Today you you will depart for your trip to Cuba. Upon arrival, you will meet your Tour Manager and head to your lodging to rest for the evening.
You will stay in Casas Particulares in the Vedado neighborhood in Havana. Many things in Cuba are different than in the rest of the world. Lodging is not an exception. Due to the lack of hotels and the increasing amount of tourists to Cuba, the government created a network of Casas Particulares, very similar to B&B's with a Cuban flavor. Recently renewed homes rent single, double, and triple rooms to foreigners. This provides visitors with a unique opportunity to have more intimate contact with Cubans and also create a good source of revenue for the families. Each Casa Particular is different and a wonderful experience on it's own.
This morning you will have a tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you will have the opportunity to learn about the history and importance of: Cathedral of Old Havana, Square of Arms, Palace of the General Captains, San Francisco Square, Old Plaza, and the Fortress of San Carlos. At each of these sites you will have the opportunity to interact with Cubans who are caring for these historic places.
After lunch, you will visit the Museum of Revolution in the old Presidential Palace. Here you will learn about the history of the most important political and social event of Cuba during the 20th Century.
You will visit the Granma Memorial, one of the most important symbols of the Revolution. This is the boat that brought Fidel, Che, and a few dozens of revolutionaries back to Cuba to start the revolution. The exhibit shows other important vehicles used during the revolution.
You’ll have dinner.
You will visit El Morro Castle for the 9 O'clock Ceremony of the Cannon Shot. This is an old tradition that used to signal the opening and closing of the city gates.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will pay a visit to a local school in central Havana. Here you will have the opportunity to interact with students in a friendly environment.
You will visit Finca Vigia and the Ernest Hemingway Museum, where the famous writer lived from 1939 to 1960.
After lunch, you will visit Hamel's Alley, a street famous as a magnet for Afro-Caribbean artists in Cuba. You will have the opportunity to talk with local artists about modern art in Cuba.
This morning you will visit the Revolution Plaza and Jose Marti Memorial. This is the most important plaza of all Cuba and scenario of dozens of Fidel's more famous speeches. Next to the Plaza you will see the most impressive memorial to the father of the Cuban Republic and most beloved hero Jose Marti.
You will have a guided visit to the Columbus Cemetery. Built in 1846, this is one of the great historical cemeteries of the world, and is generally held to be the most important in Latin America in historical and architectural terms. It extends for 140 hectares.
After lunch, you will visit a Cigar Factory where you will learn about the history and importance in one of the most iconic products made in the country. Cuban cigars are well known internationally as the best in the world. You will learn of the process from growing the plant until rolling the perfect cigar.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will visit a local music school. Here you will participate in a Afro-Caribbean percussion and movement workshop. You will have the opportunity to learn about this type of music, it's history, and cultural importance.
After lunch, you will have the opportunity to exchange experiences with a local music school in Havana. You will perform for them, and they for you, and you will work on a piece together.
Today you will take your bus to the community of Santa Clara. Along the way you will stop at a farm where you will have the opportunity to see animals endemic to Cuba as well as some from other latitudes.
Upon arrival to Santa Clara you will have lunch at a local paladar. The building is from colonial times and has being restored to function as one of the most emblematic restaurants of the city.
You will take some time to check in your lodging in Santa Clara.
You will visit the Armored Train, the site of the most important battle commanded by Ernesto Che Guevara. Here you will hear the story of the battle from one of the curators of the site and share in a Q&A session. The people of Santa Clara are very proud of their participation during the revolution and you will witness how they love to talk about the heroic moments of their beloved Ernesto Che Guevara.
Later, you will visit the statue The Che of the Children, in front of the Regional Communist Party Headquarters. Here you will hear about the symbolism in the statue and also get an introduction to the importance and meaning of the Communist Party in Santa Clara.
After a short hike to Capiro Hill, the best view of the city of Santa Clara and scenery of one of the most important battles during the Revolution War. Here you will hear about the events at the hill and interact with locals at the view point.
You will visit El Mejunge, the most open-minded club in all Cuba. Since 1985, from rockers to LGBTs, from poets to stand-up comedians, everybody has found a safe place here where they can express themselves.
After an early breakfast, you will visit an Organic City Farm, called Organopónico by the Cubans. This is a lot in the city dedicated to organic agriculture to supply the city inhabitants with fresh produce. You will learn from the workers on the farm and help them with their work. Every person in the community who participates in the organopónico gets a share of the profits from selling the crops. This is a modern activity encouraged by the government to promote agriculture in populated areas to bring healthier and fresher food to the people. After a conversation with the administrator you will help with the day's chores on the farm.
You will visit a local high school to spend the last part of the morning visiting and interacting with students and teachers.
After lunch, you will take a guided visit to the Ernesto "Che" Guevara Memorial. Later you will learn more about the most iconic revolution fighter of the 20th Century in his museum.
You will depart for the colonial city of Trinidad.
You will then start your travels to the city of Trinidad. Upon arrival to your lodging, you'll have some time to clean up before dinner.
After breakfast, you will go on a guided visit with your Program Leader to the Plaza Mayor and main Holy Trinity Church where you will learn about the history of one of the most important cities in Cuba during the time of the Spanish colony. The Plaza Mayor was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. Most buildings surrounding the Plaza Mayor are from the 18th and 19th centuries when this was a blooming sugar cane and slavery hub. The Holy Trinity Church was completed in 1892 and is famous for its wood altar and the Christ of Veracruz.
This afternoon your Program Leader will give you a quick tour around the main Plaza in Cienfuegos before continuing to the Bay of Pigs area. Upon arrival you will visit the Museum of Playa Giron. This museum with gleaming glass display cases evokes a tangible sense of the history of the famous Cold War episode that unfolded within rifle-firing distance of this spot in 1961. You will have the opportunity to have a conversation with one of the local curators to learn about the incidents before, during and after the events at Playa Giron.
After breakfast at your lodging, you will depart for Matanzas Province.
Along the way you will pass some of the largest crop fields in the zone and your Program Leader will explain to you about the agricultural techniques that are used here.
Upon arrival, you'll visit a community project called Callejon de las Tradiciones (The Alley of the Traditions). Here you will witness a show of Afro-Caribbean dances and music. You will then have a Q&A session with some of the dancers and musicians.
This afternoon you will depart for your trip back to Havana. In Havana you will participate in cultural activity going on in the city this day. If possible, this will include assisting at a performance by an Afro-Caribbean music band.
You’ll have dinner.
This morning you will take a visit to Almacenes San José, the artisan’s market in Old Havana. This is a space created for local artists and sellers of handicrafts to display and offer tourists some of the most beautiful souvenirs and art in Cuba.
Today your Cuban adventure comes to a close as you depart for your flight home.