Cuba Undiscovered

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Highlights

HIGHLIGHTS:

Delve deeper into Havana and explore further afield in Varadero. For the past half century Cuba has beef off limits to Americans making it a mythical fantasy land. On this unforgettable getaway see and experience more of Cuba than ever before! Spend time exploring Havana off the beaten path; explore Varadero, known as “the Venice of Cuba” and make memories to last a lifetime! This trip is perfect for those who want to experience Cuba for the first time and return visitors.

Experience Includes:

  • 7 nights at hotels listed above or similar
  • Meals as per program itinerary
  • Cuban Visa
  • People to People exchange program
  • English speaking Cuban Guides
  • Tips at restaurants and organizations
  • Porterage at the hotel (1 piece of luggage per person)
  • Hotel service charges & taxes
  • Cuban departure tax

Itinerary does not include:

  • Optional Tropicana & Buena Vista Shows
  • Tip for Cuban Guide: 10 - 12 CUC per person, per day, suggested
  • Tip for Cuban Driver: 5 - 6 CUC per person, per day, suggested
  • Tip for your hotel room maids: 1 CUC per person, per day, suggested
  • Tip for rest room attendants: 1/2 CUC, suggested
  • Miscellaneous tips: (musicians, taxis)
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and Internet

Important notes:

Due to the nature of the People to People Exchange program, the day by day order of your itinerary is subject to change

Itinerary

ITINERARY:

DAY 1 - MONDAY: HAVANA
Bienvenidos! Upon arrival, transfer to our elegant hotel in the oceanfront Vedado district, considered the Beverly Hills of Havana. We will have a brief meeting and coffee break. Welcome to Cuba dinner at a privately owned restaurant. (D)

DAY 2 - TUESDAY: HAVANA
After breakfast, enjoy a fascinating guided walk through Old Havana to admire the ongoing restoration transforming this UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the Old City plazas, gleaming colonial places, magnificent Capitolio, Plaza Vieja and some of Havana’s finest vitrales (stained-glass windows). Visit the Rum Museum, one of Cuba’s image makers, and see the enchanting colonial palaces in the old city center. After lunch, travel to the port of Havana for a visit to the famous Almacenes de San Jose crafts market. This harbor side warehouse was built in 1885 and is considered the oldest depository in Old Havana. After a painstaking restoration process of almost three years, the huge edifice is now the Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes San José, although conceived as a cultural center with art exhibitions, theatrical performances and recreational activities. Today, it’s most significant offer is undoubtedly the handicrafts on sale. Free time to enjoy the market and interact with the artisans. Possible souvenirs include painting, guayabera shirts, woodwork, leather items and jewelry. Dinner this evening at a privately owned restaurant. (B,L,D)

DAY 3 - WEDNESDAY: HAVANA | VARADERO
After breakfast, visit one of Havana's oldest and most famous cigar factories, the landmark neoclassical Real Fábrica de Tabacos Partagás which was founded in 1845 by Spaniard Jaime Partagás. The Partagás factory has been producing fine cigars for more than 160 years and offers the most insightful cigar tour in Havana. Today, some 400 workers toil for up to 12 hours a day rolling such famous cigars as Montecristos and Cohibas. Soon after, we depart Havana and travel through the Cuban countryside to arrive at the city of Matanzas. Matanzas has the distinction of being called both the “Venice of Cuba” due to its 21 bridges that traverse the city and the “Athens of Cuba” for its renowned poets that have written many great works of literature here. After lunch, at a privately owned restaurant, we will enjoy a city tour, including, Vigia square, Liberty park, the Pharmaceutical Museum and Monserrate look out. Later, we continue our journey to the resort area of Varadero, located on the narrow 14 mile Hicacos Peninsula, a wide strip of fine, white sand that slopes gently into the sea. Check in to our hotel followed by dinner this evening at the hotel. (B,L,D)

DAY 4 - THURSDAY: VARADERO
After breakfast, we will visit a local Artist Gallery in Varadero to exchange views with the local artists of the area. After, we return to Matanzas to visit Ediciones Vigía, located in a lovingly restored colonial house. Founded in 1985, Ediciones Vigia produces handmade books that are not only of literary value but also unique works of art.  The books are manufactured by hand by a group of dedicated artisans. Each book is beautiful to behold, fit to be displayed and a work to be treasured. After lunch at a privately owned restaurant, we continue with a visit to the Matanzas School of Fine Arts. Next, we will visit the Castle of San Severino, completed n 1735. Today it houses The Museum of the Slave Trade in Cuba and tells the riveting story about how the Atlantic slave trade forms an essential part of the shared history of Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and Americas. After, we return to our hotel in Varadero for a well deserved rest from today’s explorations. Dinner this evening at the hotel. (B,L,D)

DAY 5 - FRIDAY: VARADERO | HAVANA
After breakfast at the hotel, we will return to Havana. Along the route, we will stop for lunch in the countryside. Next, it’s on to Finca Vigia “Lookout Farm” in San Francisco de Paula. This was Ernest Hemingway’s winter home from 1939 to 1960. See the author’s 9,000 volume library, his yacht “Pilar” and the typewriter on which he wrote some of his greatest works. Learn about his life here during a talk with a docent. Later, we will proceed to our hotel in Havana. After some time to refresh, it’s off to dinner at a privately owned restaurant. (B,L,D)

DAY 6 - SATURDAY: HAVANA
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to drive to the village of Jaimanitas to visit the home, studio and community art project of José Rodríguez Fuster. He is the Cuban native artist specializing in ceramics, painting, drawing, engraving and graphic design who has transformed his home and the adjoining area. It is known to many as Fusterlandia, one of the most interesting art projects.

Next, we will visit the Kcho Art Project and the studio of Alexis Leyva Machado, known as Kcho, a world-renowned sculptor and mixed-media artist who has contributed to the contemporary art movement. The majority of Kcho’s works are based on boat forms. He uses materials that are often scavenged from other sources, such as recycled bottles and old lumber from docks and boats. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a privately owned restaurant. Next, we will visit the Experimental Graphics Studio. It was founded in 1962 by mural artist Orlando Suarez with the support of Che Guevara, who was the minister of industry at the time. This studio/workshop is still thriving today. It is one of the most important graphic arts establishments, preserving the old printmaking techniques and churning out some of the most significant works of graphic art in Havana. Return to our hotel. This evening enjoy dinner at a privately owned restaurant. (B,L,D)

DAY 7 - SUNDAY: HAVANA
After breakfast, we visit the Muraleando Art Project where Cuban and international artists have used almost every available wall as canvas for hundreds of beautiful painted murals. In 2003, under the direction of Manuel Diaz Baldrich, it developed into an art collective, providing workshops in all forms of art including ceramics, theater, dancing and music. Lunch at a privately owned restaurant, After lunch, meet with members of the Havana Compas Dance Company which combines the essence of Spanish dance with Afro-Cuban rhythms through the use of drumsticks, castanets, heels, claves, chequeres and percussion chairs.  Compare notes on the performing arts in Cuba and the U.S. Farewell dinner at a privately owned restaurant. (B,L,D)

DAY 8 - MONDAY: HAVANA DEPARTURE
After breakfast, transfer to Havana’s Jose Marti Airport for your departing flight. (B)

Tour includes: 20 meals: breakfast daily, as well as 6 lunches and 7 dinners with cocktails and wine

(B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner

Hotels

HOTELS
CITYNIGHTSHOTEL
Havana2Melia Cohiba
Varadero2Melia Las Antillas
Havana3Melia Cohiba
*Accommodations are subject to Availability

Land and Air Prices Per Person*

Weekly Departures
Valid through December 2017
DATESTWINSINGLE
December 27th-January 3rd, 2017$5,399$6,998
January 28th-February 5th, 2017$5,399$6,998
February 19th-26th, 2017$5,399$6,998

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