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Cuba with the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, in association with the University of Washington Botanic Gardens


February 22, 2013 - March 06, 2013

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Dr. Sarah Reichard invites you to join her with members of UWBG on this special tour. Cuba, the “Pearl of the Antilles,” has legendary history, romantic music and dancing, and a stunning assortment of indigenous species of flora and fauna. Your journey begins in Havana, a capital city laden with culture. Havana’s streets are lined with museums, churches, schools, and historic buildings currently undergoing restoration. It may surprise you to see that despite revolution and economic hardship, botanical gardens, organic farms, private gardens, and agriculture have thrived in Cuba. You will travel to the Valley de Vinales, the tropical forests of Soroa, the infamous Bay of Pigs, and Zapata National Park. Do not miss this opportunity to experience the contagious passion of the Cuban people reflected in music, dance, and the preserved natural beauty of this embargoed enchantress.

Visit the National Botanical Garden and meet members of the Havana Botanical Garden Society.

Visit several Orchid gardens and meet the caretaker to learn of their success with this beautiful family of plants.

Enjoy a guided hike through an ecologically protected area of Mil Cumbres (Thousand Peaks), lead by a Biological Station expert guide.

Meet the people who live and work at Las Terrazas, a self-sustained community named after the 5000-hectare reforestation project that is unique to their home.

Learn about the use and sales of herbs in the typical Cuban diet from owners of Vinales Botanical Garden.

Meet members of the National Institute for Research on Tropical Agriculture (INIFAT).

Discover the methods used to garden the Organoponic Gardens and the significance of these unique Cuban gardens.

Hike through Zapata Peninsula with conservation specialist Professor Tania Charletoin.

February 22 - Miami

This morning you will depart on your domestic flight to Miami. Upon your arrival in Miami, you will take the airport shuttle to your pre-arranged hotel. Overnight Sheraton Miami Airport hotel

February 23 - Havana

Late this morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Havana (included in tour cost). Upon arrival at the Havana International Airport, meet your guide and transfer to Palacio de San Felipe. This afternoon, gather for an orientation session with Dr. Reichard and your guide. Meet the founder and performers before attending the innovative musical show Opera de la Calle at 9pm in El Cabildo.. Overnight Palacio de San Felipe (LD)

February 24 - Havana

This morning meet the director of INIFAT (National Institute for Research on Tropical Agriculture) and hear a presentation about the institution by its members. Afterwards, visit the facility with a botanist. Also visit a local school and meet with the principal. Have a late lunch at Meson de la Flota. This afternoon, hear Dr. Carlos Alzugaray present an overview of U.S.-Cuba relations. Dine this evening at the private restaurant La Guarida, which is the location of the Cuban Oscar nominated film "Strawberry and Chocolate." Overnight Palcio de San Felipe (BLD)

February 25 - Havana

This morning attend an organic farming workshop with Mr. Miguel Salcines at Alamar Organoponic Gardens. Agronomist Miguel Salcines is the garden leader of this group of 160 cooperative owners. A delegation of 10 owners will discuss the garden`s history, accomplishments and current challenges. We`ll also learn about the overall success, requirements, and horticultural practices of organoponics in Cuba. Time will be allotted to share information about similar programs at UWBG. Before lunch at El Alijibe restaurant, visit a Cuban food market and interact with the vendors. Here you have an opportunity to learn first had about Santeria, especially in terms of plants, herbs, and history. Dinner this evening is at Café Mercurio. This evening, Cuban friends will join us for dinner. Overnight Palacio de San Felipe (BLD)

February 26 - Soroa

This morning visit the National Botanical Garden in the outskirts of Havana. Explore the gardens with an expert before attending an exciting workshop with Havana Botanical Garden Society members. You can learn from Dr. Angela Leyva Sanchez, General Director at NBG, Research Director Rosa Rankin, who specializes in endangered species, and Dr. Sarah Reichard. Enjoy lunch with garden members at El Bambu ecological restaurant. This afternoon you will visit Las Terrazas, a self-sustained community named after their 5,000 hectares reforestation project. Arrive in Soroa late this afternoon. Overnight Horizontes Villa Soroa (BLD)

February 27 - Soroa

Take a guided tour of the Orchid Garden, run by the University of Pinar del Rio. Meet the garden`s caretaker who offers insight about the garden, which features more than 20,000 plants and 700 animal species. The garden also hosts a botanical research center belonging to the University of Pinar del Río. Lunch will be at El Salto restaurant. This afternoon enjoy an interpretive short trekking adventure (2 km) on the trail "Maravillas de Soroa" with a local expert on the native flora and fauna. Overnight Horizontes Villa Soroa (BLD)

February 28 - Vinales

This morning hike with the biological station`s expert guide in the ecologically protected area of Mil Cumbres (Thousand Peaks), home to the highest concentration of endemic species in Cuba. Later interact with local farmers in the nearby Visit Vizcaino farm in Pinar del Rio. Following a boxed picnic lunch depart to Valle de Viñales. Dinner at a local paladar this evening. Overnight La Ermita (BLD)

March 01 - Vinales

Today you will have breathtaking views of the Valley and the Mogotes; flat-topped hills dating back to the Jurassic period that can be found in only four countries in the world. Meet a farming family and tour their tobacco farm. Your host, Paco Hernandez, will explain how Cuban farmers collaborate with the government in order to get farming supplies and transport produce to market. Paco`s family is one of the many hardworking Cuban families that have been growing tobacco for more than 100 years. Your lunch today is at a very special location known as the Prehistorical Mural restaurant. This afternoon, visit with residents in the town of Vinales. Overnight La Ermita (BLD)

March 02 - Zapata

This morning travel to the Zapata Peninsula. En route, visit Cabildo Quisicuaba and gain insight about the use of plants in the Afro Cuban religion. This afternoon join Dr. Reichard and local specialists from the Conservation station in a workshop. Compare Zapata Park`s ecosystem and the current conservation efforts with those in Seattle. Zapata Park is renowned for its great diversity of ecosystems, in which more than 1,000 species of plants and 37 species of reptiles, including the Cuban Crocodile, inhabit. The park is also considered one of the world`s premier bird watching destinations. After your workshop, have lunch at La Giraldilla with local naturalists. Overnight Hotel Playa Larga (BLD)

March 03 - Zapata

This morning, local bird experts guide us on hikes within Zapata Peninsula. Following lunch at La Cueva de los Peces. This evening learn about the KORIMACAO Project, an innovative community development initiative to help residents develop their artistic skills. After observing a performance, speak with the students about their experience. Overnight Hotel Playa Larga (BLD)

March 04 - Havana

This morning return to Havana. This evening, gather for dinner at a local Paladar with Cuban friends and celebrate your journey throughout Cuba. Overnight Palacio de San Felipe (BLD)

March 05 - Miami

This morning transfer to airport for an afternoon flight to Miami (included in your tour cost). Upon arrival, take the airport shuttle to your airport hotel (included in your tour cost). Overnight Sheraton Miami Airport hotel (B)

March 06 - Miami


$4,535 (16 participants)

Cost is based on double occupancy. Single supplements available for an additional $300.

For more information contact Sandy Schmidt at 877-907-5360 or email