7 : Gibara | Holquín
Day 8 : Baracoa
Day 9 : Santiago de Cuba
Day 10 : Santiago de Cuba
Day 11 : Casilda | Trinidad
Day 12 : Casilda | Trinidad
Day 13 : Cienfuegos
Day 14 : Cienfuegos | Disembark | Playa Larga (Zapata Wetlands)
Day 15 : Playa Larga
Day 16 : Playa Larga | Havana
Day 17 : Havana | Miami


  • Immerse yourself in Cuban culture as you visit with friendly locals
  • Travel with ease aboard the intimate, 56-guest sailing ship, Le Ponant
  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Santiago and Cienfuegos
  • Snorkel or dive over healthy coral reefs to view tropical fish & turtles
  • Stroll the atmospheric streets of Havana & discover colonial architecture


Le Ponant (ZE)

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Havana Plaza de la Catedral Taxi in Cuba Cuban musician The Capitol in Havana Church in Trinidad, Cuba

Day 1 Miami

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in Miami. Check in to the Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel for a welcome dinner and briefing. 

Day 2 Miami | Havana, Cuba

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Board your charter flight to Cuba’s colorful capital. Check in to the five-star Meliá Cohiba, which overlooks the city’s famous three-mile-long Malecón. Enjoy dinner at one of the city’s finest paladars (family-run restaurant). 

Day 3 Havana

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Get acquainted with Old Havana—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—on a walking tour this morning. After lunch make a stop at El Floridita Bar—the birthplace of the daiquiri and one of Hemingway’s favorite watering holes—on the way to visit Arte Corte, a hair salon and museum that preserves the history of hairdressing in Cuba. This evening, climb into one of Havana’s vintage cars for a stylish ride to Rio Mar for dinner, then enjoy a performance at the legendary Buena Vista Social Club.

Day 4 Havana | Embark Le Ponant

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Follow the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway at lovely Finca Vigia, where “Papa” lived for two decades. The house is now a museum with more than 20,000 of the author’s personal items. Then visit the fishing village of Cojimar, which inspired his Nobel Prize-winning novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway loved Cuban cigars and rum, and you can learn about the history and production of both during visits to Conde Villanueva Cigar Lounge and the Havana Club Museum of Rum. Embark Le Ponant this afternoon.    

Day 5 Matanzas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Lovely Matanzas is intersected by three rivers, and called the “City of Bridges” for the 17 bridges crossing them. Enjoy a full day tour to La Arboleda, a riverside ranch where you can go on a nature walk, go horseback riding, or take a swim in this peaceful setting. Enjoy a typical Cuban lunch before heading out on a 4x4 Jeep excursion through Rio Canimar Nature Park and take a cruise to admire the flora and fauna along the riverbanks. Continue to Cuevas de Bellamar, a fantastical cave system. Or, choose a half day tour of Matanzas with an afternoon at leisure to explore on your own.

Day 6 Cayo Guillermo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Zodiacs take you ashore at Cayo Guillermo for a day of snorkeling and diving in the crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful reef fish. Or, choose to visit the village of Moron, which offers horse-drawn carriages and small shops to browse.  

Day 7 Gibara | Holquín

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Visit some of Holquín’s many beautiful parks; the San José Church; Cathedral of San Isidoro, dating from 1790; the galleries inside Centro Provincial de Arte and Bayado (Provincial Center of Arts); and Chorro de Maita Museum, which provides great insight into the Taíno Indians, the native Cubans who were wiped out by Spanish conquistadors. Or, choose to remain in Gibara for an afternoon of snorkeling and diving. 

Day 8 Baracoa

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, take a tour of Baracoa, founded in 1512 by Diego Velazquez, Cuba’s first Spanish governor. Walk along El Yunque trail, passing through lush forest that provides habitat for Cuban trogons, Cuban emeralds, and beautiful butterflies. Continue to Rancho Toa, set along its namesake river, where you can take a refreshing swim and enjoy a typical Baracoan lunch. In the afternoon, head to Finca Duaba for the chance to taste Chorote, a traditional drink made from cocoa.    

Day 9 Santiago de Cuba

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Founded in 1514 and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Santiago was the starting point for expeditions led by Cortés and de Soto. Arrive midday, then head to San Juan Hill, where the conquest by American troops during the Spanish-American War led to Spain’s surrender in 1898. Visit Moncada Garrison, where a young Fidel Castro led an armed assault on the barracks in 1953—the first salvo in the Cuban Revolution. End your day of touring at Morro Castle, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most complete, best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture in the Americas. After dinner on board, step out to enjoy some local nightlife with Cuban music at Casa de la Musica. 

Day 10 Santiago de Cuba

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Admire some of the island’s most amazing architecture and historical sites in Parque Céspedes, the heart and soul of Santiago de Cuba. Visit the Cathedral and the First Governor’s House, which houses the Colonial History Museum. Stroll through the Santa Iphigenia Cemetery, then head to the city outskirts and Cuba’s sacred pilgrimage site, the Basilica of La Virgen del Cobre. Time permitting, visit the Botanical Garden, established in 1860 on a former coffee plantation. 

Day 11 Casilda | Trinidad

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a morning at sea, arrive in Casilda and drive to Trinidad, a picture-perfect Spanish colonial town which seems frozen in time. The rest of the evening is yours to wander the cobbled streets filled with 19th-century mansions, guajiros with their donkeys, and troubadours strumming guitars. Witness the atmosphere come alive, perhaps enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail ashore before dinner back onboard, or stay in Trinidad for dinner on your own. 

Day 12 Casilda | Trinidad

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, choose between a morning walking tour around Trinidad; a living-museum of Spanish colonialism, the entire city—even its red-tiled roofs—was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Or, opt for a full day at Guanayara National Park; hike through the jungle and learn about the various species of indigenous plants, some of which are still used as herbal remedies. Enjoy lunch at Casa La Gallega, a delightful Creole restaurant surrounded by tropical blooms 1,800 feet above sea level.

Day 13 Cienfuegos

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
With its French spirit and fabulous setting along Cuba’s most spectacular bay, Cienfuegos earns its moniker, “Pearl of the South,” and its UNESCO status for its outstanding architecture, which you discover on a guided walking tour. After lunch on board, visit one of Cuba’s finest jewels: the Spanish-Moorish Palacio Del Valle, dating from 1917 and displaying masterful mosaics, ironwork, and other ornamentation. Then take a leisurely stroll through the Botanical Gardens, set in an old sugar mill complex. 

Day 14 Cienfuegos | Disembark | Playa Larga (Zapata Wetlands)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, disembark Le Ponant and head to the UNESCO-designated Zapata Wetland region. View some of the local wildlife at the Fiesta Campesina zoo-park before touring the Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) Museum, located at the site of the unsuccessful military invasion by U.S.-backed anti-Castro forces in April 1961. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Playa Larga and check in to the Playa Larga Hotel

Day 15 Playa Larga

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of the Caribbean’s largest and best-preserved wetlands, the Zapata Swamp is a birder’s paradise, and a full-day tour of the La Turba area introduces you to the natural history as you search for endemic species such as the Zapata wren and Zapata sparrow. After lunch, continue to Salinas, an area of mangrove swamps, coastal lagoons, and forest that provide refuge for more than 150 indigenous and migratory birds. Or, choose a day of snorkeling and diving at Caleta Buena where a pristine coral reef hugs the shore. Meet with the Director of the Zapata National Park before dinner at the hotel.

Day 16 Playa Larga | Havana

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning return to Havana, with a stop at the Korimacao Cultural Project en route. This cultural facility offers residents from surrounding communities the chance to develop and hone their skills in acting, singing, dancing, and music. Enjoy lunch along the way, then check in to Meliá Cohiba. Your farewell dinner tonight is in the Sierra Maestra Restaurant, situated on the 25th floor with jaw-dropping, 360-degree views over Havana. 

Day 17 Havana | Miami

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to Miami and connect with your homeward flight.

Le Ponant (ZE)

Per person starting at
Le Ponant Category 1 Stateroom
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Category 1
Two twin beds, one double bed, or one queen bed. Porthole window. Ocean views, en-suite bathroom, minibar, safe, radio, air conditioning, and telephone.
Le Ponant Staterooms
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Category 2
Double bed and window (approx. 2 x 2 ft). Ocean views, en-suite bathroom, minibar, safe, radio, air conditioning, and telephone.


Please Note:
The Euro is the currency used on board. Most credit cards and travelers checks are accepted for payment of shipboard accounts.

This program offers a rare but valuable perspective into the daily lives of Cuba’s citizens. But, participants should be aware that the infrastructure can be poorly developed, and occasional delays and amendments to the program can occur. In Havana, accommodations offer elegance, while accommodations outside Havana can be “bright, cheerful, and rustic.” Some days can also be long, with bus rides over bumpy roads and boat journeys that require sitting for long periods. Please note that deviating from the group itinerary is not permitted at any time

  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations at hotels and aboard Le Ponant
  • Group meals, including wine and beer with lunch and dinner
  • Group transfers
  • Guided excursions as stated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees at sites
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

  • All air transportation, including the charter flight to and from Cuba (please contact us for details)
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, e-mail/Internet/fax/telephone charges
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.
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