You will go back in time to an island rooted in culture and history, where the people are as warm and welcoming as the climate. Cruise through Cuba during 8 days aboard Panorama on a State Department approved "People to People" program that takes you to a country which has been closed to Americans for half a century. You'll explore the western portion of the island, famous for its culture, music, warm people and art.
Cienfuegos, Cuba *
Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba. Near the entrance to Bahia de Cienfuegos is Castillo de Jagua, a fortress erected in the 1745 for protection against Caribbean pirates.
Cienfuegos, one of the chief seaports of Cuba, is a center of the sugar trade, as well as coffee and tobacco. While sugarcane is the chief crop, local farmers grow coffee.
There is no other place in the Caribbean which contains such a remarkable cluster of Neoclassical structures.
Attractions include parks, plazas, museums and castles used to guard against pirates. There is a dolphin and sea lion lagoon and a botanical garden.
Casilda (Trinidad), Cuba
Casilda is a Cuban village and seaside resort in the municipality of Trinidad with superb beaches. What brought Casilda on the map was colonials from Spain exploiting the land for sugar.
Isla de la Juventud, Cuba
Little is known of the pre-Columbian history of the Juventudisland, though a cave complex near the Punta del Este beach preserves 235 ancient drawings made by the native population.
Pirate activity in and around the area left its trace in English literature. Both Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie are rooted in part on accounts of the island and its native and pirate inhabitants, as well as long dugout canoes and the great American crocodile on the island.
Much of the island is covered in pine forests, which is the source of the island's large lumber industry. The northern region of the island has low ridges from which marble is quarried, while the southern region is an elevated plain. Agriculture and fishing are the island's main industries, with citrus fruit and vegetables being grown. A black sand beach was formed by volcanic activity.
Maria la Gorda, Cuba
Maria la Gorda is in Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba. It is mostly synonymous with the diving camp that is situated there. The entire settlement consists of a hotel, diving center, small shop, sandy beach and 2 restaurants. However, even if you are not a diver, it is a nice place to spend a night.
Diving is the main activity. Snorkeling trips go out with every change of tide.
Havana, Cuba *
Havana is the center of the Cuban government, and various ministries and headquarters of businesses are based there.
The current Havana area and its natural bay were first visited by Europeans during Sebastián de Ocampo's circumnavigation of the island in 1509. Shortly thereafter, in 1510, the first Spanish colonists arrived from Hispaniola and began the conquest of Cuba.
Shortly after the founding of Cuba's first cities, the island served as little more than a base for the Conquista of other lands.
Havana was originally a trading port, and suffered regular attacks by buccaneers, pirates, and French corsairs.
Under American influence, the city saw a new era of development. Numerous residencies, luxury hotels, casinos and nightclubs were constructed since the 1930s to serve Havana's burgeoning tourist industry, strongly reviling Miami.
There was a severe economic downturn after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and with it the end of the billions of dollars in subsidies the Soviet Union gave the Cuban government.
Neo-classical, Baroque, and colonial archiecture can be found throughout the island. The influence from different styles and cultures can be seen in Havana's colonial architecture, with a diverse range of Moorish, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Roman.
There are diverse museums, clubs and beaches for tourists to enjoy.
Havana -Disembark and transfer to airport for Miami