Explore the finest cities and most historic regions of Cuba—many located far from Havana—enjoying the safety and comfort of the elegant 64-guest yacht Le Ponant, sailing from port to port without worrying about the condition of roads or the quality of local accommodations.
DATES: MARCH 29-APRIL 09, 2018
DURATION: 12 DAYS/11 NIGHTS
EMBARK: HAVANA, CUBA
DISEMBARK: SANTIAGO DE CUBA
SHIP: LE PONANT
- Included overnight at the luxury EB Miami Airport Hotel.
- Pre-cruise tour of Havana and surrounding area.
- Punta Frances, one of the most remote beaches in Cuba.
- The sea turtle breeding center in Cayo Largo (March 29 Departure)
- Hear about the Bay of Pigs invasion from the Cuban perspective
- Tour colonial Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site
DAY 1 – Arrive MIAMI
Take the complimentary shuttle to the deluxe EB Miami Airport Hotel for the night.
DAY 2 – MIAMI to HAVANA
Fly from Miami to Havana and check into your hotel. Enjoy an orientation walk along the Malecon, the city’s three-mile coastal boulevard and an evening gathering place for Habaneros.
DAY 3 – HAVANA
Become acquainted with Havana, one of the most alluring cities in the Western Hemisphere. An architectural historian will guide our walking tour through in the heart of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 1519. We will learn about the city’s colonial history, its ongoing restoration, and see more of its vibrant street life. View the handsome main squares including Plazas Vieja, de San Francisco, de la Catedral, and de Armas with its stately Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. Enjoy lunch in Old Havana at a paladar and learn about domestic cuisine and small business ownership. After lunch, see the baroque inner cloister of the Seminary of San Carlos y San Ambrosio. Finally, visit the Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos Workshop/School for discussions with artisans specializing in monument restoration.
DAY 4 – HAVANA – SIERRA DEL ROSARIO – BOARD SHIP
Drive to the Sierra del Rosario, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve region and mountain range in the provinces of Pinar del Río and Artemisa, and the settlement of Las Terrazas, a sustainable village which originated as a reforestation project in 1968 and is now Cuba’s main ecotourism center. Meet the residents to learn about small town life in Cuba. Visit a large reforestation program and experience the reserve’s rich biodiversity. Return to Havana and embark Le Ponant in the late afternoon.
Embarkation from 16h00 to 17h00. Travelers will attend a briefing, including the program schedule and reaffirmation of the obligatory requirement of participation in all activities.
DAY 5– AT SEA
Today attend lectures and enjoy the amenities of Le Ponant as we sail toward Punta Frances.
DAY 6 – PUNTA FRANCES
Today we visit one of the most remote and beautiful beaches on Cuba, where we take advantage of the excellent swimming and snorkeling. The beach is part of Parque Nacional Marino de Punta Frances Punta Pederales, a marine conservation area established in 1978. We will have an opportunity to meet and talk with Cubans concerned with preserving the natural environment and fragile ecosystem of the island.
DAY 7 – CAYO LARGO
Cayo Largo is a limestone islet of white sand, teeming coral reefs, and a profusion of turtles, iguanas, cranes, and flamingoes. Meet with local management to learn about tourism’s role in the Cuban economy and scientists involved in coral reef protection. Get to know the locals who we will visit in their homes to learn firsthand about life on Cayo Largo. Also visit a sea turtle breeding center and endangered species protection program. We will meet fishermen and discuss local conservation efforts to protect marine species such as sea turtles and to prevent overfishing.
DAY 8 – CIENFUEGOS
Guests will have a choice between an excursion to Bay of Pigs and Korimacao or staying in Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to learn about architectural conservation, visit the Palacio de Valle, and meet with local folk artists. If choosing the first option, drive to Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) and Playa Giron. The Bay of Pigs was the site of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, where in 1961, 1,300 armed Cuban exiles were thwarted in their attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro. We will also spend time at the Korimacao Community Arts and Cultural Project, which provides free art, music, theater, dance, and poetry to young artists. If choosing the second option, guests will view the Cienfuegos city center, considered to be the best example of 19th century urban-planning in Spanish America. Learn how the buildings have been conserved for current use. Visit the Palacio de Valle, an architectural jewel reminiscent of Spanish-Moorish art. Meet with local folk artists to learn about their art.
DAY 9 – TRINIDAD
Trinidad is the crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial towns. Founded in 1514, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its cobblestoned streets are lined with neoclassical and baroque homes and buildings embellished with wrought-iron grillwork. A walking tour will be led by Office of the City Historian representatives, with resident interactions along the way. Highlights include the Plaza Mayor; Museo Romantico’s wonderful collection of antiques; the Architecture Museum; the church of the Convent of San Francisco; and Plaza Santa Ana. Meet with an owner of a free-enterprise “casa particular” (Cuban bed and breakfast) and learn about this relatively new form of independent business in Cuba. We will also learn about the owner’s family history as it is tied to the home he has transformed into a casa particular. Trinidad is steeped in religiosity, including Santeria and other Afro-Cuban religions. We will explore these belief systems with practitioners. Continue to the Santander Family Ceramics Workshop/Studio to meet with local artisans.
DAY 10 – AT SEA
Today attend lectures and enjoy the amenities of Le Ponant as we sail toward Santiago de Cuba.
DAY 11 – SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Set at the head of a spacious bay that is surrounded by mountains, Santiago, Cuba’s second largest city, is one of the island’s oldest cities, founded in 1515. The city is known for its eclectic architectural styles that range from Colonial to Art Nouveau, as well as for its flourishing artistic and cultural scene. Visit the Ateneo de Santiago, an important organization of artists. Meet with the organization’s members, each representing different professions within the arts, and discuss Santiago’s contemporary arts scene. Our exploration, in the company of local cultural leaders, continues at Parque Cespesdes, a charming square where in the 18th-century town hall Fidel Castro delivered his victory speech in 1959. Le Ponant docks overnight.
DAY 12 – SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Disembark by 9h00. Transfer to the airport in Holguin.
Le Ponant - Havana and Cuba Cruise Tour
|RATES PER PERSON||MARCH 29-APRIL 09, 2018
12 DAYS/11 NIGHTS
|MARIE GALANTE PREMIUM||$9,195|
Rates include overnight Miami prior to departure; flights between Miami and Cuba; shipboard gratuities; open bar - soft drinks, wine, beer, spirits; two nights hotel and tours in Havana prior to cruise; transfer and tours in Cuba.