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2025 Culture, Nature, & Birding Tour of Cuba

Custom WBU itinerary designed for an 8 or 12-day tour

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Heather and Shelley Weber, Colorado Springs, Wild Birds Unlimited

Mariah Travel, LLC is delighted to present our Culture, Nature & Birding tour of Cuba. Cuba is a vibrant tapestry of experiences! Whether it's the captivating rhythms, the aroma of cigar smoke in the air, the gracefully weathered Baroque architecture, or simply the warm hospitality and charm of its people, Cuba leaves an indelible mark on every visitor.

 

Mariah Travel is licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to organize and conduct legal People-to-People travel to Cuba. A copy of the license is included with each registration. These exclusive tours engage participants with the warm beautiful people of Cuba along with a strong emphasis on culture and nature. You will experience Cuba in a most personal way, through the eyes of the Cubans. We meet with local biologists and naturalists as we visit reserves and other nature areas where Cuban endemic species as well as specialty bird species are located.

 

Our guides are the best in Cuba. By partnering with the Natural History Museum of Cuba and the University of Havana, we have access to historians, biologists, master birders, educators, and researchers that know the best of Cuba.

 

Program inspiration, concept and design is modeled on similar international natural history trips organized by Mariah Travel, LLC – voted “One of North America’s Best Wildlife Tour Companies” by the National Wildlife Federation.

Available Dates for 2025, January through May

*Each tour is custom designed exclusively for WBU.

Example Daily Itinerary - Each tour is custom designed for WBU!

 

DAY 1: Arrive Havana!

•  Arrive Jose Marti International Airport, retrieve baggage, clear customs.

•  Meet with a Mariah Travel representative and transfer to Habana Vieja.

•  Informal introduction to Cuba and an overview of the week’s activities.

•  Welcome dinner at a local Paladar (private restaurant – included)

•  Overnight at La Posada de Chacon or similar.

 

DAY 2: Havana Walking Tour & Museum Visits

• Breakfast included at the casa.

• Walking tour of Habana Vieja with EAC’s Cuban guide, visiting the four historic plazas.

• Lunch on your own at one of the excellent local paladares (private restaurant).

• Visit the Museum of Natural History*. The Museum highlights a unique collection of Cuba’s endemic species, including the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird or Zunzuncito. 

• Depending on schedule, visit to Ernest Hemingway’s Finca Virga

• Visit with local Cubans to discuss their art, music, cars, etc. Afternoon free to explore.

• Dinner on your own at one of the excellent local paladares.

• Overnight at La Posada de Chacon or similar.

 

DAY 3: Las Terrazas, Vinales Valley and the Sierra de los Organos

• Breakfast included at the casa.

• Morning departure to Las Terrazas eco-community west of Havana. Observe the successful Cuban land restoration project originated during the Castro administration. A local ecologist-guide will join the group and present an overview of the area. Wonderful birding opportunities.

• Lunch at Casa del Campesino on the banks of the Río San Juan. (included)

• Dinner on your own at one of the excellent local paladares

• Overnight: Casa particular located in Las Terrazas or Soroa.

DAY 4: Birding Vinales Valley and return to Havana

• Early breakfast included at the casa.

• Continue to the Vinales Valley in the Sierra de los Organos mountains for an introduction to Cuba’s natural history and endemic bird species by our local guide.

• Enjoy birding in the Viñales Valley where over 130 bird species have been reported.

• Lunch on your own at one of the excellent local paladares (private restaurant).

• Explore the town of Vinales and interact and support the Cuban people.

• Dinner on your own at one of the excellent local paladares.

• Overnight: Villa La Terrazas, Vinales or similar.

DAY 5: Playa Larga and Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata

• Breakfast included at the casa.

• Departure to Playa Larga - Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) Approx. 4.5-hour drive.

• Lunch on your own at one of the excellent local paladares (private restaurant).

• Meet your guide and a departure to Zapata Swamp, Ciénaga de Zapata, located on the Zapata Peninsula in the southern Matanzas province of Cuba. This area is over 6,000 km² and is the largest protected area in Cuba, and in the Caribbean. The swamp, known for its size and

diversity, was designated as a “Wetland of International Importance” in 2001. Home to many of Cuba’s endemic, enjoy an afternoon of incredible birding.

• Dinner on your own at one of the excellent local paladares. Your guide will have recommendations.

• Overnight: Casa Ana Birding or Casa Zuleida & Vinola in Playa Larga

 

ZAPATA’S BIRDS

The Zapata Peninsula is undoubtedly the premier bird watching area in Cuba, and arguably across the entire Caribbean region. It is home to all but three of Cuba’s 23 avian endemics, as well as numerous other native species, including winter residents, transients, and various summer and spring visitors. Over 260 bird species have been documented in this remarkable area.

 

DAY 6: Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata

• Breakfast included at the casa.

• Meet your guide and depart to several of the “hotspots” (see above) and enjoy a day of incredible birding.

• Box-lunch picnic in the field.

• Dinner on your own at one of the excellent local paladares.

• Overnight: Casa Ana Birding, or Casa Zuleida & Vinola, Playa Larga

 

DAY 7: Cienfuegos and Trinidad

• Breakfast included at the casa.

• Travel along the Southern Caribbean Coast of Cuba to Trinidad.

• Explore Cienfuegos and the beauty of the architecture and gardens.

• Lunch on your own at one of the excellent local paladares (private restaurant).

• In Trinidad, tour of the town and the breathtaking Valle de los Ingenios.

• Dinner on your own at one of the many excellent paladar restaurants.

• Later, dance the night away at the Casa de Musica.

• Overnight: Casa Yahima y Ariel, Trinidad

 

DAY 8: Havana, Museum of the Revolution, Musical Evening!

• Breakfast included at the casa.

• Depart for Havana, arriving early afternoon. 

• Lunch on your own at one of the excellent local paladares (private restaurant).

• Time permitting,  visit to the Museum of the Revolution for a look into the mission of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and the turning point for Cuba and her people.  

• Optional dinner and a musical evening with the world-famous Buena Vista Social Club or the Tropicana Cabaret, running continuously since 1933!

• Overnight: La Posada de Chacon or similar.

 

DAY 9: Adios Cuba! I'm certain you'll return soon...

• Breakfast included at the casa.

• Depart for Jose Marti Airport for flight home.

 

COST 8-Day Tour:  $2495 per person/double occupancy

                                  *One WBU Staff Travels Free with 6 fully paid travelers! 

                                                *Airfare not included.

                                  $500 single supplement.

 

Included in cost:

• Cuba accommodations in casa particulars (privately owned lodging)

• Airport R/T transfers, transportation to areas in itinerary

• Professional English-speaking Cuban guide services

• Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

• Entrance fees for museums and exhibits  

• Department of Treasury, OFAC license and authorization letter for legal Cuba travel.

   OFAC Cuba License No. CT-2013-305326-2

• Mandatory Cuban medical insurance

 

Not included in cost:

• Cuba Travel Visa (Mariah Travel will apply for the visas)

• Airfare to Havana (Mariah will assist with arranging the best flights)

• Lodging or meals in Miami or departure city

• Meals in Cuba other than as listed as included in itinerary

• Any personal items

• Transportation other than mentioned in itinerary

• Alcohol beverages other than what is included with meals. Most lunch and dinner meals include a choice of wine, beer, mojito, or Cuba Libre.

• Gratuities for guide(s), wait staff, baggage assistance, housekeeping, etc.

            Visit for more information https://www.mariahtravel.com/planning

 

• Travel cancellation insurance (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) *

            *Mariah Travel works with USI Travel Insurance Services with no add-on costs.

https://www.mariahtravel.com/travel-insurance

 

PLEASE NOTE: US Passports MUST be valid for 6 months after your arrival date to Cuba

 

This itinerary is subject to change and probably will. Cuba is a wonderful country with beautiful people and natural/cultural beauty, however sometimes things simply do not go as planned. Flexibility and patience are key.

 

Viva Cuba!

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