Day 1 – Flight to Miami
This afternoon, you will fly as a group to Miami and take a shuttle to your hotel near the
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
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.
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
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
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 9 – Cienfuegos to Havana
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.
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.