Circumnavigation of Cuba
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Please note: Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Depart USA / Havana, CubaApril 17
Board your independent flight to Cuba. Check in to Iberostar Parque Central Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Havana / ViñalesApril 18
After an early breakfast, depart overland to Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s primary tobacco growing region. Visit a local family-run farm to witness the process of creating Cuba’s legendary cigars. After lunch at the farm continue to the Viñales Valley. This World Heritage Site offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Cuba—conical limestone hills rise above the fertile valley floor, where small, privately-owned farms dot the landscape. Return to Havana with dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Havana / Embark Hebridean SkyApril 19
Get acquainted with Old Havana—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—on a walking tour this morning, including Plaza San Francisco de Asis, Plaza de Armas, and Plaza del la Cathedral. Then take a drive past landmark buildings such as the Gran Teatro de la Habana, Capitolio, Bacardi building, and the famous Floridita bar the birthplace of the daiquiri and one of Hemingway’s favorite watering holes. After lunch, take a ride along the lovely Malecón in a classic American car. This evening, board the Hebridean Sky and begin your circumnavigation of Cuba.
Varadero / MatanzasApril 20
Disembark in Varadero and drive to Matanzas, intersected by three rivers, and called the “City of Bridges” for the 17 bridges crossing them. Enjoy a full-day city tour, including the Matanzas Museum which traces the city’s history from 1693 to the present. Return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Or, choose to do a bit of snorkeling at Coral Beach, then visit La Arboleda, a riverside ranch where you can go on a nature walk, take a swim, or simply relax in this peaceful setting. This optional afternoon tour includes a typical Cuban lunch, before heading out on a 4x4 Jeep excursion through Rio Canimar Nature Park.
Cayo GuillermoApril 21
Today, explore the mangrove forest of Cayo Guilermo to look for resident flamingos, then enjoy a little beachcombing on beautiful Pilar Beach. Or, take Zodiacs to Isla Media Luna for a morning of snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful reef fish and lunch ashore.
Antilla / Banes / Cayo SaetiaApril 22
Disembark in Antilla learn about the history of the indigenous Taíno people at the Indocuban Baní Museum in Banes. Alternatively, board a private catamaran for a full-day excursion to Cayo Saetia, an island nature reserve with a wealth of local and exotic wildlife, such as zebra, wild boar, water buffalo, and a variety of birds. Enjoy lunch ashore with the opportunity to snorkel or swim off the white-sand beach.
Santiago de CubaApril 23
Founded in 1514, this World Heritage Site was the starting point for expeditions led by Cortés and de Soto. Your morning tour begins at San Juan Hill, where during the Spanish-American War, the conquest of Spanish troops led to Spain’s surrender in 1898. Then visit Moncada Garrison, where a young Fidel Castro led an armed assault on the barracks in 1953—the first salvo in the Cuban Revolution. Inside you will find the Museo de la Clandestinidad, covering the period from the Spanish conquest to the guerrilla movement of the 1959 revolution in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. 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, home to the Colonial History Museum, as well as the Emilio Bacardi Moreau Museum. After dinner on board, step out to enjoy some local nightlife with Cuban music at Casa de la Musica.
At SeaApril 24
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea and attend lectures from our experts.
Casilda / TrinidadApril 25
Arrive in Casilda this morning and drive to Trinidad, a picture-perfect Spanish colonial town which seems frozen in time. Take a walking tour around Trinidad; a living-museum of Spanish colonialism, the entire city 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 flowers 1,800 feet above sea level.
Cienfuegos / Zapata Wetlands / Playa LargaApril 26
After breakfast, disembark in Cienfuegos. With its French spirit and fabulous setting along Cuba’s most spectacular bay, Cienfuegos has earned UNESCO status for its outstanding architecture, which you discover on a guided walking tour. Then depart overland for 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 US-backed anti-Castro forces in April 1961.
Cayo LargoApril 27
This idyllic Caribbean island offers pristine white-sand beaches, mangrove forest, and crystal-clear waters. Spend the day snorkeling, beachcombing, or simply relaxing on a picture-perfect beach.
Isla de la JuventudApril 28
This beautiful island offers breathtaking beaches, lush forests, and healthy coral reefs. Join naturalists on walks to search for indigenous flora and fauna, explore the rich marine environment, or soak in your surroundings on an exquisite tropical beach.
Maria la GordaApril 29
Isolated Maria La Gorda is one of the most diverse biological regions in the world—home to a variety of different natural habitats, including coral reefs, beaches, mangroves, scrublands, and evergreen forests with more than 170 species of birds and dozens of reptile and mammal species. Spend the morning snorkeling and searching for wildlife on nature walks.
Havana / Disembark / USAApril 30
This morning return to Havana and bid farewell to the Hebridean Sky. Various tours will be on offer, or you can explore on your own before transferring to the airport for your independent homeward flight.