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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Announces Cuba by Land and Sea


Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders a Curated People-to-People Program

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic has announced Cuba by Land and Sea: Cultural Heritage and Natural Wonders, a 10-night people-to-people program that combines extraordinary people-to-people visits that capture the country's vibrant cultures and political history, with exploring Cuba's remarkable natural history and pristine marine habitats. The first program departs December 7, 2016, with 16 consecutive departures through March 2017.

The well-curated people-to-people exploration begins with a three-night stay at the historic Hotel Nacional, a Havana landmark on the waterfront. Guests will have a rich menu of options to see, do learn and engage, meeting Cubans and exploring the many cultural experiences—history, art, architecture, music, dance, and even the iconic cigar and car subcultures—this great capital has to offer.

The people-to-people program will then take to the sea for a seven-night voyage that will combine cultural exchanges with natural history as it explores Cuba's southern coast aboard Panorama ll, the gracious 44-guest sail cruiser.

Cuba's unspoiled reefs and marine life have been little explored, and remain in an excellent state of preservation. Along the way, guests will learn about these pristine places from the Cuban conservationists who have made studying them their life's work.

Highlights of the people-to-people land and sea program include:
Gain an understanding of Cuba's history and present through extensive people-to-people visits in the great cities of Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos, and explore the treasure trove that is Cuba's colonial architecture.
Explore Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) Marine Park*, a place of incredible importance to the marine ecology of Cuba and the world, in the company of the researchers working to protect them. Go snorkeling, or opt to scuba dive (additional cost) to encounter some of the greatest diversity of intact corals, fish and other creatures found anywhere. (See Sven Lindblad's video of his dive there.) Hike on the islands to look for ospreys, frigate birds, spoonbills, pelicans, and more.
Discuss conservation efforts and spot rich birdlife, such as the Cuban trogon and the bee hummingbird (the smallest bird in the world), with local naturalists at the Zapata Swamp National Park. Cross to the Cuban Keys to meet with researchers at a sea turtle breeding center and endangered species protection program at Cayo Largo del Sur.
Visit the Bay of Pigs*, where exiles landed in 1961 in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government, and meet with Cuban nationals who will discuss what transpired and its meaning to Cubans.
Experience Cuba's celebrated music tradition including a musical outing in Havana with a chance to meet with locals; a people-to-people visit with musicians and singers, young and old, in Cienfuegos; and a presentation and exchange with the internationally known, award-winning Cienfuegos Choir.
Enjoy several meals in some of Havana's best paladares, or privately owned restaurants, which have developed a deserved reputation for innovative cuisine.

*Note: our visits to the Gardens of the Queen and the Bay of Pigs are pending permission from Cuban officials.

In addition to our extensive people-to-people program, guests will learn from Lindblad's expert onboard team of naturalists, cultural specialists and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified Photo Instructor – all dedicated to sharing their passion and knowledge.

Rates begin at AUD $11,880 per person based on double occupancy in a category 1 cabin. For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit expeditions.com, call 1300 361 012 (AU), 0800 444 462 (NZ) or contact your travel agent.


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