Cuba: People, Art and Culture

Experience the heart of Cuba as few get to. From the historical streets of Havana and through World Heritage towns, this small group tour allows for the people-to-people exchanges that make visiting Cuba so special.
  • Date

    October 08 - 16, 2017
  • Duration

    8 days / 7 nights
  • Highlights

    Havana, Las Terrazas, Trinidad, Cienfuegos
  • Notes

    No Single Supplement
  • Activity Level

    Easy

  • Tailor Made

    This tour can be booked privately

Only  $3,195
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Cuba: People, Art and Culture 8 Days8D7 Nights7N

Old-world charm, rich history, vibrant sounds and bright colors - this 8 day adventure takes you into the heart of beautiful cuba. Our tour goes a step beyond the surface. From Havana to Cienfuegos, we immerse you with our local friends, culture, dance and art for the Cuba most travelers never get to see. Want to learn about the challenges Cubans face today? We’ll introduce you to a journalist who’s spent his career covering this topic. Want to try an authentic Cuban cigar? We’ll bring you to the farmers that make them. By day, visit some of Cuba’s most significant sites and immerse yourself in these valuable people-to-people exchanges. By night, eat and sway to the Caribbean sounds

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What can you expect as part of your tour?

  • 7 nights accommodations at top hotels
  • Full-time professional, bilingual guide
  • Visa to Cuba
  • Meals listed on the itinerary
  • Local ground transportation
  • Entrance fees
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Day

1

Sunday, October 08

Arrival in Havana

Welcome to Cuba! Upon your arrival in Havana, you’ll be greeted at the airport and taken to your hotel in central Havana. In the afternoon, we will have a presentation by one of Cuba’s leading urban planners who will share the history of Havana’s development, the problem of the many beautiful homes that are crumbling and what is being planned for future development. This introduction to the urban landscape of Havana will lay the groundwork for our next day of touring of old Havana. Dinner tonight will be traditional Cuban cooking served family style at an outdoor setting just a short walk from your hotel.

Overnight:Havana (D).

Day

2

Monday, October 09

Havana

Embark on a walking tour of old Havana, taking in some of the oldest sites like Plaza de san Francisco laid in cobblestone and surrounded by 18th century buildings and Plaza de la Catedral, while hearing about the process of restoration in Havana. After lunch at one of the best paladars in town, you’ll get insider access to a Cuban hip-hop/jazz musician famous in Havana’s vibrant music scene. We’ll spend our afternoon in Callejon de Hamel, a neighborhood rich in Afro-Cuba religion, art and dance. We’ll hear from a local scholar about the development of the community and Santeria, the Afro-Cuban religion that many Cubans believe in. Tonight, enjoy dinner at another popular Paladar.

Overnight:Havana (B, L, D).

Day

3

Tuesday, October 10

Havana and Las Terrazas

Drive to the Vinales Valley, one of the most scenic regions of Cuba. You’ll explore Las Terrazas, a coffee growing region, surrounded by lush mountains and greenery. You’ll learn about the development of the eco foundation of Las Terrazas and how the community has developed. If you’re up for it, you can go zip lining, horseback riding and more. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant with traditional cooking of the region, along with musicians who come to play their local style of music. Back in Havana, after some time to relax we’ll have a delicious dinner.

Overnight:Havana (B, L, D).

Day

4

Wednesday, October 11

Havana

Start your day at La Finca Vigia, the former home of Ernest Hemingway, which still houses his expansive library where he wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” and other novels. At the Museum of Cuban Art, you’ll get a special tour with an art historian to learn about Cuban art and artists over the centuries. Keep soaking in the culture at Lizt Alfonso Academy, a women-led dance company and school for local youth. We’ve organized an inside opportunity to watch a dance group and speak with the dancers. Dinner tonight will be at Cafe Madrigal, a beautiful colonial mansion with art covered walls, where you’ll sip cocktails, eat tapas and hear a well-known Cuban singer and songwriter play his magic.

Overnight:Havana (B, L).

Day

5

Thursday, October 12

Havana

Today we’ve arranged an exclusive presentation and discussion from a journalist who has been covering U.S. – Cuban relations in Cuba for many years. He has unique insights into the politics and changes taking place in Cuba. For a taste of vintage Cuba, we’ll visit the Nostalgic Cars restoration garage. The secrets of what keeps these cars running despite the car part shortage is part of what our visit will be about. In the afternoon, we’ll visit a large warehouse in Havana where artists and craftspeople display their wares…from the talented to the kitsch.

Overnight:Havana (B, L).

Day

6

Thursday, October 12

Trinidad and Cienfuegos

Today we’ll head to “the interior”. We’ll stop at Santa Clara and then explore the UNESCO protected city of Trinidad by foot. A meticulously preserved Spanish colonial city, with its rich 16th century architecture, cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas, it’s the museum city of Cuba. We’ll delve into the history of this special town, have a delicious lunch and roam the many galleries and shops. We’ll complete the day in Cienfuegos, a coastal city with Spanish and French influences.

Overnight:Cienfuegos (B, L, D).

Day

7

Friday, October 13

Cienfuegos

The Botanical Gardens of Cienfuegos is beautiful. It’s natural, rural and filled with a wide variety of specimens, flowers and trees. Throughout the years of the US embargo, Harvard University has sponsored the studies and the development of the Botanical Gardens. You’ll enjoy an escorted walk through this amazing garden. Returning back to Cienfuegos, wind down the afternoon hearing a performance by the Cienfuegos Choir. Tonight will be a final night celebration with Cuban music and food.

Overnight:Cienfuegos (B, L, D).

Day

8

Saturday, October 14

Farewell Cuba

This morning you will be taken to the airport for your departure flight from Cuba.
Day 1 - Sunday, October 8
Arrival in Havana

P1040786 CUBA (875) One of Havana's many beautiful old homes low resUpon your arrival in Havana, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in central Havana.

This afternoon we will have a presentation by one of Cuba’s leading urban planners who will share the history of Havana’s development, the problem of many beautiful homes that are crumbling and what is being planned for future development…thus helping to lay the groundwork for our next day touring of old Havana.

Dinner tonight will be traditional Cuban cooking served family style at an outdoor setting a short walk from your hotel.

Dinner and overnight in Havana. (D)

Day 2 - Monday, October 9
Havana

P1040786 CUBA (52) low res learning about old Havana projects

This morning we have a walking tour of old Havana, visiting such sites at the Plaza de Armas, the Plaza de san Francisco with its cobblestone and surrounding 18th century buildings, as well as the Plaza de la Catedral, while hearing about the process of restoration in Havana.

P1040786 CUBA (701) old Havana church low res

We continue on to the Taller de Grafica Experimental, Havana’s printmaking and lithographic workshop. It serves as both a school and studio, preserving the art of print making.

Following lunch at a paladar  (privately owned restaurant) that has been getting rave reviews in magazines, we visit a home in central Havana where we will meet with a Cuban hip-hop/jazz that has gained notoriety in Havana’s active music scene.

We then depart of a mid-afternoon visit to Callejon de Hamel, a neighborhood that has been converted into a cultural center rich in Afro-Cuba religion, art and dance. We will hear from a local scholar who will discuss the development of the community and Santeria, the Afro-Cuban religion that lies behind the beliefs of many Cubans.

Dinner tonight at another paladar.

Overnight in Havana.  (B, L, D)

Day 3 - Tuesday, October 10
Havana/Las Terrasas

Cuba Las TerrazasThis morning you depart for a day trip to the Vinales Valley, perhaps one of the most scenic regions of Cuba.

You will be heading to Las Terrasas, a beautiful area of Cuba approximately one hour west of Havana, surrounded by lush mountains and greenery, Las Terrasas is a coffee growing region. Visitors can take walks and/or hikes with their guide, learning about the development the eco foundation of Las Terrasas and how the community has developed, go zip lining, horseback riding and a variety of such optional activities. Lunch is in a local restaurant with traditional cooking of the region, along with musicians who come to play their local style of music.

Afternoon return to Havana. After some time on your own, rendezvous in the reception area of your hotel to depart for dinner at another Havana palader.

Overnight in Havana.  (B, L, D)

Day 4 - Wednesday, October 11
Havana

This morning we visit La Finca Vigia, the former home of Ernest Hemingway, which still houses his expansive library. It was from this home that he wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “The Old Man and the Sea” and other novels.

Following lunch at a noted Havana lunch spot, we visit the Museum of Cuban Art where we will be accompanied by an art historian who will provide an overview of Cuba art and artists over the centuries.

havana Museum of Fine Arts

 

We then go to the Lizt Alfonso Academy, a women-led dance company and school for local youth, specializing in various types of dance. We will have the opportunity to watch a dance group and speak with the dancers.

P1040786 CUBA (466) dance academy low res

This evening, enjoy tapas and cocktails at Cafe Madrigal with a well-known Cuban singer and songwriter, housed in a beautiful colonial mansion with art covered walls.

For those who are still hungry after the tapas, we will be happy to suggest some dining venues.

Overnight in Havana. (B, L)

Day 5 - Thursday, October 12
Havana

Following breakfast, we have a presentation and discussion from a journalist who has been covering U.S. – Cuban relations in Cuba for many years. He can provide interesting insight in the politics and changes taking place in Cuba.

We then depart for the Christopher Colon Cemetery, the largest cemetery in Cuba and one of the largest in Latin America. The cemetery provides an interesting way to learn about Cuba’s past, particularly of Cuba’s past wealthy citizens.

P1050437 Cuba Havana cemetery low res

Following lunch, we visit Nostalgic Cars restoration garage. Visitors to Cuba are always amazed by the number of old cars still operating, despite the lack of parts during the many decades since the Revolution. The secrets of what keeps these cars running is part of what our visit will be about.

P1040786 CUBA (439) low res

We pay an afternoon visit to the large warehouse in Havana where artists and craftspeople display their wares…from the talented to the kitsch.
P1040786 CUBA (1289) Cuban painter showing his works low res

Dining suggestions will be provided.

Overnight in Havana. (B, L)

Day 6 - Friday, October 13
Trinidad/ Cienfuegos

After breakfast, depart to what is frequently referred to as “the interior”, where visits will be made to Santa Clara and then on to Trinidad.

Scenery en route to Cienfuegos

Rural Cuban scenery follows throughout the day…

Continue on to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A meticulously well-preserved Spanish colonial city, with its rich architecture from the 16th century, along with cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas, it is sometimes referred to as the “museum city of Cuba.” We will walk through the town to learn about the history, followed by lunch and some time to explore the many galleries and shops.

Touring the colonial town of Trinidad

The town square in central Trinidad

From Trinidad, we depart for a drive of approximately one and a half hours to Cienfuegos, a coastal city whose architecture reflects both Spanish and French influences. We will have a tour of Cienfuegos main square.

Dinner and overnight in your Cienfuegos. (B, L, D)

Day 7 - Saturday, October 14
Cienfuegos

Following our visit, we depart for a short ride out of Cienfuegos, we will arrive at the Botanical Gardens of Cienfuegos. The setting is natural, rural and filled with specimens of many types of plantings, flowers and trees. Throughout the years of the US embargo, Harvard University has maintained an important role as one of the sponsors of the studies and the development of the Botanical Gardens. We will have an escorted tour as we walk through portions of the beautiful setting.

Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens

 

Returning back to Cienfuegos, we will have an opportunity to hear a performance by the Cienfuegos Choir (assuming they are not traveling), prior to dinner. We gather tonight for your “Farewell Dinner” in a nice venue with live music complementing the food.

Cienfuegos Choir

 

Overnight in Cienfuegos. (B, L, D)

Day 8 - Sunday, October 16
Cienfuegos/departure

After breakfast, transfer to the local airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)

(B) Breakfast  (L) Lunch  (D) Dinner

Note: All itineraries are subject to change
* A minimum of 13 passengers is required for tour service.

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Where you will rest you head...

Hotel Nacional

Superior Room

5 STARS

About the hotel: The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is considered a symbol of history, culture and Cuban identity. With its privileged location in the middle of Vedado, the center of Havana, it stands on a hill just meters from the sea

La Union

Superior Room

5 STARS

About the hotel: A lovely hotel with boutique style and service, La Unión is housed in a beautiful neoclassical, colonial building in the heart of Cienfuegos – a charming city known as the "Pearl of the South."

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