DAY 1 We fly to Miami and transfer to our hotel. Tonight, meet our Tour Manager and enjoy a welcome drink. Sheraton Miami Airport or similar - Miami, FL
DAY 2 This morning, a short flight brings us to Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city. Here we meet the Cuban National Tour Director. As one of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards, much of the city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch, meet an award-winning ARTIST, and discuss the inspiration for her work. Enjoy a bici (bike) taxi TOUR of the city center. Hotel Santa Maria or similar - Camaguey, Cuba (B,L,D)
DAY 3 Today, meet and interact with dancers with the world-renowned Camagüey Ballet Company, which has performed in over 40 countries. Journey to King Ranch, an expansion of the famous Texas ranch of the same name, and its neighboring village. Visit a home and school to discuss rural life and education. Then, over a barbecue lunch, connect with the cowboys who call the ranch home. Stop at Casanova Pottery Studio to learn and talk to the artists about Camagüey’s famous tinajones, the large red pots found outside homes, a symbol of the city. A relaxing dinner is at a local paladar (special, privately owned restaurant). Over dessert, discuss with the owner and staff the differences between a paladar, co-operative, and government-run restaurant in Cuba. Before returning to the hotel, meet members from the American Car Association and enjoy a ride in an old style car. Hotel Santa Maria or similar - Camaguey, Cuba (B,L,D)
DAY 4 Travel to Trinidad, crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial cities, founded in 1514. Enjoy lunch at a Casa Particular (bed & breakfast) and learn about private enterprise in Cuba with the owners and staff. This afternoon, stroll the cobblestone streets of Trinidad, Caged songbirds outside the home are a Trinidad tradition. Interact with the librarian at the local library and learn about the library system in Cuba including censorship. Before arriving at the hotel spend time at TEMPLO YEMAYA to learn about the Santeria religion. We continue to Cienfuegos for a two night stay. Hotel Faro Luna or similar - Cienfuegos, Cuba (B,L,D)
DAY 5 Cienfuegos is called the “Pearl of the South” and we get acquainted by a walk around the square. Next, talk with tobacco rollers at a cigar factory. Join in a discussion with artists at a graphic arts studio and learn more about their lives, work, and how their art is created. Lunch is served at a waterside paladar. Before returning to Trinidad, enjoy a performance and discussion with the Cienfuegos Choir. Hotel Faro Luna or similar - Cienfuegos, Cuba (B,L,D)
DAY 6 After breakfast, travel through the countryside, passing sugar cane fields and banana plantations. In Playa Girón enjoy a guided visit of the Bay of Pigs Museum. Nearby is the old sugar mill used by Fidel Castro as his center of operations during the 1961 invasion. Over lunch, talk with a local Naturalist as well as the family that runs the restaurant. Arrive in Havana, Cuba’s vibrant capital city. Before dinner this evening, meet with jazz musicians from the Cuban Institute of Music. Join in a discussion to share the importance of music in everyday life and enjoy a performance. Afterward, enjoy a tour of the illustrious Hotel Nacional de Cuba, a symbol of history, culture, and Cuban identity. The hotel has hosted celebrities and world figures over the decades, including Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, and Steven Spielberg. Melia Cohiba Hotel or similar - Havana, Cuba (B,L,D)
DAY 7 Our day begins with a discussion with a local architect. Topics include Havana’s unique architecture, the challenges of renovating the city’s exquisite historic buildings, and the future of these restorations. We then explore the charming cobblestone streets of Old Havana. Participate in open dialogue with the local architect on architectural topics of interest. Our attention then turns to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway who lived in Cuba for over 30 years and left behind an enduring legacy. It is here that he wrote several books, participated in fishing contests, and enjoyed the laid-back ambiance and warmth of the Cuban people. Engage with staff at Finca Vigia his beloved home, and see his fishing boat, El Pilar. Lunch is at a local Organic Farm where we’ll join a discussion with the owners and learn about organic urban farming in Cuba. Before returning to Havana, visit a Daycare Center to interact with the children and the workers who run the program. Melia Cohiba Hotel or similar - Havana, Cuba (B,L)
DAY 8 A photo stop is made at Revolution Square before exploring the world-famous Colon Cemetery with its elaborately sculpted memorials. Hear the cemetery’s captivating history, folklore, and stories about the many noteworthy people laid to rest here including musicians, filmmakers, writers, politicians, Major League Baseball players, and La Milagrosa—the “Miraculous One.” Next, enjoy a visit to Jose Fuster’s Studio, cleverly nicknamed the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Here, we’ll discover a surreal world—like nothing we have seen before. Interact with members of the neighborhood to discuss the project’s impact on the surrounding area. Enjoy an afternoon choir performance and join a discussion with choir members and their director from the Cuban Institute of Music. Before dinner, meet former Cuban baseball players for a discussion about the history and the love of this favorite pastime in Cuba and the United States. This evening join our Cuban Tour Director and our Tour Manager for a festive farewell dinner—the perfect ending to our time in Cuba. Melia Cohiba Hotel or similar - Havana, Cuba (B,L,D)
DAY 9 After breakfast, depart for the airport and our return flight to Miami. We will then connect to our flight that returns us home. (B)
• The “Cuba’s Charming Colonial Cities & Havana” program requires walking on cobblestone streets and uneven pathways, climbing stairs, and participating in a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities. Participants in this journey are not “tourists” but rather are traveling as a part of a peope-to-people educational exchange program and MUST PARTICIPATE IN ALL PROGRAM ACTIVITIES.
• Due to the special requirements to visit Cuba, participants will be required to complete visa application, travel reservation forms and sign an affidavit confirming that they are traveling under a people-to-people license and are aware of the travel rules. Participants are also required to send a color copy of their passport photo page. We cannot confirm a reservation without these completed forms.
• In Cuba, activities that have been scheduled far in advance can sometimes become unavailable for a number of different reasons. The purpose of the trip is to have meaningful interactions with the locals and if the planned people-to-people educational exchange isn’t available, rest assured that another that will be just as enriching will be substituted.
A Valid Passport is Required.