Cuba by Land & Sea

12 days / 11 nights

Miami | Havana | Playa Girón | Cienfuegos | Isla de la Juventud | Antilla

Santiago de Cuba

Jan 6 - 17, 2015  |  Feb 24 - Mar 7  |  Mar 3 - 14  |  Mar 17 - 28

Overview

A land so diversely rich as Cuba’s isn’t easily defined. Whether you’re drawn by its renowned cities or by its unexplored blue waters, the island beckons to be fully explored. From its most classic sights, all the way to its most sheltered, why should you settle?
 
For we’ve created our 12-day Cuba by Land & Sea tour for those seeking for more: a six-day overland adventure, followed by a six-day journey by sea aboard the Louis Cristal. Over the course of the trip, you’ll have the chance to see the best that Cuba has to offer, both on land and on sea.
 
We’ll start the tour in magnificent Havana, where you’ll stroll along the iconic Malecón, witness Old Havana’s colonial beauty and meet with the city’s most inspiring communities. 
 
After leaving the bustling city life behind, we’ll head towards Playa Girón, for a fascinating trip down memory lane. History enthusiasts will revel at the Bay of Pigs Museum, unraveling underlying details of the controversial event. We’ll also stop by Parque Nacional Cienaga de Zapata, an UNESCO Reserve of abundant biodiversity. 
 
Furthermore, on land, we’ll explore Cienfuegos, known as the “Pearl of the South,” as well as Santiago de Cuba, the core of the vibrant Afro-Cuban culture. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to ride the classic Cuban cars, visit a typical farmers market to learn how Cubans purchase their food, as well as marvel at Caridad del Cobre, the country’s most important church which the Pope visits each time he is in Cuba. While doing so, you’ll be in the care of our expert Cuban guide and insightCuba tour leader. 
 
But perhaps the highlight of your journey will surface once at sea. While enjoying all the comforts aboard the Louis Cristal, we’ll cruise along Cuba’s magnificent coast on our way to the secluded Isla de Juventud. As its name so clearly suggests, the “Island of Youth” is indeed an untouched paradise, once lost, now re-discovered. As we’ll dive deep into its turquoise waters and discover its exotic, natural beauty, we’ll continue on towards the North Eastern shores of the Antilla sea. We’ll put our sailor hats away to disembark in yet another hidden gem, the town of Antilla. 
 
Along the way, both on land and sea, you’ll discover Cuba’s most important resource: its people. The artists, musicians and community leaders who help make Cuba extraordinary will welcome you with music, smiles and their world-famous generosity of spirit.  

What's Included

  • One night at the Sofitel Miami Hotel, including breakfast and airport transfer

  • Private welcome reception and pre-tour briefing

  • Two nights superior accommodations at the Meliá Cohiba in Havana

  • Two nights superior accommodations at the Melia Santiago in Santiago de Cuba

  • Five nights aboard the Louis Cristal in a premium ocean side stateroom (XD) on deck four with two lower beds, sofa bed, and bathroom with shower

  • One night standard accommodations in Playa Girón

  • InsightCuba exclusive-guided programming, including; insider access to Cuba's famous places and those rarely seen; and private visits and lectures with Cuba's renowned experts.

  • Expert Cuban guide

  • Experienced insightCuba Tour Leader

  • Private Cuban driver

  • All meals and snacks while aboard the Louis Cristal

  • All meals while on land tour, except for one paladar evening dining experience on your own

  • U.S. Department of the Treasury license and insightCuba letter of authorization

  • Port fees

  • Gratuities for luggage handling, restaurant service, and programmed activities throughout tour*

  • Evening entertainment aboard the Louis Cristal

  • Flight package (cost additional) including; charter air; all ground transportation, and airport transfers in Miami and Havana as part of the tour

  • Fresh bottled water while touring

  • Travel health insurance, emergency medical evacuation, and trip cancellation coverage (up to $1,000)

  • insightCuba Travel guidebook

  • 24 hour emergency customer service hotline

*Customary end-of-tour gratuities for the Cuban guide, driver, and tour leader are left to the guest’s discretion and should be based on your satisfaction with the level of service received.

Sample Itinerary

Note: A significant portion of your in-country programming is customized for each group, to maximize your cultural experience. Many of the places we visit are off the beaten track and are not always available. Therefore, this program should be considered a sample only; please keep in mind that your particular tour may vary. Final itineraries are sent to guests one-to-two weeks prior to departure.

Day 1-2: Miami / Havana (by Air & Land)

Your trip begins at the Sofitel Miami Airport hotel, where your small group will gather for an early evening briefing and reception.

Following breakfast at the hotel on your second day, you’ll board the charter flight to Havana. After you clear immigration and customs, you’ll head to Jaimanitas to meet Jose Fuster, “the Picasso of the Caribbean.” This renowned artist has turned his home and community into an living art project, transforming old facades into colorful murals.

Enjoy a welcome lunch at the elegant and tranquil La Fermina.

After lunch, and on our way to the Meliá Cohiba hotel, we’ll pay a visit to historic Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square), one of the world’s largest city plazas, where the monument to Jose Marti overlooks the city. Afterwards, your insightCuba tour leader and Cuban guide will accompany you to your hotel in the heart of Havana followed by an orientation.

Get into the spirit of Cuba with a welcome dinner at the grand Café del Oriente.

Meals Day 1 | Enjoy dinner on your own, at your leisure

Meals Day 2 | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Havana (by Land)

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll be treated to a discussion with one of Cuba’s most notable economists to learn about the ins and outs of Cuba’s unique and changing economy.

Next, you’ll begin a walking tour of Old Havana, a famous UNESCO heritage area, en route to Fototeca, which houses one of the city’s few darkrooms and is a photographer hub, to get a snapshot into the lives and work of Cuban photographers.

Lunch is at the well-regarded classic-style paladar (family-owned private restaurant) La California.

Next, we’ll meet with patients, residents and doctors at the polyclinic in the Vedado neighborhood to learn firsthand about Cuba’s comprehensive approach to socialized medicine and healthcare.

Stop in at special community project, where our friends will introduce you to some real Cuban hospitality, song and dance, as well as provide insight into their inspired lives on the island. *A GUEST FAVORITE

Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own at a local paladar. Your tour guide can make expert recommendations.

Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Havana / Playa Larga / Playa Girón (by Land)

We’ll begin the day with an excursion to the Parque Nacional Cienaga de Zapata region where the natural beauty and biodiversity of this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the site of the Bay of Pigs, and warm Cuban people converge.
 
We'll meet with a representative from the Parque Nacional Cienaga de Zapata to learn about the ecology of the park and the reason the area received its UNESCO designation.
 
Lunch is at the excellent and stylish Paladar Casa Enrique.
 
Next, you’ll visit Korimacao Community Project, a respected school of the arts, known for developing musicians, dancers, poets, and actors for the residents of this somewhat isolated, yet beautiful region.
 
The history of Playa Girón/Bay of Pigs invasion is both fascinating and astounding – we’ll visit the Bay of Pigs Museum, a short distance from a rare, southern coast white sand beach, documents the event down to the clothes worn by combatants and the step-by-step progression of the battle.
 
Tonight we’ll dine on local fare at a paladar in Playa Girón.
 
Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Playa Girón / Cienfuegos (by Land & Sea)

Optional early morning excursion- Join us at sunrise for an optional bird-watching excursion and witness first-hand the regions abundant wildlife.

Shortly after breakfast, we’ll depart for Cienfuegos, known as the “pearl of the south” and also the Cuban port where we will board the MV Louis Cristal to continue our journey along Cuba’s unexplored coast. Before boarding the ship, we’ll have a special visit with our friends at a cooperative artist center.

We’ll have a lunch at a local paladar.

This afternoon, board your ship, where you'll enjoy dinner and other activities as we cruise along Cuba’s magnificent coast on our way to the rarely visited Isla de Juventud.

Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Isla de Juventud (by Sea)

After enjoying breakfast onboard, you’ll go ashore and visit the Parque Nacional Marino de Punta Francés (Punta Frances National Marine Park) on La Isla de Juventud (Island of Youth). You’ll meet with resident workers who are involved in environmental protection efforts on the island, home to exotic species of fish, gentle waterfalls and lush palm trees.

After lunch, we’ll set sail back to Havana on Cuba’s shimmering turquiose waters.

Dinner tonight is onboard ship.

Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Havana (by Sea)

As you pull into Havana Harbor aboard the MV Louis Cristal, the breathtaking views of the city and Old Havana will remind you why a return visit to the capital city was necessary. Your ship will dock right in the heart of Old Havana.

Ever wondered how those ’57 Chevys stay on the road? After breakfast, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting Cuban mechanics who maintain these relics and in some cases restore them to their original glory.

Then, ride in a classic car to an organic farm in Alamar. Upon arrival, we’ll gather with Cuban farmers at Alamar Organopónico to learn how organic farming efforts provide food to urban areas and how Alamar is making useful food items available to private restaurants, which are surging in popularity.

Lunch is at restaurant near the farm.

Next, we visit a music school in Guananbacoa, on the outskirts of Havana.

Dinner tonight is onboard ship.

Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Havana / Antilla (at Sea)

Today, we’ll spend the day at sea as we skirt along the northern coast of Cuba on our way to Antilla in Holguín province and in Bahia de Nipe.

Enjoy all your meals aboard ship.

Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Antilla / Santiago de Cuba (by Sea)

After arriving on the tranquil north eastern shores and breakfast, you’ll disembark to the town of Antilla. On shore, meet with the patients, residents and doctors at the local polyclinic to learn firsthand about Cuba’s comprehensive approach to socialized medicine and healthcare.

Next, we’ll visit with friendly and cheerful children at a local school.

After lunch, we’ll meet with a staff at a local print shop.

Return to your ship and enjoy dinner at sea on our way to Santiago de Cuba.

Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Santiago de Cuba (by Sea & Land)

This morning we’ll disembark and say good buy to our ship as we head to a school of the arts to witness first hand pioneering artistic inspiration.

We’ll then visit San Pedro de la Roca Castle, an old Spanish fort on our way to lunch at El Morro.

After lunch we’ll visit Caridad del Cobre, the historic church the Pope visits each time he is in Cuba, and discuss this important site with a local historian.

Next, we’ll meet with the popular Afro-Cuban-inspired Steel Pulse band.

After checking in to the Meliá Santiago, we’ll dine at their restaurant, famous for serving the finest meals in Cuba.

Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Santiago de Cuba (by Land)

After breakfast we’ll meet with a local city historian who will escort us through the downtown area to see its most important sites.

Of course there’s nothing better to prime one’s appetite during a visit to a farmers market where we’ll learn how Cuban’s purchase food, supplement state provided rations, and how the current dual economy presents unique challenges.

After lunch, we’ll visit a casa particular, a bed-and-breakfast-like accommodation in a private home which has become representative of Cuban entrepreneurial spirit.

Later this afternoon, we’ll spend some time with a popular percussion group.  We’ll learn about Afro-Cuban rhythms and take a drumming lesson. Nothing could be more appropriate in Santiago de Cuba!

Tonight, share memories with your co-travelers at a farewell dinner at the highly rated and quintessentially Cuban paladar Salon Tropical.

Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Santiago de Cuba / Miami (by Land & Air)

This morning, we say goodbye to Cuba and board our flight to Miami.

Meals | Breakfast

Tour Dates & Prices

CUBA BY LAND AND SEA

Date Double Occupancy (per person) Status
Jan 6, 2015 - Jan 17, 2015 $5,495 Book Now
Feb 24, 2015 - Mar 7, 2015 $5,495 Book Now
Mar 3, 2015 - Mar 14, 2015 $5,495 Book Now
Mar 17, 2015 - Mar 28, 2015 $5,495 Book Now

Single Supplement: For single-occupancy pricing, add $1,050.

Flight Package

Cuba by Land and Sea

  • Round trip air from Miami to Havana
  • Cuban visa
  • Baggage fee for first checked bag
  • Priority check-in at Miami International Airport
DEPARTURESFLIGHT PACKAGE
January - May$645

-Flight Package Prices are subject to change unless accompanied by confirmed booking