Cuba Sea Turtle Adventure
Join us for a unique exploration of Cuba! Travel to Guanahacabibes National Park, the island's westernmost point to look for green sea turtles and swim crystal blue waters. You'll meet local experts, explore Havana, and visit a beautiful rural community.
This trip run between Oceanic Society and SEE Turtles. Profits from this trip will help to save at least 500 hatchlings at a turtle nesting beach per participant.
2017 Dates: July 15 - 23
Price: $4,535 per person double occupancy ($500 to register)
Includes: Bilingual guide, private transportation, accommodations, meals, activities, and a donation to turtle conservation.
Excludes: Airfare to Havana, airport exit tax ($25), personal items, and tips for the guide/driver.
- This trip is open to American citizens through a "People to People" license given by the US State Department to our partners. It's also open to citizens of other countries.
- Minimum recommended age is 12 years old, under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.
- Group size is limited to 16 people maximum.
- Private tours and visits and short-term volunteer opportunities are not available at this time.
- This trip can be done as a student field trip.
- Single supplement is $875 (we can try to match up individuals with others of the same sex to avoid the fee).
CONTACT US to:
- Register by phone or mail
- Ask a question
- Request more information
DAY 1: ARRIVE TO HAVANA
Meet your guides at the airport and head to the historic Hotel Nacional in Havana. That afternoon, meet for an orientation and welcome cocktail and have a welcome dinner at San Cristobal, one of Havana's great paladars (privately-owned restaurants in private homes). Overnight at the Hotel Nacional (2 nights).
DAY 2: HAVANA EXPLORATION
After breakfast, meet with a Cuban architect to learn about the incredible diversity of Havana's buildings and then take a walking tour of Old Havana to see the beautiful restored squares and historic churches and other buildings. After lunch, you'll visit some of Havana's fantastic museums, including the well-known Fine Arts museum. There will be down time to relax before dinner at another wonderful paladar.
DAY 3: HAVANA & VINALES WORLD HERITAGE SITE
This morning, you will receive a presentation from the Fundacion Antonio Nuñez Jimenez, a Cuban organization that promotes sustainable development. Later, you'll board your bus for a 2 hour drive to Viñales Valley, Cuba’s renowned tobacco growing area surrounded by “mogotes,” enormous isolated rock formations that afford some of the most scenic views on the island.
You'll have lunch at a wonderful organic farm with a great view of the valley and then have time to walk in the charming town. That evening after dinner at the hotel, you'll attend a welcome party organized by a local town committee, where there will be dancing and snacks. Overnight at Hotel La Ermita (1 night).
DAY 4: TO GUANAHACABIBES
After breakfast, join your guide for a walk around the beautiful valley to learn about it's unique geography. Enjoy lunch at the impressive Mural of Prehistory and then board your bus for the 3 hour drive to Guanahacabibes National Park. You'll arrive late that afternoon and check in to your room at the Villa Maria La Gorda Resort (3 nights). After dinner, the group will receive a presentation from turtle biologist Dr. Julia Azanza, who will talk about turtle research program in the park that you will be visiting.
DAY 5: PARK EXPLORATION
This morning, after buffet breakfast at the resort, you'll join a park ranger to look for some of the unique bird life of the park, including the world's smallest bird, the bee hummingbird (which is surprisingly easy to see), and many other species. In the afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to snorkel in one of the park's reefs. Around 9 pm, we will head over to the beach to look for turtles coming ashore and observe the nesting process as the researchers collect data. While this is not a volunteer-oriented trip, some members of the group may be able to participate in the data collection.
DAY 6: SNORKELING & TURTLE RESEARCH
Today, there will be 2 opportunities to snorkel the park's coral reefs, before and after lunch. Take a boat out to one of the deeper reefs or explore the area around the resort's beach. Tonight will be another opportunity to visit the nesting beach to look for green turtles (and occasionally loggerheads).
DAY 7: RETURN TO HAVANA
After breakfast, we will board the bus to return to Havana, stopping for lunch along the way. The group will check in to the Hotel Nacional and have some time explore the fascinating history of this beautiful hotel. That evening will be a dinner a paladar and then head out on the town to see Cuban music at the famous Zorro y Cuervo jazz club or visit the unique Art Factory for music and other forms of art (entrance fees not included). Overnight at the Hotel Nacional (2 nights).
DAY 8: HAVANA EXPLORATION
After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, board the bus and head out of town to visit the former home of Ernest Hemingway (make sure to check out his great boat!). Next you'll visit El Divino, a unique organic farm and community outreach program, where you'll also eat lunch. In the late afternoon, we will be treated to a private rooftop concert by Grupo Mezcla to learn about different genres of music in Cuba today with world class musicians. Dinner will be at La Casa, a wonderful third-generation paladar for a multi-course meal.
DAY 9: DEPARTURE
You will be taken to the airport in time for your connecting flight home. Take your memories, pictures, and souvenirs home with you to remember this unique adventure.
Is This Trip Right For Me?
Cuba is a unique destination, which has both positives and negatives. This trip includes much time spent time outside, which means some activities are dependent on weather and there can be significant bugs in this area. The trip also involves a lot of time on the private bus, including a 5 hour drive each way to Guanahacabibes and about an hour each way from the resort to the nesting beach each evening, which results in late nights (arriving back to the resort as late as 2 am some nights).
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Photo credits: Brad Nahill/SEE Turtles, Fernando Bretos/Cuba Marine Research and Conservation