- Small Group
- Land Based Adventures
- 24 Capacity
- 10 Days
- 2014, 2015
- Price from
Summary : There are few countries as fascinating or enigmatic as Cuba. Meet, talk and interact with Cuban people from all walks of life to gain insight into the daily lives of residents. Join a local architect for an educational walk through Havana, discussing its historic styles and contemporary restoration efforts, and experience a salsa lesson and one-on-one talk with a Cuban salsa instructor. Whether you’re playing a few innings with Cuban baseball players, discussing the history of U.S.-Cuba relations with a Foreign Service scholar, talking with owners in a privately owned paladar (family-run restaurant) or visiting an artist’s studio to learn how it’s transforming the community, you’ll be deeply rewarded by the meaningful connection you've forged.
Note: This trip is licensed and operated through A&K
Activities : Culture
$5,695 to $6,295
Arrive at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Meet your accompanying Arrive at Miami International Airport, where you are met and transferred to the hotel. Meet your accompanying Program Director and fellow guests at your reception and briefing this evening.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Miami International Airport and check in at the dedicated A&K counter for your short charter flight to Cuba. Upon arrival at José Martí International Airport in Havana, complete immigration and customs formalities and meet your local Cuban guide. Embark on an informative tour of Havana’s historic and culturally rich neighborhoods. As you see and learn about important sites, visit Revolution Square, the Vedado area and the lively Malecón boardwalk, where locals gather. After lunch, check into your Havana hotel. This evening, sit down to dinner in a private paladar (family-run restaurant), a unique, welcoming Cuban enterprise.
This morning at your hotel, meet a local physician and engage in a talk on Cuba’s well-regarded public health care system, followed by an illuminating question and answer session. Visit a day care center, where you meet the teachers and get to know the students. Then, take part in an interactive cooking experience at a local paladar. Its owners share their passion for Cuban cuisine and discuss what is involved in running a private business in Cuba — an opportunity that, historically, was all but unheard of. After lunch, walk through the on-site botanical farm, as owners discuss their ongoing efforts to educate and excite children about organic farming. Continue to Finca La Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s former home, where The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls were penned. As you look through the windows and open doors of this remarkably preserved home, visualize the author’s life during the more than 20 years he lived there.
This morning, stroll through Old Havana with a local architect, discussing the challenges and successes of city reconstruction projects, all the while absorbing the vibrant, extraordinary architecture that surrounds you. Continue with a visit to the San Jose craft market. After lunch, witness the storied Colon Cemetery. Founded in 1876, it is the site of more than 800,000 graves and one million interments. Under the guidance of a local specialist, gain insight into the cemetery’s history and its significance to the local community and pilgrims. Early this evening, transfer to the historic Hotel Nacional for a narrative on its fascinating history by the manager or his staff. Considered a national monument, the hotel was built in 1930 and overlooks the Malecón (seaside promenade) and Havana Harbor. Over the years, the Nacional has hosted many international dignitaries and well known entertainers, as evidenced by the photographic memorabilia displayed throughout the hotel. Here, enjoy a private concert of Buena Vista Social Club-style music and a traditional dance performance, sponsored by the Cuban Institute of Music. Then, engage in a post-performance discussion with musicians — a great opportunity to learn the impact music has had on Cuban culture and the ways in which it has influenced music in the United States and beyond. Later, take a tour by traditional “Yank tank” (vintage car) en route to dinner.
Today’s introduction to historic Havana begins with a brief presentation by a former Cuban Foreign Services Scholar, during which you’re immersed in the history of Cuba-U.S. relations, from the colonial era to the present day. Take part in a thought-provoking question and answer session. Then, visit the Muraleando Neighborhood Community project, meeting members and seeing firsthand the art projects and significant restorations that are underway. In the afternoon, join an Afro-Cuban religions specialist at the Casa de Africa, who reveals the country’s religious roots and how religion is practiced in contemporary Cuba. Upon viewing an important collection of African art and witnessing a ceremonial music and dance performance, get to know the performers during a discussion on this unique practice. Later, meet a local salsa teacher to talk about the history of this native rhythm and the importance of dance in Cuban life, followed by a lesson under your instructor’s attentive eye.
Today, visit Las Terrazas community, just 45 minutes outside of Havana. At this pioneering eco-village — a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve — interact with resident specialists, learning about its rare, endemic biodiversity and life amid the self-sustaining enclave. Engage with members of the local farming community during a reforestation discussion, which explores the positive impact of the ecological movement and the ways in which environmental efforts are similar or different to those practiced in the U.S. Also, visit a coffee plantation with a specialist and meet its staff to learn about the economic role of the coffee industry and its impact on Cuban society. After a lunch at Casa del Campesino, visit local artists and the home of the late musician Polo Montañez. Return to Havana in the afternoon, stopping at the whimsical studio of José Fuster, a renowned Cuban painter and ceramicist. Join the artist or his son for a neighborhood walk showcasing their designs and community projects at work. Take part in a discussion about the artist’s work and the role the arts play in contemporary Cuba. Enjoy dinner on your own this evening.
Depart early from Havana. Arrive in Cienfuegos, the “Pearl of the South,” so-called for its stunningly beautiful bay. Set out on an informative city tour through this UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a stop at the Teatro Tomas Terry, a well-preserved monument that has hosted performances by Enrico Caruso, Sarah Bernhardt and Ana Pavlova. Meanwhile, you may take the opportunity to talk with your local guide about Cuban life, be it about the two currencies used or the cost of living on the island. Take a stroll down the Paseo del Prado, the longest tree-lined boulevard in Cuba. After lunch, absorb the a capella sounds of Los Cantores de Cienfuegos or enjoy an orchestral performance at the Colonial Museum. Then, head to Cayo Santa Maria.
In Caibarién this morning, visit La Imprenta — a local print shop — where you meet with the shop manager and employees and discuss their experiences working with antique presses, which are still used to this day. Continue to the Proyecto de Arte Por la Costa, where you meet with artist Madelin Perez Noa and her husband, Leo. Hear how they work together to artistically enrich the fishing community where they reside. Then, view works in progress in their home studio and discuss their future projects and community initiatives. During a visit to the nearby Sugar Museum, housed in the historically significant Marcelo Salado Azucarera (Sugar Mill), participate in a discussion with museum employees on the role the sugar industry played in Cuba’s history. Then, board an old steam train (formerly used to transport sugar cane to the factory), and travel to El Curujey for a traditional, authentic Cuban farm lunch. See a typical farmhouse as well as a demonstration of palm climbing, followed by a discussion with your host about what life is like on a farm in Cuba. Continue by steam train to Remedios. During the short ride, interact with the steam train crew and the conductor, learning firsthand what it takes to run a steam train and about its importance to the sugar cane community. In Remedios, take a ride by bicitaxi (also known as a pedicab or rickshaw) through the town and into the bustling main square. Join the bicitaxi owners at a local coffee shop, gaining insight into their day-to-day routines and the ways in which they maintain their vehicles. Later, at the Remedios Cathedral, meet with the local priest to talk about ongoing community projects for all ages. Return to your hotel for dinner.
Drive to Santa Clara, stopping at the local stadium, where you engage in a shared pastime with Cuban residents: baseball. During the event, you meet and talk with the players about sports in Cuban life, with the opportunity to play a few innings together. Upon arrival in Santa Clara, proceed to the Casa de la Cultura, where members of the Cuban musical group Melodias Antillanas perform traditional music on antique instruments. Hear a concert of Cuban classics, followed by a talk about traditional music and its role in local culture. Here you also meet with members of a senior citizen community center, who perform a traditional Danzon dance, with an opportunity for you to join in. Its members also share engaging stories about Cuban life and social decorum. After lunch, continue to the centrally located Parque de la Libertad in Caibarien, where you experience a performance by children from Marcos Urbay Serafin’s musical group, Banda Infantil de Conciertos de Caibarién. Afterward, meet with the director and the children for a discussion about the organization, its history and its significance. Later, tour Santa Clara, briefly stopping at the Che Guevara Memorial. Return to your hotel for a farewell dinner.
Transfer to the airport to board your return flight to Miami.
Please Note: Cuba remains a developing country, and guests travelling here should adjust their expectations accordingly. Delays commonly occur, and flexibility and patience on the part of visitors is a must. While every effort will be made to operate the program as scheduled, all activities are subject to change without notice. In the event that an individual or location becomes unavailable, a comparable activity will be substituted.
Internal Airfare: From $525 per person
Charter air transportation from Miami/Havana and Santa Clara/Miami is required for participation on this tour.
Medical insurance is included for all travellers from the U.S. to Cuba for emergencies. The cost for this is included in the cost of your charter air passage and your ticket will have an Asistur Stamp on the back as proof of coverage. Should you encounter any medical emergency during the course of the program, local representatives will be on hand to assist in procurement of treatment; however, you will need to show your air ticket with this stamp in order to receive treatment.
Transfer from Miami airport to hotel; 1 hotel night in Miami pre-departure; transfer from hotel to charter flight in Miami; group transfers on arrival and departure from Cuba; services of a professional A&K Program Director starting in Miami and occurring throughout the program; a resident English-speaking guide and activity leader throughout Cuba; all accommodations in Cuba; porterage of two bags per person; meals in Cuba except dinner on day-6; group activities, meetings and exchanges; coffee/tea/soft drinks/water at included meals; local wine and beer at welcome and farewell dinners; local bottled water during sightseeing; gratuities throughout, except to the Program Director; hotel taxes and service charges except the Cuba airport departure tax of CUC 25; medical insurance as part of your charter airfare.
Any airfare; additional expenses incurred due to a change, delay or cancellation of any flight; excess baggage charges; airport departure tax in Cuba; travel insurance; passport and visa fees; customary end-of-tour gratuities are not included for the A&K Program Director; meals, beverages and sightseeing not included; personal expenses such as communication charges and laundry; fuel surcharge may apply.