This Cuba tour is great for the first-timer or for the person who finds it easiest to set aside a long weekend to getaway!
Located only ninety miles from the shores of Florida but for some five decades under U.S. sanctions, or as the Cubans refer to the sanctions…a blockade.
In the last decade, more and more privatization programs have been infused with Cuba’s socialist policies brought on by Cuba’s 1959 Revolution and subsequent leadership under the Castro regime.
Don’t be “trumped” by the rules this White House seems to be imposing on Americans’ travel to Cuba….Americans CAN travel to Cuba!
Offered multiple dates in Fall 2019!
November 14 – 18, 2019
December 5 – 9, 2019
Thursday, Day 1- Arrival in Havana
Upon arrival in Havana mid-afternoon from Newark via non-stop with United Airlines, (or via many other US gateways), you will be met at the Havana airport by our English speaking colleagues, proceed towards your hotel, stopping first at Revolutionary Square, the site where massive crowds frequently listened to two to three hour speeches from Fidel.
Continue to your hotel in the Vedado area, the historic Hotel Nacional. History is found immediately upon walking into the hotel, which has gone through recent renovations. In pre-revolutionary years it was known as the Mafia’s hotel, with Meyer Lansky being its primary owner. The views from the garden are among the best in Havana.
This evening, rendezvous with your English speaking Cuban guide and join your fellow travelers. While socialism is still the guiding economic base of Cuba, under Raul Castro’s reign, privatization has increased considerably, particularly in the realm of tourism. Small restaurants and BnB type accommodations are providing an increasing middle class, as well as helping to attract tourists.
You will be going to one of Havana’s many privately owned restaurants, giving you a glimpse of the growing culinary scene! Overnight in Havana. (D)
Friday, Day 2- Havana
Today we will have the opportunity to visit a community center showing an example of a neighborhood that has been greatly improved by its residence. The Murealando project has also inspired many Cubans to take up arts, music and trades. The neighborhood for many years was adjacent to a trash dump, but today has been greatly improved with the collective efforts of the residents of Murealando. We will have an opportunity to meet with some of the residents and possibly be entertained by some of their musicians.
Following our visit to the Murealando project, we drive to another district where again, inspired by one of the neighborhood’s own residents, Jose Fuster, who has found success in the international art world, we find a neighborhood that has been aesthetically transformed thru art. Fuster encouraged locals to get involved in art, has arranged classes for residents and he himself still makes his home in the area now known as “Fusterland”.
From Fusterland, we go to the La Yaondra Farm, a privately owned organic farm that provides both a place of welcome for the senior citizens in the neighborhood, as well as a restaurant whose foods use much of what is grown at the farm.
Afternoon return to hotel and have a pre-dinner briefing from a former Cuban diplomat who has served in Washington, New York, Ottawa, and the Netherlands. Then off to dinner and a location in Old Havana. (B, L, D)
Saturday, Day 3- Havana
This morning you drive into old Havana and enjoy a walking tour through the area to learn about the renovations taking place in this heart of Havana.
Then into town to visit the Revolution Museum and a brief tour of the Fine Arts Museum. In the former, we will hear a very different version of US-Cuban 20th century history than what most Americans learn in school.
Late morning visit to the neighborhood of Callejón de Hamel, another neighborhood of Havana whose residents have been given a free hand to use art to enhance what would otherwise be a very simple neighborhood. The variety of art includes plumbing and household supplies to other “outsider” art.
The neighborhood is also home to many practitioners of Santeria, the Afro-Christian religion that is said to be followed, often not overtly, by a large minority of Cubans. We will have the opportunity to hear from a member of the community and learn about some of their rituals, which as residents will note, are mistakenly seen by outsiders as something akin to Haitian Voodoo.
Lunch will be in the area. We will also visit a factory that restores old cars and then return to the hotel via vintage convertible cars.
Dinner tonight at another great restaurant. Overnight in Havana. (B, L, D)
Sunday, Day 4- Rural Cuba and Havana
This morning drive to Pinar del Rio to see some of rural Cuba. Visit Soroa and Las Terrazos, two beautiful communities with lush covered hills and ecologically sensitive residents. We will have lunch at a campesita in the area, providing a good sense of rural life and the people, as well as their local music.
Return to Havana late afternoon and possibly have a talk with a Cuban medical professional who can discuss the medical system in Cuba. Dinner in another nice restaurant.
Overnight in Havana. (B, L, D)
Monday, Day 5- Havana and Departure
Morning to visit the San Jose market and perhaps one other meeting before going to the airport for your afternoon departure. One final meal will be a Cuban lunch. (B, L)
Hotel Nacional ★★★★★
NOTE: Hotel star ratings are based on criteria determined by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism. In our opinion, to compare to international standards, deduct one to two stars.
ONLY $2,495 per person! NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT!!
What is included
* Meals included as indicated by B, L, D. Any other references to meals are for logistical purposes, only.
* Hotels as described or comparable properties based on double occupancy.
* English speaking guide and private vehicle throughout the itinerary, as noted.
What is NOT included
* Any purchases of a personal nature, hotel expenditures such as laundry, mini-bar, business center related expenses and spa expenses.
* Gratuities to guide and driver.
* Alcoholic drinks not included during group meals.
* Flights to Cuba and back from the US. Non-stop round-trip from Newark can range plus or minus $500, approximately.
* Possible visits upon government approval