Program Information

Caribbean Conservation Trust has offered legal birding and natural history programs in Cuba for U.S. Citizens since 1996! We have operated exclusively in Cuba longer and more consistently than any U.S. agency, offering high-quality birding, natural history, and conservation-themed experiences on the largest, most bio-diverse and culturally compelling land mass in the Caribbean.

 

Featuring

Our Cuba Birding Programs all feature:

  • original, well planned and executed itineraries occurring throughout the country
  • informative, highly educated and experienced professional staff
  • efficient yet comprehensive birding and habitat exploration
  • safe, comfortable, clean transportation and accommodation
  • the best available food and travel services in each region we visit
  • clear, thoughtful and highly detailed pre-trip information

Our interaction and support of the Cuban people we encounter has helped develop professional skills and create opportunities for dozens of Cubans that help us implement these experiences, and perhaps most importantly, everyone who participates in Caribbean Conservation Trust helps support our conservation efforts in Cuba.

Our Natural History Programs do include a nice range of nature-related activity that may include less intense birding, snorkelling and scuba diving, boat excursions, hiking, and wildlife exploration involving reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, mammals, and marine life. Aquatic activities are optional. We will experience a cultural aspect on all of our trips by spending some time exploring some cities, towns, and of course the Cuban countryside.

Program Leadership

Our program is designed and managed in the United States and is professionally staffed and field tested over 22 years in Cuba. We are dedicated to providing participants with informative nature-oriented experiences with the help of our highly skilled local leaders.

Our team has included Cuba’s most talented birding leaders and field biologists and naturalist for many years. We have also cultivated great relationships with a cadre of highly skilled U.S. birding professionals – click on About Us and Our Team for more information!

Conservation Initiatives

For many years CCT has provided professional opportunities for Cuban biologists, naturalists, and educators interested in developing their skills as field leaders and guides for nature-based tourism. We put Cuba on the map as a popular birding destination, and continue to provide Cuban naturalists and guides with tools and resources required to improve their skills and abilities both as trip leaders as well as field-based researchers.

Our birding programs involve willing participants in a basic bird and habitat survey. Each evening, the group will review and record a checklist of birds seen on that particular birding day. Data is compiled by the group and submitted by the trip leader to CCT staff. Recorded trip totals are part of CCT’s ongoing data bank of information on both migratory and resident species recorded in Cuba over several years. Significant findings are noted and shared with professional and citizen scientists in both the U.S. and Cuba. Our Cuban colleagues keep trip totals and notable information to support their ongoing research. Many of our trip leaders post E Bird records for each trip they lead, sharing this data with trip participants who are interested.

Over the years, our trips have yielded records of rare as well as new species for Cuba, including American Pipit (2015) and Bald Eagle (2003).

Bird Conservation Education programs developed by CCT target youth and adults primarily in communities located in close proximity to Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Cuba. Our efforts include providing optics, field guides, curriculum development resources and training for local naturalists to involve other educators, students & families in our effort to confront the caged bird trade in Cuba.

Physical Demands and Expectations

Our Birding Programs offer opportunities for several days of ambitious birding, early departure times on birding days, and occasional evening sessions. Birding days may provide time after lunch and before our afternoon birding sessions for a break. Physical exertion will be light to moderate most days, with the longest walks approximately 2 miles. The terrain is mostly flat and dry, with some hills present in western Cuba.

Participants should be in reasonably good physical condition and prepared for strong sun, with temperatures in the mid-70s to 90s. Mosquitoes can be bothersome in Cayo Coco and the Zapata Region. Although unlikely, rain may occur as well, so bring adequate rain gear. Those with medical concerns should check with their physician before taking part in the program. Your health and well-being are very important to us!

Our Natural History Programs tend to move at a more relaxed pace and include a nice range of nature-related activity that may include less intense birding, snorkelling and scuba diving, boat excursions, hiking, and wildlife exploration involving reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, mammals, and marine life. Aquatic activities are optional. We will experience a cultural aspect on all of our trips by spending some time exploring some cities, towns, and of course the Cuban countryside.

Safety

In January 2018, Cuba won the Excelencias Award as the safest country for international tourism at the International Tourism Fair, Fitur which was held this year in Madrid, Spain.  https://www.caribbeannewsdigital.com/en/noticia/cuba-wins-excelencias-award-safest-travel-destination

Cuba has long been an exceptionally safe destination for visitors, despite rumours and tall tales to the contrary. U.S. Citizens are warmly welcome, as they have been for the 22 + years that Caribbean Conservation Trust has been bringing American birders there under U.S. Treasury Department authorization.

Accommodations
Accommodations feature hotels and comfortable private home stays throughout Cuba. Our accommodations are staffed by friendly, service-oriented hosts and represent the best Cuba has to offer in the regions we visit. These may include refurbished vintage hotels, modern resort hotels, and simple beach-front bungalows. All accommodations are safe, clean, air-conditioned, and have private bathrooms. It should be noted that standards in Cuba differ from those in the U.S. and other developed countries.
What is included:

CCT Cuba Programs include the following:

  • all accommodations,
  • all meals in Cuba beginning with dinner on day 1, ending with breakfast on the last day of the program,
  • guide services, some tips (local naturalists, restaurant and bell staff),
  • airport/hotel transfers,
  • ground transportation,
  • bottled water, some drinks,
  • admission fees (itinerary only),
  • U.S. Department of Treasury authorization, and program management services which include the provision of all pre- and post-program materials,
  • a full-time Cuban bilingual guide, bilingual Cuban naturalists, and a full-time driver.

Program fees help support Caribbean Conservation Trust’s bird conservation efforts in Cuba.

What is NOT Included:
  • Travel to Havana, Cuba
  • airport departure taxes ($ 30 departing Cuba) and Cuban health insurance (required by law and approximately $3 per day). These costs are priced into all airline tickets between the U.S. and Cuba; however.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, additional beverages, bar and housekeeping tips, etc., U.S. passport fees, meals or accommodations outside of Cuba, other fees not listed in the program.
Registration, deposit, balance payment

Registration

Registration may be done online from our website – click Upcoming Tours and select the trip that interests you. Complete the online reservation form, click submit, and continue to the payment option. Credit card payments are directed to our PayPal account.

Deposit Payment

Regarding payment for the land portion of the tour, a deposit is due as soon as possible to reserve space on these programs. This can be paid from our website using online registration and PayPal, or by wire transfer, check or money order payable to: Caribbean Conservation Trust.

Please do not write Cuba on the check memo.

Balance Payment

Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Participants receive a detailed receipt/invoice following receipt of your deposit and reservation form.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be done in writing and are effective upon receipt in the CCT office. Should it become necessary for you to cancel, all payments will be refunded after a deduction of our cancellation fee outlined below:

Should it become necessary for you to cancel, all payments will be refunded after a deduction of our cancellation fee outlined below:

More than 120 days prior to the tour $ 100.00 per person (land only)
Between  119 and 90 days prior to the tour FULL DEPOSIT (unless we can fill your place)
Fewer than 90 days prior to the tour NO REFUND (unless we can fill your place)

*Please be aware that the refund policies apply only to the land portion of the trip, and that airlines may have different policies that exist beyond our ability to control. Additional registration fees may apply. As with all international travel programs, we highly encourage trip cancellation and travel insurance policies.

Flights

Several U.S. commercial airlines offer direct flights between the U.S. and Cuba. In order to make the most of our first day in Cuba, we prefer flights that arrive in Havana by early afternoon at the latest. There are several daily flights between South Florida, Havana, and other Cuba airports that fit our itineraries. We communicate which flights make the best sense to book depending on the specific program you are interested in.

The Future of Conservation

Upcoming Events

Thu 15
Jan 10

Captivating Cuba: Nature Meets Culture 2019

January 10, 2019 - January 20, 2019
Feb 02

Natural History Programs Western Cuba: February 2019

February 2, 2019 - February 10, 2019
Counting on Birds

Finding Birds in Cuba

Will travels to Cuba and speaks to guide Michael Good about birding, bird counting and habitat in Cuba.

Contact Us @

Caribbean Conservation Trust
353 West Todd Street
Hamden, CT 06518
203-733-1162
cubirds@aol.com

Let's Get Started

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