Day 1: Arrive in Havana [D]
Welcome to Havana! You will meet your Cuban guide who will provide local history and knowledge throughout the program. Drive by the Capitolio, the Malecón – Havana’s seafront promenade, U.S. Embassy, La Rámpa, and Havana University. Explore La Fortaleza de Sán Carlos de la Cabaña, also known as “La Cabana” or “El Morro”. This fortress protected the mouth of the Havana harbor in its day and offers unique views over Havana ideal for gaining a better understanding of the city’s layout. Check-in your hotel. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers and tour guide for a briefing and welcome dinner. Overnight in Havana.
Day 2: Habana Vieja, Cuban Business, Community Arts [B,L,D]
We discover a local Farmer’s Market, to understand the cost of living and interact with local vendors. Then set out on exploration of Old Havana. Begin at the Plaza de Armas, the oldest part of the city. See the Greek Roman “El Témplete” site of the first mass and town council meeting in 1519. Enjoy a performance by contemporary dance company Danza Combinatoria (another company may be substituted if they are on tour). Boxed lunch with the performance group, a unique opportunity to have one on one conversations.
In the afternoon, visit the offices of a local business, learn about the details of doing business in Cuba. Engage in a discussion on the changing economics of Cuba with an expert. Enjoy the panoramic views overlooking all of Havana from the office’s advantageous location.
Tonight, enjoy homemade cooking prepared by the members of a neighborhood arts center and learn the story of the center’s unique construction. Later, interact with locals at the neighborhood community arts center and enjoy their music and dance party. Overnight in Havana.
Day 3: History of Cuban Music and Arts [B,D]
After breakfast at our hotel, a lecture by a musicologist takes you on a journey through the history of Cuban music. Explore the Fine Arts Museum (Museo Bellas Artes) of Havana with your Cuban Study Leader. Cuban art is renowned worldwide. Delve into the stories that each work of art relates and the statement on politics, culture and society that each artist conveys.
Lunch will be on your own. After lunch, continue your guided exploration of Old Havana including stops at Plaza San Francisco and Plaza Vieja. Overnight in Havana.
Day 4: The Viñales Valley [B,L]
Set out early and head West to the province of Pinar del Rio, to the famed Viñales Valley, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley boasts Cuba’s most strikingly beautiful landscapes, with anomalous Karst formations rising from the valley floor, unlike any other region of the island. Meet a farmer and learn why the best tobacco is found here.
Enjoy a home cooked meal prepared with the produce of their organic farm.
In the afternoon, we will stroll the main square of the small village of Vinales before returning to Havana. Overnight in Havana.
Day 5: Departure from Havana [B]
Breakfast at the hotel, then departure to Havana airport for your return flight home.