Cuba Nature & Culture Expedition
Join us for an exploration of Cuba! Travel to Guanahacabibes National Park, the island's westernmost point to look for green sea turtles and swim crystal blue waters. You'll explore Havana, visit a beautiful rural community, and learn about the country's unique music, history, and more. Profits from this trip will help to save at least 500 hatchlings at a turtle nesting beach per participant.
This trip is open to American citizens through a "People to People" license given by the US Treasury Department to our partners. It's also open to citizens of other countries.
2019 Dates: August 3 - 10
2019 Price: $3,495 per person ($80 discount for paying by check)
Includes: Bilingual guide, private transportation, accommodations, meals, activities, and a donation to turtle conservation.
Excludes: Airfare to Havana, personal items, one meal, and tips for the guide and driver.
We try to pair individual travelers up with others of the same sex to share rooms. If we aren't able to pair up or a single room is preferred, the single supplement is $400.
Minimum recommended age is 12 years old, under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.
Group size is limited to 16 people maximum.
Private tours and visits and short-term volunteer opportunities are not available at this time.
CONTACT US to:
Register by mail
Ask a question
Request more information
Why Travel With US?
All profits support conservation efforts
Work directly with local researchers
DAY 1: ARRIVE TO HAVANA
Meet your guides at the airport and head to the historic Hotel Presidente in Havana. That afternoon, meet for an orientation and welcome cocktail and have a welcome dinner at San Cristobal, one of Havana's great paladars (privately-owned restaurants in private homes). Overnight at the Hotel Presidente (1 night).
DAY 2: HAVANA & VINALES WORLD HERITAGE SITE
This morning, we will have a presentation by a Cuban architect and then do a walking tour of Old Havana and then lunch. Later, you'll board your bus for a 2 hour drive to Viñales Valley, Cuba’s renowned tobacco growing area surrounded by “mogotes,” enormous isolated rock formations that afford some of the most scenic views on the island.
You'll have some down time before dinner at a wonderful organic farm with a great view of the valley and then have time to walk in the charming town. That evening, you'll attend a welcome party organized by a local town committee, where there will be dancing and snacks. Overnight at Hotel La Ermita or similar (1 night).
DAY 3: TO GUANAHACABIBES
After breakfast, join your guide for a walk around the beautiful valley to learn about its unique geography. Enjoy lunch at the impressive Mural of Prehistory and then board your bus for the 3 hour drive to Guanahacabibes National Park. You'll arrive late that afternoon and check in to your room at the Villa Maria La Gorda Resort (3 nights). After dinner, the group will receive a presentation from turtle biologist Dr. Julia Azanza, who will talk about turtle research program in the park that you will be visiting and then head to the beach to look for nesting green sea turtles and hatchlings. Overnight at Maria la Gorda (3 nights).
DAY 4: PARK EXPLORATION
This morning, after buffet breakfast at the resort, you'll join a park ranger to look for some of the unique bird life of the park, including the world's smallest bird, the bee hummingbird (which is surprisingly easy to see), and many other species. In the afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to snorkel in one of the park's reefs. Around 9 pm, we will head over to the beach to look for turtles coming ashore and observe the nesting process as the researchers collect data. Some participants may be able to help researchers with the data collection.
DAY 5: SNORKELING & TURTLE RESEARCH
Today, there will be 2 opportunities to snorkel the park's coral reefs, before and after lunch. Take a boat out to one of the deeper reefs or explore the area around the resort's beach. Tonight will be an optional opportunity to visit the nesting beach to look for green turtles (and occasionally loggerheads) with an earlier return to the hotel to get enough sleep for an early departure the next day.
DAY 6: RETURN TO HAVANA
After breakfast, there will be time for one more excursion into the park to explore the reefs. We will then board the bus to return to Havana, stopping for lunch along the way. Dinner this evening will be on your own (cost not included) to choose from the many wonderful options and then head out to see live Cuban music (entrance fees not included). Overnight at the Hotel Presidente (2 nights).
DAY 7: HAVANA EXPLORATION
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, board the bus and head out of town to visit the former home of Ernest Hemingway. Next you'll visit El Divino, a unique organic farm and community outreach program, where you'll also eat lunch. In the late afternoon, we will be treated to a private rooftop concert by Grupo Mezcla to learn about different genres of music in Cuba today with world class musicians. Dinner will be at La Casa, a wonderful third-generation paladar for a multi-course meal. Head out on the town for more music after dinner or head back to the hotel to rest up for the trip home.
DAY 8: DEPARTURE
Extend your stay or get a shuttle to the airport in time for your connecting flight home. Take your memories, pictures, and souvenirs home with you to remember this unique adventure.
Is This Trip Right For Me?
Cuba is a unique destination, which has both positives and negatives. This trip includes much time spent time outside, which means some activities are dependent on weather and there can be significant bugs in this area. The trip also involves a lot of time on the private bus, including a 5 hour drive from Guanahacabibes to Havana and about an hour each way from the resort to the nesting beach each evening, which results in late nights (arriving back to the resort as late as 2 am some nights).
This trip was wonderful in every way. The opportunities to see the nesting sea turtles and explore the fascinating city of Havana left memories that will last a lifetime. All the guides were knowledgeable and personable.