CUBA | MUSIC AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Join Cross Cultural Journeys and photographer Linda Wolf for a once in a lifetime opportunity - a people-to-people musical journey with legendary blues musician, Taj Mahal. Explore the colorful, vibrant music and culture of Cuba in an intimate setting with friends and Cuban musicians. Our itinerary will include several evenings of blues and jazz venues in Havana, with Taj Mahal as a guest musician.
Day 1 | Monday, November 7 | Miami / Havana Meet a Cross Cultural Journeys Representative at the Miami International Airport who will assist you and the other members of your group through check-in. Upon arrival in Havana, you will meet your Cuban guide and drive to your accommodation in Havana. On the way, your guide will show you the historical memorial to José Martí at Plaza de la Revolución, Revolution Square, and give you a short driving tour to see the general layout of this beautiful city including the Malecón, Havana’s famous waterfront. After checking into your accommodation, walk to dinner and absorb your first impressions of the tropical air, rhythm and color wafting out of the doorways as you pass — laughter and conversation bouncing among neighbors, easily meeting local people along the way. Dine this evening at a local paladar featuring traditional Cuban food and music. Havana Accommodation (D)
Day 2 | Tuesday, November 8 | Havana After breakfast we begin our day with a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past as told to us by an expert architect and city planner, followed by a walking tour of Havana Vieja (Old Havana). Enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant in Old Havana. Visit Havana’s National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, where your museum guide will teach you about the history of Cuba through its impressive art history. Dinner on your own. Evening show with the Buena Vista Social Club. Havana Accommodation (B/L)
Day 3 | Wednesday, November 9 | Havana Meet with musicologist Olavo Alen who will discuss the African origins of the music in Cuba, the five rhythms and the evolution of the instruments used. Lunch is at a local co-op restaurant, Ho Chi Minh. After lunch, drive to Alamar farm, an urban farm co-op outside Havana, working to find local solutions to the scarcity challenges of food and water. Afternoon free to explore el Morro, the fort at the mouth of the Havana harbor. Dinner on your own. EVENING WITH TAJ MAHAL (venue TBA) Havana Accommodation (B/L)
Day 4 | Thursday, November 10 | Havana Take the local ferry across to the island of Regla, where we visit the church of the Seafarers with the Black Madonna, their patron saint. You can talk with the Santeria priestesses outside the church, learning about the rich roots of an African tradition very much alive in Cuba and serving as a mainstay of faith in their everyday lives. Next we visit the Museum of Music to witness a folkloric dance and music performance. Following lunch, take guided tour of Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemmingway’s primary residence from 1939 to 1960 and where Hemingway penned much of his classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. Dinner is at a local paladar. Optional show at the famous La Tropicana. Havana Accommodation (B/L/D)
Day 5 | Friday, November 11 | Havana Begin the day with a visit to the Muraleando Project, a barrio community project where residents have painted the walls of the neighborhood in murals. Join them for discussion about their projects to keep the kids of the area engaged through after school projects in art, learning music and dance. Lunch at El Aljibe and visit a cigar and rum shop. Then spend time at the home studio of José Rodríguez Fuster, a Cuban artist specializing in mosaics. On the way back, we drive through the Miramar area of Havana where the palatial homes of the pre-Revolution wealthy residents used to live. EVENING WITH TAJ MAHAL (venue TBA) Havana Accommodation (B/L)
Day 6 | Saturday, November 12 | Havana In the morning we visit the Colon cemetery, one of the largest and most spectacular cemeteries in Central America. Lunch is on your own with the afternoon free to explore Havana and neighboring towns. Dinner and evening are on your own. Havana Accommodation (B)
Day 7 | Sunday, November 13 | Havana Depart for the beach! Swim, sunbathe, jam in the shade, jog in the sand. A picnic lunch is included on the beach. Return to Havana for an afternoon siesta! Dinner is at El Cocinero. Late evening outing at Fabrica de Arte Cubano, a refurbished canola oil factory of art galleries, concerts, speak easies and photo exhibits. Havana Accommodation (B/L/D)
Day 8 | Monday, November 14 | Havana Meet the organizers of the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Man and Nature, a research organization for the protection of culture and the environment and culture, to learn about the conservation efforts in place in Cuba. Lunch is at Sloppy Joes’ in Old Havana. In the afternoon, visit the Museo de la Revolución, the former Presidential Palace where students attempted to assassinate Batista in 1957. Late afternoon walking tour of Old Havana and daiquiris at La Floridita. Dinner on own. EVENING WITH TAJ MAHAL (venue TBA) Havana Accommodation (B/L)
Day 9 | Tuesday, November 15 | Havana After breakfast visit and 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. Lunch is at local paladar. Afternoon stroll on el Malecón, Calle Neptuno, ice cream at La Coppelia, visit with local artists on Callejón de Hamel. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon for free time. Farewell dinner at Río Mar. Gather together for a last night out at a local club. Havana Accommodation (B/L/D)
Day 10 | Wednesday, November 16 | Havana Following breakfast, we bid Cuba farewell as we transfer to the airport for our flight out of Havana. (B)
LINDA WOLF is a mother, activist, journalist, author, musician, and founder/ed of Teen Talking Circles, a non-profit focused on social justice, girls empowerment, and youth activism. She became a photography at sixteen, and has lived and photographed people around the world. Her work is collected in museums internationally, and her books translated in multiple languages. She was official photographer for Joe Cocker: Mad Dogs & Englishmen, the all-girl rock band, Fanny, and currently with the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Linda met Taj in 1969 when Leon Russell brought members of Mad Dogs & Englishmen to his house for an afternoon jam. Her work and further information can be found at lindawolf.net.
NOTE: Due to an exceptionally high demand of travel to Cuba at present, nothing on this itinerary should be viewed as “set in stone” and is therefore subject to last minute change. This is to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment in Cuba; to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, and most importantly, to accommodate circumstances beyond our control.
If you are a person who needs assurance that everything will flow according to a pre-set itinerary, Cuba is simply not the place for you!
INCLUDED: People to People license to travel legally to Cuba; in country transportation per itinerary; accommodation in Havana (double occupancy); breakfast daily and lunch and dinners per itinerary (B/L/D); Cuban English speaking local guide; CCJ trip manager; guest speakers; some entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; tips for included meals on itinerary; bottled water.
NOT INCLUDED: International charter air from Miami/Havana/Miami; alcoholic drinks; meals not on itinerary; 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).