DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1 Depart USA
This morning depart Miami on a short flight to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival at Havana airport and after clearing customs, you will meet your professional, Cuban English-speaking Tour Director. Your people-to-people interactions begin right away with a group lunch at a local "paladar," a privately owned small restaurant serving homemade Cuban dishes. Here you will have a cultural exchange with the restaurant's owner and enjoy learning about such topics as Cuban food and the free enterprise system in Cuba. Afterwards, enjoy an in-depth understanding into the New Cuba and its economy as you meet with economists from the National Association of Economics (ANEC) to discuss the Cuban financial system and business on this island. Next, you will head to the Bocoy Rum Experience. Here you take part in an informative dialogue with a local docent about the history of Cuba's renowned rum industry and the rum making process. Tonight enjoy typical Cuba cuisine in a local restaurant. (L,D)
Day 2 Havana
After breakfast you will enjoy a photo stop at Revolution Square, one of the largest public squares in the world. Then today's presentation is on the history of U.S.-Cuban relations at the US Embassy, Havana. Here you gain an understanding of the U.S. perspective of the tumultuous relationship between the two countries, followed by open discussion on the topic. Continuing onwards you will explore the charming cobblestone streets of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while participating in an open dialogue with the local expert on architectural topics of interest. Following lunch in Old Havana, you will tour the Museum of the Revolution that displays a vast array of documents, weapons, relics and even planes from the revolution. The museum is housed in the former presidential palace that was the home to Cuba's leaders from the 1920's until 1959. Afterwards, you have a people-to-people connection and visit with entrepreneurs and small market stall owners to learn about their lives and vision of their future. Dinner this evening is at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Day 3 Havana - Vinales - Pinar del Rio - Havana
Today you will venture northwest out of Havana through the Cuban countryside to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Vinales Valley, located in Cuba's westernmost mountainous range. This region, situated in the province of Pinar del Rio is known for its breathtaking scenery. The area is dotted with spectacular limestone mountains (mogotes) rising to a height of up to 300 meters. Here you will gaze upon spectacular caverns and rivers and discover the region's vast tobacco fields, still cultivated today using traditional methods that have survived unchanged for centuries. In Pinar del Rio you will tour the Francisco Donatien Cigar Factory to learn about the manufacturing of fine Cuban cigars and enjoy an educational exchange with workers about the history and process of cigar-making in Cuba. As your day continues, you will visit a traditional tobacco plantation and farmhouse where you will get to know an authentic tobacco farmer. During this enlightening interaction, you will learn about tobacco cultivation and the tobacco leaf drying process, then experience a cigar rolling and have a sit-down with his family while sipping on a "cafecito" - a sweetened shot of Cuban-style espresso coffee. This is a superb opportunity to witness up-close how Cuban families live in a rural setting. After this exciting encounter, a stop at Los Jasmines viewpoint offers the ideal photo-op with its awe-inspiring views of Vinales Valley, perfect for panoramic pictures of this splendidly beautiful region. Overnight in Havana. (B,L)
Day 4 Havana
Today we experience Havana's world-famous Colon Cemetery to see elaborately sculpted stone and marble memorials. You will discover the cemetery's captivating history and folklore and hear stories about the many prominent people laid to rest here, including musicians, filmmakers, writers, politicians, and Major League baseball players. You will also visit the tomb of La Milagrosa - the "Miraculous One" visited by Cubans as a pilgrimage site believed by many to have healing influences. Onwards, you will experience a local Farmers Market to understand the cost of living and interact with local vendors and market goers. Then you visit the offices of OnCuba Magazine to learn about the first American business to be authorized in Cuba. Here you meet with writers and artists featured by the publication and engage in a discussion on the changing economics of Cuba. Next, you will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Havana. As the day's activities continue, you will enter the realm of Ernest Hemingway with a visit to Hemingway's House at Finca La Vigia. The house where the Nobel Prize winner lived with his wife Martha for 21 years is situated on this beautiful property overlooking Havana. Tour the perfectly preserved home where many of Hemingway's personal belongings remain today, as well as his wooden yacht "Pilar." On this vessel, Hemmingway patrolled for Nazis and it was also featured in his novel "Islands in the Stream." Then you visit El Morro Castle (viewpoint), built in 1589 to protect the mouth of Havana Harbor. Perched on the headland opposite the harbor from Old Havana, it can be viewed from miles around as it dominates the port entrance and is therefore used as a navigational landmark. This evening, experience a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
Day 5 Depart Havana to USA
After breakfast, bid "adios" to Cuba and depart for the airport and your return flight to Miami with memories to cherish and share of your Cuba people-to-people trip to this enchanting country in the Caribbean. (B)
*This program provides a full time schedule of activities that result in meaningful exchanges through people-to-people contact. U.S. law requires that all travelers joining this program adhere to the full time schedule and imposes the responsibility to ensure such observance. The inclusions and people-to-people visits are subject to change.
Hotel and itinerary are subject to change.