Experience Cuban culture the most authentic way possible— through its people. On this unique and inspiring program, get acquainted with Cubans in diverse settings, from Old Havana to colonial Cienfuegos. Engage the local people directly in discussions about their lives and work, culture and traditions. Meet with Cuban historians, teachers, students, artists, naturalists, and others, and experience this fast-changing island nation through their eyes.
Depart from Miami on a charter flight. Upon arrival
in Havana, enjoy a traditional Cuban lunch. Visit with an Afro-Cuban dance group this afternoon and enjoy an energetic performance before transferring to our hotel. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner tonight.
Hotel Parque Central
Learn about the restoration and changing landscape
of Havana from a local preservation expert.
Then set out to explore Old Havana, stopping
in at local businesses and meeting the workers.
After lunch, explore a community project at
Muraleando, where local and international artists
have been changing a downtrodden neighborhood
into a living work of art. Tonight, attend a
special musical performance after dinner.
Engage in a specially arranged question-and-answer
session with Cuban professionals, discussing
education, economics, the role of government,
and other topics of interest. Later, meet
the instructors and students of La Colmenita, an
after-school program that uses song and dance
performance as a social development tool.
Leave Havana and head to Cienfuegos, a port city
with architecture that reflects its French colonial
roots. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city and
meet local residents in Parque Martí. See the
statue commemorating José Martí, a renowned
author and a leader in Cuba’s quest for independence
from Spain. Engage local cuentapropistas
(self-employed), who are part of an expanding
private sector, on Cienfuegos’ main commercial
street. Then visit Benny Moré Art School to meet
with teachers and students of music, dance, and
Travel to Trinidad, where we explore Cuba’s best-preserved colonial city with a restoration expert
and interact with local community members, including a Santería priest. Then meet Julio Muñoz,
a local photographer and “horse whisperer”
whose wife and niece appeared in an October
1999 National Geographic magazine article, and learn about his casa particular (guest house). Visit Julio’s colonial-era house and stables, the base for his program promoting equine care.
Near Cienfuegos, visit Cuba’s oldest botanical
garden with a botany expert. Stop in a former
sugar mill town and interact with the town’s present
day inhabitants. Later, enjoy a choral performance
and discussion with a world renowned a
cappella group, the Choir of Cienfuegos. After
dinner, there will be an opportunity to meet with
local residents in Cienfuegos.
Today, head to the historic Bay of Pigs. Set foot
on the famous Playa Girón, one of the two landing
sites for the 1961 U.S.–backed invasion. Visit
Australia, a former sugar mill town and Fidel
Castro’s headquarters during the Bay of Pigs
invasion. Here, meet with former mill workers
and join locomotive engineers aboard an old steam train ride through the sugarcane fields.
Hotel Parque Central
This morning, travel to the charming fishing village
of Jaimanitas to visit the workshop and home
of ceramic artist José Fuster, called the “Picasso
of Cuba.” Then attend a question-and-answer
session with American author and Havana resident,
Marc Frank. Meet with Marc and a Cuban
journalist to discuss their perspectives on Cuba’s
past, present, and future. Celebrate our Cuban
experience together at a farewell dinner tonight.
After breakfast, visit an organopónico (urban organic farm) to learn about the growing agrarian movement and Cuban cuisine. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Miami.
The Lowell Thomas Award 2008 ‘Travel Journalist of the Year,' photographer and writer Christopher Baker is one of the world's foremost authorities on Costa Rica and Cuba. He has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama in the National Geographic Traveler series. He is also the author of the award-winning Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba, published by National Geographic Adventure Press. His more than 20 other books include the coffee-table book Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles. He has written for more than 200 publications, from National Geographic Traveler to Newsweek, and has been an invited speaker at National Geographic headquarters, the National Press Club, and the World Affairs Council, among other prestigious organizations. Christopher has been profiled in USA Today and featured on the National Geographic Channel, NPR, and dozens of other radio and TV outlets.
Christopher will join the following departures:
Dec 21 - 29, 2014
Jan 25 - Feb 02, 2015
Mar 29 - Apr 06, 2015
Apr 12 - 20, 2015
Apr 26 - May 04, 2015
May 10 - 18, 2015
May 31 - Jun 08, 2015
Jun 14 - 22, 2015
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single
room, add $700. On the December 21 and 28, 2014
departures, there is an additional holiday surcharge of $600 per person.
Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Round-trip charter airfare between Miami and Havana is $550 per person. A $75 per person airfare supplement applies for the December 21 and 28, 2014 departures.
This trip is permitted by a special People-to-People license from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The itinerary was designed to provide an in-depth cultural
experience with numerous opportunities for meaningful interaction with Cubans. Travel restrictions in Cuba, such as limits on how much one may spend and what may be purchased, will be provided in your pre-departure materials.
While we do our best to adhere to the itinerary listed here, traveling in Cuba requires flexibility, and changes to hotels and activities may occur.