Summary : Experience Havana and its surrounds on an engaging private journey, with full days spent making meaningful people-to-people connections that reveal the spirit of this culture-rich island nation and those who embody its vibrant spirit. Immerse yourself in Cuban culture, exploring its architecture, agriculture, music and dining during intimate, one-on-one experiences with residents. Join a local architect for an educational walk through Havana, discussing its historic styles, ongoing restoration efforts and their impact on the community.
Activities : Culture
Arrive at José Martí International Airport in Havana, complete immigration and customs formalities and meet your guide. Transfer to the hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. This evening, you may wish to attend a cigar-rolling demonstration at the hotel before savoring dinner at a private paladar. During tonight’s dinner, you are joined by your local guide and two special guests who share additional insight into daily Cuban life.
Take a short tour of Havana, seeing Revolution Square and the José Martí Memorial by Coco Taxi. Stop briefly at the historic Hotel Nacional for a mojito and narrative on its fascinating past, and then visit the Arte Corte project. Gilberto “Papito” Valladares was a local barber who wanted to give back to the community. His legacy is Arte Corte (Art of the Haircut) project, is transforming the neighborhood. Arte Corte offers painting, archaeology and hairdressing classes and sponsors a soccer team. This afternoon, witness panoramic views over Havana during a brief visit to Morro-Cabana fortress. Stop at the studio of a contemporary Cuban painter or sculptor who speaks to you about his work, art education in Cuba and the key role the arts play in the everyday life of Cuban people. Cap your day with a stroll through Old Havana with a local architect, discussing the challenges and successes of city reconstruction projects amid vibrant, extraordinary architecture.
Meals: B, L
Drive to the pioneering eco-village of Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and site of the earliest surviving coffee plantation in Cuba. After a family-style lunch in a campesino (farmhouse), explore the Jaimanitas neighborhood, stopping at the whimsical studio of José Fuster, a renowned Cuban painter and ceramicist. Take part in a discussion about the artist’s work and the role the arts play in contemporary Cuba. Return to your hotel, and have dinner on your own.
Meals: B, L
Today’s exploration of historic Havana begins with a visit to Museo de Bellas Artes, an art museum dedicated to the progression of Cuban art from the colonial times to present day. Visit the Fashion District, a thriving new scene in Havana, and meet with up-and-coming designers who share their insights into emerging Cuban styles and the challenges they face in sharing their vision with the world. In the afternoon, attend a dance rehearsal and learn about the remarkable art of Cuban dance, an eclectic fusion of styles from the Americas, Spain and Africa. This evening, attend a Tropicana show, an energetic Cuban cabaret.
Meals: B, L
Stroll through 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, learn about its history and significance. Then, discover the country’s second-most popular pastime (after baseball) when you take part in a dominoes competition, first getting a brief lesson from a local pro. After the match, the players join you for lunch and a lively discussion of this uniquely Cuban activity. 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. Early this evening, take a drive in “Yank tanks” (vintage cars) along the Malecón to your farewell dinner at one of Havana’s premier paladars.
Meals: B, L, D
Transfer to the airport, where you have access to the VIP Lounge before departure. Board your international flight home.
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.
Private departures are offered for groups of two or more travelers. Please contact your Expedition Specialist to discuss pricing, availability, and itinerary details for this exclusive option.
Medical insurance is required for all travellers from the U.S. to Cuba in case of emergency and is included in the cost of your air ticket. Should you encounter any medical emergency during the course of the program, local representatives will be on hand to assist; however, you will need to show your return air ticket and passport in order to receive treatment.
Accommodations, meals and fully guided activities and meetings/exchanges (including park and entrance fees) as noted in the itinerary (please note activities are subject to change without notice due to unforeseen circumstances); airport transfers to the hotel, regardless of day of arrival; services of Program Director and within Cuba, a resident, English-speaking guide; coffee/tea/soft drinks/water at included meals; local wine and beer at welcome and farewell dinners; local bottled water during sightseeing; porterage of two (2) pieces of baggage; complimentary Internet access (where available; service levels are not guaranteed); hotel taxes and service charges; and gratuities throughout, except to the Program Director. Subject to change without notice.
Any airfare; meals not menitoned in the itinerary; additional expenses incurred due to a change, delay or cancellation of any flight; excess baggage charges; travel insurance; passport and visa fees; customary end-of-tour gratuities are not included for the Program Director; meals, beverages and sightseeing not mentioned as included; personal expenses such as communication charges and laundry; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © A&K Image Library