CUBA | Behind the Headlines
Culture and Politics in Changing Times
Dates: February 25 – March 4, 2018
Cost: $ 4,250 (double occupancy)
Day 1| Sunday, Feburary 25 | Havana Upon arrival in Havana, greet your Cuban guide and Trip Leader, Chip Barclay, and stop by the famous Revolutionary Square where Fidel Castro gave some of his most rousing speeches, on our way to the hotel. Then we will drive along the famous Malecón, Havana’s crystalline waterfront. After checking into your accommodation, we will enjoy a welcome dinner in a local paladar. A paladar is a small family-run restaurant licensed to provide meals in a private home. Here you will taste some of the best food in Cuba as well as experience intimate and warm setting with local people featuring traditional Cuban food and music. Havana Hotel (D)
Day 2 | Monday, February 26 | Havana After an included breakfast, we are invited to the newly opened US embassy for a briefing on the significance of reestablished diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Then, we venture into the streets on a walking tour of Habana Vieja (Old Havana) meeting local people along the way, speaking with local entrepreneurs about their new businesses and to NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) who oversee sustainability projects. There we will visit the Arte Corte community project to see how small private businesses have impacted the neighborhoods of Old Havana. Enjoy lunch at a local paladar. After lunch we take a private tour of the Museum of Revolution that is housed in what was once the Presidential Palace for all Cuban presidents, from Mario Garcia Menocal to Flugencio Batista. Late this afternoon, attend a presentation on the history of the city’s fascinating past as told to us by an expert architect and city planner, Miguel Coyula. Dinner is on your own. In the evening there is an optional visit to a music club or a presentation by band playing lively Cuban music. Havana Hotel (B/L)
Day 3 |Tuesday, February 27 | Havana After breakfast at the hotel, meet with Pepe Viera, a former diplomat with the Cuban Mission to the U.N. and former vice-minister of foreign relations, who also ran an important economic enterprise after his political career. He will talk about recent economic and political changes in Cuba and how they are affecting the society. Then head to Organoponico Vivero Alamar, a cooperative urban farm focusing on agricultural production and services. Meet with the founder and his family to discuss their experience and vision. After lunch at a paladar, we will visit the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, where a museum guide will share the history of Cuba through its impressive art history. We will stop at the Art - Deco style Hotel Nacional, a remaining splendor of Cuba’s once celebrated past, where artist, athletes and actors once flocked. In the early evening, we meet for an informal gathering with a resident international media correspondent. Dinner will be on your own.Havana Hotel (B/L)
CIENFUEGOS a seaport city, is located in the southern part of the island 250 miles from Havana. The city was first settled by French immigrants in 1819 and is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 4 | Wednesday, February 28 | Cienfuegos After breakfast, leave for Cienfuegos, the French Colonial town known as “The Pearl of the South” for its spacious, sea-misted streets and plazas. Throughout its history, ships used the surrounding bay as a refuge during storms in the Caribbean. Upon arrival, head to the city’s central square to wander the artisan marketplace and view the exceptional architecture, unlike anywhere else in Cuba. Following lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a private performance by the Cienfuegos Orchestra with a reception to meet the performers afterwards. Later, we will continue on to Trinidad and check into the hotel, and meet for dinner. After dinner you may wish to visit a local jazz club or salsa club. Trinidad Accommodation (B/L/D)
TRINIDAD was founded in 1514 and was the center of the profitable sugar trade in the region at that time. It was, for centuries, the major sugar exporter in the world. Trinidad is located 208 miles from Havana and 50 miles from Cienfuegos.
Day 5 | Thursday, March 1 | Havana This morning we meet with a local historian who will give us a walking tour of the colonial city and the artist studios that fill the streets and make Trinidad so unique. There will be time to explore the cobbled streets on your own and an opportunity to visit the Palacio Cantero Museum. This beautiful residence was built in 1827 and features restored murals, furniture and the original kitchen. Lunch on your own at one of Trinidad’s charming restaurants near the Plaza Mayor. After lunch we will visit a ration store where Cubans shop locally. Dinner will be at the hotel and there will be an optional excursion to the Casa La Trova, where local go to dance and hear music. Trinidad Hotel (B/D)
Day 6 | Friday, March 2 | Havana In the morning, we return to Havana, stopping for lunch along the route back to the capital city. Upon arrival in Havana, we attend a dance performance by Habana Compás with its unique fusion of flamenco and Afro-Cuban dance that is unique to anything else in Cuba. After checking into our hotel, enjoy the evening and dinner on your own exploring the many opportunities to experience the vibrant nightlife. Havana Hotel (B/L)
Day 7 | Saturday, March 3 | Havana After breakfast take the local ferry to the island of Regla to visit Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla (Church of Our Lady of Regla) with the unusual Black Madonna, their patron saint. Explore the grounds and talk with the Santeria priestesses, learning about the rich roots of an African tradition still very much alive in Cuba. Enjoy a lunch on your own at a paladar then visit Finca Vigía, Hemingway’s primary residence from 1939 to 1960, where Hemingway penned much of his classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, for a guided tour. Located on a hilltop in the rural village of San Francisco de Paula, the home has been the subject of a massive preservation effort to keep it as the author left it in 1961. End the day with a special farewell dinner at an exquisite paladar. There will be an optional excursion to the Tropicana or other club to see music and nightlife. Havana Hotel (B/D)
Day 8 | Sunday, March 4 | Havana/Miami After breakfast at your hotel, we will head to the Jose Marti International Airport for flights home. (B)
NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are in Cuba... to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Restaurants or hotels may change in similar category.
INCLUDED: People-to-People license to travel legally to Cuba; in country transportation per itinerary; hotels; full breakfast buffet daily at the hotel plus 4 lunches and 4 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); Cuban English speaking local guide; CCJ trip manager Charles (Chip) Barclay; guest speakers; all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; tips for bellman and included meals on itinerary; bottled water on the bus.
NOT INCLUDED: International Airfare; Cuban visa; meals not on itinerary, 3 lunches and 3 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); alcoholic drinks; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); travel cancellation and evacuation insurance (strongly recommended, info will be sent upon registration)
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Dates: February 25 – March 4, 2018
Cost: $ 4,250 (double occupancy)
Add: $ 750 (single supplement)
Charles “Chip” Barclay was a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State for 28 years, serving in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. He is former State Department Spokesman for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Between 2009 and late 2012 Barclay was Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba. Before diplomatic relations were resumed this year, the Interests Section consisted of approximately 50 American diplomats. Barclay supervised the Section’s human rights and refugee portfolio, Consular operations, political and economic analysis and small law enforcement detail.
Before his assignment in Cuba, he was Political Minister-Counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Mr. Barclay has been a Public Affairs Officer in Malawi, Sarajevo and Kuala Lumpur and Deputy Chief of Mission Managua, Nicaragua. He is currently an independent speaker on Cuba and teaches a course on global political issues at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.