A unique cocktail of culture, countryside and Caribbean charm will greet you when you arrive in Cuba. This captivating destination reveals its true colours as you wander the historic lanes of Havana, explore its blissful coastline and lose yourself in its verdant valleys. Discover the hidden gems as we sail along the coast.
Cuba is the largest country in the Caribbean, sitting between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s popular with sailors for its favourably warm climate, steady winds, natural beauty, and open-minded, friendly people. When Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1492, he said: “This is the most beautiful land one has ever seen.”
Ports of call
Often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the South’ the city of Cienfuegos offers a mixture of elegance, enlightened French airs and Caribbean Spirit and is often referred to a the Paris of Cuba and has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005.
Cayo Largo del Sur is a small resort island off Cuba’s southern coast. It’s known for its long, sandy beaches, including Playa Los Cocos, Playa Blanca and Playa Lindarena. Sea turtles lay their eggs on Playa Tortuga. The Centro de Rescate de Tortugas Marinas is a sea turtle farm and conservation center. A small museum in the main village explores the island’s history.
Havana is Cuba’s capital city. Spanish colonial architecture in its 16th-century Old Havana core includes the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, a fort and maritime museum. The National Capitol Building is an iconic 1920s landmark. Also in Old Havana is the baroque Catedral de San Cristóbal and Plaza Vieja, whose buildings reflect the city’s vibrant architectural mix.
- Day 1: After arriving on board time to settle in and explore Cienfuegos with its striking and brightly-colored French colonial architecture flanked by palm trees, wide streets with covered sidewalks and a vibrant waterfront. Head to Parque Jose Marti, a large square home to great street food, shops,
- Day 2: 75 nm Spend the day at Cayo Largo, a small limestone cay which was popular with pirates wanting to hide their treasure. We can anchor off Playa Sirena, which is a fabulous beach fringed with palm trees and amazing snorkelling, although the waves are invigorating. Make sure your camera is ready, as photos taken here will be the envy of all with its glittering turquoise waters and plenty of soft white sandy beaches to choose from.
- Day 3: Spend the day exploring Cayo Largo in the morning. Animal lovers can visit the Sea Turtle Hatchery, Centro de Rescate de Tortugas Marinas, which is part of a major conversation program. Keep watch for the resident iguanas too. After lunch head to Quinto Canal, about 30 minutes away, where you can bathe in a natural pool off a sandbank that is calm and warm. Sail onwards 40 minutes to the Cayos Los Ballenatos coral reef, which is great for snorkeling and has vibrant underwater marine life. You’ll spot plenty of tropical fish and perhaps even sea turtles. You can head back to Quinto Canal or Cayo Largo overnight.
- Day 4: After breakfast make for Cayo Rosario, an uninhabited island except for a healthy population of iguanas. This is a popular diving and snorkeling location because of the richness and variety of fish and sea creatures. If you want to relax on the beach, you’ll find a stunning, large stretch of pink sand that wraps the lower part of the cay. You can spend hours looking at the shells and beachcombing.
- Day 5: Set sail for Cayo Estopa and enjoy the beach, lazy swimming and snorkeling. In the afternoon, sail to Cayo Rico with its light pink sands, healthy coral and fantastic shoals of tropical fish – you might even see large starfish and rays. This is a wild island with just one small seafood restaurant near the jetty, which is popular and reasonably priced if you want fresh lobster. As you relax on the beach, you can watch the iguanas scuttling around and they love eating fruit.
- Day 6: Head back to Cayo Largo to relax on one of the many beaches. Dine at the beach grills (ranchóns) at lunch time where you can order shrimp and lobster. You can also find a la carte restaurants, which are open in high season. If you are there on a Friday, you can take part in the weekly fiesta for a small fee. Sail onwards to Cayo Sal and explore the cay.
- Day 7: Head back to Cienfuegos before 10am to disembark.