And so the Cuban travel surge continues.
Earlier this year, the American and Cuban governments sought to reestablish diplomatic ties, opening the floodgates for travel teases like nonstop flights and Airbnb accommodations. Now those keen on seeing the island via schooner can start planning an itinerary: starting this December, small-ship cruise tour operator Adventure Smith Explorations will begin offering eight-day sailings, called the People to People Cruise.
Guests will board the recently refurbished three-masted schooner, Panorama, which is able to hold 49 passengers. The itinerary stops in Havana, Marie LaGorda, Cayo Largo, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos, and guests will have the chance to meet and speak with locals about topics ranging from medicine to sports to Afro-Cuban culture.
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In Havana, cruisers will spend an evening at the Buena Vista Social Club and dine at restaurants and paladares (family-run pseudo-restaurants). Excursions in Cayo Largo, a limestone island of mangroves and salt plains, include snorkeling and visiting a sea turtle rehabilitation center. In the Spanish colonial city of Trinidad, guests will tour the Architecture Museum, and visit with young local female artists. Better still, Adventure Smith Explorations deals with any red tape: the company obtains all the licenses required for Americans.
Rates will start at $4,999 per person (for a double), a price that includes airfare from Miami, all meals, a Cuban visa, Cuban medical insurance and transportation.
Jacqueline Gifford is a senior editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @jacquigiff.