Exploring Cuba
14 nights/ 15 days

2018 Small Group Departures
July 1-15 $3100 (Single Supplement $520)
Due in full by April 2, 2017
SOLD OUT
Price is per person based on double occupancy. Initial deposit is $500 and is payable by credit card. Once submitting your deposit, you’ll receive an invoice for the remaining balance, plus any trip add-ons and extensions. Payments can be made online with a credit card or by mailing a check. Please be aware that a 3% bank transaction fee will be applied to all balances paid by credit card. 
Solo Travelers: We provide roommate matching, so you never have to pay for a single supplement unless you want your own room. Should there be an odd number of men to women, you may be asked to join a triple occupancy room if you are one of the last to join.
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This itinerary has been designed to meet requirements set by the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to provide those who register as participants in our programs to visit Cuba legally for educational people-to-people interactions. Our itineraries provide a full-time schedule of people-to-people educational exchange activities designed to result in meaningful interactions between our travelers and individuals in Cuba. United States law requires that all participants in our programs adhere to the full-time schedule of people-to-people activities. You should be aware that you are not traveling to Cuba as a “tourist.” You will be traveling as part of a people-to-people educational exchange program and must participate in all activities of the program. 

Come with us and explore Cuba! Cuba’s rich history and culture will come to life over two magical weeks, and we are quite sure that you won’t want to leave. From Havana’s historical streets, travel east to Santiago de Cuba and Baracoa and encounter the birthplace of Cuban rhythms and revolutionary fervor. Imagine yourself walking along the pristine shores of the Caribbean, strolling through World Heritage sites, learning sultry salsa dance moves, and walking along the cobblestoned streets of gorgeous Trinidad. Explore one of the most biologically diverse places on earth in Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and cruise the streets of Havana in the back of a classic car. On this 15-day tour, we’ll relive a fascinating colonial history and experience the rich heritage of music and dance that Cuba is known for.

Highlights

  • Rest your weary head at a Cuban Bed and Breakfast, known as a Casa Particular. Experience the warmth of Cuban hospitality by staying with a Cuban family, who will make you feel right at home.
  • Drive along the picturesque Playa Giron, also known as the Bay of Pigs, the infamous site where the landing of US sponsored counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961.
  • Take in the final resting place of the iconic Che Guevara.
  • Visit Cienfuegos, also known as the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean,’ which stands out for its rich French-influenced architecture.
  • Try out some sultry salsa steps and dance the night away at Casa de la Musica in Trinidad.
  • Explore the beautiful colonial city of Trinidad, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
  • Buy some pottery to take home from the Casa Chichi pottery house of the Santander family, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Watch a performance from the dancers of Camaguey’s world-renowned ballet company.
  • Learn about the Afro-Cuban religion at the Temple of Yemaya.
  • Hiking in Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, recognized by UNESCO as one of the most biologically diverse tropical island sites on earth.
  • Explore Havana on foot and in a classic car and attend the famous cannon ceremony at the La Cabana Fortress.
  • Visit the oldest cigar factory in Havana and learn about the cigar making process.
  • Enjoy a live performance by Cuba’s most famous musicians, Buena Vista Social Club!

Is this trip right for you?

  • The guesthouses (Casas) we use are much nicer than your average Cuban dwelling but keep in mind that each and every room is unique. Regardless of where you stay, power cuts and breaks in hot water are sometimes unavoidable, as in any developing country.
  • Funds can be difficult to access in Cuba. If you’re traveling from the US, bring plenty of cash and if you’re traveling from other countries, bring multiple credit cards from several different banks just to be sure (non-US affiliated banks)
  • Luxuries such as air conditioning, and even toilet seats, are often scarce. Part of the experience here is learning to appreciate everyday Cuban resourcefulness.
  • Internet access can be hard to come by, and when it’s available it’s often unreliable and expensive. This is, on the other hand, a great opportunity to take a break from modern devices and have a true holiday.
  • Cuba is different, and that’s a big part of its allure. Things don’t always go according to plan, and many things don’t work the same way as back home. Patience and good humor will go a long way in this beautiful destination.
DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Havana to Havana
TRIP LEADER(S) Carlos
PLACES VISITED Havana, Cienfuegos, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad, Santa Clara, Camaguey, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa
ACTIVITIES Walking, Hiking, Dancing, Boating, Snorkeling, Cultural
GROUP SIZE Min. 6 Max. 12
PHYSICAL RATING Easy
WHAT’S INCLUDED
14 nights Casa Particulars All meals indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L= Lunch, D=Dinner)
Bilingual, local guide All transfers listed in the itinerary
Domestic flight from Baracoa to Havana (1.5 hours) Entrance at Bay of Pigs and the local museum
Snorkeling at Bay of Pigs Cienfuegos Walking Tour & visit the Palacia del Valle
Entrance at Che Guevara Memorial in Santa Clara Walking tour of Trinidad
Salsa Dance Lesson & entry into Casa de la Musica Hiking in the Escambray Mountains
Casa Chichi Pottery House of the Santender Family (UNESCO World Heritage Site) Camaguey Walking Tour
Bici-Taxi Tour Visit a local ballet school
Camaguey Ballet Performance Visit Casa de la Trova (entry fee and 1x drink)
Santiago de Cuba Walking Tour Snorkeling at Spanish Warship Cristobal Colon
Baracoa Walking Tour Yumuri River Tour
BBQ at the River Hiking in Alejandro de Humboldt National Park
Classic Car Havana Tour Canon Ceremony at La Cabana Fortress
Old Havana Walking Tour Visit Partagas Cigar Factory
Final Dinner & Buena Vista Social Club Show
NOT INCLUDED
Airfare to/from Havana (HAV) Airport taxes & excess baggage fees
Travel Insurance Beverages & meals not specified
Personal Expenses Gratuities
Optional Activities  Cuba Tourist Card (Visa)
2017  Small Group Departures
July 1-15 $3100 (Single Supplement $520)
Due in full by April 2, 2017
SOLD OUT
Ready to book? Click the button above to submit your information along with a deposit to secure your spot. Need assistance? Call us at (800) 953-5538 or email travel@adventurepeople.net and one of our tour consultants will be happy to help.
Not finding what you’re looking for? We can tailor your adventure to fit your travel style, time frame, budget, and interests. From different styles of lodging to your favorite adventure activities, we’ll create the best custom itinerary for you. Feel free to call one of our travel specialists for information on custom trips. Let us plan your next adventure of a lifetime! Contact us today!
1

Havana

Bienvenido! Welcome to Cuba! You are free to arrive anytime and someone will be waiting for you at the airport for transfer to your hotel. Upon arrival, take some time to soak in the decaying beauty of Havana and the surreal feeling that you have entered a bygone era. You are visiting Cuba at a historic time, as the gates finally creak open to a country so long forbidden.

Havana grew from an obscure port to a bustling hub when gold and silver that was being pillaged by the Spanish from the New World was taken to Spain. While the ships gathered in growing numbers, the pirates were not far behind and the treasures resting in Cuba’s ports were attacked again and again by Dutch, English and French pirates. The Spanish built fort after fort for protection, but the English eventually captured the territory. An economic boom followed due to the English lifting the Spanish trade restrictions. Spain eventually exchanged the Florida territory for the island, but these years left an indelible mark on the city and the country, and Havana is slowly restoring its beautiful colonial buildings.

INCLUDED:

— Airport transfer (only applicable if you arrive on Day 1 of the tour)

Overnight at Casa Particular

2

Cienfuegos (via Bay of Pigs) (B)

Today we head to Cienfuegos. If Cuba had a Paris then it would be Cienfuegos, which stands out for its rich French-influenced architecture. “Cienfuegos is the city I like the best”, wrote Beni More, one of Cuba’s most important musicians in the first half of the 20th century, and we understand why. A harbor city by location, the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ has seduced Cuban travelers for years due to its elegance and beauty. Founded in 1819 by Don Luis de Clouet, Cienfuegos luckily managed to remain free of pirate attacks, allowing this popular city to prosper. Like Havana, it has a beautiful Malecon, and it has a distinctly European flavor, with a wide Parisian-style boulevard and elegant colonnades.

After a lunch stop (not included), we’ll drive along the picturesque Playa Giron, also known as the Bay of Pigs. The infamous Bay of Pigs is the site where the landing of US sponsored counter-revolutionary exile militia occurred in 1961. Today, there is a museum here that recounts the events of this conflict which resulted in the first defeat of a US backed take-over in Latin America.

There are some beautiful places to stop for a swim along the way, so be sure to keep your swim wear & snorkel gear handy (or you can rent it there). One spot includes a sink hole which resembles a huge natural tropical fish tank!

On arrival to Cienfuegos, we will settle into our guesthouse before taking a walk around the city as you take in the grand, crumbling architecture and learn about its history. We’ll visit Parque Jose Marti and The Palacia del Valle, before enjoying a walk along the Malecon, where you can spend a peaceful evening watching fishermen cast nets and locals socialize.

INCLUDED:

— Private bus transportation from Havana to Cienfuegos (5 hours)
— Visit Bay of Pigs and the local museum
— Snorkeling at the Bay of Pigs
— Cienfuegos Walking Tour & visit the Palacia del Valle
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

3

Trinidad (via Santa Clara & Valley of the Sugarmills) (B)

Today, we’ll depart Cienfuegos for a short drive to Trinidad… a favorite of many travelers to Cuba.  Trinidad was founded in 1514 by Diego Velázquez and is considered a jewel in Cuban colonial architecture. For some, Trinidad is a living museum, stuck in the time of Cuba’s first War of Independence when local sugar plantations were devastated by fire. The vibrant colors and soulful music littered along cobbled streets will simply take your breath away.

On the way, we’ll stop in Santa Clara, which was the site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution in 1958, and there are many tributes to the city’s troubled history here. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial, where the mortal remains of this Cuban revolutionary are interred. You will learn about how Guevara played a pivotal role in the demise of the dictator Batista and the rise of Fidel Castro, a turning point in the Cuban revolution.

We’ll also make a stop along the way at the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugarmills), where the ruins of dozens of ingenios (small 19th-century sugar mills), including slave quarters and manor houses, are scattered throughout this valley. The royal palms, waving cane and rolling hills are timelessly beautiful. The prime sight is Manaca Iznaga, an estate purchased in 1795 by the dastardly Pedro Iznaga, who became rich by trafficking in slaves. A 44m tower was built to look over the slaves as they worked. It has a sugar cane press that the slaves used to operate. The village around the mansion is inhabited by direct descendants of the slaves.

Once arriving in Trinidad, enjoy a cultural walking tour of the city. This beautiful colonial city is home to numerous churches and many beautiful buildings. Built on huge sugar fortunes amassed in the adjacent Valle de los Ingenios during the early 19th century, the riches of Trinidad’s pre-war of independence hey-day are still very much in evidence in illustrious colonial-­style mansions bedecked with Italian frescoes, Wedgwood china and French chandeliers. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the town retains a quiet, almost soporific air in its rambling cobbled streets replete with leather-faced guajiros (country folk), snorting donkeys, and melodic, guitar-­wielding troubadours.

In the afternoon, we’ll learn about the cultural and social importance that dancing has to Cuba as we enjoy a Cuban salsa dance class with a local teacher. Cuban salsa (both the dancing & music) first came out of Cuba in the 1970’s and varies in style from Puerto-Rican, Miami, New York, Columbian, or any of the other varieties of salsa dance. Learn the steps and later this evening, you can practice at Casa de la Musica. Every night the area beside the Cathedral in Plaza Mayor come alive with a live salsa band! The music and the atmosphere is great, mojitos are cheap, and what’s more, you get one of the most beautiful starry skies thrown in for nothing.

INCLUDED:

— Private bus transportation from Cienfuegos to Trinidad (4 hours)
–­- Visit Che Guevara Memorial in Santa Clara
— Visit ruins in the Valley of the Sugar Mills
— Walking tour of Trinidad
— Salsa Dance Lesson & entry into Casa de la Musica
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

4

Trinidad (B)

The first sound in the morning is the clip­‐clop of horse’s hooves on the cobbled streets followed by the cries of old men selling bread from bicycles (El pan! El pan!). Open your eyes, gaze up at the high wooden louvers of your 200-­year-‐old colonial room, and try to convince yourself you’re still living in the 21st century. Trinidad is one-of‐a-­kind, a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement where the clocks stopped ticking in 1850 and apart from the tourists, have yet to restart.

Today we will learn about the history of the area, the local industry and biodiversity. We’ll visit El Cubano National Park in the mountains of Escambray. This area is known for the struggle of the Cuban Militia against revolutionary forces in the early 1960’s. You’ll have the option of horseback riding or hiking in the purple-­hued shadows. The high, cool mountains shelter coffee bushes, tropical birds, palms and waterfalls.

The most popular hike is the 2.5km, a 2 ½ hour roundtrip hike to the Salto del Caburní, a 62m waterfall cascading into cool swimming holes.  Should you choose horseback riding, this is a 4-5 hour ride through the mountains and is recommended for more advanced riders.

In the afternoon, we’ll relax on the white sand beaches of Playa Ancon, located just twelve kilometers to the south of Trinidad and considered the south coast’s best beach. This precious ribbon of white beach on Sancti Spíritus’ iridescent Caribbean shoreline, is usually touted – with good reason – to be the finest arc of sand on Cuba’s south coast.

INCLUDED:

— Hiking or Horseback Riding in the Escambray Mountains
— Visit to Playa Ancon
— Meals: Breakfast

 Overnight at Casa Particular

5

Trinidad (B)

Today, we’ll visit the Casa Chichi pottery house of the Santander family. This prestigious family in the Cuban cultural landscape has been making pottery for generations as well as assisting in the restoration of sculptures that once existed in Trinidad. Here, you will have a chance to purchase your own pottery to remind you of your time in Cuba.

Later, we’ll visit the Afro-Cuban Temple of Yemaya, where we’ll be invited to sit and learn about the religion and its deities from the official caretaker – a priest called Israel Ernesto Bravo Vega. If there’s time, we may have the opportunity to visit various museums such as Museo Lucha contra Bandidos, Architecture Museum, and Museo Romantico.

If you still have any energy left at the end of the day, nightlife in Trinidad is probably the best in all of Cuba. Enjoy a visit to Taberna la Canchanchara, famous for its eponymous house cocktail made from rum, honey, lemon and water created by the “mambises,” fighters against the Spanish. There are also numerous live music venues, dance performances, and dance clubs, all amongst the enchanting setting of old colonial buildings and cobblestone streets. There’s even a dance club inside a cave!

INCLUDED:

— Visit the Casa Chichi Pottery House of the Santender Family (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
— Visit the Afro Cuban Temple of Yemaya
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

6

Camaguey (B)

Cuba’s third largest city lies about halfway between Havana and Santiago de Cuba – about a 5-6 hour drive from Trinidad. Camaguey was designed in the 17th Century to disorientate potential invaders such as pirates and plunderers, so the street layout is a jumble of narrow alleys where no two streets are parallel. The city retains much of its colonial heritage in its buildings, plazas, and its tinajones – large clay pots traditionally used in Spain and in its New World colonies for collecting rain water. The historic centre – considered the largest as well as the best preserved on the island – has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This afternoon, we’ll take an orientation walk around the city with its large number of squares and parks, colonial architecture, and a thriving farmers market. Visitor’s delight in the city’s main lavish church’s and the twisted maze of streets. Farmers come here to sell their produce after meeting the quota they have to sell to the state. Camaguey’s market is a particularly busy and colorful one. There are separate areas for produce sold by the state and produce sold by farmers directly to the public. There are plenty of interesting tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs available. This is where the locals come to buy their food once their monthly food ration runs out.

Tonight, we’ll visit a local restaurant for a group dinner (not included) and maybe do some dancing.

INCLUDED:

— Private bus transportation from to Trinidad to Camaguey (6 hours)
— Camaguey Walking Tour
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

7

Camaguey (B)

This morning, we’ll continue to explore Camaguey on a bici-taxi tour of the city – a fun way to navigate the labyrinth of streets. A bici-taxi is a man powered tri-cycle with a carriage on the back seating two. Visit various private art galleries, historical landmarks, and handicraft exhibits and learn why Camaguey is a mecca for Cuban arts and culture.

Later, we’ll visit a local ballet school and meet Cuba’s next generation of dancers while we learn about the value that Cuban society places on the arts. The Cuban National Ballet, founded by famed prima ballerina Alicia Alonso, is considered one of the world’s greatest ballet companies. Camaguey’s renowned ballet company is second only to Havana’s. The dancers of this world-renowned ballet company have performed in over 40 countries. In Camaguey, they call the beautiful Teatro Principal home. This evening, we’ll see one of their incredible performances.

INCLUDED:

— Bici-Taxi Tour
— Visit a local ballet school and meet Cuba’s next generation of dancers
— Camaguey Ballet Performance
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

8

Santiago de Cuba (B)

Today, we head west along the Carretera Central to Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city in Cuba and surely the most dynamic. Today will be the longest travel day of the trip. Depending on how many stops we make, this usually takes six to seven hours. With a backdrop of mountains and rugged terrain, it’s hard not to get swept away in its joyous and prepossessing surroundings.

Santiago de Cuba enjoyed mixed fortunes over the years and became a major trading post for slaves brought from West Africa, Haiti and Jamaica, hence the makeup of its population. There is a strong Caribbean vibe evident here, in the people, the food, the history, the nightlife, the culture, and the music. Cuba’s popular national music, Son, originated in Santiago and is best encapsulated by the music of Buena Vista Social Club, a popular music venue in Havana.

Also, Santiago de Cuba is the mother of a musical style known as “Trova.” It is one of the great roots of the Cuban music tree. In the 19th century a group if itinerant musicians known as trovadores moved around Santiago de Cuba, earning their living by singing and playing guitar. From exquisitely conceived and crafted lyrics to the most improvised refrains behind the taut wire strings, the male and female musicians accompanied by a guitar made famous internationally the repertoire of traditional Cuban trova and Santiago trova as the most distinctive of its sound. The Casa de la Trova is the place where this renowned style can always be found, and tonight we’ll visit and experience it for ourselves!

INCLUDED:

— Private bus transportation from Camaguey to Santiago de Cuba (7 hours)
— Visit Casa de la Trova (entry fee and 1x drink)
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

9

Santiago de Cuba (B)

This morning, we’ll explore Santiago’s museums, colonial church’s, Ifigenia cemetery, Revolution Square, Plaza Marte, El Morro Castle, and buildings of more recent historical importance, such as the Moncada barracks. Founded in 1514, Santiago served as the capital of Cuba for almost 100 years before the Spanish decided to shift it to Havana in 1607.

Santiago is where Cuba’s revolution began, and there are monuments and modern-day graffiti all over the city to commemorate the various rebel leaders, including Antonio Maceo, who led the fighting in the Wars of Independence against the Spanish and the Americans, as well as Fidel Castro, who studied at university there. On July 26, 1953, Castro and his small revolutionary army launched an attack on the Cuartel Moncado military barracks. While the incident was a disaster, it laid the foundations for the revolution to come – and it was there in a show trial that Castro made his famous “History will absolve me” speech.

In the afternoon, we’ll grab the snorkel masks for some underwater exploration of the Caribbean’s best preserved sunken ship, the Spanish Warship Cristobal Colon.

INCLUDED:

— Santiago de Cuba Walking Tour
— Snorkeling at Spanish Warship Cristobal Colon
— Optional: Scuba Diving at Spanish Warship Cristobal Colon (certification required)
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

10

Baracoa (B)

A spectacular 6-hour drive through Eastern Cuba’s hugely varied landscape will take you through the dry regions dotted with cacti and wiry goats, and then along the dramatic Atlantic coastline, before winding through verdant mountains to Baracoa, Cuba’s first capital. On the way, we’ll pass by the city of Guantanamo and its infamous bay nearby. There is a lookout form where you can see the highly controversial U.S. Navy Base – Mirador los Malones. This has been closed to the public for the last few years, but we’ll try to take a peek if there is an opportunity to do so.

After the long drive, you’ll want to stretch your legs. Luckily, the best way to get around town is on foot and we’ll enjoy a walking tour of this beautiful city this evening. We’ll visit places like the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, which boasts a bust of the indigenous leader Hatuey, who was burned at the stake for refusing to accept neither the Spanish, or their Catholic religion. The town has remained relatively unchanged over the years, with several houses dating back to the 19th century and a system of colonial fortifications that includes Matachin Fort and La Punta Fort.

INCLUDED:

— Private bus transportation from Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa (6 hours)
— Baracoa City Walking Tour
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

11

Baracoa (B, D)

Bound to the north by the Atlantic, and in all other directions by rivers, mountains and forests, Baracoa was only accessible by sea until 1960. Even after a road linking Baracoa to Guantanamo was built, the town is still largely isolated, which is one of its prime attractions.  This afternoon, we’ll drive 30km east of Baracoa, past a mountainous stretch of Cuba’s La Farola highway and the tranquil waters of Mata Bay, until we come across another one of the country’s numerous unsung natural wonders: the Yumuri Canyon. This lush, tropical gorge is an unexpectedly impressive sight to say the least, with walls at points measuring nearly 200m from the canyon floor. Its eponymous river, dotted with deep natural swimming pools, is neither deep nor particularly fast flowing, making it ideal for exploring the near-complete seclusion of eastern Cuba via rowboat and on foot.

We’ll take a boat ride up the river with several stops for hiking and swimming. When you’re done adventuring, we’ll enjoy a BBQ on the riverside, complete with locally grown produce that we are sure you will find delicious.

Here’s a tip: As you drive along La Farola (the region’s main highway), say yes when local vendors offer to sell you a cururucho. It’s a melt-in-your-mouth mixture of coconut, honey, mango and banana wrapped in a palm frond.

INCLUDED:

— Yumuri River Tour
— BBQ at the River
— Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Overnight at Casa Particular

12

Baracoa (B)

Baracoa is built for hiking, with its abundance of flora, fauna and readily accessible trails. Today we’ll make a visit to Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, which UNESCO recognizes as one of the most biologically diverse tropical island sites on earth. As we look for colorful parrots, lizards and hummingbirds, be careful where you step, this park contains some of the world’s smallest vertebrates on earth. Many people believe that the Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (Campephilus Principalis Bairdii), which has been declared extinct, still live there. It also contains precious wood trees and several valuable species of animals, such as the solenodon; a tiny frong that is thought to be the smallest in the world; and Cuban land snails (Polymita picta), that are the most colorful ones on earth. You can also see over 900 species of endemic flora, including around 360 that are found only in this area. on your way to the El Maja Waterfall, which cascades over 82 feet, where you can stop for a swim. Afterwards, we’ll stop at a farmhouse for some delicious coffee and chocolate.

INCLUDED:

— Hiking in Alejandro de Humboldt National Park
— Meals: Breakfast

Overnight at Casa Particular

13

Havana (B, L)

This morning, we’ll say goodbye to the exotic and beautiful Baracoa as we return to where we started in Havana!

In the afternoon, we’ll take a tour of greater Havana by Classic Car. There are currently an estimated 60,000 pre-­‐1960 American cars hurtling through Cuba today and before the embargo there were at least 150,000. Buicks, Chevys, and countless other cool-­‐finned cruisers rumble down the crumbling streets of Havana, many abandoned by their American owners when they fled in 1959 and kept going by Cuban ingenuity. This iconic mode of transport is the perfect way to see wider Havana and a very different side of the city. Here you will be chauffeured around some of the most famous areas of Havana including New Havana, Old Havana, the affluent neighborhood of Miramar and the famous cemetery of Colon. You will also have the opportunity to have lunch at an authentic family­‐run Cuban restaurant (Paladar).

At 9pm, we’ll attend the famous cannon ceremony at the La Cabana Fortress, where soldiers dressed in 18th century uniforms fire a cannon over Havana Bay. It is a historical reconstruction dating back to the colonial era. Back then, the cannon fire announced the official end of the day and the time to close the city gates for the night.

For those looking to hit the town, consider a visit to the local’s favorite meeting-place where the best of the island’s avant-garde can be enjoyed. The Fabrica de Arte Cubano (F.A.C. – Cuban Art Factory) (entrance is 2CUC) is designed for people to show up and consume art, whether it be cinema, music, dance, theater, visual arts, literature, photography, fashion, graphic design, or architecture. The space was the former headquarters for Havana’s electricity company, then converted to an olive oil factory, and is now an incredible multi-room space that truly captures the spirit of Cuba’s youth population today, giving us insight into what tomorrow might look like.

INCLUDED:

— Flight from Baracoa to Havana (1.5 hours)
— Classic Car Havana Tour
— Canon Ceremony at La Cabana Fortress
— Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Overnight at Casa Particular

14

Havana (B, D)

Havana’s Old City is one of the best preserved and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The streets are lined with colonial architecture, 16th century fortresses and countless churches. After breakfast, we’ll take a walking tour of Old Havana and you will visit La Catedral San Cristobal de la Habana, described by the novelist Alejo Carpentier as ‘music set in stone’. You will also visit famous landmarks such as Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras (now a restaurant) and the Plaza de Armas, complete with a statue of Manuel de Cespedes, one of the leaders of the independence movement. There are plenty of good museums to visit on the walking tour including Museo de la Revolucion and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Your guide will also give you the option to visit Saint Francis of Assisi Square, Arms Square, the Old Square and Cathedral Square.

Later, we’ll visit the Partagas Cigar Factory, the oldest cigar factory in Cuba. Touring a Cuban cigar factory is a journey back in time. The factories, housed in colonial buildings, remain much as they were in the mid-nineteenth century. From the moment you walk through the wide doorway and step onto a cracked marble floor, the clamor of workers going about their business reaches your ears and grows in volume with every step. Then it hits you – the smell of unlit cigar tobacco, earthy and pungent and remarkably intoxicating. Your guide will teach you about the four parts of the tobacco plant used to make cigars as well as the different levels of jobs at the factory and lots of other facts you’ll be able to talk about at your next cocktail party.

Tonight, we’ll have our final dinner while watching Buena Vista Social Club live! The original Buena Vista Social Club was a members’ club in Havana that held dances and musical activities, becoming a popular location for musicians to meet and play during the 1940’s. In the 1990’s, nearly 50 years after the club was closed, it inspired a recording by Cuban musician Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and American Guitarist Ry Cooder with traditional Cuban musicians, some of which were veterans who had performed at the club during the height of its popularity. The recording, named Buena Vista Social Club after the Havana institution, became an international success, and the ensemble was encouraged to perform with a full line-up. In July 1998, German director Wim Wenders captured their performance on film, along with interviews with the musicians, and it was released on June 4, 1999 to critical acclaim. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary feature and won numerous accolades. The success of both the album and film sparked a revival of international interest in traditional Cuban music.

INCLUDED:

— Old Havana Walking Tour
— Visit Partagas Cigar Factory
— Final Dinner/ Buena Vista Social Club Show
— Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Overnight at Casa Particular

15

Havana/ Departure (B)

Today is departure day and there are no planned activities as we say goodbye to our guide and our new friends and head back to the US.

INCLUDED:

— Airport transfer
— Meals: Breakfast

nacional hotel
camaguey
casa de la trova
musicians
santiago de cuba
bay of pigs
Playa Ancon
classic car
classic car tour
classic car tour
cliff jumping
santa clara
Exporing Cuba
alejandro de humboldt national park
Havana
trinidad
cathedral
capitol building

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