We invite you to join Pacific Horticulture Society on a People-to-People exploration of Cuba, January 18-27, 2013. PHS has received its license from the U.S. Treasury Department to take friends and members on what promises to be a rich cultural journey with a botanical slant.
Join us as we explore Havana, several Cuban botanical gardens, Zapata National Park, the Escambray Mountains, and the historic cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad. Throughout our journey, there will be a special emphasis on meeting the people of Cuba; botanists; environmentalists; teachers; scientists; students; and national park personnel.
A Rich Expedition of Discovery
Our journey will begin in Havana—a World Heritage site—where we will see the Spanish colonial heritage of La Habana Vieja and stroll along Malećon, Havana’s famous seashore. Havana’s old town is rich with history including wonderful music, museums, and more.
Cuba has a fascinating natural heritage, from the flat llanos, or plains, which stretch to the horizon filled with sugar cane fields, to mountain peaks. It is home to the smallest bird in the world, the Zunzuncito or bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae,) a profusion of native palms, crocodiles and caiman.
The Cuban natural world is reflected in their national symbols: the Cuban royal palm (Roystonea regia), with its swollen upper trunk; the white mariposa, or butterfly jasmine (Hedychium cornarium), a native Cuban species with a strong scent and the national flower; and the Cuban trogon, or Tocororo, Cuba’s national bird, with blue, red, and white colors that match the flag.
Our itinerary will include:
• A scale model of Havana will help orient us to the city before our visit to The Havana Botanic Garden. We will meet scientists from the Cuban Academy of Sciences and have a presentation on science in Cuba.
• Las Terrazas Reforestation Project and The Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve. See the many orchids at the Orchidarium Soroa and interact with the botanical staff.
• Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en la Agricultura Tropical (INIFAT), the Tropical Agriculture Institute, for an introduction to their work.
• Zapata Peninsula National Park, the finest wetland in the Caribbean and nearby Cienfuegos.
• Jardín Botánico Soledad—the former Harvard Botanic Garden—where we will explore with botanical staff and learn about the vast collection including palms, cactus, and rubber trees.
• Sierra del Escambray—explore this scenic mountainous area and meet with staff to learn about a mountain development program.
• Trinidad—a living museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site on the south coast.
• Parc naturel de Codina—near mountainous Topes de Collantes, explore the picturesque landscape of Encantos de Codina filled with orchids and bamboo.
For information on how to receive further details about this exciting opportunity please visit our tours page.