CUBA | PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
an East to West Odyssey to hidden treasures

October 25 - November 4

$4,895 (double occupancy)
Early Bird Registration (until February 28): $4,495

 

Daily Itinerary:

Day 1 | Thursday, October 25 | Home / Santiago de Cuba / Guantanamo  Upon arrival in Cuba, you will meet your Cuban guide.  After lunch in Santiago, head towards our hotel in Guantanamo, stopping to learn about the American occupation since 1903. Both the Cuban and US governments prohibit visiting the nearby US military base holding suspected Al-Qaida terrorists. There will be time for questions and answers. In the town of Guantanamo we visit the dance group Ballet Folkloric, a local group performing Afro-Cuban dances and music. The group has been invited to perform in numerous international countries and venues. It is a spectacular production followed by questions and answers and conversation with the dancers. We then have a private concert of Changui music. This music is particular to the mountains in the area. Bring your dancing shoes! Upon arrival at the hotel, settle into your room and then join the rest of the group for dinner at the hotel. Guantanamo Hotel (L/D)

 

SANTIAGO de Cuba less visited by tourists, is the island’s second largest city and the capital of the Oriente province, known for its stunning natural beauty. Santiago is the place of beginnings for the signal events and features of Cuban history including Cuban music, and a fitting place to begin our journey.

 

Day 2 | Friday, October 26 | Baracoa Begin your first full day in Cuba with a drive along the eastern coastline to Baracoa, weaving in and out of Cuba’s tropical forest. In 1492, Columbus spotted the area from his ship and claimed Cuba for the Spanish crown. With a town center of quaint streets lined with red-tiled roofed colonial homes, many consider Baracoa to be Cuba's most enchanting Cuban town. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Baracoan settlers built three fortresses to protect the town from pirate attacks. El Castillo de Santa Bárbara, the oldest, sits high above the town, with splendid views of the bay and surrounding countryside. It has now been converted into a hotel with an absolutely beautiful view. For lunch, participate in a picnic at the El Carahual cacao plantation. After lunch take a boat ride along the Toa River to the location where two rivers come together. Here we will visit with the indigenous Indian inhabitants who live on the beachfront.  Dine on your own on local cuisine at a restaurant or beautiful 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 being in the intimate, warm spaces of local people. There is an optional visit to Casa de la Trova for music and dancing at the end of the evening. Baracoa  Hotel (B/L)

 

BARACOA, on the eastern tip of the island, relishes in its isolated existence, away from the prying eyes of the rest of Cuba. This sort of geographical solitary confinement has lead to the city’s culturally unique characteristics and has preserved a very distinct way of Cuban life. In the early 19th century French planters crossed the waters from Haiti and began farming the local staples of coconut, cocoa and coffee in the mountains and the thriving economy began to slowly surface. Today, Baracoa enjoys a sleepy, rural Cuban life far removed from the more international regions of the island.

 

Day 3 |  Saturday, October 27 | Baracoa After breakfast, explore the town with a local historian, discovering the places and spaces most dear to the Cuba people. Absorb your impressions of the tropical air, rhythm and color wafting out of the doorways you pass, laughter and conversation easily bouncing among neighbors, meeting local people along the way. After our time in the city, drive to a Kiribá Indian village to learn about the Taíno, the original indigenous inhabitants, from a well known Baracoa historian and author who will accompany our group.  By the mid-sixteenth century, the village numbers had dropped to less than a few thousand as a result of disease, mass suicides and Spanish exploitation. There will be a dance performance, conversations and interaction with the village people.  After lunch set out to visit to the Casa de la Cultura, an art gallery where the director teaches art to local youth. If time permits, spend time at Galería de Arte Eliseo Osorio, an artist co-op featuring some of the best of Cuba woodcarvings. Dinner on your own at a local restaurant or paladar. Baracoa  Hotel (B/L)

 

Day 4 | Sunday, October 28 | Santiago After breakfast, drive back to Santiago, located along Cuba’s southeast coast. Today we will have the chance to explore this vibrant Caribbean city with a historic overview and slide presentation by a city architect and planner to help us understand the history and culture of Santiago. Santiago is the cradle of the Cuban revolution and one of the country’s most exotic and ethnically diverse cities. Upon arrival, visit the Casa de Velazquez colonial era house for a guided tour of the oldest intact house in Cuba and the home of the first governor of Cuba in the 1500’s. Here we can envision what life was like at that time. After checking into our hotel, we will gather for dinner at an outdoor restaurant. Then a late night visit to the local CDR, a neighbor group that will invite us to their homes to talk about their lives. Santiago Hotel (B/L/D)

 

Day 5 | Monday, October 29 | Santiago In the morning visit the cemetery of Santa Ifigenia, where Cuba’s national hero, José Martí rests inside an impending mausoleum. Then join the pilgrimage to El Cobre to visit El Sanctuario de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba’s most beloved and important church. The faithful come from across Cuba on pilgrimages to pay their respects and ask for protection from the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, Cuba's patron saint (also known as the Black Madonna). Ernest Hemingway, whose fisherman in The Old Man and the Sea made a promise to visit the shrine if he could only land his marlin -- donated his Nobel Prize for Literature to the shrine. Experience lunch on your own at a local paladar or restaurant around the main plaza. After lunch, visit the Ugo Luisi workshop founded in 2005, to meet with students and the program's director. The school trains and provides job opportunities for unemployed youth and ensures a stable source of specialized personnel for the recovery of the historic area of the city after a devastating hurricane in Santiago. After some time spent with the students at the workshop, enjoy a walking tour through Santiago's revolutionary streets, ending at the Moncada Barracks. Here you will embark on a guided tour with a local guide and historian, recounting the story of Fidel Casto's armed attack - an event marking the beginning the Cuban Revolution. Time permitting we will end the late afternoon atop San Juan Hill, infamous for the Battle of San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Finish your day in Santiago with dinner at a local paladar and an optional evening at a dance and music venue. Santiago Hotel (B/D)

 

HAVANA is the hub of one of the world’s greatest natural harbors. A showcase of the wealth, power, and sophistication of Cuba from the 16th century founding as the greatest port of New Spain. Today, it is a place of beautiful decay and the stirrings of change, along with all the best in Cuban art, music and culture.

 

Day 6 | Tuesday, October 30 | Havana After breakfast, depart on an early morning flight to Havana, Cuba’s capital city. Stop by the famous Revolutionary Square on our way to the historical district. Enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the water in Old Havana. Then explore Old Havana on a guided tour of the main Cathedral and the surrounding squares. Next, visit the Museo de la Revolución, the former Presidential Palace where students attempted to assassinate Batista in 1957. After our time discussing the history, art and culture of Havana enjoy dinner on your own and resting for your first full day in the capital city. Havana Hotel (B/L/D)

 

Day 7 | Wednesday, October 31 | Havana In the morning meet with a well-known expert on Cuban architecture and city planner. Enjoy a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past and the outlook for the future, with room for questions and discussion at the end. Then, visit Havana’s 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.  Enjoy lunch on your own with time to explore. In the mid-afternoon, 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. Enjoy the evening dinner at a local paladar and exploring opportunities to experience the vibrant nightlife of the capital city. Havana Hotel (B)

 

Day 8 | Thursday, November 1 | Havana After breakfast at the hotel, meet with world-renowned photographer Roberto Salas whose photographs of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are legendary. Salas and his Cuban-born father, Osvaldo, met Castro in 1955 and in 1959, following Castro's rise to power, the Salas' were invited by Castro himself to work for the government newspaper Revolución. Enjoy an in-home visit with a local family and hear about Havana through their eyes. Discover your new favorite meal on your own at a local paladar. After lunch visit the Muraleando Project and meet the students and teachers working in contemporary art. Then journey back in time by taking a ride in a convertible classic car along the Malecon and through the heart of Havana. End the day with a special dinner at an exquisite paladar. Havana Hotel (B/L/D)

 

CIENFUEGOS, Cuba’s La Perla del Sur, the “Pearl of the South” summons travelers from around the world, drawn into its seductive melee of French Colonial spirit and architecture. A relatively young city, Cienfuegos was settled in 1819 by French and Louisianan immigrants and to this day retains much of its former charm, leading to its 2005 declaration as an UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

Day 9 | Friday, November 2 | Trinidad 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. Experience lunch at  a local restaurant. Following lunch enjoy a private performance by a local choir with a reception to meet the performers afterwards. Depart the charming town for Trinidad. Upon arrival check into the hotel and relax with a lovely dinner at a local paladar. Trinidad Hotel (B/L/D)

 

TRINIDAD, in central Cuba, is one of the best-preserved cities in the Caribbean. Dating back to a time when sugar trade was the main industry in the region, it offers exquisite Spanish Colonial architecture and warm, friendly people. A day spent within Trinidad’s streets is essential to experiencing the full extent of the Cuban spirit.

 

Day 10 | Saturday, November 3 | Trinidad Begin your day in Trinidad by meeting with an expert city historian to discuss the city’s preservation efforts. Walk to the Plaza Mayor, Trinidad’s central square and an UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988. In the square, visit the Museo de Arquitectura Colonial, the Museum of Colonial Architecture with its elegant portico and delicate wrought-iron balustrade. In the 18th century this building was originally two homes, both owned by the sugar barons of the Sánchez Iznaga family then converted into a museum in the 19th century. Also in the square, the Museo Romántico, a historic residence once owned by a plantation owner with lavish furnishings - evidence to the wealth Cubans once held. Enjoy lunch on your own. After lunch visit with the women at an entrepreneurial crochet co-op, and then with artisans at an outdoor market — well known for their woodcarvings and fine handmade lace and crochet, as well as ceramics, masks and musical instruments. Farewell dinner at a special paladar followed by optional dancing at Casa de Trova. Trinidad Hotel (B/D)

 

Day 11 | Sunday, November 4 | Santa Clara / Home Following breakfast, we bid Cuba farewell as we transfer to the airport for our flights back home. (B)

JOURNEY DETAILS:

 

INCLUDED:  US People to People license to travel legally to Cuba; in country transportation per itinerary; best available hotels in Havana (double occupancy); best available hotels outside Havana (double occupancy); full breakfast buffet daily at the hotel plus 6 lunches and 7 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); Cuban English speaking local guide; CCJ trip manager; guest speakers; all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; tips for bellman and hotel staff, included meals on itinerary and bottled water on the bus.

 

NOT INCLUDED: International air fare to/from Cuba (this trip starts in Santiago and ends in Santa Clara); Cuban visa, departure tax; Meals not on itinerary, 4 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); and Travel Protection.

 

TRAVEL PROTECTION:For more information on the recommended travel protection plans or to enroll, contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 47-0272.

 

Please advise Travelex that Cross Cultural Journeys is the travel company for this trip.

 

Upon request for enrollment Travelex will collect the following information for the traveler(s):

    1. Dates of travel
    2. Name of traveler
    3. Date of Birth
    4. Traveler’s phone number, address, city, state, zip
    5. Reason for travel: Educational: People to People
    6. Name of Travel Agency (Cross Cultural Journeys)

Please note: Insurance for this trip may differ from previous insurance purchases and follows a different process given the destination. In addition, this is a process we must follow as regulated by the Office of Foreign Asset Control for any travel to Cuba.

 

For a summary of plan details on benefits, coverages, limitations and exclusions, please refer to the applicable Description of Coverage. Travel Insurance is underwritten by Transamerica Casualty Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio; NAIC #10952. 1308294

 

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.

October 25-November 4

$4,895 (Double Occupancy)
Early Bird: $4,495 (until Feb 28)

ADD: $750 (Single Supplement)

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