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Photo by Roman Cahero

Cuba Adventure for Women

A People to People Educational Adventure

Culture, Caves, Reefs and Waterfalls

April 26th-May 5th, 2018

DETAILED ITINERARY AND ACCOMMODATIONS

Please note: The order in which we experience Cuba may change, however most activities and destinations will not. Our Cuban tour operator seeks to provide the best accommodations and activities for our group.

This may require that we change the order in which travel through the country. We will send you a final itinerary before we travel. Thank you for your flexibility, openness and willingness to experience the best of Cuba!


During our visit to Cuba, we plan to stay at "Casas Particulares" which is a phrase for a "private home", owned and operated by a Cuban family

rather than the government. Our private home stays will vary at each location, but you will share a room within a comfortable 

Cuban home on a double occupancy basis.

As with a rental home here, living areas are shared and most homes have private bathrooms in each bedroom.

After a day of learning and adventure, you make relax in your room or

join the group in the communal living area as pictured below.

Casas Particulares operate like our B&B's and provide a breakfast onsite.  As featured below, our rental house while in Habana has a more modern design than others.

While in Playa Larga our Casa Partiuclar will be simpler than our Habana home stay, but just  a few steps away from a beautiful beach.

Dinners will be enjoyed at a nearby restaurant or our Casa Particualrie featuring Cuban cuisine.

Keeping to our mission of providing truly authentic experiences during our People to People learning adventure,

we are excited to meet and converse with our Cuban hosts at each Casa Particular we visit.

 

Living space in Habana

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL TO HABANA

Your adventure begins with the arrival into Habana International Airport.  After clearing customs, you will be welcomed by your bilingual Cuban guide and Blue Wate Ventures guide who will join the group throughout the Cuban adventure, from land to sea!

 

Since we will be checking into our Habana homestay late, we will provide some delicious Cuban sandwiches followed by a brief meeting to prepare us for our first full day in Cuba. We suggest that you have  some dinner during your layover in Miami.

Overnight accommodations In Habana.

 

photo by Roman Cahero

 

DAY TWO: VINALES VALLEY BACK TO HABANA

After breakfast we will depart for Vinales Valley, established as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which offers a fascinating feature to our People to People program.

Noted for its freestanding karst rock formations known as Mogotes, the valley is also home to many endemic species of flora and fauna.

As we meander through the breathtaking valley, we will stop at several scenic overlooks including the stunning views from the Los Jazmines Hotel.

 

Our day will include visiting an organic tobacco plantation and meeting local farmers of the Tobacco Planters House. We'll learn the farming techniques involved in producing organic coffee and details for harvesting wild honey.

After a typical Cuban meal at the Valle del Silencio Restaurant, we'll take a refreshing swim in the lake of the Valley of Silence before retruning to our accommodations in Habana.

For dinner, we'll explore one of many delicious paladars, private businesses owned by Cuban families. Privately owned restaurants are a great example of Cuba’s incremental shift to a more free-market economy.

We will have the opportunity to meet the owners of the Paladares and discuss about the changes and their goals as new business entrepreneurs. Paladar means “palate” and is named after a chain of restaurants in a Brazilian soap opera popular in Cuba. Tonight we will walk a short distance to the colorful Malecon waterfront of Habana and enjoy exploring the rich culture of Urban Cuba.

 

photo by Roman Cahero

 

DAY THREE: CIENFUEGOS

After breakfast, we'll depart for Cienfuegos, known as the Pearl of the South.  As we travel through the countryside, our Cuban guides will share their unique insights into Cuba, both the challenges and benefits of life in a socialist based country.

After checking into our next Casa Particular, we will have the pleasure of meeting a local guide who will share their knowledge of Cienfuegos' stunning architecture.Meeting a local guide offers another fantastic  opportunity for People to People interfacing at a

UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cienfuegos is unique in that it is the only city in Cuba founded by French colonist. 

Our day will include another great meal at our Casa Particular followed by a night of Cuban music.

Overnight accommodations in Cienfuegos.

 

photo by Kim Powell

 

DAY FOUR: CIENFUEGOS

We plan to get an early start today to enjoy our next destination, Laguna Guanaroca Protected Zone which supports one of the largest colonies of pink flamingos in all of Cuba. Birding is superb both in the lagoon and forest that surrounds it.

In the afternoon, we will make our way to a beautiful beach where we will have our first of many naturalist-led snorkeling opportunities

above Cuba's coral reefs.

Back in Cienfuegos, we will have another delicious Cuban meal with accommodations in our Casa Particular.

 

photo by Kim Powell

 

DAY FIVE: TRINIDAD

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the cultural world heritage site, Villa de la Santisima Trinidad, founded by Diego Velazquez in 1514. En route to this fantastic Historical destination, we will explore a magnificent cave system and a thriving coral reef ecosystem

Cuba is dedicated to protecting its rich and varied terrestrial and marine resources. Relatively slow coastal development, the use of organic farming techniques and the practice of small scale fisheries has helped protect the integrity of Cuba's coral reefs. We are excited to share this with you!

Upon arrival to Trinidad we will explore it's cobblestone side streets and embrace the sounds of salsa music echoing through the central park.

Dinner and accommodations in Trinidad.

 

photo by Kim Powell

 

DAY SIX: TRINIDAD

Today we will get an early start to hike along the stunning Guamuahuaya River in El Cubano Park.

Birding is excellent along the trail which ends at a spectacular waterfall, el salto de Javeria. 

An exhilarating swim in natural pools and exploration of a magnificent cave awaits you!

We'll return to Trinidad with a tour of the city before dinner and salsa dancing lessons at Plaza Mayor.

Overnight accommodations in Trindad.

 

Photo by Kim Powell

 

DAY SEVEN:  PUNTA PERDIZ~PLAYA LARGA

Today, we'll travel towards the country's southern coast to snorkel at the fabulous diving area known as Punta Perdiz at Playa Giron.

We'll snorkel over  coral reefs which have not felt the impact of mass tourism or fisheries as much of the Caribbean has.

Schools of colorful reef fish, snappers and jacks will be viewed as we interpret  fish behavior and the ecology of coral reefs.

 

Certified divers may have an opportunity to arrange a scuba dive on this day (not included in our package).

After a relaxing typical lunch at Punta Perdiz, we'll continue along the southwestern side of Bay of Pigs in the Zapata Peninsula.

 

Tonight we will meet with the Frank Medina, Director of Zapata National Park as part of our People to People Exchange program.

He'll discuss conservation issues facing Cuba such as the re-introduction of the endemic Cuban crocodile and programs to eradicate invasive species.

Our destination tonight is Playa Larga where we can relax on a beautiful stretch of beach near our accommodations in Playa Larga.

 

photo by Kim Powell

 

DAY  EIGHT:  ZAPATA NATONAL PARK~PLAYA LARGA

 Before leaving Playa Larga, a must do is visiting Bernabe's House in Palpite Cienega de Zapata.

The exotic lush tropical flora dotting Bernabe's backyard provides a kaleidoscope of colors where the world's smallest bird, the bee hummingbird resides.

 

Our destination today is Cienega de Zapata National Park, an area that supports the largest insular humid marsh in the entire Caribbean basin.

Our morning will be active as we hike and swim at ancient cenotes passing through several forested areas.

 

After lunch, we'll return to Punta Pediz for another guided snorkeling trip.

The water that  surrounds this rich natural region is home to 4 of the planet's 8 sea turtles.

We hope to catch a glimpse of these elusive reptiles while we are exploring the underwater world.

Return to our accommodations at Playa Larga followed by dinner and local music.

 

Photo by Kim Powell

 

DAY NINE: HABANA

Today, we'll return to the beautiful and historical city of Habana. We hope to meet with local architect Orestes Del Castillo

who is in charge of the office of the historian.

While exploring Habana, we will gain invaluable insight into an integral component of our People to People exchange program.

Habana was founded in 1515 by conquistador Diego Velazquez as a trading port.

It became the capital of the Spanish Colony of Cuba in 1607.

Our day will include meandering through the picturesque streets and squares of Habana's Historical Centre, also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Highlights of our Habana Cultural Adventure will include:

A  fascinating interpretive tour of Finca Vigia, the home of Ernest Hemingway from 1939 to 1960.

 

Plaza de la Cathedral (Cathedral Square), named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture: the Cathedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana built by the Jesuit order.

The Cathedral's baroque facade is simultaneously intimate and imposing, and one of the two towers is visibly larger, creating a pleasing asymmetry.

As with many churches in the city, the building material of Habana Cathedral includes coral, cut and hauled from the edge of the sea by slaves.

Look carefully and you'll see fossils of marine flora and fauna in the stone of the cathedral.

Plaza de Armas (Square of Arms), ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers and surrounded by impressive buildings such as: Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, the former official residence of the governors (Captains General) of Habana, Cuba. It is home to the Museum of the City of Habana. It houses exhibitions of art and historical artifacts and many of the rooms are preserved with their original Colonial decoration.

photo by Kim Powell

 

Palacio del Segundo Cabo (Palace of the Second Lieutenant) dates from 1770, the seat of the second authority of the island. Today it houses important publishing concerns. Castillo de la Real Fuerza. The second oldest fortress built by the Spaniards in the West Indies. The castle was recently renovated and reopened in June 2008 to hold the impressive maritime museum. Well laid out exhibits a chart of Spain and Cuba's naval history.

Plaza de San Francisco de Asís (San Francisco Square), named after the Convent of San Francisco, this square was conceived in 1628, with the objective of supplying water to the ships trading with the metropolis.

For many years it also served to stockpile the goods arriving from the harbor. Chronicles of the time say that the square had a busy commercial life. The people, in humble carts or afoot, sold and bought a variety of goods. It’s important to know that through this place the Spanish immigrants arrived to Cuba. Plaza Vieja (Old Square), the only civic square of colonial times. Notice it doesn't have a church or government building and is in contrast surrounded by opulent aristocratic 17th century residences. Here we will visit important institutions for visual arts.

Visit to the famous Handicraft Market of Old HaBana and meet local Cuban artists. The market is located inside the Almacenes de Depósito San José, an old warehouse on the harbor side.

 

This afternoon you'll have time to explore Habana on your own before we meet for our farewell dinner together. 

Overnight Accommodations in Habana.

 

photo by Kim Powell

 

DAY TEN: HOME

After our final breakfast together and cup of warm Cuban coffee, we will transfer to the airport to catch out flights home.