Save $400 per traveler if we receive your deposit by April 22!
- Two Trips: June 1-11 -or- November 9-19, 2019 (10 days/9 nights)
- Led by Ocean Doctor President, Dr. David E. Guggenheim
- Limited to 10 Participants
- Locations: Havana, Isle of Youth, Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs), Trinidad
- Scuba Diving/Snorkeling on Isle of Youth and at Bay of Pigs
- Lectures by Cuban Scientists, Conservationists
- VIP Access to Art Galleries & Visits to Cuban Artists’ Homes
- 5-Star Accommodations at Hotel Parque Central, Havana and Private Homes (Casas Particulares) Elsewhere
- Supports Our Work! (A Portion of Your Travel Fee is Tax-Deductible)
Our journey will explore some of Cuba’s most culturally vibrant cities – Havana and Trinidad – passing among the country’s pristine natural ecosystems. We’ll also visit the Bay of Pigs and Cuba’s lesser known Isle of Youth, a place of beauty, history and mystery. We will also engage with Cuban scientists, artists and community members to explore how Cuba is changing.
This trip is limited to 10 participants to provide a more personal and intimate visit and provide flexibility during our journey. You’ll get an up-close and personal visit providing you with an authentic look at life in Cuba today, a behind-the-scenes look at Ocean Doctor’s research and conservation work, a chance to enjoy Cuba’s natural beauty, and an opportunity to experience the rich cultural diversity and beauty that Cuba has to offer, while experiencing meaningful contact with the Cuban people.
Havana is Cuba’s capital and the Caribbean’s largest and most vivacious city. Its culturally-rich, romantic atmosphere and infectious energy are legendary. Havana is the only place in the world where you’ll find vintage American Chevy’s and Fords running alongside Russian Ladas. Revolutionary slogans adorn many buildings, but you’ll also find vibrant night clubs, jazz and ballet. The architecture of the city is striking and Old Havana is under restoration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Playa Girón is a tranquil beach village on the east bank of the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the southern coast of Cuba. It is adjacent to Cuba’s Ciénaga de Zapata, an enormous and well-preserved wetland area harboring a wealth of wildlife.
In April 1961, Playa Girón was one of two landing sites for seaborne forces of about 1,500 armed Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, an American CIA-sponsored attempt to overthrow the new government of Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro. Today, the Museo Girón is a small museum dedicated to the historical conflict. The Bay of Pigs is now a no-take marine protected area with scuba diving and snorkeling available.
ISLE OF YOUTH
Cuba’s Isle of Youth is the seventh-largest island in the West Indies. Columbus named it Evangelista. Over the centuries since, it bore the names Isla de Cotorras (Isle of Parrots), Isla de Tesoros (Treasure Island), Isla de Pinos (Isle of Pines), and finally, Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth).
It has a storied history as a favorite base for pirates, a U.S. settlement until the 1920s, and an island dedicated to a network of international schools since 1978 until devastated by Hurricane Gustav in 2008. The Presido Modelo prison — now a museum — held Fidel Castro and other revolutionaries in the 1950s. The 80,000 residents of the island often feel invisible and disconnected from the rest of Cuba, described as an “island within an island.” The southern half of the Isle of Youth is an enormous protected area with breathtaking natural beauty, both in the water and on the land. It’s been described by tourist guides as Cuba’s “hidden gem.” To learn more, read our article Finding Hope for the Invisible Island which also discusses Ocean Doctor’s work there.
Trinidad is one of the best-preserved colonial towns in the Caribbean and a World Heritage site, dating back to the 1500s when sugar trade was the main industry in the region. The valley has many idle historic sugar plantations that are a reminder of the importance of sugar to the Cuban economy over the centuries. Slaves from Africa were essential in the operation of sugar plantations, as well as servants in the palatial homes of the owners. Today, due to the lack of investment in the industry, Cuba imports 60 percent of the sugar it consumes. Trinidad has a strong artisans community, including an outdoor market, well known for artisan works of woodcarvings and fine handmade lace, as well as ceramics, masks, and musical instruments.
While in Havana we’ll stay in the 5-star Hotel Parque Central in the heart of Old Havana, and while traveling to Playa Girón, Cienfuegos and Trinidad we’ll experience stays in upscale Cuban homes or casas particulares, with all the comfort and privacy of a hotel with a healthy dose of authenticity and warm hospitality. We’ll travel in comfort in a modern air-conditioned bus. Airport transfers included.
For more than 18 years, Ocean Doctor founder and president, Dr. David E. Guggenheim has dedicated his career to research and conservation efforts in Cuba to protect coral reef ecosystems, working in close collaboration with Cuban scientists, conservationists and citizens through Ocean Doctor’s Cuba Conservancy Program. His work has been featured on 60 Minutes, PBS NewHour, the New York Times among others. Joint work on marine science and conservation has been cited as one of the best examples of Cuba-U.S. collaboration and has been credited with helping to support diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between the two countries.
Since his first visit to Cuba in 2000, Dr. Guggenheim has visited the island more than 100 times and has been enchanted with the island’s natural wonders, its rich and vibrant cultural heritage, but most of all, by the warmth and spirit of the Cuban people.
We are inviting a small group (limited to 10) to join Dr. Guggenheim on an exclusive trip to visit some of Cuba’s most popular locales as well as some of its least known, the latter being Cuba’s Isle of Youth where Ocean Doctor has focused much of its work over the past few years.
Ocean Doctor’s award-winning educational travel experiences in Cuba are unique, providing participants with a rich, in-depth experience that draws from years of leading collaborative research and conservation work in Cuba. Participating in our educational programs provides participants with exclusive access to some of Cuba’s most important scientists, conservationists and community leaders, working tirelessly to help Cuba navigate profound change while protecting its natural and cultural heritage.
On this trip, we will also be led by expert Cuban tour guide, Jesús Noguera, founder of CubaCareo Tours
BOOK EARLY: Save $400 per traveler if we receive your deposit by April 22!
Price per person: $4,997 (double occupancy; $750 single supplement). Your travel supports our work as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. A portion of your travel fee is tax-deductible.
Included: Lodging; transportation (including airport transfer to/from Jose Martí Airport, Havana); meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner); 1 alcoholic drink per meal; Ocean Doctor guide; local guide; guest speakers; entrance fees; bottled water on bus
Not Included: Airfare to/from Cuba; Cuban visa; departure tax; ; Cuban visa, departure tax; Meals not on itinerary, 4 lunches and 3 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); alcoholic drinks in excess of one per meal; bottles of wine; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide(s), drivers(s) (optional, but customary and appreciated); travel insurance.
Air Transportation: Your air travel on a commercial carrier will be arranged from your home city to Havana by our Travel Service Provider, Marazul Charters. Marazul will also provide you with your Cuban visa.
Travel Insurance: Included in the price of your airline ticket is Cuban health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay. We recommend that you check with your own health insurance company regarding coverage while you are in Cuba. We recommend travel insurance for your trip, such as trip interruption, baggage delay, flight delay, etc. We recommend SquareMouth, an online comparison engine that allows you to compare more than 100 different travel insurance policies.