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AN ITRODUCTION TO CUBA AND ITS PEOPLE WITH EXPLORE INTERNATIONAL
NOTE: THIS ITINERARY MAY NOT BE IN THE EXACT ORDER OF ACTIVITIES, YOU WILL WORK WITH YOUR GUIDE AT YOUR PACE TO SEE EVERYTHING THAT YOU CAN IN A FEW SHORT DAYS. THE GUIDES ARE A WEALTH OF INFORMATION. ASK QUESTIONS.

Day 1
Departure from Tampa with non-stop air charter to Havana.

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Day 2
9.00 am: You will be met by your guide at the hotel for a walking tour into old Havana where you will discover its charm and it's people. As you walk down Obispo Street, you will notice the bustle of Cubans who are going about their daily routine. We will take time to talk with some of them. Along Obisbo take note of the many outlets for street food. Cubans love their merienda (10:00am snack) and you'll see Cubans in long line-ups for the many, some tempting, offerings. There is a famous pastry shop along the way called Cafe Santo Domingo. Maybe a pastry or a sausage roll? We will continue to visit each of the four plazas in Old Havana; our walk will include a stop at the rooftop look-out of the Ambos Mundos Hotel, affording a stunning view of the city. We will have the opportunity to see the room that Ernest Hemingway occupied. A short walk away we can enter famous Bodeguito del Medio Restaurant for lunch. (One drink is included with lunch- 1 bottled water, 1 national beer or soft drink. Not Coca Cola or Sprite, but the national soft drinks that are very good).
We will visit the Palacio de Los Cap. Generales in Plaza de Armas. We will stop at the Rum museum (and a welcome mojito) to fully understand how the sugar cane grown evolved from primarily sugar production to rum production.
Each of the 4 Plazas offers its own charm and history, as we see the cathedrals and old castles. Dinner on your own in Old Havana, arranged by your group leader. (B, L )

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Day 3
9:00 am this morning we board our bus and visit Modern Havana, Miramar and other interesting areas. Plaza de la RevoluciĆ³n will be our first stop. We will then follow the Malecon and pass the US Interest section as we make our way to Miramar via 5th Avenue. Here we will stop to walk along the streets, and then visit the "Maqueta" of Havana. A true scale mock up of the city of Havana, made with pieces of cigar boxes. If we are lucky, the City architect will provide us with more insight.
On our way back to the Vedado area, we will stop at a Supermarket at "Setenta" to better understand the workings of a two currency country. We will then continue westward to Jaimanita and the neighbourhood artwork of Jose Fuster. His artistic accomplishments have spread from his studio all the way into the surrounding neighbourhood. The area has been fondly renamed Fusterlandia. Just a couple of miles west, you may want to stop at a paladar called La Vigia, where you can have a quick lunch sitting by the canals of Marina Hemingway.
On our way back into Vedado, will stop at the Mercado de Calle 19 (open market) to see Cubans in the process of buying their fruits and vegetables and some meat. At this market we will note that all produce is sold in Cuban pesos, not the currency of convertible pesos. We will now head back into Central Havana and we will stop at a truly unique area called Callejon de Hamel where the in resident artist Salvadore Gonzalez has converted this alley into a truly spectacular artistic area dedicated mostly to the African Cuban religion of Santaria. Salvadore is often in residence, so hopefully you will have this chance. As you enter his studio you are gracefully met with the word" ache" which means peace and love. We head back to the Malecon to cross the tunnel under the harbour to the Morro Castillo (entrance not included).
Here we have great photo opportunities of the city of Havana. We will then return to our hotel. For dinner, try another local paladar, a restaurant that is not owned by the government, but by a local individual. There are more and more paladars opening every week, a sign of the demand for good food and usually excellent service. (B)

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Day 4
9:00am: On our last full day in Havana we will board our bus to visit the Necropolis de Colon, as we walk through some of the gravesites and mausoleums; we get a wider perception of the history of Havana. After this visit we will continue back into Old Havana, tour the birthplace of Jose Marti. We will lunch in the area (on your own). We then continue on to an optional visit of the Cuba Pavilion of the Fine Arts Museum.
The food and drink of Cuba is unique, food tends to be well flavoured with onion, garlic and cumin and a minimum of other hard to come by spices, but no one can say that their drink of choice is not full of flavour, a true testament to their culture and of course that is rum!
No visit to Cuba would be complete without visiting a cigar factory where we will see a professional cigar roller, andbe given a complimentary cigar. We will then walk along the narrow streets to the workshop of one of Cuba's most famous artists, know as Choco. If he is in Havana, he is always welcoming. Return to Hotel 7:00pm departure for dinner. This evening we will have our farewell dinner at El Templete. You may wish to leave from dinner and take in the famous Tropicana cabaret show, reminiscent of the cabarets so prevalent in pre-revolutionary Cuba. (B, D)

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Day 5
This morning we have a last chance to walk and mingle with Cubans as they prepare for their day. Check out from your hotel for the short ride to the airport and your flight home. ! Departure Island Travel Flight 502 departing Havana 11:30am with arrival in Tampa at 12:30pm.

**** All flight times could be subject to changes.
These visits are subject to availability. When not possible to visit, appropriate alternate visits will be included.



INCLUDES:
Authorized group manager
Treasury department License and letter of Authorization.
All transfers according to the program.
English speaking guide in Cuba. Bus and driver for 3 days in Havana as per itinerary.
4 nights in a 4-4.5* hotel with breakfast
1 lunches and 2 dinners
Cuban Health insurance

Excess luggage fee, Cuban tourist card and the Cuban departure tax are extra.
For registration and available departures, send an e-mail to info@tampa2cuba.com or call 727-415-5088.
Special offers are available for groups of min. 10 people.

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