National Geographic Expeditions will start its trips to Cuba with a departure Nov. 26 to Dec. 5. Two more departures are scheduled for December and nine more are scheduled January through May of 2012. The trips are licensed under the U.S. Treasury Department as People-to-People trips, and will have a focus on meeting and interacting with Cuban people, with meetings arranged between American visitors and Cuban farmers, teachers, artists, teachers, Santería priests, park rangers and veterans.
Some of the departures will be accompanied by Christopher Baker, a photographer and the author of “National Geographic Traveler: Cuba.” Baker said he has been waiting for a long time for the opportunity to take Americans to Cuba. “This expedition is something that I have been excited about ever since I started engaging with the Geographic several years ago. I’ve waited with great anticipation for the day when this would become possible, not least because I love Cuba, I come alive in Cuba, and I’m always thrilled to share what’s unique about Cuba with the people I take there.”
Americans have a “pent-up” energy to see Cuba, Baker said, and “a tremendous desire to understand a place that has been off limits for so long and that remains a mystery for so many.”
The itinerary includes an opportunity to learn about the restoration of Old Havana and Trinidad from local preservationists, to visit the Bay of Pigs with Cuban veterans, and to visit Ernest Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigía. Throughout the journey, visitors will exchange ideas and experiences relating to art, education, religion, history and conservation. The 10-day/nine-night itinerary is priced $4,995 per person double. For information, visitwww.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com.