Natural History Programs

Western Cuba: 2018 & 2019

  • December 6 – 13/14, 2018
  • February 2 – 9/10, 2019

The Nature of Cuba

While there will be daily opportunities for birding on this trip, our focus expands to include a range of Cuban fauna and flora, and the ecology and history of regions we visit. At different intervals throughout the program, we will hear from Cuban experts about the natural relationship of Cuban species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, as well as arachnids (spiders) and insects and other invertebrates such as mollusks and butterflies. We will enjoy opportunities to swim and snorkel as well and encounter some of Cuba’s interesting marine life in a safe, natural habitat.

We will also indulge in informal discussions that expose the main problems of conservation in the Cuban Archipelago. Throughout the program, our Cuban guide will answer your questions and offer explanations that reflect Cuban history, politics, as well as topics related to daily living in Cuba. These discussions may include information about the Cuban education and health care systems, housing, transportation, education, employment, and other topics that will help enhance a better understanding of how ordinary Cubans go about their daily lives.

Travel to Cuba’s Western Mountains, Bay of Pigs and Zapata Swamp National Park with an extension option in Colonial Havana.

Where We Travel

Cuba’s Western Mountains
Cuba’s western mountains include two of the country’s most diverse and dramatic ranges: the Sierra del Rosario and Sierra de los Organos. We will explore an area common to both ranges in search of western-range endemic species such as Cuban Solitaire.


A highlight of the trip will be a visit to the magical, unusually beautiful karstic landscape of mogotes — the towering, lushly vegetated, flat-top limestone monoliths that dominate the Organos Mountains. This is the only region in which we will likely see Cuban Solitaire, Cuban Grassquit, Giant Kingbird, and Olive-capped Warbler. Other potential endemic species for western Cuba include Cuban Oriole, Cuban Green Woodpecker, Cuban Pewee, Cuban Pygmy-Owl, Cuban Tody, Cuban Trogon, Cuban Vireo, and Yellow–headed Warbler.

Zapata Peninsula - Bay of Pigs
We will also explore the diverse wetland region of the Zapata Peninsula, Cuba’s richest and most important birding destination, located in the historic Bay of Pigs. The peninsula is a Ramsar Convention-designated site (the Ramsar Convention is an international conservation treaty) and among the most important wetlands in the West Indies. Here the best local guides will lead us through protected areas in Cienaga de Zapata National Park and other natural sites off the beaten track.


The Zapata Peninsula covers more than 2,800 square miles and features easily accessible, Everglades-like ecology and habitat. Framed by the pristine Caribbean coastal environment of the Bay of Pigs, the peninsula features vast open swampland, low coastal forests, sparkling white sand beaches, healthy and accessible coral reefs, and refreshing natural limestone pools called cenotes. Bee Hummingbird, Cuban Black Hawk, Zapata Wren, Zapata Sparrow, Fernandina’s Flicker, Bare-legged Owl, Blue-headed and Grey-fronted Quail-Doves, and Tawny-shouldered and Red-shouldered Blackbirds are among the many birds we will hope to find (three nights).

Havana & Camaguey
Our program begins in HAVANA, and concludes in CAMAGUEY among the most authentic colonial cities in the Americas. Havana is one of Latin America’s best preserved and most compelling colonial cities. Camaguey is a close second. Our time in each city will include all meals, accommodation, transportation, and a guided walking tour of each cities’s colonial quarters. Visiting Colonial Cuba is like walking through a living museum. Currently both cities are undergoing rapid, energetic change.

Registration, Trip Costs, Terms, and Conditions

Land costs for the 8 day program are $3,295.00 per person for shared accommodations. Single supplements are an additional $425.00 per person. The very popular one day/night Havana extension is $275.00 per person sharing, with an additional $45.00 single supplement and includes all meals, guide services, ground transportation, a guided exploration of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most unique destinations in the Caribbean.

Trip costs are based on 12 fully paying participants. A lower number of participants may result in a small group supplement.