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Cuba by Land & Sea: A People-to-People Cruise (Connections Journey)

11 days with Abercrombie & Kent   Rating: Deluxe

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  • Abercrombie & Kent Marco Polo Club members save 5% when you book a trip within nine months of your last Abercrombie & Kent tour. Click here for eligible departures.

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Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices
Day 1: ARRIVE HOLGUIN, CUBA
Arrive at Frank Pais International Airport, where you complete immigration and customs formalities and transfer to your hotel. Meet fellow guests and enjoy lunch at a local paladar (privately owned restaurant), interacting with your servers as you enjoy your first taste of Cuban cuisine. Continue to Santiago de Cuba and visit the University of Santiago (time permitting), where you meet students and faculty and learn about Cuba’s higher education system. Next, check in to your hotel. This evening, get to know your accompanying Abercrombie & Kent Program Directors and resident Cuban guides at a reception briefing and welcome dinner. (L D)
 
Days 2-3: SANTIAGO DE CUBA / Setting Sail
Visit the Holy Shrine El Cobre, which houses the patron saint of Cuba, la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. After learning about the role religion plays in the lives of Cubans, visit the Cementerio Santa Ifegenia, the final resting place of many of the Bacardi family, Fidel Castro and national hero Jose Martí. There, you witness the ceremonial changing of the guard at the Jose Martí Mausoleum. Following lunch at a paladar, visit the Moncada Barracks, a military garrison that played an early role in the Cuban Revolution. The site is an active primary school and now houses an interactive museum. Next, join your local guides for an informative walking tour of central Santiago and Cespedes Square. Explore the city center. In due course, transfer to the Santiago marina, where you board your home for the next seven nights, elegant ‘Le Ponant.’ As your yacht sails out of the marina, glimpse the stunning Morro Castle, a citadel overlooking the entrance to the bay. Meet the Captain and crew of ‘Le Ponant,’ toasting to your enriching journey as you set sail in exploration of Cuba. Spend the following day at sea, participating in informative talks and presentations on a wide range of subjects, among them Cuban history, education, health care and policy. Conditions permitting, watch as the crew hoists the sails of your stunning, three-masted sailing yacht from atop its deck. (B L D)
 
Days 4-5: TRINIDAD / Charming Colonial City
Enjoy breakfast and lunch on board. This afternoon, transfer to the heart of Trinidad in the Sancti Spiritus Province, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join your resident Cuban guide for an enlightening walking tour. Stroll through Trinidad’s colonial city center as you learn the history of one of the oldest European settlements in Cuba. Visit the Romantic Museum, built in 1740 within the home of a wealthy sugar mill owner. Discover the Cuba of bygone days as you view its period furnishings, china and other 19th-century artifacts. Next, visit Casa Particular — the private home of Lia and Pechi — for a musical interlude and canchancha drink. Return to your vessel for dinner. Later this evening, you may join your guides for a singular evening in festive Trinidad, as it comes alive with music. Tonight, ‘Le Ponant’ remains in port. The following day, delve deeper into the wonders of Trinidad and its surroundings. Start this morning with a short drive to the “valley of the sugar mills” and visit the small village of Manaca. See the Iznaga tower, once a sentry post to keep watch over the slaves working in the sugar plantation and mill in the Sugar Valley. Back in Trinidad, visit the Palenque de los Congos Reales to attend an enriching AfroCuban performance, meeting afterward with its musicians and dancers. Following lunch at a local paladar in Market Square, return to ‘Le Ponant’ and set sail for Cienfuegos, the “Pearl of the South.” Time permitting, you may choose to spend the evening with your guides in Cienfuegos. (B L D)
 
Day 6: CIENFUEGOS / Beauty by Sea
Set out on an illuminating, guided walking tour of Cienfuegos. Visit the Thomas Terry Theater, continuing along the boulevard to a Cuban CUC store and pharmacy. Enjoy a private performance by the acclaimed Cantores de Cienfuegos a capella choir, with time to interact post-concert with its members. Following lunch at a local paladar, continue with a private musical performance by the Chamber Orchestra de Cienfuegos. Return to ‘Le Ponant’ later this afternoon and set sail. (B L D)
 
Day 7: PUNTA FRANCÉS / Outdoor Expedition
Arrive at beautiful Punta Francés Nature Reserve on Isla de la Juventud this afternoon. Unreachable except by sea, the marine reserve is fringed by an arc of powdery white-sand beach. Meanwhile, its thick palm and mangrove forest stands in stark contrast to the glimmering, turquoise Caribbean Sea. Land by Zodiac and spend the afternoon participating in structured activities amid this unique environment. You may partake in either a guided snorkeling excursion, experiencing firsthand Cuba’s unspoiled coral reef system or a guided nature walk led by local naturalists along the breathtaking beach and adjacent mangrove forest. As this enriching afternoon comes to a close, return to your ship and enjoy dinner with fellow guests. (B L D)
 
Day 8: AT SEA / Enriching Lectures & Lovely Vistas
As you spend today sailing through Cuban waters, attend informative lectures, such as those about the impact of music on Cuban society and how it influenced the art form in the United States and beyond. Learn about local transportation, including iconic “Yank tanks” (vintage cars), as well as significant points in Cuba’s history and the intricacies of U.S.-Cuba relations. (B L D)
 
Day 9: HAVANA / History Revealed
After breakfast on board, disembark ‘Le Ponant’ and proceed to the heart of Old Havana at St. Francis Square. Stroll through the neighborhood with a local architect, discussing the challenges of city reconstruction projects, while absorbing the vibrant, extraordinary architecture that surrounds you. Explore St. Francis Square or visit the lively San Jose market by the sea. Following lunch, visit Finca La Vigia — Ernest Hemingway’s home — taking time to visualize the author’s life during the more than 20 years he lived there. Check in to your five-star hotel. (B L)
 
Day 10: HAVANA / Arts and Culture
Following breakfast, visit Havana University, where you interact with students and faculty. Next, explore Revolution Square and the city’s historic, culturally rich neighborhoods, including the business district of Vedado. Skirt the malecón (seawall promenade), see the Capitol area and stop at La Cabana for panoramic views of Havana. Tour the famed and historic Hotel Nacional, learning about a bygone era of Cuban history. Then, join the museum curator on a guided visit of Museo de Belles Artes, an art museum dedicated to the progression of Cuban art from colonial times to the present day. Next, attend a private dance rehearsal to gain insight into the remarkable art of Cuban dance. This evening, transfer with your fellow guests by “Yank tank” for a scenic evening drive down the Paseo and malecón to a local paladar for a farewell dinner. (B L D)
 
Day 11: DEPART HAVANA
Transfer to the airport and board your return flight home. (B)
Map
All This Included
Enjoy a people-to-people program featuring seven nights aboard boutique sailing yacht 'Le Ponant' and enriching on-shore connections with Cuban residents. Visit schools, snorkel in a marine park and meet and interact with local dancers, musicians and singers, and enjoy the hospitality of Havana's first five-star hotel.
  • All accommodations.
  • Meals as specified.
  • Arrival and departure transers.
  • Fully-guided sightseeing as noted in the itinerary.
  • Bottled water supplied during Sightseeing.
  • Handling of two pieces of baggage per person for international fights.
  • Hotel taxes.
  • Gratuities throughout, except to your Tour Director
Highlights
  • Experience the best of both worlds with stays in centrally located hotels and a seven-night cruise aboard the intimate, three-masted yacht 'Le Ponant'
  • Sail in the company of A&K Program Directors and resident Cuban guides, who provide incomparable insight into Cuba's history, education, health care system and economy, as well as its political and social structure
  • Spend two full days in Havana and experience its vibrant energy during a private dance rehearsal in Cuba's capital city
  • Visit residents at a private home in Trinidad, enjoying Cuban music and sipping a canchancha beverage
  • Discover Punta Francés Nature Reserve, inaccessible except by sea, where you snorkel or explore the beach and mangroves while learning about local ecology and conservation efforts
  • 29 meals, with 10 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 9 dinners
Accommodations
Holguin: Melià Santiago de Cuba
Cruising: Cabin onboard 'Le Ponant'
Havana: Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski 
Notes
  • Minimum age is 18 years. 
  • First group event: welcome briefing at 6:15 p.m. on Day 1. 
  • Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:30 p.m. on Day 10.
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Abercrombie & Kent terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.