Show your students the wonders of biology on the Caribbean Island of Cuba through this unique and exciting expedition to understand its geography, ecology, flora and fauna. With guided visits to three national parks you will have the chance to study the behaviour of some of the island's amazing wildlife such as the world's smallest bird (Cuban Screech Owl) or the endemic and endearingly names Little Goblin Bat. Trekking in the hills and valleys our guides will explain the habitats that Cuba has preserved for its wildlife including both coastal and mountainous eco systems. Because of Cuba's economic embargo it actually has one of the lowest levels of pollution in the Americas meaning its environment has been so far well preserved for its precious wildlife.
THIS IS JUST A SAMPLE - IT CAN BE TAILORED TO YOUR SCHOOL'S REQUIREMENTS.
Welcome to Cuba! Known by many for its interesting political and cultural history, few people appreciate the natural diversity and unspolit landscapes of this sun-kissed Caribbean island. Upon arrival at Havana International airport we will be greeted by our local representative before being transferred by private vehicles to the sleepy country town of Vinales. After checking in a the hotel we will take an orientation walk to enjoy laid back pace of Cuban life here in this pleasant and verdant valley, before enjoying a hearty welcome dinner and a group meeting in a local restaurant.
Vinales is a small town in the Pinar del Río Province of Cuba, famous for its unique landscapes carved by limestone cliffs and valleys, friendly locals, farmland and cigar making shops. After breakfast we will visit the famous Mogotes; isolated, steep-sided, residual hills which are composed of limestone, marble, or dolomite and surrounded by flat alluvial plains. We will then visit the Indian Cave and also the colourful Prehistoric Wall mural, created by the maverick director of mapping at Havana University, Leovigildo Gonzales Morillo. To access the cave we will enjoy a boat ride along the subterranean waterway. This afternoon we can take a visit to see a cigar making factory and learn about the techniques and the plants that are used to create one of Cuba’s most famous exports. After today's activities we will will enjoy another generous helping of Cuban country cuisine.
Waking up early this morning (possibly to the sound of a crowing cockerel!) we will leave Vinales for a rewarding trek along the Caminata Maravillas de Vinales trail. This is an area of outstanding geological interest and after the morning's hike we will stop to enjoy a picnic lunch along the trail. Here we have the chance to learn about the endemic flora and fauna found in this humid region. Cuba has several species of endemic birds, reptiles and insects that have developed and evolved just on the island in response to their habitats. The walk will take around 5 hours, traversing varying terrain with some great panormaic views, and at the end we will meet our vehicles that will transfer us to Las Terrazas, a tranquil community set amongst lakes and swaying palm trees.
After breakfast we will transfer to the Biosphere National Park a UNESCO World Heritage site and area of stunning natural diversity. Here we will follow the La Serafina Trail for some bird watching to hopefully spot some of Cuba's 22 endemic species. Las Terrazas is a project designed around a working community that encourages traditional crafts and Cuban street art and is home to some very interesting characters! At the height of the Cuban coffee boom in the 1820’s this area had 54 private coffee estates, yet now most farms are operated by the revolutionary government. The 4km trail is a haven for the natural biodiversity found in Cuba. Our guide will identify the many plants and birds that we might come across along the way. At the end of the walk we will come across some natural rock pools that connect with the San Juan River where we can enjoy a refreshing swim to cool down.
Today we will travel to another UNESCO World Heritage Site named the Zapata Wetlands; (on the Bay of Pigs) the largest wetlands and bird sanctuary in the whole of the Caribbean. The wetlands present a wild habitat of swamps, mangroves and beaches stretching into the sea, home to a variety of insects, fish and reptiles as well as numerous species of bird. Following lunch at Fiesta Campesina we will enjoy a fantastic snorkelling trip to view the marine life in the park in Cueva De Los Peces (cave of fish). We will again enjoy a well-earned group meal in a local restaurant.
Today we will be taken on a special bird spotting tour around the surrounding forest and wetlands with our binoculars, notepads and cameras. Our guide will highlight the many species of bird to be found in this area and how their behavioural patterns are determined by a variety of external factors, in particular the habitat that you are exploring. After lunch we will transfer to Cienfuegos, a very typical Cuban town that sees fewer tourists than other places for a city walking tour before continuing on to the Escambray montains where we will spend the next two nights.
We will enjoy a full day of walking in the Sierra del Escambray in Topes de Collantes with a local specialised guide who can educate us on the biology and ecology, as well as history of the area. We will learn about the important role that conservation is having for the environment in Cuba, as well as the research that is currently going on in conjunction with the local university. Along the way we will explore a cave system, learn how sugar is produced from cane juice as well as appreciating the views of the surrounding mountains. The walk will continue along the Guanayara trail with a lunch stop at the La Gallega restaurant. The area is spectacular and is a real highlight of this trip.
Driving northwards we make our way to the sultry jewel in Cuba's colonial crown, Trinidad, for a hearty lunch and a city walking tour through the winding cobbled streets. The churches, plazas and side alleys of Trinidad are postcard-perfect, offering some great opportunities for photos, or just a chance to lose yourself in Cuba’s colonial majesty. After lunch we continue onto the Ancon Valley where we will check into the all-inclusive Brisas Trinidada del Mar hotel where the rest of the afternoon is free for optional activities on the beach (bike rental, swimming, fishing etc.)
Leaving the hotel early we will head back to the capital via the important town of Santa Clara to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and to learn about the revolutionary struggle of Fidel, Camilo and El Che himself. An eternal flame burns here to this iconic man, and the city makes for a pleasant stroll also. We will return Havana to enjoy an afternoon walking tour and lunch. This evening we will be can be collected by Classic American Cars and taken to Café Taberna Restaurant for dinner at 8.00pm and a classy and tropical finish to this unique biology trip in the Caribbean...
Depending on your flight time you may have the morning in Havana to pick up any souveniers, visit the museums or to explore a bit more of the city by foot. You will be transferred again back to the airport for your flight home.
Per Person, Twin Share