From Havana to Cienfuegos aboard the Panorama and Panorama II

Overview

Take a step back in time to Cuba, a place rooted in culture and history, where the people are as warm and welcoming as the climate. We'll enjoy fascinating cultural exchanges with friendly people of all walks of life, from artisans and fishing folk to environmentalists and community organizers, who will recount firsthand stories of life on the island. Traveling by three-masted sail cruiser allows us the opportunity to experience diverse corners of this multifaceted country, unpacking our bags just once and with the comfort of a nice place to rest each night, without the hassle of long drives between stops.

In Havana, musicians gather on almost every corner and you'll hear the heartbeat of the city pulse with bongos, maracas, and guitars as a vintage '51 Ford or '47 Hudson rolls past down the street. Along the southern coast, explore beautifully preserved colonial architecture in the towns of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, set against white-sand beaches on the turquoise Caribbean Sea. And in the sparsely populated Guanahacabibes Peninsula, the westernmost tip of Cuba, natural wonders abound in its 172 species of birds and miles of coral reef. Be prepared for an amazing, eye-opening experience of this intriguing nation.

We really loved this experience. I am so glad we were able to sail around Cuba and see it as it is today. I am sure tourism will leave its mark soon enough and the OLD Cuba will change.
— Daniel D. Colorado Spr., CO
Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Havana to Cienfuegos
Day 1 (Saturday)
Miami / Havana

Depart the U.S. from Miami on a short flight to Havana, where you are met upon arrival and taken on a short bus tour en route to the city center. Continue exploring Habana Vieja (Old Havana) by strolling the streets between the four main colonial squares. Old Havana was founded by the Spaniards in 1519 in the natural harbor of the Bay of Havana. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is the core of the original city. The area contains interesting architecture, much of which has been restored by the Cuban government. Welcome lunch at Moneda Cubana, a local “Paladar” (privately owned restaurant) in the heart of Old Havana. Your visit to Cuba starts with some local delicacies. After lunch, continue to the Cruise Ship Terminal to embark and participate in a mandatory emergency boat drill followed by a Welcome Orientation and briefing by your Group IST Program Manager. In the evening we will enjoy a visit by some special guests onboard, a young Cuban Trio, “Carpe Diem,” who will introduce you to the fantastic and magical world of Cuban music. At the end of the performance there will be time for a people-to-people exchange with the young artists. Dinner and overnight onboard.

 View Lodging
Day 2 (Sunday)
Havana

Depart for a full day tour of Havana and beyond, following in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway. We head by bus to Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s beloved home where he lived for 21 years and worked on some of his most famous literary works, including The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Lunch will be served at the Finca El Divino, one of the best examples of Cuban urban agriculture and the finest restaurant in the area. Enjoy a short presentation and people-to-people exchange on the subject of sustainable urban agriculture followed by Cuban food specialties and a cooking demonstration. After lunch, we continue to Jaimanita and the neighborhood artwork of one of the most representative Cuban modern artists, Jose Fuster. Recognition of his art is now widespread, from his studio into the surrounding neighborhood—“Fusterlandia.” We visit Romeo and Juliet or Patragas Cigar Factory, Cuba’s largest and perhaps most renowned cigar factory, producing around 5 million of the finest cigars annually. Enjoy some free time at the San Jose Art Market, the largest art and souvenir marketplace in Havana, or return to the boat to relax. In the evening, we depart for El Guajirito and a fascinating people-to-people exchange with musical artists from the Buena Vista Social Club, followed by a late dinner and show at the site. Return to the boat for overnight.

 View Lodging
Day 3 (Monday)
Havana

After an early onboard breakfast, disembark for a people-to-people exchange with dancers, musicians, and performers of Havana’s Compas Dance Group. Watch as they interpret Lillet Riviera’s choreography using drumsticks, slippers, chairs, castanets, and heels drums, in addition to flamenco gestures and Cuban folkloric dance moves. We’ll visit  a young emerging Cuban artist, Daymi, at her art studio. Return to the boat at noon for a Bon Voyage cocktail and a panoramic sail out of the Bay of Havana on the way to Maria La Gorda.  Lunch and dinner onboard at sea.

 View Lodging
Day 4 (Tuesday)
Maria La Gorda

After breakfast, we disembark via tenders to visit the community of La Bajada. At the local school we meet the Cuban children and their teachers, and discuss the differences and levels of the Cuban and American educational systems, in particular in the rural areas of the country. At Guanahacabibes National Park, one of the country’s largest nature reserves, on the westernmost tip of the island, we meet with the naturalists and locals. The peninsula was one of the last refuges of aboriginals fleeing from the Spanish conquistadors and also holds some 140 archaeological sites linked to the life of aborigines, who were known as Guanahatabeyes. Lunch today will be a BBQ on the beach with some time for a swim before returning to the boat. Dinner and overnight onboard the boat as we sail to Cayo Largo.

 View Lodging
Day 5 (Wednesday)
Cayo Largo

The island of Cayo Largo is comprised of limestone, formed over millions of years from the remains of marine organisms, much like the ones that form coral reefs. We begin our Cayo Largo adventure with a visit to a local clinic, where we discuss the medical system in Cuba and engage with the local doctors and nurses. We visit a sea turtle breeding center and an endangered species protection program, and meet the locals and discuss their way of life on this isolated key. After an early lunch at the Marina of Cayo Largo, enjoy some snorkeling at the coral reef, followed by free time at Playa Sirena, considered to be one of top five most beautiful beaches in Cuba. Return to the boat for dinner and departure for Casilda/Trinidad.

 View Lodging
Day 6 (Thursday)
Trinidad

After a relaxed breakfast onboard it’s time to depart on our excursion in Trinidad. A meticulously well-preserved Spanish colonial city with rich architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces, and plazas, Trinidad is sometimes referred to as the “museum city of Cuba.” This morning we will walk through the town with a local historian, interacting with residents along the way. There will be stops for visits to local artists, including young women artists who are raising the status of women through their art, then continue to home studios, the Museum Romantico, or the Architecture Museum. After lunch in this most picturesque city, enjoy some free time to walk around this classic colonial town.  Dinner and overnight onboard the boat as we sail for Cienfuegos.

 View Lodging
Day 7 (Friday)
Cienfuegos

Enjoy breakfast onboard before disembarking for our visit to Cienfuegos, known as the "Pearl of the South." Located about 150 miles from Havana on the southern tip of Cuba, this city is the only one in Cuba to be founded by French settlers. In 2005 the historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among buildings of particular interest are the Government Palace (City Hall), San Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, the Ferrer Palace, the former lyceum, and some residential houses. Cienfuegos is the first and outstanding example of an architectural ensemble representing the new ideas of modernity, hygiene, and order in urban planning as developed in Latin America from the 19th century. Before lunch, participate in a walking tour of the city center, visiting the Graphic Arts Workshop where there will be discussions and interchanges with local artists. We'll also visit the local open farmers' market to see Cubans in the process of buying their provisions (all produce is sold in Cuban Pesos), and visit a CUC supermarket to better understand the working of a two-currency country. Lunch is at a local restaurant, Los Laurelos, where you will enjoy not only excellent food but also Cuban music and some salsa lessons as well. We’ll engage with the musicians and singers, young and old, and enjoy a presentation and exchange with the Chorus of Cienfuegos, for two years in the row awarded with the title of “The Best Chorus in the Country.” Dinner onboard the boat and overnight in Cienfuegos.

 View Lodging
Day 8 (Saturday)
Cienfuegos / Depart
In the morning after breakfast, we disembark and transfer to the airport in Cienfuegos for the return flight home via Miami.
Cienfuegos to Havana
Day 1 (Saturday)
Miami / Cienfuegos

Depart the U.S. from Miami on a short flight to Cienfuegos, where you are met upon arrival. Known as the "Pearl of the South," Cienfuegos is located about 150 miles from Havana on the southern tip of Cuba, and is the only city in Cuba to be founded by French settlers. In 2005 the historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among buildings of particular interest are the Government Palace (City Hall), San Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, the Ferrer Palace, the former lyceum, and some residential houses. Cienfuegos is the first and outstanding example of an architectural ensemble representing the new ideas of modernity, hygiene, and order in urban planning as developed in Latin America from the 19th century. Before lunch, participate in a walking tour of the city center, visiting the Graphic Arts Workshop where there will be discussions and interchanges with local artists. We'll also visit the local open farmers' market to see Cubans in the process of buying their provisions (all produce is sold in Cuban Pesos), and visit a CUC supermarket to better understand the working of a two-currency country. Lunch is at a local restaurant, Los Laurelos, where you will enjoy not only excellent food but also Cuban music and some salsa lessons as well. We’ll engage with the musicians and singers, young and old, and enjoy a presentation and exchange with the Chorus of Cienfuegos, for two years in the row awarded with the title of “The Best Chorus in the Country.” In the late afternoon, continue to the Cruise Ship Terminal to embark and participate in a mandatory emergency boat drill followed by a Welcome Orientation and briefing by your Group IST Program Manager. Dinner onboard the boat as we sail for Casilda/Trinidad.

 View Lodging
Day 2 (Sunday)
Trinidad

After a relaxed breakfast onboard it’s time to depart on our excursion in Trinidad. A meticulously well-preserved Spanish colonial city with rich architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces, and plazas, Trinidad is sometimes referred to as the “museum city of Cuba.” This morning we will walk through the town with a local historian, interacting with residents along the way. There will be stops for visits to local artists, including young women artists who are raising the status of women through their art, then continue to home studios, the Museum Romantico, or the Architecture Museum. After lunch in this most picturesque city, enjoy some free time to walk around this classic colonial town. Bon Voyage cocktail and panoramic sail of Bahia de Casilda. Dinner and overnight onboard as we set sail for Cayo Largo.

 View Lodging
Day 3 (Monday)
Cayo Largo

The island of Cayo Largo is comprised of limestone, formed over millions of years from the remains of marine organisms, much like the ones that form coral reefs. We begin our Cayo Largo adventure with a visit to a local clinic, where we discuss the medical system in Cuba and engage with the local doctors and nurses. We visit a sea turtle breeding center and an endangered species protection program, and meet the locals and discuss their way of life on this isolated key. After an early lunch at the Marina of Cayo Largo, enjoy some snorkeling at the coral reef, followed by free time at Playa Sirena, considered to be one of top five most beautiful beaches in Cuba. Return to the boat for dinner and departure for Maria La Gorda.

 View Lodging
Day 4 (Tuesday)
Maria La Gorda

After breakfast, we disembark via tenders to visit the community of La Bajada. At the local school we meet the Cuban children and their teachers, and discuss the differences and levels of the Cuban and American educational systems, in particular in the rural areas of the country. At Guanahacabibes National Park, one of the country’s largest nature reserves, on the westernmost tip of the island, we meet with the naturalists and locals. The peninsula was one of the last refuges of aboriginals fleeing from the Spanish conquistadors and also holds some 140 archaeological sites linked to the life of aborigines, who were known as Guanahatabeyes. Lunch today will be a BBQ on the beach with some time for a swim before returning to the boat. Dinner and overnight onboard the boat as we sail to Havana.

 View Lodging
Day 5 (Wednesday)
Havana

After a breakfast and lunch on board, enjoy our arrival in Havana and a panoramic sail into the Bay of Havana. In the early afternoon, disembark for a people-to-people exchange with dancers, musicians, and performers of Havana’s Compas Dance Group. Watch as they interpret Lillet Riviera’s choreography using drumsticks, slippers, chairs, castanets, and heels drums, in addition to flamenco gestures and Cuban folkloric dance moves. We’ll visit a young emerging Cuban artist, Daymi, at her art studio. Dinner on board the boat.

 View Lodging
Day 6 (Thursday)
Havana

Depart for a full day tour of Havana and beyond, following in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway. We head by bus to Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s beloved home where he lived for 21 years and worked on some of his most famous literary works, including The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Lunch will be served at the Finca El Divino, one of the best examples of Cuban urban agriculture and the finest restaurant in the area. Enjoy a short presentation and people-to-people exchange on the subject of sustainable urban agriculture followed by Cuban food specialties and a cooking demonstration. After lunch, we continue to Jaimanita and the neighborhood artwork of one of the most representative Cuban modern artists, Jose Fuster. Recognition of his art is now widespread, from his studio all the way into the surrounding neighborhood—“Fusterlandia.” We visit Romeo and Juliet or Patragas Cigar Factory, Cuba’s largest and perhaps most renowned cigar factory, producing around 5 million of the finest cigars annually. Enjoy some free time at the San Jose Art Market, the largest art and souvenir marketplace in Havana, or return to the boat to relax. In the evening, we depart for El Guajirito and a fascinating people-to-people exchange with musical artists from the Buena Vista Social Club, followed by a late dinner and show at the site. Return to the boat for overnight.

 View Lodging
Day 7 (Friday)
Havana

Explore Habana Vieja (Old Havana) by strolling the streets between the four main colonial squares. Old Havana was founded by the Spaniards in 1519 in the natural harbor of the Bay of Havana. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is the core of the original city. The area contains interesting architecture, much of which has been restored by the Cuban Government. Farewell lunch at Moneda Cubana, a local “Paladar” (privately owned restaurant) in the heart of Old Havana. Your visit to Cuba ends with some local delicacies and, of course, Cuban music. The afternoon is at leisure. In the evening we will enjoy a visit by some special guests onboard, a young Cuban Trio, “Carpe Diem,” who will help you celebrate your final night onboard. At the end of the performance there will be time for a people-to-people exchange with the young artists. Dinner and overnight onboard.

 View Lodging
Day 8 (Saturday)
Havana / Depart
In the morning after breakfast, we disembark and transfer to the airport in Havana for the return flight home via Miami.
Note
This program is being operated by Group IST, which has been issued a license (#CT-2013-301894-1) by the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), authorizing them to organize and operate People to People programs to Cuba.

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Cuba

Highlights

Highlights

Lively Havana with its incredible museums, colorful architecture, nightlife, and history
People-to-people interactions with local Cubans
The limestone island of Cayo Largo and its sea turtle hatchery

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $4899  
Arrive: Havana, Cuba
Depart: Cienfuegos, Cuba
Lodging: 7 nights aboard a 48-guest sail cruiser
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore
Activity: Small Ship Cruising, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

7-night cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Cuba

2016 Cruise Collection

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