¡Hola Cuba! - 2017

Miami • Havana • Maria La Gorda • Punta Frances • Cienfuegos • Trinidad • Santiago de Cuba
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On this distinctive program, get acquainted with Cubans in their daily lives as you embark on a voyage that takes you from Miami to the grand squares of Havana and from the colonial architectural haven of Trinidad to beautiful Santiago de Cuba, and much more. Engage with people directly in discussions about their lives and work, culture, and traditions. Meet with Cuban historians, artists, musicians and naturalists and experience this diverse island through their eyes.

There is only one departure of this special voyage, embarking in Miami on Friday, November 25 – the Friday after Thanksgiving.  You’ll cruise aboard M/V Victory I, a refined small ship that is perfect for exploring the Cuban coast and visiting the island’s historic ports.

Itinerary At a Glance

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DAY 1:

Depart Home City / Miami, Florida

Today, you'll depart your home city and fly to sunny Miami, where you will spend one night before your flight to Cuba.

DAY 2:

Miami / Charter Flight / Santiago de Cuba

All aboard for your Cuban small ship adventure! We'll take a charter flight from Miami to Cuba, the island nation that lies just over 90 miles from Florida's shore. After arriving in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba's "other capital," you'll embark the M/V Victory I and meet up with your fellow passengers to enjoy a Welcome Briefing and included dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 3:

Santiago de Cuba

Home of legendary rum and birthplace of the revolution, Santiago de Cuba has soul. Proximity to Jamaica and other tropical isles has infused the city with a distinctly Caribbean spirit. The second-largest city of Cuba, established in 1515 by Conquistador Diego Velazquez de Cuéllar, the city remains today as an important seaport to the island. Cultural Discoveries: Santiago de Cuba is well known for its traditional dances unique to this region of the island, and we’ll meet local performers who explain art. We'll also learn about the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, which is widely practiced in the area. Afterwards, visit the great citadel of San Pedro de la Roca, named a UNESCO World Heritage site as the most complete and best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4:

At Sea

Relax and enjoy a day at sea, as we cruise from Cuba’s mountainous southeastern tip to our next destination: Trinidad. Cuba’s highest peak, Pico Turquino, may be visible from the water as we leave Santiago de Cuba.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

Trinidad (Casilda)

We'll dock in Casilda, the port village and beach town, then head the few miles inland to Trinidad, "the museum city of Cuba." Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad is an architectural gem of pastel stucco buildings with red roofs that line cobbled streets. A lively arts colony today, the city echoes with its 16th century past and founding by Spanish Conquistadors. Eighteenth century smugglers and pirates also made frequent calls here, and often used it as their base of operations in the Caribbean. The wealth and importance of Trinidad grew in the 19th century with the production of "white cold," when sugar barons reigned. During our visit, join a city historian for a walking tour and call on artists and craftspeople in their studios as we wind our way through the city. Cultural Discoveries: We'll also stop at the Museum Romantico and the Architecture Museum. At Casa Del Alfarero Santander, a pottery studio that been run by the same family for decades, meet local artisans and learn about traditional pottery techniques.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6:

Cienfuegos

Founded in 1819 by the Spanish, but initially settled by the French — the southern port city of Cienfuegos prospered as a trading center for sugar cane, tobacco, and coffee. The city first developed in the neoclassical style, later becoming more eclectic, but retaining a harmonious cityscape, and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your two-day visit to what today is a lively cultural center and beach resort, join a local expert for a tour of the graceful old city. in the course of your explorations, you'll learn the significance of such handsome buildings such as Government Palace (City Hall), San Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, Ferrer Palace, and the former lyceum. Cultural Discoveries: Discover the transformative power of art in the lives of ordinary Cubans while visiting a graphic arts workshop. After a performance by the Cienfuegos Choir — we’re invited to join the choir for songs in the spirit of musical exchange.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7:

Cienfuegos

Enjoy a second day to explore Cienfuegos, with numerous opportunities for independent exploration, browsing in shops, galleries, and markets, active walks, and enjoying Cienfuegos' protected bay waters and numerous nature attractions.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8:

At Sea

Today’s sailing takes us through a palm-fringed paradise of turquoise waters and small coral keys, or cayos, as they are known in Cuba. We’ll pass also through the protected waters of the Golfo de Batabano along Cuba’s southwestern coast.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Maria La Gorda

Explore Maria La Gorda, on the Bahía de Corrientes, one of the most popular, unspoiled dive sites in Cuba, with underwater landscapes unique to the Caribbean palm-fringed beach. Cultural Discovery: Meet with a local naturalist at Guanahacabibes National Park, the largest of Cuba’s six nature reserves. In addition to butterflies and bird life such as the endemic bee hummingbird and yellow-headed warbler, Guanahacabibes is home to a large profusion of orchids and epiphytes with a total of 16 species, some indigenous and some recently discovered. Cultural Discoveries: At a Meteorological Center, learn about forecasting weather patterns, storms and hurricanes that have left their mark in Cuba, along with how historic storms have impacted ordinary Cubans.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

At Sea

Enjoy your last full day of tropical cruising, as we follow the coast from the remote western tip of Cuba to the country's capital city, Havana. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 11:

Havana

Cultural Discovery: Following breakfast, you’ll be treated to a fascinating lecture on the colorful history, people, and the culture that shaped Havana today. We will then disembark and begin our cultural exploration of this beautiful city by foot through the atmospheric squares of Havana Viejo (Old Havana), calling on artists in their studios as we pass. We'll also stop into Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Ernest Hemingway kept a room for years. The hotel served as a refuge for writing such works as “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and as a base for frequenting his favorite bars.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 12:

Havana

You'll have the day free to explore Havana on your own. If you're a car buff, grab your camera and go in search of classic cars from the "Happy Days" era. Don't worry, they're not hard to find! Check out the terrific arts and crafts market, which occupies a renovated warehouse near the seafront. Or visit Fusterlandia, the fantastic multi-block neighborhood art project created by world-renowned artist José Fuster. The colorful street known as Callejon de Hamel is the center of Afro-Cuban life in Havana and is definitely worth a stroll. Or just explore more around Old Havana, taking extra time to appreciate the Spanish-colonial architecture, much of which is being restored. Cultural Discovery: After dinner, we encourage guests to enjoy an evening performance at the historical Tropicana Theater or alternatively stroll to nearby Café Taberna, where one can enjoy Cuban music by the famed Buena Vista Social Club.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 13:

Havana  / Miami, Florida / Disembark / Return home

Following breakfast this morning we will disembark in Miami, where you can connect to your return flight home. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Tour Director or regional expert.

Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.

Note: That hotel ratings are based on the Hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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