«Cuba: People to People Nature and Culture With Bill Murphy and Local Experts December 1-10, 2016 Join Bill Murphy, seasoned tropical bird tour leader ...»
P.O. Box 16545 Portal, AZ 85632
1146/558.7781 Toll free 800.426.7781 Fax 650.471.7667
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Cuba: People to People Nature and Culture
With Bill Murphy and Local Experts
December 1-10, 2016
Join Bill Murphy, seasoned tropical bird tour leader and ornithologist, for an
exceptional visit to Cuba, in partnership International Expeditions, a company
licensed by the United States Treasury Department to organize and conduct
authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba. This special departure has been successfully run with a marvelous blend of nature and culture for several groups over the last four years as a trip that engages participants with Cuba’s people with a strong focus on nature and birding – quite unique among the mix of this type of tour being offered.
On this special tour, explore the countryside and historic sections of the cities of Santa Clara, Trinidad and Havana.
We travel to different geographic areas to explore mountains, the coast and the diverse wetlands area of Zapata. We visit some of the island’s most pristine and beautiful natural areas, from the lush Vinales Valley to the Sierra de Escambray, to the Bay of Pigs and the wetlands of Zapata. As part of International Expeditions’ people-to-people program, we interact with individuals and their families and friends in villages. We look forward to meeting naturalists, biologists, farmers, musicians, artists and others, as we move about.
Cuba is known for having the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird. We’ll find many of the island’s specialty birds, from Great Lizard Cuckoos to the tiny green jewel, Cuban Tody during excursions with local birding enthusiasts and conservationists. The Cuban Trogon with its pagoda-shaped tail is widespread, bright and bold; less decorated but a real find is the elusive Cuban Solitaire, uttering its beautiful call.
Cuba is the largest island of the Caribbean, hosting a wonderful variety of habitats from tropical and montane forests to mangroves that support 28 endemic bird species, plus a number of regional Caribbean specialties.
www.naturalistjourneys.com 866.900.1146 firstname.lastname@example.org 520.558.1146 *For years, legal travel to Cuba has been almost impossible for Americans, making this island of salsa, Colonial architecture and Caribbean beauty a forbidden fruit for the adventurous. International Expeditions, the world leader in engaging and authentic nature travel, has been licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury CT-2013-299822-1 to provide people-to-people Cuba travel for U.S. citizens. Not only does this allow you to travel to Cuba legally, but you can experience Cuba in the most authentic way possible — through the eyes of its people.
We are delighted to host a custom departure by International Expeditions that has a focus on birding as well as a nice mix of cultural opportunities. We will meet with naturalists and biologists in our mix of people to people encounters, and we visit nature reserves, parks and other areas where Cuba’s endemic birds, as well as other Caribbean regional specialty birds, can be seen.
*Please note that due to permit requirements despite the recent relaxation of visits to Cuba, SPECIAL REGISTRATION and PAYMENT procedures apply. Naturalist Journeys will take your application for the tour, but your payments including the deposit will be made to International Expeditions. Naturalist Journeys can accept and forward deposits with documents to International Expeditions, and they will then bill you for remaining payments on their schedule for payments, under their terms and conditions. Note that space on these tours is very competitive, so it is important to apply as soon as you know you want to go. The Naturalist Journeys office can accept your application by FAX, EMAIL SCAN or mail. Please request that application form from our office. Our tour prices should stay firm, but if Cuban authorities announce changes, International Expeditions reserves that if there is an unexpected jump in price above 5%, you will have the option to forego travel if you so choose or that fee would be added. This has not happened to date, other than with the air travel portion of the journey.
Board our charter flight to Santa Clara early this morning. We have time to visit this historic city which dates from 1689. We see the city’s interesting squares en route to a stop at the most notable site in Santa Clara, the memorial to Che Guevara who captured the city on December 28, 1959 causing Batista to flee the country on New Year’s Eve. Lunch is at the Restaurant Los Caneyes and here we learn about culinary training in Cuba from individuals who are training to be chefs with hopes to open their own private restaurants in the future.
After lunch, we head east and then turn north to the Atlantic Coast where we cross a 17 mile-long causeway to the offshore island of Cayo Coco. Until recently this island was largely uninhabited and together, with its neighbors Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Paredon Grande, it supports a wide variety of plant and animal life. The calcareous coastal deposits are blanketed with semi-deciduous forests, coastal scrub and mangroves. The briny lagoons protected by the islands are home to tremendous flocks of www.naturalistjourneys.com 866.900.1146 email@example.com 520.558.1146 flamingos and other waders. Cayo Coco is named for the White Ibis, known locally as the coco. There are 158 bird species here on a list that includes Roseate Spoonbill, and Northern Caracara.
Accommodations at the Hotel Villa Cojimar, Hotel Tryp Cayo Coco or similar (B,L,D) Friday, December 2 Cayo Coco, Cayo Paredon Grande & Cayo Guillermo
In addition to finding Greater Flamingo we will search for Oriente Warbler, Cuban Gnatcatcher, and the only breeding population of Thick-billed Vireo on Cayo Paredon Grande. We also seek out other elusive species such as the Bahama Mockingbird on Cayo Guillermo before returning to our hotel with time to visit local artists in their studios.
Accommodations at the Hotel Villa Cojimar, Hotel Tryp Cayo Coco, or similar (B,L,D)
Accommodations at Trinidad Del Mar, Hotel Ancon, Hotel Los Helechos in the mountains of Topes de Collantes, or similar (B,L,D) www.naturalistjourneys.com 866.900.1146 firstname.lastname@example.org 520.558.1146 Sunday, December 4 Topes de Collantes / Trinidad
This evening, dinner is at our hotel, with time to relax and tally up our growing Cuban bird list.
Accommodations at Trinidad Del Mar, Hotel Ancon, Hotel Los Helechos in the mountains of Topes de Collantes, or similar (B,L,D) Monday, December 5 Bay Of Pigs / Zapata Wetlands We travel today to the Bay of Pigs which borders the Zapata Peninsula, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve encompassing Cuba’s most important wetland area. Join Orlando Ramirez, a local farmer, and his friends for a hike to observe the world’s smallest bird, the Bee Hummingbird.
On a nature and birding walk with Orlando we have the expectation of seeing more endemic bird species that are found here such as Cuban Screech Owl and the Cuban Pygmy Owl.
From our hotel located near the Bay of Pigs, we discuss the importance of the Zapata Wetlands with a local environmentalist.
Accommodations at Hotel Playa Larga or similar (B,L,D)
Next is an exclusive stop for IE travelers as we continue our day at the Korimakao Project, where we meet one of the directors Hilda Tamayo. The project houses some of Cuba’s finest musicians, dancers and artists, who refine their skills before traveling to remote villages to perform and teach. Present art supplies to Ms.
Tamayo and the project staff before an open discussion on the transformative power of art in the lives of ordinary Cubans. Dancers in residence have appreciated our gifts of leg-warmers on past journeys.
www.naturalistjourneys.com 866.900.1146 email@example.com 520.558.1146 Set out toward the western part of Cuba, stopping for lunch at a private restaurant where fresh ingredients are grown at a farm or on premises. Pay homage to Earnest Hemingway at this former home, Finca Virgia, preserved as it was on the day he left, and discuss his life with Cuban Hemingway experts who work and do research here.
In the afternoon, we set out toward the western part of Cuba, traveling to the mountains of Soroa in Pinar Del Rio Province. Travel time gives you a glimpse into rural life, Cuban billboards, classic cars, and more.
Accommodations at Villa Soroa or similar (B,L,D)
This morning, we drive west to the scenic Vinales Valley for a boating excursion into one of the huge limestone caves running through a mogote — limestone karst outcroppings. While the entire drive is scenic;
the valley is particularly photogenic.
At lunch we sample the homegrown vegetables grown at an organic farm while meeting the family who is responsible for the land. On last year’s tour, this meal was a favorite for all!
Afterwards, we walk an easy trail with a local resident in hopes of seeing the Cuban Solitaire, an endemic species often hard to find.
www.naturalistjourneys.com 866.900.1146 firstname.lastname@example.org 520.558.1146 This species has beautiful vocalizations and likes the steep cliffs and lush vegetation of the region’s mogotes, a new landform type to many that you will marvel at today.
This will be a very busy but rewarding day. Meet botanists from the University of Pinar Del Rio early this morning for a walk through a forest area surrounding our hotel that is located in the Sierra Del Rosario Biosphere Reserve.
Then, after breakfast, we visit the lush orchid gardens of Soroa with local gardeners and our new friends from the staff from the university. We look for Great Lizard Cuckoos, Cuban Emeralds, Cuban Orioles, and Cuban www.naturalistjourneys.com 866.900.1146 email@example.com 520.558.1146 Grassquits here.
Also in the mountains of the Sierra Del Rosario Biosphere Reserve and not far from Soroa is the very interesting planned eco-community of Las Terrazas. We visit the community and learn about life there from local residents.
Once in Havana, we drive along the oceanfront Malecon Avenue, seeing Revolution Square before checking into our hotel.
Accommodations at the Melia Cohiba or similar (B,L,D)
Begin our day in Old Havana with a visit to walk through the squares of Old Havana. Some parks and plazas are famous for book sellers lining the park, while others are known for art and music. See Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Hemingway kept a room for years. The hotel served as a refuge for writing such works as For Whom the Bell Tolls and as a base for frequenting his favorite bars.
Next, walk through the historic streets and squares of Old Havana with numerous stops and visits with local artists in their studios. Pay a visit to the librarian of the children’s section of the Havana library to present children’s books in Spanish.
Visit Arte Corte, a social project unlike any other with the original simple purpose of training people in the neighborhood to become hairdressers and barbers, but transformed into a masterpiece of community regeneration. The project has improved the neighborhood and is supporting social centeres such as a senior home and a children’s park.
This evening dinner will be at the famed Buena Vista Social Club with an option to stay for a performance after dinner if you www.naturalistjourneys.com 866.900.1146 firstname.lastname@example.org 520.558.1146 wish.
Accommodations at the Melia Cohiba or similar (B,L,D)
www.naturalistjourneys.com 866.900.1146 email@example.com 520.558.1146
PLANNING AHEADDon’t Miss the Bus!! You will need to arrive in Miami on November 30, 2016, one night ahead. The cost of your Miami hotel is included this night; meals however, are not – these are at your leisure. The hotel has a restaurant so those arriving in time for dinner can gather if they wish. There will be a pre-trip meeting at 7PM in our hotel conference room. There will be forms to fill out, luggage tags for the next day’s flight to Cuba, and a question and answer session on what to expect. Due to snow conditions in previous years, numerous persons of our group encountered delays. Please note that while permits are being relaxed for flights, each flight is jammed, so rebooking is highly unlikely. It is prudent to get to Miami early with time to spare in case you face delays. To get the most out of your trip and to be sure you make the flight, we suggest that you arrive in Miami no later than one night ahead of the tour.
Details upon registration.
Accommodations at a selected Miami hotel
Naturalist Journeys, LLC is an equal opportunity service provider and committed to the goal of ensuring equal opportunity for all in employment and program delivery.
Photo Credits (note order follows web page, for the PDF order may differ):
Pg. 1. Havana Scenic & Bee Hummingbird, courtesy International Expeditions.
Pg. 2: Sunrise Vinales Valley, Melissa Lacroix; Cuban Screech Owl, Peg Abbott.
Pg. 3: Map, Santa Clara, Cayo Coco Beach scenic, Wikipedia; White Ibis, Rob Colyer. Pg. 4: Greater Flamingo, Bud Ferguson; Trinidad scenic, Peg Abbott. Pg.
5: Topes de Collantes scenics, Peg Abbott: Red-legged Thrush, Bud Ferguson, West Indian Woodpecker, Lynn Feryus. Pg. 6: Playa Larga & group birding, Peg Abbott: Cuban Green Woodpecker & Cuban Screech Owl, Bud Ferguson; Cuban Emerald, Jonathan Sequeira; Cuban Tody, courtesy International Expeditions.
Pg. 7: Korimakao dancer, Treasure Island scenic, and travel scenic by Peg Abbott. Pg. 8. Vinales Region scenic, Peg Abbott. Pg. 9: Tobacco farm and orchid garden scenic, Peg Abbott; Great Lizard Cuckoo and Cuban Pygmy Owl, Bud Ferguson. Pg. 10: Havana scenic, Peg Abbott. Pg. 11: Buena Vista Social Club, Charlie Boyd.