Havana to Cienfuegos: Eight-Day Cuba People to People Program Aboard the S/C Panorama

8 days - Havana to Cienfuegos
8 days - Havana to Cienfuegos

It has never been so easy to go back in time to a place rooted in culture and history. Where the people are as warm and welcoming as the climate. Circumnavigate Cuba during 8 days aboard the S/C Panorama on a people to people program that allows you to step back in time to a country that been closed to Americans for half a century. You'll explore the western part of the island nation famous for its culture, music, warm people and art.

Itinerary Information


  • Saturday

    Day 1

    Miami/Havana - Depart from Miami International Airport on your short flight to Cuba. Arrival. Meeting and assistance. Enjoy a panoramic bus tour of Havana and welcome lunch at a local palador (privately owned restaurant) in the heart of Old Havana. Here you will have a chance to engage with some local artists and craftsmen. After lunch, take an optional tour of the National Museum of Fine Arts or just simply relax before our People to People visit of “Hammel,” a street cultural project. Continue to the Cruise Ship Terminal to embark the Participate in a mandatory emergency boat drill followed by a Welcome Orientation and briefing by your Group IST Program Manager. In the evening, depart for the El Guajirito and a fascinating People to People exchange with artists from the Buena Vista Social Club followed by a late dinner at the site. Return to the S/C Panorama for overnight

  • Sunday

    Day 2

    Havana -Breakfast will be onboard. Depart for a full day excursion to the province of “Artemisa”. Drive by bus to the UNESCO –designated Biosphere Reserve region and the intentional/eco-community of “Las Terrazas” in the mountainous area, “Sierra del Rosario”. Visit local cooperative community in a rural area where a spokesperson will introduce us to different people and the challenges that they face while relying less on the government and trying to generate income by being more entreprenurial. Meet with people that turned their private kitchen into cooking for guests and tourists generating income for the community and themselves. Local artists, local home coffee shop and other professionals are helping the community go through a major change. Return to Havana. In the late afternoon stroll around Havana Vieja (Old Havana) with a local guide followed by free time. Dinner onboard the S/C Panorama Return to the S/C Panorama for overnight

  • Monday

    Day 3

    Havana - After an early onboard breakfast, disembark for a people to people exchange with dancers, musicians and performers of the Havana Compas Dance Group. Visit the Community Cultural Project of Quisicuaba and participate in an exchange about religion and Afro-Cuban culture in Cuba The name of this project, "Quisicuaba," comes partly from the name of free blacks who originally came from the southern part of Angolan Basin in the 16th century. The goal of the project is to restore the traditional folk culture by taking into consideration the cultural, spiritual, and material needs of the people who live there. Here you can discuss how African religions and traditions influenced the culture of Cuba. . Around noon, return to the boat. Enjoy a Panoramic Cruise and a Welcome Cocktail as sail out of Havana Bay. In the late afternoon our local guide will talk about everyday life in Cuba which will be followed by a question and answer exchange. Dinner onboard the S/C Panorama at sea and sailing to Maria La Gorda.

  • Tuesday

    Day 4

    Maria La Gorda - Breakfast will be onboard followed by disembarkation via tenders and a visit to the community of La Bajada. Visit “Guanahacabibes” National Park, one of the country’s largest nature reserves on the westernmost tip of the island. Meet with the naturalists and locals. The peninsula was one of the last refuges of aboriginals fleeing from the Spanish conquistadors and also holds some 140 archeological sites linked to the life of aborigines, who were known as Guanahatabeyes. Visit with professionals. Continue to the Meteorological Center and exchange about forecasting and dealing with tropical storms and hurricanes before visiting at the local “Honey House” and the exchange about beekeeping and honey production. Lunch today will be a BBQ on the beach with some time for a swim before returning to the boat. Dinner and overnight onboard the S/C Panorama at sea sailing for Cayo Largo.

  • Wednesday

    Day 5

    Cayo Largo - Disembark in the late morning as we head toward our People to People activities and exchanges about Cuban Sports, Culture and mass communication by experts in those fields. The island is comprised of limestone, formed over millions of years from the remains of marine organisms, much like the ones that form coral reefs. Visit the local clinic to discuss the medical system in Cuba with a local doctor. Visit a Sea Turtle Breeding Center and Endangered Species Protection program and the Avalon Fly Fishing Center. After a late lunch at Cayo Rico-Virgin Key, enjoy some snorkeling Return to the S/C Panorama for dinner and departure for Casilda/Trinidad.

  • Thursday

    Day 6

    Trinidad - After a relaxed breakfast onboard it’s time to depart on our excursion to Trinidad. A meticulously well-preserved Spanish colonial city, with its rich architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas it is sometimes referred to as the “museum city of Cuba.” This morning we will walk through the town with a representative of the Office of the City Historian interacting with residents along the way. There will be stops for visits to local artists, young women artists who, through their art are raising the status of women, then continue to home studios, the Museum Romantico or the Architecture Museum. Enjoy lunch in this most picturesque city In the afternoon, there will be free time to walk around this classic colonial town and for individual exchanges. Dinner and overnight onboard the S/C Panorama Set sail for Cienfuegos.

  • Friday

    Day 7

    Cienfuegos – Enjoy breakfast onboard before disembarking for our visit to Cienfuegos. Located about 250 km from Havana on the Southern tip of Cuba, this city is the only one in Cuba to be founded by French settlers. It is also known as the Pearl of the South. In 2005 the historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Among buildings of particular interest are the Government Palace (City Hall), San Lorenzo School, the Bishopric, the Ferrer Palace, the former lyceum, and some residential houses. Cienfuegos is the first, and an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble representing the new ideas of modernity, hygiene and order in urban planning as developed in Latin America from the 19th century.” Before lunch participate in a walking tour of the city center with a specialist then visit the Graphic Arts Workshop where there will be discussions and interchanges with local artists. Return to the S/C Panorama for lunch Lunch will be at a local restaurant. We’ll engage with the musicians, young and old and enjoy a presentation and exchange with the Chorus of Cienfuegos followed by dance classes at the Hotel Jagua. Dinner onboard the S/C Panorama Overnight onboard the S/C Panorama in Cienfuegos.

  • Saturday

    Day 8

    Cienfuegos/Miami - After breakfast onboard, depart via bus to the airport for the return flight to Miami.


Trip Highlights:

  • People-to-People interaction and meaningful exchanges with locals
  • Meals onboard, at local restaurants and a salsa lesson or two
  • Old Havana and the renovation of it’s historic architecture
  • Guanahacabibes National Park and its 140 archeological sites
  • Cayo Largo, a limestone island of mangroves and salt pans
  • Trinidad, the meticulously well-preserved Spanish colonial city
  • Cienfuegos, the Pearl of the South, with it’s cluster of Neoclassical structures
  • No packing & unpacking to change hotels
  • Includes all meals from arrival in Cuba to breakfast on day of departure, mandatory Cuban medical insurance and transportation as per itinerary
*Note on Cuba prices: Port taxes of $395 per person not included in prices shown.
Weekly Saturday departures December 19, 2015 through April 2, 2016. Ports of call vary slightly on the reverse itinerary; see both full itineraries for complete details.
Group IST has been issued a license (#CT-2014-309395-1) by the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) authorizing us to organize and operate People to People programs to Cuba.