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Operator: SEE Turtles
Price From: TBA
Ideal Age Range: Suitable for Children (under 15), High School (15 to 18), 19 to 30, 31 to 50, Over 51
Fitness Needs: Light Impact
Program duration: 8 days
Trip Dates: 01-06-2017
Take part in a unique opportunity to explore the culture and natural wonders of Cuba with this sea turtle adventure. Wander around the streets of Havana, enjoy traditional music, and even take a dance lesson! This trip includes the chance to meet Dr. Julia Azanza, the head of the Guanahacabibes program and Dr. Patricia Gonzalez, a coral biologist at the University of Havana for some insight into Cuba’s ecosystems.
This adventure will thrill you as you visit turtle nesting sites to monitor and possibly see hatchlings at the Guanahacabibes National Park. Then, later enjoy exciting excursions as you explore caves, help measure turtles, and explore exquisite coral reefs with snorkel or diving excursions.
Photo credit: Brad Nahill, Sergio Romero Torras, Rene Perez Massola
Arrive on the first day to Havana and we will have an airport pickup arranged depending on when the group arrives. Allow plenty of time to come through customs and pick up your baggage (this can take a long time in Cuba).
The first night, the group will meet at the hotel for an orientation and dine together at one of Havana’s excellent paladars, a restaurant run by local residents in former residences. Overnight at Hotel Copacabana, a mid-level hotel in downtown Havana.
After breakfast, meet up with your guide for a presentation on Cuban ecology. Then board the private, air-conditioned bus to make the 5 hour drive to the Maria La Gorda resort, where you will be staying for the next 4 nights.
Along the way, you’ll stop in the city of Pinar del Rio for lunch and view the beautiful countryside, one of the main tobacco growing regions of the country. After you arrive and settle in, you’ll have a buffet dinner and then an orientation meeting to learn about the work done on the beach. Rest up tonight for the long nights on the beach ahead. Overnight at Hotel Maria La Gorda (4 nights).
On the first day, we will have a group birding activity in the park after breakfast. The park has some extraordinary birds that can be seen including the bee hummingbird (the world’s smallest bird), the pygy owl, the Cuban trogon, and more.
That afternoon and the rest of the week, you can explore the park's marine ecology by snorkeling or diving excursions into the local coral reefs (costs not included). There are generally 2 snorkeling and 3 diving options per day or you can choose to snorkel right from the beach in front of the hotel. Each evening, the group will go to the nesting beach to look for nesting turtles (45 min - 1 hour drive each way).
Once you find a turtle, you will help local staff collect data including measuring, tagging, and marking the nests.
After breakfast, there will be time for one more excursion to explore the park's coral reefs. We will then board the bus to return to Havana and have lunch on the way. Arrive to the city late afternoon with some time to explore the city's incredible culture.
Enjoy dinner on the town at one of the city's great paladars (dinner this night not included) and then see some live music at a jazz club or the Art Factory, a unique art museum/night club with live performances. Overnight at the Hotel Copacabana (2 nights).
Today, you’ll explore one of the world’s most fascinating cities. Attend a presentation by an architecture expert and then take a walking tour of Old Havana to see the restored squares and churches. After lunch, visit one of Havana’s great museums and then attend a private concert by one of Cuba’s best bands, Mezcla at their home.
Dinner will be at La Casa, a fabulous third generation paladar. After dinner, enjoy more Cuban music on the town or rest up for the trip home.
Head to the airport in plenty of time for your flight (we recommend at least 3 hours as the process sometimes takes longer than most airports).
Or extend your stay and explore other parts of the country.
|Population||11,238,317 (2014 census)|
|Climate(s)||Tropical Savanna, Monsoon, Rainforest|
|Major Airport(s):||Jose Marti Airport (HAV), Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport (VRA), Frank Pais (HOG), Abel Santamaria Airport (SNU)|
|Economic Driver(s):||Agriculture, Energy, Tourism, Industry, Foreign Investment & Trade.|