Cuba's Countryside & Capital City (YX) - 2014

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9 Day Tour from Miami to Miami


Cubas Countryside & Capital City
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba
Havana, Cuba

Vacation Overview

Be among the first American travelers in five decades to visit Cuba on this fascinating experience with Globus. This people-to-people program allows Americans and Cubans to share in unique interactions while enjoying the rich history and culture of this amazing country. Every day of your program will be wrapped in fascinating education and enriching experiences, where both Cuban residents and you, as an American, can openly share ideas and opinions. Join in a variety of discussions about Cuba’s history, musical culture, religion, art, and agriculture. You can fully submerge into Cuban tradition when you participate in a discussion with Cuban folk dancers and an interactive dance lesson; and, meet Cuban artists at a local gallery during your stay in Varadero. Then, explore the streets of Old Havana and discover the importance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, interact with jazz musicians and discuss the role music plays in everyday life. You’ll even meet a Cuban film director or actor, and discover the historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba, a landmark and host to dozens of celebrities and world figures over the decades. Fascinating, informative, and insightful discoveries await on this trip of a lifetime to the “Pearl of the Antilles.”

Group Voyagers, Inc. (doing business as Globus), has been granted License No. CT-298139-1 by the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which authorizes those who register as participants in our programs to visit Cuba legally. Our unique itinerary for 2013-2014 travel to Cuba: “Undiscovered Cuba” provides a full-time schedule of people-to-people educational exchange activities designed to result in meaningful interactions between our travelers and individuals in Cuba. United States law requires that all participants in our programs adhere to the full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.


MATANZAS
Triolet Pharmacy; discussion with workers at a traditional print and binding shop

VARADERO
Interactive discussion and dance lesson; discussion with independent artists; lunch at Casa Dupont

CARDENAS
Visit to a rationing store; workshop with local artists and musicians; interaction with children and foster parents at a foster home

HAVANA
Old Havana; interaction with members of the Santo Angel neighborhood; performance and discussion with members of the Cuban Institute of Music; discussion and architect’s presentation; visit to a community daycare center; Finca Vigía (Hemingway’s home); fishing village of Cojimar; workshop at the Belen Convent; Fortress de San Carlos; discussion at the Literacy Museum; visit to artist José Fuster’s studio and neighborhood; discussion with students and professor at the University of Havana; lunch at Hotel Nacional de Cuba; workshop on Cuban cinema; discussion and performance with jazz musicians; Revolution Square; guided visit of Colon Cemetery; discussion with paladar owner; interaction with artists at the Feria de Artesania; meet members of the Old Styler Car Club and take a ride in an Old Styler car

PINAR DEL RIO
Interaction and discussion with tobacco and organic farmers

NOTES:

  • The “Cuba’s Countryside & Capital City” program requires walking on cobblestone streets and uneven pathways, climbing stairs, and participating in a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.
  • Due to the special requirements to visit Cuba, participants will be required to complete visa application and travel reservation forms and sign an affidavit confirming that they are traveling under a people-to-people license and are aware of the travel rules. Participants are also required to send a copy of their passport photo page. These items must be sent to Globus within 7 days of making a reservation.
  • In Cuba, activities that have been scheduled far in advance can sometimes become unavailable for a number of different reasons. The purpose of the trip is to have meaningful interactions with the locals and if the planned people-to-people educational exchange isn’t available, rest assured that another activity that will be just as enriching will be substituted.
  • Small-Group Discovery – We never allow more than 24 travelers on our Small-Group Discovery programs, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the destination and local culture.


DAY 1Miami

Arrive in Miami and transfer to your hotel. Tonight, meet your Globus Group Leader and fellow program participants for a 6 pm discussion on U.S. and Cuba relations, political differences between the two countries, and Cuban influences in Miami. This meeting will prepare you for your arrival in Cuba and will answer any questions you may have about the program. Afterward, enjoy a welcome drink.

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DAY 2Miami–Havana–Matanzas–Varadero

A short flight this morning brings you to Havana, where you’ll meet your Cuban National Tour Director. Continue through Cuba’s countryside, with a stop at the Bacunayagua Bridge, the tallest bridge in Cuba. Enjoy incredible views and time for taking pictures at this spectacular lookout point. Then, on to Matanzas, known as the “Athens of Cuba” for the many renowned artists and intellectuals it has produced. Visit the TRIOLET PHARMACY, which dates back to 1879 and is preserved in its entirety. Then, interact with the workers at EDICIONES VIGÍA, a print and binding shop, and learn about this traditional craft that is still done by hand. Later this afternoon, arrive at your Varadero hotel for a 2-night stay. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Havana, Cuba Havana, Cuba Havana, Cuba Havana, Cuba 
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DAY 3Varadero. Excursion to Cardenas

Start your day by meeting members of the DANZON CLUB. Learn about Cuba’s national dance and enjoy a fun interactive dance lesson. Then, we visit a local MARKET and meet with artists to discuss their lives, inspirations, and the influences of artists from around the world. Stop for lunch at CASA DUPONT, built in 1926 by American millionaire Irénée du Pont. Continue to the historic town of Cardenas, where the Cuban national flag waved for the first time on May 19th, 1850. Visit a RATIONING STORE and discuss the system’s history, supplies available, and frequency of delivery. Next, visit an ARTIST’S GALLERY and interact with the artists and musicians. Our final stop before returning to our hotel is a FOSTER HOME, where you will learn about how these homes are run in Cuba and have time to interact with the children and foster parents. Enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

NOTE:
If we are unable to visit the foster home for any reason, another people-to-people educational activity will be substituted.

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DAY 4Varadero–Havana

Travel through the heart of Cuba’s agricultural and sugar cane-growing industry on your way to Havana. Upon arrival, explore the charming cobblestone streets of OLD HAVANA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A delicious lunch in Old Havana is followed by a visit to the SANTO ANGEL neighborhood. Here you’ll have a chance to interact with members of the community and learn how the project was founded to better the neighborhood by offering services such as a beauty school, community cafeteria for the elderly, art galleries, and more. Next, join in a discussion and enjoy a musical performance with members of the CUBAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC and their director. Dinner this evening is at the renowned El Aljibe restaurant, famous for its open-air ambiance and special slow-roasted chicken. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Havana, Cuba Havana, Cuba Havana, Cuba Havana, Cuba 
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The World Heritage List includes over 800 properties with cultural and/or natural heritage of global significance.

DAY 5Havana

From graceful 16th-century castles to modern high-rises, Havana is one of the most beautiful and visually diverse cities in the world. Even in 1492, Christopher Columbus proclaimed this the “loveliest land ever beheld by human eyes.” Your day begins in DISCUSSION with a local architect. Topics include Havana’s unique architecture, the challenges of renovating the city’s exquisite historic buildings, and the future of these restorations. Then, visit a community DAYCARE CENTER, where you will interact with the children and the nuns who run the program. Our attention next turns to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Cuba for over 30 years and left behind an enduring legacy. It is here that he wrote several books, participated in fishing contests, and enjoyed the laid-back ambiance and warmth of the Cuban people. Engage with staff at FINCA VIGÍA, his beloved home, and see his fishing boat, El Pilar. Continue to the nearby fishing village of Cojimar, the inspiration for Hemmingway’s The Old Man & the Sea, where you’ll enjoy lunch and dialogue at Las Terrazas, the restaurant where Hemingway often stopped after a day of fishing for marlin or sailfish. Return to Havana and join in a workshop at the BELEN CONVENT where you will discuss with members the convent’s history, mission to supply housing for the elderly, services for disabled youth, computer training, meals for those in need, physical therapy, and more. After dinner, stop at FORTRESS DE SAN CARLOS. Built around 1774, the fort was built by the Spaniards to control access to the Port of Havana. Soldiers outfitted in traditional 18th-century garb will greet you, then watch their reenactment of the official cannon-firing ceremony. The thunderous boom of the cannon is fired precisely at 9 pm, which historically signaled the end of the day and the time to close the city gates for the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Havana, Cuba Havana, Cuba Havana, Cuba 
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DAY 6Havana

Your day begins with a discussion at the LITERACY MUSEUM. Topics will include the 1961 Literacy Campaign and its importance in Cuban history. Next up: a visit to artist JOSÉ FUSTER’S STUDIO, cleverly nicknamed the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Here you’ll discover a surreal world—nothing like you have seen before. Interact with members of the neighborhood community to discuss the project’s impact on the surrounding area. Then, meet with students and a professor and discuss the educational system in Cuba when you visit the UNIVERSITY OF HAVANA. After lunch at the illustrious HOTEL NACIONAL DE CUBA—a symbol of history, culture, and Cuban identity—explore this landmark hotel that has hosted celebrities and world figures through the years, such as Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, and Steven Spielberg. Next, receive an introduction to CUBAN CINEMA when you meet and interact with a Cuban film director and/or actors. Before returning to your hotel, stop at the famous La Zorra y el Cuervo jazz club to meet with JAZZ MUSICIANS. Enjoy a performance and discussion about the importance of music in everyday life. (Breakfast, Lunch)

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DAY 7Havana. Excursion to Cuba’s Tobacco Region

Today, travel to the western end of the island to the province of Pinar del Rio. With some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, you’ll see lush emerald-green tobacco fields and dramatic limestone formations, called mogotes, which are the height of skyscrapers and tower over the Viñales Valley floor. Meet a local farmer and his family at their TOBACCO FARM. Learn about the process of growing, drying, and rolling tobacco. Take some time to get acquainted over coffee. Afterward, spend time in the lovely town of Viñales, where your Tour Director takes you on a walk through the handsome square and along the wide main street lined with turn-of-the-century cottages with red-tiled roofs. While here, share in a discussion with the people who call this part of the world home. After lunch, stop at an ORGANIC FARM and participate in a discussion with the farmers regarding the challenges of organic farming. You’ll also get to admire some incredible views of the beautiful valley below. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 8Havana

This morning, enjoy a photo stop at REVOLUTION SQUARE, where political rallies and demonstrations took place during the Cuban Revolution and the site of many important speeches, including regular addresses by former President Fidel Castro, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. Then, explore the world-famous COLON CEMETERY with a local expert who shows you some of its most elaborate sculpted memorials. Hear its captivating history, folklore, and stories about the many noteworthy people laid to rest here, including musicians, filmmakers, writers, politicians, Major League Baseball players, and La Milagros—the “Miraculous One.” On to Callejón de Hamel, a neighborhood known as “Salvador’s Alley” that is a showcase of eclectic artwork, vibrant street music, Santeria shrines, and colorful murals by local artist Salvador Gonzales. Discuss how the artist gives back to the community and the beliefs of the Santeria religion. Lunch today is at a local paladar (a special privately owned restaurant), where you’ll meet the owners over dessert and discuss how the private enterprise system works in Cuba. We’ll also stop at the FERIA DE ARTESANIA to meet local artists and see the wares sold at this area flea market. Before dinner this evening, meet members of the local Old Styler Car Club. Hear why Havana’s streets are filled with vintage American automobiles, and converse about how these cars are obtained and what it takes to keep them running. Ride in an OLD STYLER CAR to your farewell dinner on the top floor of the Habana Libre Hotel, where sweeping views make the perfect ending to your time in Cuba. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 9Havana–Miami, USA

After breakfast, depart for the airport and your return flight to Miami. Please schedule connecting flights from Miami after 3:30 pm. (Breakfast)

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Breakfast daily; 7 lunches, 6 dinners, including a farewell dinner in Havana

Four Ways Globus Eliminates the Hassles

VIP Access
Skip the lines and get special treatment at the must-see attractions.

Perfect Hotels
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Tour Directors
Take your heads out of the guidebook and let expert guides make every destination fascinating.

Transportation
Leave the navigating to us – and just sit back and enjoy the ride. Learn how Globus is reducing transportation-related energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.