Cuba - West 8 nights


Day 1:  Arrival to Guanahacabibes National Park

After landing in Jose Marti, Havana Airport participants are escorted directly through the remote jungle to the western most point of Cuba. Situated in this UNESCO Biosphere reserve, Guanahacabibes peninsula is where participants will invest their energy and time alongside the local marine park biology team, Cuban marine professionals and local village residents to propel hope in action.

  • Arrive Havana Jose Marti Airport by 2pm
  • Transfer to Guanahcabibes Peninsula directly from Havana arrive around 8:30pm
  • orientation and instruction about Cuban culture, the Jurassic, and rural farming environment as well as preparation for your guided marine monitoring project over the next few days. (included) about 5.5 hours drive time
  • Upon arrival, check in & attend marine conservation briefing with local Cuban Marine Professionals & Instructors: (1 hour meeting)
  • Buffet Dinner (included) 1 hour
  • Resort Accommodation – double occupancy, air conditioned (included)

Day 2: Effects of Invasive Species & Community Engagement

Learn about invasive lionfish, the damage they cause to reefs. Participants learn about programs designed to target these fish that reduce the number of native reef by 79% in 5 weeks and release up to 30,000 eggs every 4 days.  Learn how to spot and quantify lionfish during aquatic immersions in the Guanahacabibes Marine Park. Then, enjoy an evening of meaningful engagement centered on marine conservation and direct support including humanitarian donations for the Cuban people of La Bajada village including beach cleanup supplies, art supplies and basic items.

  • Breakfast (included) & Lionfish Presentation 1 hour
  • Two tank guided immersion – lionfish small group teams with Cuban Marine Professionals (included) 4 hours
  • Lunch (included) 1 hour
    One tank guided immersion & marine ecosystems discovery (2 hours)
  • Conservation presentation by Dr. Dorka’s team – overview of National Park Ecology 1 hour

Marine Professionals & Instructors: (1 hour meeting)

  • Buffet Dinner (included) 1 hour
  • Resort Accommodation – double occupancy, air conditioned (included)

Day 3:  Conserving Coral amid Climate Change

Monitor the remote coral walls that inspired the ground-breaking conservation agreement between the Tampa Bay Florida Aquarium and Cuba’s National Aquarium in Havana. By studying Cuba’s

healthy reefs, the Florida Aquarium hopes to learn ways of bringing back the Sunshine State’s coral. Their partnership has established a new coral nursery in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Guanahacabibes Peninsula National Park. The Florida Aquarium provided the structures and know-how and taught the entire process to Havana aquarium.

Participants learn from Dr. Dorka’s team about growing & planting staghorn coral as well as how to clean and maintain the structure.  Teams will clean the structures using the technique taught by Dr. Dorka.

  • Breakfast (included)& Coral Nursery Presentation 1 hour
  • two tank guided coral wall immersions 4 hours
  • Lunch (included) 1 hour
  • One tank guided immersion & coral nursery maintenance 2 hours
  • Dinner (included) 1 hour
  • Resort Accommodation: double occupancy, air conditioned (included)

Day 4:  Community Coastal Cleanup

This program raises awareness about the impact of plastic pollution, influences social change by encouraging participants to avoid single use plastics and to actively remove plastics from dive sites and beaches in Guanahacabibes National Marine Park alongside local Cuban villages including La Bajada.

  • Breakfast (included) & Plastics Pollution Presentation 1 hour
  • Two tank guided immersion & dive site trash collection using Project AWARE Foundation’s underwater mesh bags. Small teams will work together with Cuban Marine Professionals (included) 4 hours
  • Lunch (included) 1 hour
  • Afternoon coastal beach cleanup with local village residents
  • Dinner (included) 1 hour
  • Resort Accommodation: double occupancy, air conditioned (included)

Day: 5  Mangrove Habitat Exploration

Depending on the season participants will have the opportunity to learn from the local biologist about the coastal environment and endemic animals to Guanahacibibes peninsula and also participate in guided exploration (on foot or bicycle)

  • Breakfast (included)
  • Sea Turtle nesting, migration or mangrove habitat conservation presentation1 hour (SEASONAL)
  • Two tank guided immersion (4 hours)
  • Lunch (included)
  • Optional ecological guided hike/trek led by biologist team or evening visit to sea turtle nesting with marine biology team to monitor nests, quantity of eggs/ hatch-lings  (Turtle season – mid July – mid August only)
  • Farewell Dinner (included) 2 hours
  • Resort Accommodation: double occupancy, air conditioned (included)

Day 6:  Sustainable Tobacco Farming

Spend the afternoon & directly benefit a privately owned, world renowned tobacco farm and enjoy the ecological lecture to see how farming WITHOUT pesticides leads to healthier oceans such as in Guanahacabibes – No chemical run-off!  Learn why cigar aficionado experts have awarded this farm top recognition in the cigar industry for its tobacco– sold to Cohiba and Montecristo brands.  Learn how many leaves are maintained PER plant, see how they are dried, rotated and aged. Watch them hand-roll the cigars by private locals who’ve mastered and passed down this art through the generations. Understand this peculiar blend of entrepreneurship despite socialism as the manager explains their supply chain, business practices and operations. Enjoy a traditional Cuban lunch & engage with local children through a conservation themed play & live music. Donations to these families are a part of engagement – including medicines, art supplies, and other useful items.

  • Breakfast (included) 1 hour
  • TRANSFER to Pinar del Rio (included) 2 hours
  • Paladar Private Lunch & Tobacco Farming lecture (included) 2.5 hours
  • TRANSFER to Havana 3-4 hours
  • Dinner in Havana (included)
  • Privately owned B&B, Casa Particular (home stay) double occupancy (air conditioned) (included)

Day 7:  Welcome to Havana!

Engage in heart-warming, meaningful educational exchanges in private homes & restaurants while directly supporting the Cuban civil society of private business owners. Visit a local Cuban school convocation while also bringing much needed school supplies. Gain understanding and insight into the history and the revolution with English-speaking guides, certified in Cuban history while strolling through the capitol. Learn about Spanish, Russian, African and American influences that mingle together in mish-mashed, architectural styles.

See the influence of the Catholic church, the San Cristobal. Stroll through Plaza de las Armas’ second-hand book market.

  • Humanitarian visit to local school convocation & optional school supply donations 1 hour
  • Breakfast meeting with local Cuban entrepreneur (included) 1 hour

  • Walking tour of Old Havana & discussions with certified guides on the architecture and history of the city (included) 3 hours
  • Paladar private restaurant lunch in ecological forest reserve in Havana proper. Meet the owner to learn about how he started this new private business in tightly regulated Habana with private labyrinth gardens (included) 2 hours
  • Dinner in Havana (included) 2 hours
  • Privately owned B&B, Casa Particular (home stay) double occupancy (air conditioned) (included)

Day 8:  Communication via Art

Explore art mediums of painting, tile, sculpture, and music to absorb Cuban creativity in transforming an old water tower dump into a local community center.  Run wholly by private citizens using the revenue they earn by offering art, music and classes.

Then, explore the rustic neighborhood of Jaimanitas that’s been transformed by local private artist, Jose Fuster. Meander through his uplifting style tile mosaics and see how his determination improved the economic situation of all his neighbors. Enjoy a private lunch in his family’s home.

The culmination of your humanitarian-environmental trip includes a private antique car ride throughout old Havana with your own cuentapropista (entrepreneur /owner). Discuss how his privately-run business thrives amidst socialism as you reflect on all those meaningful exchanges that will transform your heart and renew your soul.   Enjoy the diversity of culinary experiences in the private paladar restaurant, where you’ll talk with the founding Chef about their organic farm and sustainable seafood sourcing. See why no pesticides = no runoff to deteriorate the pristine marine reef ecosystems around the island.

  • Authentic coffee & traditional breakfast meeting with local Cuban entrepreneur (included) 1 hour
  • Meet artists of community art center 1.5 hours
  • Meet local artist Jose Fuster (or family members) Fusterlandia -Picasso of the Caribbean 1 hour
  • Private Lunch in Artist’s Family Home (included) 1.5 hours
  • Meet with local “cuentapropista”(entrepreneur) with private Antique Car ride (included) 1 hour
  • Private Music Concert – traditional Cuban music
  • Meet with local Chef to discuss sustainable seafood & organic farm sourcing & Paladar private restaurant dinner (included) 2 hours
  • Privately owned B&B, Casa Particular (home stay) double occupancy (air conditioned) (included)

Day 9:   See You Soon!

  • Authentic Cuban coffee & traditional breakfast meeting with local Cuban entrepreneur (included) 1 hour
  • Ground transfer to the Havana Jose Marti airport (included) 30 mins
  • Depart!

Check out our Souvenir Boutique dedicated to Diving in Guanahacabibes, Cuba!

25% of all proceeds go back to directly support the private Cuban citizens & community leaders whom you meet on this trip!