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Cuba: Discovering Its People and Culture

Alternate Itinerary
(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 (L,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. This afternoon, attend a private rehearsal with a local dance troupe. Afterward, get acquainted with the troupe’s members and discuss how they incorporate elements of flamenco, ballet, and contemporary dance into their craft. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to attend a traditional Cuban music performance.
Hotel Parque Central (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Matanzas/Cienfuegos

Depart Havana this morning for the city of Matanzas, where we’ll take advantage of a special opportunity to engage with a renowned rumba group, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas. Discuss the history and folkloric nature of rumba music, and enjoy a lively performance. After lunch, drive south to Cienfuegos, a port city with French colonial roots. Upon arrival, stroll along the main commercial street of Cienfuegos, stopping to talk to cuentapropistas (self-employed workers) about the burgeoning private economy here.
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. After lunch, visit a cultural center that celebrates music and dance. Enjoy a salsa demonstration as we interact with local dancers and learn more about the history of this iconic dance in Cuba.
Hotel Jagua (B,L)

Day 5 — Cienfuegos

Today, visit 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. Later, enjoy a choral performance and discussion with a world-renowned a cappella group, the Choir of Cienfuegos. Then hear from a local athlete about the role that sports, such as baseball, play in Cuban culture. This evening following 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. Tonight, enjoy a special presentation by an orchestral group followed by a discussion of classical music in Cuba.
Hotel Parque Central (B,L)

Day 7 — Havana

This morning, learn about Cuba’s rich history of art at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana on a guided tour of the collection. Delve into Havana’s contemporary art scene this afternoon by meeting with local artists at one of Havana’s top art spaces. 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.