Faculty-Led: Cuban Commerce and Culture

10 Days- Havana, Santa Clara, Trinidad & Cienfuegos

Program Highlights & Inclusions

  • Professional ETA Tour Manager throughout your trip
  • Transportation throughout your trip
  • Guided city tour in Old Havana
    • Visit Cathedral Square & the Cathedral of Havana
    • Visit Plaza de Armas
    • Visit Plaza San Francisco
    • Visit Vieja
  • Attend the Nine O’clock Firing of the Cannon at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña
  • Admission to the Revolution Museum
  • Admission to the Granma Memorial
  • Admission to the National Museum of Arts
  • Presentations and business/industry visits
    • The Chamber of Commerce
    • The University of Havana
    • The Naturarte Project
    • The Medical University of Santa Clara
    • A local bank in Santa Clara
    • A local clinic in Jibacoa
    • A rum & cigar factory in Trinidad
    • A hotel in Trinidad
    • A major oil refinery in Cienfuegos
  • Free time to stroll down the Malecon
  • Guided city tour in Santa Clara
    • Guided tour of the Armored Train
    • Hike up Capiro Hill
    • Visit the site of one of the most important battles of the Cuban Revolution
    • Visit the Organic City Farm (organopónico)
    • Visit the Museum and Memorial for Che Guevara
    • Visit the El Mejunje
  • Visit to Jibacoa
  • Guided city tour of Trinidad
    • Visit the Central Plaza and the Holy Trinity Church
    • Admission to the Museum of Architecture
  • Guided city tour of Cienfuegos
  • Free time at Almacenes San José


Daily Itinerary

Day 1 – Flight to Miami

This afternoon, you will fly as a group to Miami and take a shuttle to your hotel near the airport.

Day 2 - Flight to Cuba

You will wake up bright and early for your charter flight from Miami to Havana. Upon arrival in Cuba, you’ll be met at the airport by your Program Manager.

Enjoy lunch at a local paladar, a family-run house restaurant, taking some time to sit and discuss the experience the owners had starting a business in Cuba. Paladares, some of the first legal micro-enterprises in Cuba, originated in 1993 after the fall of the USSR and the resulting economic crisis. They allow Cuban families the opportunity to earn extra money by turning their home into a small restaurant that affords tourists the opportunity to experience authentic, homemade Cuban cuisine and culture.

This afternoon, you will visit La Habana Vieja, or Old Havana, where you will have the opportunity to meet with a local historian who will share insights and details about the history and legacy of this area's important sites: 

Cathedral Square and the Cathedral of Havana, a masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture built by the Jesuit order.

Plaza de Armas, the former military parade ground for Spanish soldiers, surrounded by impressive colonial buildings such as Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (the former official residence of the governors of Havana, now home to the Museum of the City of Havana), and Palacio del Segundo Cabo (former house of the second authority in the island, now home to important publishing houses).

Plaza San Francisco, named after the Convent of San Francisco, built in 1628 with the objective of supplying water to the ships trading with the city.

Plaza Vieja, built in 1559, home to executions, processions, bullfights, and fiestas during colonial time.

After dinner at a local paladar, you will attend one of the most traditional and popular ceremonies in Havana, the Nine O’clock Fire of the Cannon at the Fortress of San Carlos de La Cabaña. This fortress was built in 1673 to protect the port, and in the late 1950s it served as the personal headquarters for Che Guevara after the Revolutionary government came to power. In colonial times the firing of the cannon signaled the opening and closing of the port.

Day 3 – Modern Havana

After breakfast at your hotel, you visit the Revolution Museum, the Granma Memorial, and the National Museum or Arts. These three places represent the history of Cuba following the revolution in 1959.  *If your group prefers, these sites could be replaced with a visit to the Ernest Hemingway estate, located in the suburbs of Havana. Hemingway lived in Cuba off-and-on between 1928 and 1960.

After lunch at a local paladar, you will attend a presentation at the Chamber of Commerce on ‘Doing Business in Cuba’. Later in the afternoon, you will visit the University of Havana and spend some time getting to know faculty and students.

After dinner at another local paladar, you will return to your hotel and enjoy some free time to stroll along the Malecon, the famous five miles stretch of roadway and seawall that sits along the coast of Havana.

Day 4 – Santa Clara

After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will board your private bus and travel to the city of Santa Clara, the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution.

After arrival in Santa Clara, you will enjoy a delicious lunch at a local paladar. After lunch, you will check in at your hotel. In the afternoon, you will have your next business visit, at the Naturarte Project. Here you will meet with its founder who will explain his vision of creating a place to function specially as a natural art shop where local artists can express, create, show, and sell their art. There are also exhibits of birds, other animals, and plants from around Cuba and other parts of the world.

In the late afternoon, you will go with your Tour Manager to explore and familiarize yourself with the town of Santa Clara. Time permitting, you will also go on a guided visit of the Armored Train and take a short hike to Capiro Hill, a high out and command center for Che Guevara, where you will have a panoramic view of the city of Santa Clara.  From here, you will visit the site of one of the most important battles of the Cuban Revolution.

After dinner at a local paladar, you will have a meeting with a faculty member of the Medical University of Santa Clara who will lead a discussion about the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Day 5 – Santa Clara

After breakfast, you will visit the cooperative Organic City Farm, called organopónico by the Cubans. This is a space in the city dedicated to organic agriculture that supplies city inhabitants with fresh produce. Every person in the community who participates in the organopónico gets a share of the profits from selling the crops. This is an enterprise encouraged by the government to promote agriculture in populated areas and to bring healthier and fresher food to the people.

Time allowing, you will visit two additional historic sites in Santa Clara, the Museum and Memorial for Che Guevara.

After lunch at a local paladar, you will visit a local bank and speak with the management about their role in the Cuban economy.

You will finish the afternoon with a visit to El Mejunje, the most open-minded club in all Cuba. From rockers to LGBTs, from poets to stand-up comedians, since 1985 everybody has found a safe place here where they can express themselves. You will have the opportunity to talk to one of the founders and learn about the meaning of such a place in a communist country.

Day 6 – Jibacoa and Trinidad

After breakfast at your hotel you will depart for Trinidad, an USESCO World Heritage Site. On the way, you will make a stop in a mountain community called Jibacoa, less than one hour’s drive from Santa Clara. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by song and dance showing off the culture of the community. You will visit a local clinic where one of its directors will explain the universal medical care system of Cuba.

After enjoying a delicious lunch on the road, you will continue on to Trinidad, by far Cuba’s best-preserved colonial city. Trinidad was founded in 1514 and the settlers became rich through the cultivation, trade and export of sugar cane. The large patio houses here are concrete evidence of the wealth of Trinidad’s former sugar aristocracy.  You will be amazed by the pastel colored houses, the terracotta tiled roofs, and the cobblestone streets. You will have free time to interact with local artisans and musicians.

Day 7 – Trinidad

After breakfast at your hotel, you will explore the city with a local expert who will explain the history of the buildings around the Central Plaza, including the Holy Trinity Church.

After lunch at a local paladar, you will visit the Museum of Architecture to learn about Trinidad’s architectural and historic preservation and UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site. You will also visit a local artists’ cooperative where you will have the opportunity to interact with some of the artists present at the time of your visit.

Day 8 – Trinidad

After breakfast at your hotel, you will visit two iconic Cuban industries: rum and cigars. Learn about what makes these Cuban products so well known around the world and discuss their growing export potential with management.

After lunch at a local paladar, there will be a discussion with the management of the hotel, who will give you an introduction to the growing tourism trade in Cuba.  

Day 9Cienfuegos to Havana

You will have breakfast at your hotel before departing for Cienfuegos, also called The Pearl of the South. The architecture here, including the restored plaza "Parque José Martí" and the Moorish Palace of the "Del Valle" family, is impressive. Cienfuegos is also listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You will go on a guided tour of the city with your Tour Manager to highlight the most important landmarks.

After lunch at a local paladar, you will visit the major oil refinery in Cienfuegos. Here you will learn about the process and participate in a discussion with a local expert about energy use in Cuba.

You will continue your trip to Havana. Along the way you will have a special dinner at a local paladar to celebrate your last evening in Cuba. 

Day 10 – Departure

Time allowing, this morning you’ll visit the Almacenes San José, a place specially designed for artists and artisans to showcase and sell souvenirs. Here you will have a chance to talk with the artists and learn about their inspiration. After an early lunch, you will then head to the airport for your return flights home. 





OUR PRICE GUARANTEE

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Once your group enrolls in a trip, the price will never change. Here is what you will get on every trip:



Customization

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Private Tours

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Chaperones travel for free!

Just tell us how many free places you need.

Medical & Trip Delay Insurance

ETA includes up to $50,000 per person in medical coverage and insurance protection for travel delays.

Optional Trip Cancellation Insurance

This even includes a "cancel for any reason" option.

24 Hour Support

We have staff available 24/7 via phone for any emergency.

Full-time Tour Manager

ETA's professional Tour Manager will be with you throughout your trip.

Air, Land & Water Transportation

We include all transportation... to, from and during your trip.

Accommodations

Hotel, homestay and/or hostel options are customized according to your preferences, itinerary and budget.

Sightseeing & Entrance Fees

If it is included in your itinerary, any fees and/or tickets are covered.

Meals

You choose which meals are included in your program.