Day 1. Saturday. Arrival
Arrival at "Jose Marti" International Airport in Havana.
Group welcomed by the ACT Cuban Guide. Transfer to your hotel Park View
, located in Old Havana,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cuba is renowned for its exceptional biodiversity
. Its ecosystems are among the richest and best preserved in the Caribbean.
Cuba boasts more than 84 protected areas, making up almost 14% of the lands and 16% of the shelf, along with six UNESCO Biosphere
. Its flora is abundant and varied; it is estimated that the 110,992 square kilometre archipelago contains almost 4%
of all the world’s plant life.
Private group check-in.
Breakfast and dinner are complimentary.
Day 2. Sunday. Havana
Morning: visit to the Museum of Natural History Felipe Poey
located at The University of Havana
. The museum displays the
collection on endemic species brought together by eminent Cuban scientist Felipe Poey during the 19th century. The exhibit
includes specimens of the world’s smallest bird, an extinct pigeon and indigenous Cuban birds!
Introduction to the program and lecture on Cuban endemic birds
by Cuban Professor from University of Havana.
Followed by guided walking tour of Old Havana
, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit to San Francisco Square
, one of the oldest in the historical quarter.
Visit to Plaza Vieja
, the only civic square of colonial times. Notice it doesn't have a church or government building around.
Here we will visit important institutions for visual arts.
Visit to the Cathedral Square
, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza of Cuba, named after the masterpiece
of Cuban baroque architecture: the Cathedral of Havana
built by the Jesuit order.
Lunch at La Mina restaurant
Afternoon: visit to Square of Arms
, ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers and surrounded by impressive buildings
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
was the former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City.
Palacio del Segundo Cabo
, 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 chart Spain and Cuba's naval history.
Free time in the famous handicraft market of Old Havana
where you can purchase all sorts of crafts and souvenirs by local artisans.
Dinner at the hotel.
Evening: attend baseball game at Latinoamericano Stadium
, popularly known in Cuba as "The Colossus of Cerro” is home of Ciudad
Habana Industriales. The stadium holds 55,000 people. In 1999, it hosted an exhibition series between Cuban National Team and
the Baltimore Orioles.
Day 3. Monday. Las Terrazas
Morning: departure to Las Terrazas
, in Sierra del Rosario where we start the morning tour of the rural town at
for explanation of the area.
Enjoy the view of the village that lies above the shores of San Juan Lake
and beneath the mountains.
We also visit the home/studios of local artists
Visit to the ruins of a French Coffee Plantation
built in 1801.
Continue to La Moka
, an ecological hotel with trees growing up through the balconies and ceiling.
Later we can take a swim at San Juan River cascades
. Lunch by the river.
Late afternoon: return to hotel in Havana.
Day 4. Tuesday. Havana- Peninsula de Zapata
Morning: bus transfer to Peninsula de Zapata. The Zapata Swamps, located in the southern coast of Matanzas province,
is the largest marsh in the insular Caribbean. Peninsula de Zapata National Park
Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO
and Ramsar Site
It covers an area of 5000 square kilometres of woods and seacoast vegetation, marsh and mangroves. The park is the natural
home to over 160 bird species and 900 varieties of higher plant families. It is also a favourite stop for tens of thousands
of migratory birds!
Visit to Guama Crocodile Breeding Farm
, that has successfully bred one of the largest reptiles of Cuba since 1974: the Cuban
Crocodile (Crocodrylus rhombifer Cuvier
), considered an endangered species that can be found at the Zapata Swamps and Lanier
Swamps only. The Cuban Crocodile (Crocodrylus rhombifer Cuvier
) is one of the two most aggressive species of crocodiles
in the world and endemic to Cuba.
Visit to La Boca
and Guama Ceramic Workshop
Lunch at restaurant by La Cueva de los Peces Cenote
, a geological formation that is formed when the roof of an underground
river collapses leaving a pool of salt water connected to the sea by a system of immersed tunnels. In the cenotes of La Cueva de
los Peces live a wide variety of flora and fauna characteristic only of this region.
Check-in at Playa Larga Hotel
Remainder of the afternoon is free to relax by the warm waters of the Caribbean.
Dinner at the hotel.
Day 5. Wednesday. Peninsula de Zapata
Day excursion to Las Salinas Wildlife Refuge
, unique Cuban site for birdwatching where two continental
corridors of migratory birds coincide.
We’ll be looking for:
Roseate Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber
), Sand hill Crane (Grus canadensis
), Roseate, Yellow-headed Warbler
Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja), Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris
), Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus
Within the Zapata Swamp
are numerous areas designated for environmental preservation, such as Zapata
and Las Salinas wildlife sanctuary
, which is part of the larger Zapata Biosphere Reserve
(IUCN category VI)
which in total is over 6,000 km² and the largest protected area, not only in Cuba, but also the Caribbean.
The swamp is not only known for its size but also for being the best preserved wetlands in all of the Antilles,
designated as a "Wetland of International Importance"
by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971.
In mid-2001 an additional 4,520 km² were declared a Ramsar Site
Return to your hotel for snorkeling, scuba diving and other water sport activities (optional).
Day 6 Thursday. Peninsula de Zapata- Trinidad
Morning: departure to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad
, a perfect relic of the early days of the Spanish colony
with beautifully preserved streets and buildings with hardly a trace of the 20th century anywhere.
Visit to the Architecture Museum
(Casa de los Sanchez Iznaga), housing the most representative samples of the city's
architectural development in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Visit to Museo Lucha contra Bandidos
, former home of the San Francisco de Asis convent.
Visit to Museo Romantico
, overlooking the Trinidad main square. It has an excellent exhibition of romantic style porcelain,
glass, paintings and decorative furniture which belonged to the Conde de Brunet and other Trinidad notorious families.
We will stop at a mirador (lookout) over the Sugar Mill Valley
, where the sugar barons used to have their countryside
mansions and mills. This site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Trinidad is well known for its pottery makers
. We meet with a family that has been passing the tradition for generations:
Check in at Costa Sur hotel
, and take a swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea (all inclusive).
Day 7. Friday. Topes de Collantes
Morning: we will board former Russian army trucks for Topes de Collantes
in the Escambray Mountain Range,
Cuba's second highest mountain range- reaching 3,700 feet atop Pico San Juan. The mountains are home to small
mountain villages and are a delight for birders and walkers alike. Slopes are swathed in Caribbean pines, ancient
tree ferns, bamboo, and eucalyptus.
Topes de Collantes National Park
in the Escambray mountains in Central Cuba. A perfect place for encountering the
Cuban Emerald (Chlorostilbon ricordii
), Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus
), Cuban Parrot (Amazono leucocephala
Fernandina’s Flicker (Colaptes fernandinae
), and others.
Arrival at Hacienda Codina
, an old Spanish Hacienda, once part of a large Spanish coffee plantation where we will
have a typical lunch. Followed by a walk around this area to admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Afternoon: return to Trinidad
Evening venue: Cuban Popular Music Live at Steps of Casa de la Musica
not to be missed, and a great opportunity
to dance with Cubans!
Day 8. Saturday. Departure
Early morning departure to Havana City International Airport for departure.