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CUBA: PEOPLE TO PEOPLE CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM

Participants should know that Cuba is a special destination, and so please understand that all elements of this itinerary are subject to change and that times and activities listed below are approximate. Please remain flexible as there are often circumstances beyond our control and changes may be necessary. The tour leader reserves the right to make changes to the published itinerary whenever, in his sole discretion, conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the program. Be assured that all efforts will be made to provide a comparable alternative should an item on the itinerary need to be changed or cancelled.

Day 1 - D
FROM TAMPA You must arrive at the airport at 10:30am for the 1:20pm departure.  Return flight from Havana is a 7:00am check-in for the 10:10am flight out.
IN CUBA Upon arrival in Havana, pass through customs individually, gather bags and TRANSFER as a group to our hotel. Afternoon to settle in and/or explore the area around Hotel Inglaterra
8.3PM: WELCOME DINNER and TRANSFER to Restaurante Santo Angel, famous for its open-air atmosphere and delicious creole cooking (enjoy the Pollo Asado, delicious roast chicken in citrus juice).
10.30: TRANSFER back to hotel by bus.

Day 2 – B, L
09.00: ORIENTATION TOUR BY BUS FOLLOWED BY GUIDED WALKING TOUR of Old Havana, a.k.a.
Habana Vieja. This is a great opportunity to meet and interact with local Cubans going about their everyday lives on the city streets.
In 1982 Old Havana was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s brimming with a variety of historical landmarks and interesting things to do. Just walking the streets in this area is a favorite pastime and will surely result in an unforgettable experience with plenty of chances to meet the locals and to take advantage of myriad photo ops.
1.00pm: LUNCH at the infamous La Bodeguita del Medio restaurant. Considered to be the most famous restaurant in Havana, and the place where Hemingway enjoyed not just a few mojitos, La Bodeguita del Medio (“the little store in the middle of the block”) is just off the Plaza de Catedral, and a must for any visit to Havana.
3.00pm: Dinner on your own (Suggestion: dine at a “paladar,” which is a small, private restaurant with limited seating, often in the home of its owner)
Paladar recommendations:
La Guarida: Considered to be one of the best paladars in Havana, where you can enjoy an excellent and varied menu and fine wines. Located where the Oscar-nominated “Fresa y Chocolate” was filmed in the back
streets of Centro Habana, located just west of Habana Vieja.
La Casa de Lilian: Another private restaurant/paladar in a stunning garden setting with excellent food – this is where President Carter ate when he visited Cuba.

Day 3 – B
09.00: TRANSFER by bus to Morro Cabana, a.k.a. Castillo del Morro, to explore and photograph, including access for panoramic views of the harbor and the skyline of Havana. Construction of the fortress was begun in 1589 by Italian architect Giovanni Battista Antonelli, and its purpose was to detect approaching enemy ships attempting to enter the harbor of Havana. Entry fee to fortress not included, but offers great views from outside for free. We’ll also enjoy an interesting visit to Che Guevara’s former office in Havana and additional stunning views of the city from across the harbor.



11.00: TRANSFER to an area of Havana known as Vedado and on to the gran dame Hotel Nacional, located right on the Malecon, the seawall that runs along the waterfront. Sit down with some locals and enjoy a drink with a commanding view of the sea and experience the wonderful history that can be felt throughout the hotel. We’ll also visit La Torre (The Tower), a bar/restaurant on the 30th floor of the Focsa building, from which we can enjoy and photograph even more beautiful views of Havana.
1.00: Lunch at Restaurante Castropol located on the Malecon. Try the “pulpo” (octopus) appetizer, it’s delicious.
2.30: Visit to “El Callejon de Hamel.” Funky street murals, psychedelic art shops and frenetic rumba music, can be enjoyed in this narrow street which could be considered a high temple of Afro-Cuban culture. A good place to get in contact with common Cuban people. Weekends is when this place comes to life!
4.00pm: TRANSFER back to the hotel and dinner.

Day 4 – B, L
07.30 TRANSFER for day trip to Viñales for landscape and village exploration. Viñales was founded in 1607 and has an economy based on agriculture, mainly tobacco farming, and its soil is considered to be some of the richest in the world.    In the Viñales Valley, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, we’ll see mountainous “mogotes,” made of hard limestone left over after millennia of erosion, as well as rural farmland vistas. We’ll also plan to visit and meet with local tobacco farmers working in their fields and in their storehouses.
First we’ll stop at “Mirador del Valle de Viñales” (at Hotel Los Jazmines). Here we’ll have commanding views of the mogotes and the valley below. Then we’ll take a boat ride through the “Cueva del Indio,” a river system that’s actually inside a mogote.
1.00p: LUNCH at Restaurant “El Palenque.”
2.00p: Continued exploration of this gorgeous part of western Cuba where we’ll stop in the town of Viñales where we can walk around and visit with the locals. We’ll also visit “Casa del Veguero,” a working tobacco  farm where we’ll get inside their storehouses and have a brief introduction to tobacco farming and the interesting process of tobacco production.   5.00p: TRANSFER back in Havana, dinner on your own.

Day 5 – B
09.00: Visit to Ernest Hemingway’s former home, Finca La Vigia, near Cojimar, a quaint fisherman's village. With your entry fee (not included) to the museum you’ll be able to observe Hemingway’s personal belongings, trophies, firearms and see the room where he used to write, as well as his fishing souvenirs and the other remembrances of his life in Cuba. This is where Hemingway celebrated his Pulitzer prize in 1953 with his fishermen buddies and the now legendary boat skipper, Gregorio Fuentes, captain of his yacht El Pilar, and the main character of his book, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, which was set in this area. We’ll also have a chance to see El Pilar which is now conveniently located in a corner of the property.
12.00p: Lunch on your own. 4.00p: TRANSFER to hotel and dinner on your own.

Day 6 – B, L
Explore Havana’s many wonders and to go out and seek meaningful cultural exchanges with locals in the places that you visit.
12.00: TRANSFER for LUNCH at the JOSE FUSTER GALLERY/WORKSHOP. Meeting with world-renown Cuban artist Jose Fuster at his home/studio, assuming he’s in town, will surely be a highlight of this program. Fuster, as he’s affectionately known, specializes in unique ceramics, paintings and graphic design, and his work has expanded beyond just his home, a piece of art in its own right, to the neighborhood all around his residence. Fuster is a one-of-a-kind character that delights everyone he comes in contact with. Bring some cash, you may want to purchase a few items that he’ll be glad to sign if he’s available.
2.00p: TRANSFER to visit and explore other neighborhoods of Havana and experience cultural exchanges with their residents. These areas might include Regla, Casablanca or El Cristo. Then experience a FERRY TRIP back to Havana city (la “Lanchita de Casablanca”).
4.00p: Visit to the Museo del Ron, or Rum Museum (entrance fee is not included).
5.00p: TRANSFER back to hotel, dinner on your own

Day 7 - B, L
09.00: TRANSFER for visit to “Farmer’s Market” at 19th and B streets, in the Vedado section of Havana.
10.30: TRANSFER for visit to the Romeo y Julieta cigar factory.
11.30: Continued cultural exchanges as we visit a community center in Old Havana to experience how elderly Cubans are looked after in their later years.
12.30: TRANSFER for lunch on your own at the private Restaurant “Doña Eutimia” off the Plaza de la Catedral in Old Havana. This restaurant offers a unique atmosphere and excellent food.
Afternoon to do any of the things you may have missed so far.  Perhaps experience a coco taxi ride, enjoy a horse drawn carriage tour of Havana, hire a classic American taxi for a ride up and down the Malecon, or visit a final museum or two.
7.00p: FAREWELL DINNER at El Patio Restaurante in Habana Vieja.  El Patio is the only restaurant on the Plaza de la Catedral and here there’s a virtually endless succession of local bands laying down classic Cuban beats late into the evening.

Day 8 – B
Morning TRANSFER to HAV airport for your return flights. Tampa bound passengers be in the lobby no later than 630am.




Program includes:

  1. Medical insurance while in Cuba.
  2. 7 nights hotel accommodations at the Ingalterra Hotel, well located, Old Havana
  3. Breakfast daily (B), 4 lunches (L) and 2 dinners (D).
  4. English-speaking guide and private bus transfers for certain program activities.
  5. Daily people-to-people exchanges with local Cubans.
  6. Day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Viñales Valley in the west.
  7. All items mentioned in tour below.  ( subject to change)

Items mentioned below in ALL CAPS are included in your program fee.

HOTEL INGLATERRA in Old Havana-Hotel Inglaterra, of 4 stars category, is one of the most classic hotels in Havana.  Hotel Inglaterra, considered the doyen of the tourist establishments of the island of Cuba, it is located in Paseo del Prado Ave. #416 between San Rafael and San Miguel Street, Old Havana, City of Havana, Cuba.

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