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Lindblad-National Geographic unveil Cuba land/sea programs

Lindblad-National Geographic unveil Cuba land/sea programs
Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic outlined a 10-night people-to-people land and sea program that explores Cuba's cultures and political history, nature and pristine marine habitats. The first tour is scheduled for Dec. 7, with 16 consecutive departures through March 2017.

The program begins with a three-night stay at the historic Hotel Nacional, a landmark on Havana's waterfront. Travelers will get to meet Cubans and explore history, art, architecture, music, dance and the iconic cigar and car subcultures.

The program will then take to the sea for a seven-night cruise that combines cultural exchanges with natural history along Cuba’s southern coast aboard Panorama ll, the 44-passenger sail cruiser. Passengers will learn about unspoiled reefs and other pristine places from Cuban conservationists.

Tour highlights include learning about Cuban history and the present through extensive people-to-people visits in Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos, exploring colonial architecture and, pending Cuban approval, Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) Marine Park, where passengers will travel in the company of researchers and can snorkel, scuba dive or go on a birdwatching hike.

Travelers will be able to learn about 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. They'll 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.

Other highlights include a visit to the Bay of Pigs, where exiles landed in 1961 in an attempt to overthrow the government, and a meeting with Cuban nationals who will discuss what transpired and its meaning to Cubans.

Musical outings are featured in Havana, and during a people-to-people visit with musicians and singers, young and old, in Cienfuegos during a presentation and exchange with the internationally known, award-winning Cienfuegos Choir.

Several meals will be served in some of Havana’s best paladares, or privately owned restaurants.

In addition to the extensive people-to-people program, Lindblad travelers will be able to learn from the company's expert on-board team of naturalists, cultural specialists and a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor.

Rates begin at $9,550 per person, double occupancy.