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Cuba: Discovering Its People and Culture

Primary Itinerary
February 26 - March 05, 2018 (8 Days)

Day 1 — Miami, Florida/Havana, Cuba

Depart Miami for Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival, take a brief driving tour of the city. Then, meet troupe members of an Afro-Cuban dance group and enjoy an energetic private performance. Later, check in to our hotel before gathering for a welcome reception and dinner tonight at a local paladar (privately owned restaurant).
Hotel Parque Central (D)

Day 2 — Havana

The architecture of Havana is astounding in its breadth and elegance, yet years of neglect have left many buildings in need of restoration. Learn about the challenges and successes of historic preservation from a local expert, then set out into Old Havana to see centuries-old gems—and meet the Cubans who live and work in them. Later, enjoy a private pre-opening tour of a former factory-turned-art gallery. Meet with local artists to learn about the contemporary art scene in Havana. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to attend a traditional Cuban music performance.
Hotel Parque Central (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Cienfuegos

This morning, visit an urban organic farm to meet with a local farmer and discuss agriculture in Cuba. Then drive south to Cienfuegos, a port city with French colonial roots. Stroll along the main commercial street on a walking tour of the city, stopping to talk to cuentapropistas (self-employed workers) about the burgeoning private economy here. At the prestigious Benny Moré Art School, watch students perform music and dance, view their artwork, and hear the stories of these talented youth and their teachers.
Hotel Jagua (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Trinidad/Cienfuegos

Travel along the Caribbean coast to charming Trinidad, where we explore Cuba’s best preserved colonial city with a restoration expert. Set off along its cobblestoned streets, pausing at colorful houses along the way to meet artisans, antiques collectors, and longtime residents who have transformed their historic homes into guesthouses. One such man is Julio Muñoz, a photographer and union representative for the self-employed, whose family appeared in an October 1999 National Geographic magazine article. At his colonial-era house, learn about his private businesses, such as his bed-and-breakfast, and hear about his program promoting equine care.
Hotel Jagua (B,L)

Day 5 — Cienfuegos

Near Cienfuegos, explore Cuba’s oldest botanical garden with a botany expert who will educate us about ongoing efforts to maintain the rich biodiversity of its extraordinary plant life. Then stop in a former sugar mill town and meet with the town’s present-day inhabitants. After lunch, hear from a local athlete about the role that sports, such as baseball, play in Cuban culture. 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 get to know residents of a typical neighborhood in Cienfuegos.
Hotel Jagua (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Bay of Pigs/Havana

Today, head to the historic Bay of Pigs. Trace the dramatic events that occurred here at a small museum, then step foot on the Playa Girón, one of two landing sites for the 1961 U.S.–backed invasion. Stop for lunch and enjoy an opportunity to talk with a park ranger visiting us from the nearby Ciénaga de Zapata National Park. Learn about the ecology and conservation efforts of the protected area, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. On our way back to Havana, pay a visit to Finca Vigía, the former home of Ernest Hemingway. A museum expert joins us to share a Cuban perspective on Hemingway’s strong connection to the Cuban people.
Hotel Parque Central (B,L)

Day 7 — Havana

Spend the morning with Cuban professionals, engaging in a specially arranged discussion on education, economics, social issues, the role of government, and other topics of interest. Later, learn about Cuba's rich history of art at the National Museum of Fine Arts. Then celebrate our Cuban experience together at a farewell dinner.
Hotel Parque Central (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Havana/Miami, Florida

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Miami.
(B)

Please note that 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.