Havana- Matanzas

From $ 3610

Jan 07 - 14, 2017 Sold out

Jan 14 - 23, 2017 Sold out

Feb 18 - 25, 2017 Sold out

Feb 26 - Mar 05, 2017 Sign up!

Mar 11 - 18, 2017 Sold out

Apr 03 - 10, 2017 Sign up!

May 05 - 12, 2017 Sold out

Oct 02 - 09, 2017 Sign up!

Nov 10 - 17, 2017 Sign up!

Dec 08 - 15, 2017 Sold out

Havana-Matanzas

Traditionally the Cuban people have always enjoyed the beauty and diversity of their tropical island paradise.  Now, in a new era of travel to Cuba you can live and enjoy this magical destination like the Cubans do! Two of Cuba’s greatest cities are yours to explore and enjoy with opportunities to just hang out with the locals at their favorite spots!  On your Havana - Matanzas adventure get ready to explore, hang out, shop, dance and enjoy Cuba just like a Cuban!

Experience the great diversity and both urban and natural grandeur of Cuba!  Havana is a city so beautiful and so mysterious that she leaves one speechless in her warm and sensual embrace. The most cosmopolitan of all Cuban cities, her history, architecture, culture, music, geographic beauty and, most of all the Cuban people, provide a backdrop for one of the most exciting experiences of your life and an intimate encounter with the best kept secret in the Caribbean. Travel 85 miles by road to the “Venice of the Cuba”. Matanzas is one of the most historically diverse and culturally rich cities in Cuba, known for its poets, culture and Afro-Cuban folklore. One of Cuba’s most emblematic cities, it is a tribute to 19th century architecture, with palaces and large parks and plazas surrounded by neoclassical structures, churches and museums.  On your Havana - Matanzas adventure get ready to explore, hang out, shop, dance and enjoy Cuba just like a Cuban!

Destinations

What's included

*8 Days & 7 nights

*Airport Transfers in Cuba (only with purchase of air- sold separately)

*Cuban Visa

*US Government Paperwork & People-to-People General License

*Accommodations for 7 nights at a Top Cuba Hotel

*Breakfast every day at the hotel

* 5 lunches *4 dinners 

* Museum, Institutional and Organizational visits

*Visits with Artists at their studios as per itinerary

* Visits to Community Organizations & Projects

* Day Trip to Matanzas

*Motorcoach or Van transportation to all events (12 hrs per day)

*Cuban Experts & Specialists

*Translation by professional Cuba-based guide

*Our Cuba-based Manager to assist guests and oversee activities

 

What's not included

*Airfare from your Home City to Miami

*Transportation to Miami International Airport

*After hours activities

*Airport Taxes upon departing Havana (CUC 25)  

*Single Room Supplement ($995)

*Trip Interruption Insurance

*Tips for restaurant staff, guide and driver

*Personal Purchases

*Tips for Hotel staff

*All other items not listed in “WHAT’S INCLUDED”

Jan 07 - 14, 2017
Jan 14 - 23, 2017
Feb 18 - 25, 2017
Feb 26 - Mar 05, 2017
Mar 11 - 18, 2017
Apr 03 - 10, 2017
May 05 - 12, 2017
Oct 02 - 09, 2017
Nov 10 - 17, 2017
Dec 08 - 15, 2017

Itinerary 8 days

Day 1, Havana City

Meet & Greet at Miami International Airport

The time for your Meet & Greet experience will differ by departure date and you will be informed well ahead of your travel date on your personal itinerary. Your group will be met by a Cuba Tours & Travel customer service representative to assist you with check-in and answer any last minute questions.  We pride ourselves in giving you the best Cuba experience possible and it starts before you even get on the plane.

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WELCOME TO HAVANA!

Your cuba-based guide and transportation will be waiting for you at Jose Marti International Airport as you exit the terminal. A remarkably short flight away from Miami International Airport - just enough time to reach altitude and descend, Havana lies waiting in all her glory!  In just 45 minutes, you are transported to another place in time.  Havana’s enchantment is not limited to her time-worn charm or rich and diverse cultural identity -- it’s in the light, the sounds, the Caribbean Sea at her feet and most of all, in her people.  Welcome to Havana!                                                 

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Check in to Hotel & Welcome Cocktail

You will be accompanied by your guide every step of the way to assist with check-in.  There will be a brief orientation at the hotel.

 

Dinner at San Cristobal Paladar

This is the Paladar that President Obama chose for his family lunch on his historic visit to the island in March 2016. Rated by The Guardian as the number one Paladar in Havana, This paladar, is in a space that is cluttered and eclectic on the bottom floor of an early 20th-century mansion. Piles of old books are stacked atop beautiful old furniture; black and white photos jostle for space with antique record covers and bullfighting posters, while a selection of clocks, religious artefacts and, even a full-size zebra pelt, add to the mix. The food is Cuban-Creole: malanga, yucca, cerdo asado (roast pork), lobster, fresh fish, shrimp and other traditional fare. This is not, however, the bland standard cuisine found in many state restaurants. The dessert menu is expansive: pudding San Cristóbal (eggs, fruit, milk and almonds) is excellent while the fruit tart and rice puddings are pretty passable, as well as the omnipresent flan. The wine list is broad enough and reasonably priced. We will have a chance to speak with the Chef and the owner of the establishment to discuss food and new opportunities in the food industry in Cuba.

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Havana after Dark

Your guide will help you select from an array and wide range of evening activities based on what is happening in Havana. Enjoy live music, dance, baseball and other cultural activities scheduled nightly throughout Havana, including traditional and popular activities enjoyed by the locals.

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Day 2, Havana City

Breakfast at The hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

Walk the Four Plazas of Old Havana - a favorite pastime of the locals!

The morning begins with a walking tour of the Four Plazas; a magical journey through five centuries of history and architecture that culminate to comprise Cuba’s first of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites – “La Habana Vieja” or Old Havana. The tour takes you on a stroll through the four main plazas, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco de Asis and Plaza de la Catedral, giving you an insight to the truly magnificent and powerful place Cuba held in the Caribbean for centuries. You’ll see colonial fortresses and opulent palaces highlighting the majestic architecture spanning from Spanish Colonial to Neoclassical interspersed with a mix of Baroque. Old Havana is packed with churches, cathedrals and monuments, as well as a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought iron gates and internal courtyards -- many evocatively time worn, but many restored to their original majesty.  The plazas host outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants where live music is always playing, as well as art galleries and quaint shops that can range from touristic items to hand crafted gourmet chocolates and exotic spices. You will want to return to explore La Habana Vieja on our own to explore and discover its magic and mystery for yourself.

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Lunch at La Moneda Cubana

In the early 1920’s an Asturian businessman, Don Ramon, arrived in Cuba only to fall madly in love with a Cuban woman whom he married. He remained in Cuba for the rest of his life. In 1924, he founded what became a very famous food and liquor store – the first of a chain throughout La Habana Vieja - located at the entrance of the Plaza de La Catedral.  As he was an avid coin collector, the restaurant that is now housed at this exceptional location was named “La Moneda Cubana” or The Cuban Coin. Situated up a narrow staircase, when you dine on the rooftop terrace, the passion that Don Ramon felt for the Cuban girl he fell in love with is almost palpable. Enjoy exquisite traditional Cuban cuisine and take in the colonial beauty of Old Havana.

 

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Artist Studio & Gallery Visits

Rising from the restoration and revitalization of Old Havana, impressive art galleries have sprung up all over the colonial center of the city, exhibiting the work of Cuba’s top artists and often housing their private studios. As you stroll through Old Havana you will happen by many galleries and studios where you can view and purchase original art.

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Dinner at Atelier Paladar

Calling Atelier contemporary is like calling Havana a little rundown: true, but enough of an understatement as to miss the point. The large main room is decorated with sparse modern lines, inside a typically idiosyncratic Vedado mansion. Two balconies have boundless cushions for the outdoor lounge. An antique hob outside, old sewing and adding machines inside make the place retro yet not old. The food changes every day, every week, hence the handwritten menus.

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Day 3, City of Matanzas

Breakfast at the hotel

Enjoy a casual but sumptuous tropical feast this and every morning in the Hotel dining room.

Day trip to Matanzas (Don’t forget your swimsuit!)

Known as the “Venice of the Cuba”, Matanzas is one of the most historically diverse and culturally rich cities in Cuba, known for its poets, culture and Afro-Cuban folklore. This historical city’s name, Matanzas, means “massacre”, and was named for a slaughter of Spanish soldiers trying to reach an aboriginal camp. By far, one of Cuba’s most emblematic cities, it is a tribute to 19th century architecture, with palaces and large parks and plazas surrounded by neoclassical structures, churches and museums.  This lovely, quiet city that stretches along the edge of a huge bay invites visitors to come and see its rich cultural wealth.  Twenty miles east lies the beach resort town of Varadero and travelling inland toward the south, you’ll reach The Bay of Pigs.  Your guided visit to Matanzas will focus on the city and surrounding areas, but the rest of this diversely and inviting province awaits you on your next visit to Cuba.

 

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The Bridges of Matanzas

The city of Matanzas is built around the huge Bay of Matanzas, which cuts deep in the island and into which three rivers flow inside city limits. The Yumuri, San Juan and Canimar Rivers flow through the city, traversed by seventeen bridges, making it the Venice of Cuba or The City of Bridges. A guided tour of the bridges is fascinating and offers a great perspective of the city before you enjoy lunch at a local paladar.

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Historic Sites - City Tour of Matanzas

An expert from the City Historian will join your group and act as your escort through a brief history of Matanzas through its institutions and architecture.  You will visit and interact with the personnel and artisans at the  Pharmaceutical Museum -

A pharmacy, originally built in 1882 by the French, it stands unchanged today, giving the impression that time stood still. The tour will take you to the The Palacio de Junco aka the Museo Histórico Provincial de Matanzas, is an outstanding example of Matanzas' 19th-century architecture, a built between 1835 and 1838 for the de Junco family, it has been a museum since 1980; and the Teatro Sauto, a proud symbol of the city, opened in 1863. The U-shaped, 775-seat theatre is a National Monument of Cuba with Carrara marble statues of Greek goddesses gracing the lobby.  Finally, you will visit the Catedral San Carlos De Borromeo whose first stone was laid on October 12, 1693. The once beautiful church with frescoes on the walls, ceilings and in the big dome, is now in a state of irreparable decay but is symbolic of a 17th Century Catholic presence on the island.

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Ediciones Vigia

These creators of hand-written, hand-made books is among the most inspired and innovative publishing projects in Cuba. Ediciones Vigia is an independent publishing collective that began production in 1985. It produces handmade books, each not only of literary value but also a unique work of art. Located in a restored colonial house in the Plaza Vigia, the books are manufactured by dedicated artisans and no trip to Matanzas would be complete without a visit to this gem and tribute to the intellect and talent of the Cubans.

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Lunch at Paladar Mallorca

Proclaimed by many visitors as the best restaurant in Matanzas, Mallorca offers  a chic, contemporary environment set in the heart of a 19th century city, with a menu as diverse as Cuba itself.  Offering an eclectic array from Chinese to Traditional Cuban, you won’t soon forget your meal in this historic city.

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Yumuri Valley and the Bacunayagua Bridge - Pina Coladas and Panoramic

Pina Coladas and Panoramic view of the Valle Yumuri and the Caribbean. On your way back to Havana, you will make a stop for Pina Coladas at the mirador of the Bacunayagua Bridge. The Yumuri Valley is among the most beautiful and breathtaking natural phenomenon of Cuba. Over 89 Acres wide and reaching the altitude of 150 meters, extending to the shore of the Caribbean Sea, it is also a unique ecosystem and home to important archeological sites. The Bacunayagua Bridge traverses the valley, a fete of engineering that offers spectacular and unforgettable panoramic views from the mountain ranges, across the lush and verdant valley all the way to the Caribbean Sea.



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Return to Havana and Hotel

Dinner on your own

You will dine at a paladar of your choice from a list of the best restaurants in Havana. Our staff and your guide will help you with selection and making reservations. You can be adventurous and travel by taxi that our staff will also help you get and your return trip can be arranged by the establishment where you dine. The cost of this meal is not included in the price of the trip. We recommend reservations be made at least one day in advance.

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Day 4, Havana City

Breakfast at The hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

Modern Havana

When most people envision Havana, they see a Spanish Colonial city of cobblestone streets, baroque palaces and churches, large plazas and the vestiges of ancient fortresses with cannons and dungeons.  What they don’t realize is that most of Havana was built during the 20th Century.  Most surprising is that some of the best example of mid-20th century modern architecture in all of Latin America can be found in Havana; the most notable of these buildings remaining relatively unchanged from their initial construction. The Cuban modernist movement, active since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reached its zenith in the 1940s and 1950s.  In 1955, the Museum of Modern Art in New York featured the seminal exhibit and publication by Henry-Russel Hitchcock, Latin American Architecture Since 1945, introducing Cuba’s avant-garde modern architects. This driving tour will take you throughout Havana’s neighborhoods, showcasing the inordinate amount of modern architecture in contrast to the size of the city, both commercial and residential, opening your eyes to a Havana that is rarely seen in photos but of great historical and architectural significance.  You’ll bare witness to the surprising number of notable architects that practiced during these two decades in Cuba, and the modern, sophisticated and stylish city they built by the first half of the 20th century.

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Revolution Square ( Plaza de la Revolucion)

One of the most dramatic examples of modern architecture in Havana, if not the world, is the Plaza de la Revolución José Martí. The Plaza is among the largest civic plazas in the world, measuring nearly 24,000 sq. ft., surrounded by modern construction and featuring the enormous obelisk monument to Jose Marti, built on the highest ground in Havana. It is major attraction for visitors of all walks of life, world leaders and dignitaries, including Pope Francis who held mass there recently and Pope John Paul II who visited in 1998. The plaza was constructed prior to 1959 during the government of Fulgencio Batista, but gained popularity afterward as the center of public celebration and demonstration in Cuba. Two of the government buildings in the square, both mid-century modern (1958), are best known for the iron sculptures of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos that cover their facades, both by Cuban artist Enrique Avila. This grand plaza is also home to the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, built in 1979. This plaza is another one of those magical locations in Havana that throw you back in time but simultaneously offer you a great vision and hope for the future.

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Christopher Columbus Cemetery - Necropolis Cristobal Colon

Founded in 1876, the Colon Cemetery is one of the great historical cemeteries of the world, and is held to be the most important in Latin America in historical and architectural terms.  Located in the Vedado district, it was built by the Galician architect Calixto Arellano de Loira y Cardoso, who became Colón’s first occupant when he died before his work was completed.  The great cemetery is 140 acres in size and is noted primarily for the elaborately sculpted memorials and the opulence and majesty of the mausoleums and statues. There are more than 500 major mausoleums, chapels and family vaults.  Among the most notable figures buried here are many of Cuba’s greatest cultural figures including Jose Lezama Lima, Alejo Carpentier, Dulce Maria Loinaz, to name only a few; and since the 19th century, Jose Miguel Gomez, president of Cuba and many generals and dignitaries. With 800,000 graves and one million interments, there may not be a more beautiful place to be interred than Havana’s “city of the dead”.

 

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People to People Experience - Shop like a Cuban - Farmers Market

Cuba is known for its fertile lands, diversity of ecosystems and its agricultural productivity.  The local farmer's markets are strategically located throughout the towns and cities are the source of this spectacular selection of products for the Cuban population.  Daily, folks purchase their fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and other produce at the local market in local currency.  Your guide will escort you to one of the best of these markets in the heart of the Vedado district on 19th St. and B.  Pick up some fresh fruit for your room or just feast your eyes on the tropical delights that grow on this island paradise.

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Lunch at El Aljibe

The nearly 69-year old secret chicken recipe developed in the 1940s has drawn the likes of Jack Nicholson, Matt Dillon and former President Jimmy Carter.  El Aljibe is one of the busiest restaurants in Havana, especially during lunchtime and is run by Sergio Garcia Macias who, with his brother Pepe, opened their first restaurant in 1947.  Named Rancho Luna, located in the countryside west of Havana, El Aljibe’s predecessor closed down in the early 1960s.  When asked to help revive Rancho Luna in the 1990’s, Sergio agreed to open it under a new name, El Aljibe, and at a new location in the city’s busy Playa neighborhood.  Here you will enjoy delicious Cuban creole cuisine in a country-like setting where you simply must have the world-famous chicken.

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Conjunto Folclórico Nacional de Cuba - Private Rehearsal

Cuba’s world renowned National Folkloric Ensemble was founded in 1962 with the mission of rescuing and revitalizing Cuba’s musical and dance roots for the purpose of showcasing these expressions with true artistic authenticity and recreating them to adhere to the most contemporary of theatrical techniques and production value, while staying true to the folkloric essence.  Over 50 years, more than 100 international tours and over 2,000 performances throughout more than 300 cities in Europe, Asia and the Americas, the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba has been recipient to dozens of awards and has maintained and continued to evolve an aesthetic and an artistic style that is both deeply rooted in tradition and cutting edge in its purity and vision.  Enjoy a rare, intimate encounter with the entire company at a private rehearsal and receive a pure injection of Cuban culture.

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Hang out with Cubans at Havana’s Most Popular Intersection

Your guide can drop you In the heart of Havana’s Vedado district at the intersection of L and 23rd st, also known as “La Rampa”, at the world-famous Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor. More a park than a parlor, Coppelia is a favorite hangout for Cubans of all ages and happens to serve delicious ice cream. Just across the street, you can catch a movie at the Yara, a prime example of the many mid 20th century modern movie theaters in Havana.  When you’re ready to go back to the hotel,  cross the street to the iconic Havana Libre Hotel and catch a taxi right outside the lobby doors. The busy, bustling intersection is a central hub for Havana social life.

 

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Explore the Malecon

If you would rather walk off the calories from your delicious lunch, your guide can drop you on Havana’s Malecon, the seaside avenue that borders the Caribbean Seas through Centro Havana and Vedado.  The quintessential sea wall is a gathering place for Cubans from all walks of life. Strolling the Malecon as the waves break on the rocks below, you might hang out on the sea wall with friends and enjoy a cigar or a sip of rum, run into musicians playing to the rhythm of the city and tides, pass a couple in love or a whole bunch of local kids swimming in the pools created waves on the rocks.  The Malecon is the city’s artery and the heart of social interaction in Havana and there, you are truly living a Cuban experience like a real “Habanero”.

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Dinner at Mediterraneo Havana

A true “farm to table” and “sea to table” restaurant, Mediterraneo Havana features fresh plant and protein from their own two private, organic farms and fresh catch and seafood fished every other day from their own fishing boat.  It doesn’t get any more fresh or real than this in Cuba.  The food is prepared fresh daily without preservatives or additives, the pasta and the desserts are homemade and the menu, created by Chef Luigi, executive chef and founder, is a work of art.  Enjoy an extraordinary fusion cuisine and exceptional service in this lovely, airy, Mediterranean environment in a beautifully retrofitted Vedado home.  This extraordinary restaurant is the recent recipient of the coveted British farm to table award, the International Quality Crown Award in the “gold” category, chosen by culinary experts from 49 nations.

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Day 5, Havana City

Breakfast at The hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

El Prado – Capitolio, Parque Central, Paseo and more...

El Prado is one of the most exquisitely designed and splendid major avenues in all of the Americas and home to the quintessential structures that define Havana, ranging from Colonial to Baroque to Neoclassical to Art Deco. Designed in 1772 by French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, El Prado runs for many blocks from the dramatic fountain, La Fuente de la India, to the iconic Malecon, marking the boundary between Habana Vieja and Centro Habana. El Paseo, a marble promenade lined with a natural canopy of trees, marble benches, and bronze lions was recently chosen by the House of Chanel for one of the most dramatic runway shows in the history of fashion. El Prado encompasses all of the mystery and magic, all of the historic and cultural wealth that Havana has offered from the 17th to the 21st century.

 

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Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - Guided Tour by Curator or Expert

Very near El Prado, still in the heart of Havana’s urban center where La Habana Vieja meets Centro Habana, is a notoriously modern structure, housing the largest permanent collection of Cuban art in the world dating from the 16th Century to present. The collection boasts extensive works of the Cuban masters from the 1920s through the post-modernists of the 1980s who influenced a worldwide movement and hang in museums and private collections worldwide. The Palacio de Bellas Artes, curated to show exclusively Cuban works has its international counterpart in the Palacio del Centro Asturiano, devoted to universal art. You might have time for both, but you cannot miss the Cuban collection whose artists exemplify the profoundly multicultural, mysterious and rich history of Cuba and its people.  Don’t forget to take a short stroll to catch a glimpse of the original Bacardi Building; an art deco masterpiece and a quick stop at the world famous Sloppy Joe’s bar that was reopened in 2013 after 43 years.

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Lunch at La Guarida

When life within the walled city that is now  Habana Vieja had become too cramped and too crowded and the growing population demanded expansion, the growth of Havana gave way to the neighborhood of Centro Habana. There is a mysterious aura to Centro Habana, battered by the sea and left to decay, but there remains a ghostly essence of its former brilliance and a vibrant inner-city life fueled by the locals. Remarkably, some of the city’s top paladares (privately owned restaurants) are located in Centro Habana and among the best of them is La Guarida.  The location for the acclaimed Cuban movie, “Fresa y Chocolate”, La Guarida serves delectably sophisticated international cuisine in a venue that is a perpetual work in progress.  The top floors of this seemingly dilapidated neoclassical structure are renovated to a degree of contemporary glamour that is impressive with a rooftop bar and an even higher mirador with spectacular views.  The bottom floors are obviously under renovation, but when you reach the top of the endless marble staircase wrapping its way up and up, you are in for a culinary delight by any standard.

 

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A Journey through Cuban Music with Professor Alberto Faya

Experience a rare, intimate encounter with what Cuba is best know for – the music.  There is an old saying, “In Cuba, if you turn over a rock a musician jumps out”. You will take a musical journey through Cuba’s rich and exciting musical history guided by world-renowned and award winning musician and musicologist Alberto FayaFaya, recipient of multiple awards for musical accomplishments, will be joined by a quartet performing authentic Cuban music. Enjoy this magical and interactive experience and feel free to engage the speakers and musicians.

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Explore Havana - Live like a Cuban

The rest of the afternoon is  yours to explore. The group’s transportation will drop you in the Parque Central area and will return those who wish to the hotel.  You might want to stay near El Prado and walk the beautiful marble promenade traversed daily by locals living their day to day life in Havana, sit among the royal palms in the Parque Central (Central Park) or just enjoy wandering among the locals and making new friends.  Perhaps you’d rather return to a spot that you saw or already visited that drew your attention.  By day four in Havana, a welcoming and engaging city full of wonderfully communicative Cubans, you should be able to find your way around and live just like a Cuban for the afternoon.  And as always, your guide will help you make your plans.

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Dinner on your own

You will dine at a paladar of your choice from a list of the best restaurants in Havana. Our staff and your guide will help you with selection and making reservations. You can be adventurous and travel by taxi that our staff will also help you get and your return trip can be arranged by the establishment where you dine. The cost of this meal is not included in the price of the trip. We recommend reservations be made at least one day in advance.

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Day 6, Havana City

Breakfast at The hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

Ferry Ride Across Havana Bay to Casa Blanca

When driving or strolling along Havana’s “malecon”, the coastal avenue that hugs the city of Havana along its majestic port and iconic sea, you have a constant view of the iconic lighthouse that stands proud atop a cliff guarding Havana’s spectacular natural harbor. The towns of Casa Blanca sits at the end of the promontory, across the harbor from La Habana Vieja and home to the famous statue of Christ, the Blanco Cristo.  From the ferry landing on the portside of Old Havana, you will board the ferry and enjoy the views for the 10-minute crossing to Casablanca or Regla. Most locals who live and/or work in portside towns travel across the harbor on a pedestrian ferry boat which crosses to the landings in Regla and Casablanca all day long at 10 minute intervals.

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Finca Vigia - Ernest Hemingway's Home & Museum

Your transportation will await you at Casa Blanca for the short drive to Ernest Hemingway’s home in the rural village of San Francisco de Paula, also just east of Havana. Named Finca Vigia or “Lookout Farm”, the home was built in 1866 and purchased by Hemingway in 1940.  This property, emerging from a lush tropical flora and fauna, was his primary home from 1940 until his death in 1961.  Hemingway loved Cuba and according to close sources, he spent more time there during those two decades that any of his homes around the world.  Here, Hemingway wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Old Man and the Sea”, and his famous fishing boat, El Pilar, is also on display here.  In 1962, Finca Vigia was turned into a museum making it the first institution in the world devoted to Ernest Hemingway and his work. Recently, the feature film, “Papa” was filmed on location in Cuba and much of it at Finca Vigia.

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Lunch at Ajiaco Paladar

Considered among the very best restaurants on the Island, this paladar, located in the fishing village of Cojimar (where Hemingway kept his boat the Pilar) features traditional Cuban flavor. The menu includes such things as "Crema de Malanga", Ajiaco (a stew made up of various vegetables and roots), Bacalao (codfish), "fricase de pollo" (chicken fricasse), plus the traditional moros (rice and beans), white rice, fried bananas, fried yuca, etc. If you have room at the end of the meal, enjoy delicious home made flan.

 

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Drive by El Morro for a photo opportunity

Built on the high rock entrance to the Bay and completed in the early 1600s, El Morro Castle guards the Port of Havana, complete with dungeons, cannons and the iconic lighthouse. Known as “El Morro”, the castle is actually The Castle of the Three Kings, named for the biblical Magi. The lighthouse stands on the end of a promontory strongly fortified with huge walls and battlements built by the Spanish Conquistadors to defend the city against pirates and bounty seekers. You will make a brief stop here for photo opportunities of the colonial fort and the magnificent panoramic views of Havana.

 

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Barrio Habana (Community Organization/Social Project)

BarrioHabana.Org is a community organization based in Old Havana that is dedicated to the betterment of the quality of life of children, teens and the elderly.  They are extremely active in the community and will do anything from clean up and put to use an empty lot for exhibitions and performances, food drives for the elderly or developing opportunities for kids to engage in workshops with famous athletes, artists and musicians.  They bring hope to their community and engage kids and elderly in fun and fulfilling activities that result in great positive steps for their neighborhoods. You will meet the organizers and participants and have the opportunity to talk to Cuban kids and teenagers, as well as their project organizers about the mission and purpose of this unique non-profit organization and its hopes and dreams for the future.

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Drinks at El Floridita

Ernest Hemingway was known to say, “My mojito at La Bodeguita; my daiquiri at Floridita”, the world famous bar and one of Papa’s favorites where it is rumored he invented the “daiquiri” with his regular bartender.  The venue opened in 1817 under the name “La Pina de Plata” or The Silver Pineapple in English, and almost 100 years later the name was changed to “El Florida”, but in time became known as “El Floridita”.  One the famed Old Havana corner of Opispo and Monserrate, the bar was not only frequented by Hemingway, but was a regular haunt for generations of Cuban and foreign intellectuals and artists including Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos and British novelist, Graham Greene.  The Bar, complete with the bronze bust of Hemingway (2003), still preserves much of the atmosphere of the 1940s and 1950s and no trip to Havana would be complete with a visit to this iconic location.

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Dinner on your own

You will dine at a paladar of your choice from a list of the best restaurants in Havana. Our staff and your guide will help you with selection and making reservations. You can be adventurous and travel by taxi that our staff will also help you get and your return trip can be arranged by the establishment where you dine. The cost of this meal is not included in the price of the trip. We recommend reservations be made at least one day in advance.

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Day 7, Havana City

Breakfast at The hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

Mafia Tour

Prior to 1959, Cuba was a favorite destination for the “mob”. A Havana “Mafia Tour” will trace the antics of Meyer Lansky, financier for the Hotel Riviera; you’ll visit Hotel Sevilla that housed one of Al Capone’s favorite casinos and the Hotel Capri, financed by Hyman Roth and owned by the mob boss Santo Traficcante, which was also the fictional location for scene from The Godfather.

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Lunch on your own

Lunch is in a paladar of your choice from a list of the best restaurants in Havana. Choose from the hottest places in Havana’s booming culinary scene. Your tour guide will help you with selection and making reservations. This is an opportunity to get away from the larger group and dine with a smaller group of friends. You will travel by taxi which we will help you get and your return will be arranged by the establishment. The cost of this meal is not included in the price of the trip

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Arts & Crafts Market - Almacenes San Jose in Old Havana

Almacenes San Jose, the vast  craft market right on the docks at the Port of Havana, offers an impressive diversity of goods and artwork crafted by artists and artisans in Cuba.  You can walk up and down the aisles between stands, while the vendors play their maracas and claves in the morning breeze coming off the bay, and find everything from traditional souvenirs, original paintings, an impressive array of fashion, leather goods and accessories, all designed and handmade by local talent.  Your last stroll through the picturesque, narrow streets of Old Havana and  farewell ride up the Malecon will leave the indelible mark on your memory that Havana inevitably leaves on all who have made her acquaintance and dream of returning to explore the rest of this island paradise.

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Classic Car Ride on the Malecon

You will be picked up at you hotel and whisked away to your farewell dinner in perfectly restored vintage 1950s convertibles and enjoy an amazing driven tour of Havana’s “malecon” on the way. The quintessential avenue that wraps around Havana from La Habana Vieja to the Almendares River, hugging the famous sea wall that protects the city from the crashing waves of the Caribbean Sea offers the perfect sunset view. This drive is a retrospective, nostalgic journey through time and you can feel you’re in the 1950s with the backdrop of the Cuban skyline, nearly frozen in time.

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Dinner at Rio Mar Paladar

This contemporary Restaurant is located in the Miramar neighborhood, it has wonderful views of the Almendares river and the Malecon. Offering some of the best seafood in Havana.

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Day 8, Havana City

Breakfast at the hotel&Check out of Hotel

You will be met by you guide at the hotel to assist you with check-out and to escort you to Jose Marti International Airport after your morning activities. We will be with you every step of the way until you bid farewell to Cuba until next time!

Transfer from a Havana hotel to the Jose Marti International Airport

Depart Havana for Miami International Airport

 

Depart Havana for Miami International Airport

Cuba and her people bid you  Adios! Hasta la proxima!

Jan 07 - 14, 2017
Jan 14 - 23, 2017
Feb 18 - 25, 2017
Feb 26 - Mar 05, 2017
Mar 11 - 18, 2017
Apr 03 - 10, 2017
May 05 - 12, 2017
Oct 02 - 09, 2017
Nov 10 - 17, 2017
Dec 08 - 15, 2017