Summary : Be swept away by the profoundly original art and literature of Cuba's people-to-people travel program. This journey includes stopping to chat with artists in their studios, surveying Hemingway's former home and favorite bars and discovering Afro-Cuban history of the Varadero Peninsula. Highlighting the journey are opportunities to mingle with Cuba's new generation of entrepreneurs – restaurant owners. Family run paladars offer the best cuisine, plus chances to discuss the changing face of Cuba’s economy with private business owners. People-to-People travel is an initiative allowing U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba on a limited basis to participate in cultural experiences and have direct contact with the Cuban people to learn more about them and their culture, while they learn about the American way of life. This is a highly rewarding educational experience, where you enjoy direct engagement with the Cuban people you will meet. People-to-people activities focus on education and cultural exchange as you meet Cuban musicians, artists, architects and more.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
Early Booking Discount: Book 9 months or more in advance and save $250 per person.
$999,999,999 to $0
Your Cuba people-to-people travel program begins in Miami with a briefing and welcome reception before an overnight at the Cambria Suites Miami Airport.
Board your charter flight to Havana. Discuss Havana’s past and future with your local guide while stopping at iconic sites such as Revolution Square. Enjoy dinner in Old Havana at La Imprinta and stroll to the famed Floridita bar, a favorite haunt of Hemingway known as the “Cradle of the Daiquiri." Your path takes you along a lively pedestrian boulevard, where you mingle with locals out for an evening walk. Spend four nights at the Hotel Melia Cohiba or similar. (D)
Stroll through the atmospheric squares of Old Havana, calling on artists in their studios as you pass. These parks and plazas are popular with locals who frequent the stalls selling books along the edges of the park while musicians fill the air with sound. Lunch is at the Spanish restaurant La Paella and then continue your exploration and discussions this afternoon. See Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Ernest Hemingway kept a room for years. The hotel served as a refuge for writing such works as For Whom the Bell Tolls and as a base for frequenting his favorite bars. You have a moment to see the room where Hemingway worked if you wish before sampling a mojito at the rooftop bar. This afternoon, learn more about Cuban history at the Museum of the Revolution, housed in the former Presidential Palace, or join an expert in modern art to tour the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. While here, your small group concentrates on the modern art collection, which includes works by such Cuban artists as Wifredo Lam, Rene Portocarrero and Victor Manuel Garcia. Visit Hotel Nacional for a drink overlooking the sea before dinner at Paladar Dona Eutimia. Paladar owners are truly Cuba’s new breed of entrepreneurs. Dinner is followed by Cuban music nearby at Café Taberna which is the venue for the Buena Vista Social Club revue. (B,L,D)
Head west this morning into the province of Pinar Del Rio to the famed Viñales Valley. Viñales boasts Cuba’s most strikingly beautiful landscapes and is where the island’s best tobacco is grown. At a family-run tobacco farm, the family discusses their lives and why their crop is among the world’s best. The valley is punctuated by huge limestone caves that form inside one of the many spectacular mogotes – limestone karst outcroppings. A small boat takes you on a river running inside the cave. Sample the homegrown vegetables grown at an organic farm while meeting the family who is responsible for the land and prepared your lunch. Cap-off the day by meeting locals in the small community of Viñales before returning to Havana. Dinner tonight is at Restaurant El Tocororo located in a restored mansion, where your meal is accompanied by jazz music in the main dining room. (B,L,D)
Learn about art and dance in the lives of Cubans elite and ordinary citizens. At Centro Prodanza, a private school of dance, attend rehearsals and meet director Laura Alonso, the daughter of famed ballerina Alicia Alonso. After stopping by the prestigious National School of Arts, head to the outskirts of Havana to the interesting neighborhood of Jaministas. It was here where he grew up that distinguished artist Jose Fuster launched a community beautification project. The entire neighborhood is a living canvas and conversations with both residents and local artists focus on the transformative power of art in the lives of ordinary Cubans. After perusing an upscale artist studio and gallery, drive along the Paseo del Prado, a wide avenue separating Old Havana from the central city. Paved in marble, this promenade is a popular place for locals to relax while children play. See numerous art deco buildings, including the famous Barcardi Building. Mingle with locals at an art and crafts market on the harbor, where you chat with artists and vendors displaying their wares. Say farewell to Havana with dinner at the elegant Café Del Oriente. You may cap off the evening with an optional lavish cabaret show at the famous Tropicana (at your own expense). (B,L,D)
Pay homage to Hemingway at his former home Finca Vigia, preserved as it was on the day of his death, and discuss his life with Cuban experts and researchers. Stop to chat with the farmers at a sustainable garden which supplies one of Cuba’s best private restaurants – Il Divino – where you enjoy lunch. Travel west to Matanzas and the Atlantic Coast. In Matanzas, learn about Afro-Cuban religion and its influence on dance at Callegon de las Tradiciones. Cross the peninsula to Varadero, where you check into your hotel for the next two nights. (B,L,D)
While the Varadero Peninsula is known for its beautiful beaches, your time here will focus on the area’s people! Matanzas was Cuba’s major colonial-era port, exporting coffee, tobacco and sugar, and it also served as a slave trading port. The bay is the deepest in Cuba and during one battle in 1628 more than twenty Spanish galleons were sunk here by a Dutch admiral. Discuss the history of traditional dance with the young musicians and dancers at Las Munequitos de Matanzas and the School of Arts. Enjoy a taste of the area’s history at a colonial pharmacy. Lunch is served on the terrace of the storied Xanadu Mansion, built by Irenee Dupont de Nemours. Also on your agenda is a stop at the Varadero Art Museum. Enjoy a sumptuous farewell dinner at Restaurant Kike Kcho, specializing in local lobster. (B,L,D)
Your Cuba tour ends upon return to Havana for lunch before heading to the airport for your charter flight to Miami. (B,L)
Itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes. Specific hotel accommodations in Cuba cannot be to guaranteed in advance as availability is controlled by the Cuban government.
The Cuban government requires that all foreign visitors have medical insurance that covers you while there. You have been enrolled in a Cuban medical insurance plan with up to $25,000 in coverage per person for sickness or accident that occurs in Cuba and up to $7,000 for repatriation. There are certain limitations and conditions pertaining to injuries caused by certain acts. The cost of additional medical care is the responsibility of the traveler. The coverage begins at the moment you arrive in Cuba and ends at the moment when you exit Cuba.
Accommodations as per the itinerary; scheduled transportation unless otherwise noted; services of English-speaking local guides; meals as specified in itinerary; transfers and luggage handling when taking group flights unless otherwise specified. Subject to change without notice.
All airfare, including in-country airfare; transfers and luggage handling unless taking group flights or otherwise specified; travel protection plan; passport and visa fees; taxes and reciprocity fees; gratuities; items of a personal nature, such as equipment rentals, laundry, phone calls, alcoholic beverages, etc.; ticketing fees for airline tickets; ship or air fuel surcharges may apply.
This trip is licensed through International Expeditions, Inc. (CT-2013-299822-1) by the United States Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to engage, organize and conduct authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba that engages participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.
Photo Credit: © International Expeditions