- Tour Havana in a vintage American car.
- Finca Vigía, Hemmingway's home.
- 4 UNESCO sites
- Meet local Cuban artists, musicians, dancers.
- 15 days
- Victory 1
Discover Cuba's Hidden Treasures 1
Our imaginations run with thoughts of music filled with infectious rhythms and passion. Vistas filled with breathtaking terrains to architecture designed by famed architects. There is no limit to the depth of the culture of Cuba, this is why writers such as Ernest Hemingway were once drawn here. There is no better way to witness the colorful mosaic of Cuba than aboard the 202-guest M/V Victory I. Her size allows her to reach small inlets and ports that are untouched by larger vessels, allowing her guests to witness a rich culture built by generations of European, African and revolutionary influences.
This afternoon embark on the M/V Victory I for an iconic journey from the Port of Miami to the cultural capital of Cuba, Havana. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Reception as well as a highly informative talk of the journey ahead.
World known rhythms such as Mambo and Cha-cha-cha originated in Cuba; as well as the first known Salsa called “Echale Salsita” (Spice it up a little) recorded back in the 1930s. Following breakfast, guests aboard will 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’, calling on artists in their studios as we pass. Visit 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 a base for frequenting his favorite bars. 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.
Known as one of the most popular, unspoiled dive sites in Cuba with underwater landscapes unique to the Caribbean palm-fringed beach. Explore Maria La Gorda, on the Bahía de Corrientes, beginning in La Bajada. 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. 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. Participate in an expert discussion at the “Honey House” on beekeeping and honey production.
Cuba's so-called Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South) has long seduced travelers from around the island with its elegance, enlightened French spirit and feisty Caribbean panache. If Cuba has a Paris, this is most definitely it. Arranged around the country's most spectacular natural bay, Cienfuegos is a nautical city with an enviable waterside setting. Founded in 1819, it's one of Cuba's newest settlements, but also one of its most architecturally interesting, a factor that earned it a Unesco World Heritage Site listing in 2005. Geographically, the city is split into two distinct parts: the colonnaded central zone with its elegant Paseo del Prado (commonly shortened to Prado) and Parque Martí; and Punta Gorda, a thin knife of land slicing into the bay with a clutch of eclectic early 20th-century palaces, including some of Cuba's prettiest buildings.
Called “the museum city of Cuba”, Trinidad offers a window into the past of another era. Today, a city historian leads a walking tour of Trinidad, an architectural jewel proclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Red tiled roofs atop pastel stucco structures line the cobbled streets. This port city reflects its 16th century past and founding by Conquistadors. Eighteenth century smugglers and pirates made frequent calls here or even used this port as their base of operations in the Caribbean. The wealth and importance of Trinidad continued into the 19th century, when sugar barons reigned. Mingle with local residents and call on artists in their studio as we wind our way through the city. Guests will stop at the Museum Romantico and the Architecture Museum. At Casa Del Alfarero Santander, an artisan workshop, meet local artists and learn about traditional pottery techniques. This pottery studio has been run by the same family for decades.
Arriving in Santiago de Cuba, we’ll explore the Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca — better known as El Morro — inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the most complete, best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles.” This multi-level stone fortress built into the rocky promontory of El Morro has guarded the entrance to Santiago de Cuba Bay since 1638.
Later in the morning we make our way to the cemetery to see some of the most beautiful burial crypts built in Cuba and to learn about Jose Marti, the Cuban National Hero. We end our discovery witnessing the changing of the guard at the tomb of Jose Marti. We end the morning at the Diego Velázquez House and Museum, said to be the oldest standing house in Cuba, the Spanish colonial structure is an excellent example of how Spaniards built and lived in Cuba. Have a light lunch at a local Palador. In the afternoon there’s plenty of free time to explore Old Santiago. There will be an expert presentation on the Culture and Religions of Oriente (Eastern Cuba). Dinner will be on board Victory I.