Breakfast daily including a continental breakfast in Miami, 15 lunches, 13 dinners including a farewell dinner in Havana
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Miami
Arrive in Miami and transfer to your hotel. This evening, meet your Globus Group Leader for a 6 pm welcome drink and briefing. This is a good time to meet your fellow program participants, ask questions, and get prepared for your trip to fascinating Cuba.
Day 2 Miami–Santiago De Cuba, Cuba–Guantanamo–Baracoa
This morning, fly to Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second-largest city, located on the island’s southeastern shores. Upon arrival, continue to Guantánamo and visit CASA DEL CHANGUI, where you’ll learn about the origins of Cuban music and interact with the cultural center’s members and musicians. Travel through lush mountain scenery and climb the stunning mountain road of La Farola, arriving in Baracoa, Cuba’s oldest city and the site where Christopher Columbus first set foot in Cuba.
Day 3 Baracoa. Excursion To Guirito
As this is known as the “Land of Cocoa,” our first stop is FINCA DUABA to learn about the world of cocoa production and the strong cocoa bean traditions in this region. Meet workers and discuss the process still used by farmers in the area. Next is an interactive exchange with the semi-indigenous GUIRITO community to experience traditional Kiriba and Nengon music and dance. Over a light lunch with the locals, sample some of the most typical foods that are found only in this part of Cuba. Visit the MATACHIN Museum, located in an old fortress. Interact with the city historian and staff, and hear tales of Baracoa’s past and some of the village’s unique citizens. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local paladar (special, privately owned restaurant). Over dessert, discuss the free enterprise system in Cuba and the U.S. with the owner and staff.
Day 4 Baracoa–Guardalavaca
Leave the seaside village of Baracoa and travel on the scenic La Farola road which climbs through the lush Cuchillas de Baracoa mountains. Stop for incredible views and to interact with the vendors selling crafts and goods from this region. Continue through rolling farm lands to the sandy shores of your beautiful waterside resort for a 2-night stay. Enjoy an interactive DANCE LESSON before dinner this evening.
Day 5 Guardalavaca. Excursion to Gibara
Travel to the fishing village of Gibara where you’ll met with local FISHERMEN to discuss how they make a living from the sea. Next, interact with members of the community at CASA DE LA CULTURA. Discuss the variety of programs offered to local children, adults, and senior. Lunch today is a “farm-to-table” experience at a local paladar. Visit the restaurant’s garden, and discuss the different herbs grown and how they’re used in cooking. Enjoy a mojito-making DEMONSTRATION before returning to your hotel.
Day 6 Guardalavaca–Holguin–Biran–Santiago de Cuba
Today, includes time in Holguin, with a visit to a traditional PRINT SHOP. Interact with staff and learn about the process used to make paper, print and bind their one-of-a-kind books. Continue to a mechanical MUSIC ORGAN FACTORY to see these impressive instruments from yesteryear. Continue to the farming village of BIRAN, Fidel and Raul Castro’s birthplace and boyhood home. Learn about the Castros’ early years, their family, life in this rural community and interact with local residents. Arrive Santiago de Cuba and check into the modern Melia Santiago de Cuba Hotel for a 3-night stay.
Day 7 Santiago de Cuba
Start the day with a stroll through the streets of historic Santiago de Cuba with a local HISTORIAN and discuss the various architecture types, restoration projects, and damage still present from Hurricane Sandy. Next, enjoy a panoramic CRUISE in Santiago Bay, arriving at quaint Granma Island. Over lunch, join a DISCUSSION with local fishermen and learn about their fishing practices and their community project that helps sustain the environment. Then, visit legendary SAN PEDRO DE LA ROCA CASTLE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1638, it has been the site of battles against pirates, smugglers, and home to many well-known prisoners. During your visit, meet a local VOCAL GROUP that will impress you with their musical talents. Discuss the inspiration for their songs, various backgrounds, and future aspirations. A stop is made at SAN JUAN HILL, where Teddy Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and America’s Buffalo Soldiers emerged victorious in the Spanish-American War. Before returning to your hotel, join in a DISCUSSION with local university students and their professors to learn more about Cuba’s educational system.
Day 8 Santiago de Cuba
Start the day with a visit to the church of Cuba’s patron saint, LA CARIDAD DEL COBRE (Our Lad of Charity). Located near a copper mine, the church sits on a hillside overlooking the beautiful valley below. Interact with local parishioners and discuss the history of this amazing shrine as well as some of the traditions, holidays, and special events celebrated here. Visit the sanctuary which holds everything from the humblest of offerings to precious jewels, sports trophies, military decorations and once held the Nobel Prize for Literature medal placed here by Ernest Hemingway. Return to Santiago de Cuba, where we visit Jardin de los Helechos, the GARDEN OF FERNS. Here you’ll interact with workers to learn about the various ferns and orchids found in the garden. Next, visit CASA CARIBE to discuss the Santeria religion, and its connections to Roman Catholicism and Native Indian Traditions. This afternoon, visit SANTA IFIGENIA CEMETERY, where Cuba’s national hero, Jose Marti, is laid to rest. Witness the Changing of the Guards, hear the interesting folklore, and admire the magnificent architecture of this beautiful cemetery. Before returning to your hotel, stop at a RUM FACTORY to discuss the history of this factory and the important of the rum industry in Cuba. This evening, enjoy a festive dinner, the perfect ending to your time in Cuba.
Day 9 Santiago de Cuba–Camaguey
After breakfast, depart for Camaguey Cuba’s third-largest city. Tonight over dinner, learn about the city’s first Spanish settlers, the wealth that attracted pirates, and the independent-minded people of Camaguey.
Day 10 Camaguey, Cuba
This morning, see the beautifully restored plazas and explain why Camagüey is nicknamed the “City of Squares.” One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards, much of the city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. INTERACT with several award-winning ARTISTS, and learn about the inspirations for their works and how they have given back to the community. Also visit the CARSUNOS CULTURAL PROJECT where you will discuss the group’s mission and their hope to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. Enjoy a bici (bike) taxi RIDE before dinner this evening.
Day 11 Camaguey. Excursion to King Ranch
Today, meet dancers with the world-renowned Camagüey Ballet Company, which has performed in more than 40 countires. You’ll have a chance to meet and interact with the dancers, teachers, and costume makers. Journey to King Ranch, an expansion of the famous Texas ranch of the same name, and its neighboring village, including stepping inside a home and school to discuss rural life and education. Then, over a barbecue lunch, connect with the cowboys who call the ranch home. Stop at Casanova Pottery Studio to learn about Camagüey’s famous tinajones—large, red pots found outside homes, a symbol of the city. See the traditional way of making the vessels and interact with the artists to learn the local legend. A relaxing dinner is at a local paladar. Over dessert, discuss with the owner and staff the differences between paladars, co-operatives, and government-owned restaurants in Cuba. Before returning to the hotel, meet members from the American Car Association and enjoy a ride in an Old Styler car.
Day 12 Camaguey–Trinidad–Cienfuegos
Travel to Trinidad, crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial cities, founded in 1514 and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at a Casa Particular (bed & breakfast) and discuss private enterprise in Cuba with the owners and staff. This afternoon, stroll the streets of Trinidad, a cobblestone showcase of colonial architecture and pastel-colored houses decorated with wooden shutters and wrought-iron grilles. Caged songbirds outside the home are a Trinidad tradition. Interact with the librarian at the local LIBRARY, built from the estate of an American woman in the early 1900s, and learn about the library system in Cuba, including censorship and how the facilities are supported. Spend time at TEMPLO YEMAYA to discuss the Santeria religion. The religion was first brought to Cuba by African slaves who worked at the sugar plantation, and it has connections to Roman Catholicism and Native Indian traditions. Continue to Cienfuegos for a two night stay.
Day 13 Cienfuegos
Settled by French immigrants more than 150 years ago, Cienfuegos is often referred to as the “Pearl of the South” because of its impressive beauty and colorful history. Your Cuban Tour Director will take you for an informative walk around the city’s main square. Next, an opportunity to engage with tobacco rollers at a CIGAR FACTORY, and to learn about the importance of tobacco, both culturally and commercially, for Cuba. Join in a discussion with artists at a graphic arts STUDIO and learn more about their lives, work, and how their art is created. Lunch is served at a waterside paladar. Before returning to your hotel, enjoy a performance and discussion with the CIENFUEGOS CHOIR.
Day 14 Cienfuegos–Bay of Pigs–Havana
After breakfast, travel through the countryside, passing sugar cane fields and banana plantations. We’ll stop in Playa Girón for a guided visit of the BAY OF PIGS MUSEUM. Nearby is the old sugar mill used by Fidel Castro as his center of operations during the 1961 invasion. Over lunch, join in a DISCUSSION with a local Naturalist as well as the family that runs the restaurant. Arrive in Havana, Cuba’s vibrant capital city. Before dinner this evening, meet with jazz musicians from the CUBAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. Enjoy a discussion to share the importance of music in everyday life and then be treated to a performance. Afterward, enjoy a tour of the illustrious HOTEL NACIONAL DE CUBA, a symbol of history, culture, and Cuban identity. The hotel has hosted celebrities and world figures over the decades, including Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, and Steven Spielberg.
Day 15 Havana
Your day begins with a DISCUSSION with a local architect. Topics include Havana’s unique architecture, the challenges of renovating the city’s exquisite historic building, and the future of these restorations. Then, the opportunity to explore the charming cobblestone streets of OLD HAVANA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while participating in open dialogue with the local architect on architectural topics of interest. Our attention then 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 VIGIA, his beloved home, and see his fishing boat, El Pilar. Lunch is at a local ORGANIC FARM, where you’ll join a discussion with the owners and learn about organic urban farming in Cuba. Before returning to Havana, visit a DAYCARE CENTER to interact with the children and workers who run the program.
Day 16 Havana
A photo stop is made at REVOLUTION SQUARE before exploring the world-famous COLON CEMETERY with its elaborately sculpted memorials. Hear the cemetery’s 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 Milagrosa—the “Miraculous One.” Next, enjoy a visit to JOSÉ FUSTER’S STUDIO, cleverly nicknamed the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Here, you’ll discover a surreal world—like nothing you have seen before. Interact with members of the neighborhood to discuss the project’s impact on the surrounding area. Enjoy an afternoon choir performance, and join a discussion with choir members and their director from the CUBAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. Before dinner, meet former Cuban baseball players for a DISCUSSION about the history and the love of this favorite pastime in Cuba and the United States. This evening, join your Cuban Tour Director and Globus Group Leader for a festive farewell dinner—the perfect ending to your time in Cuba.
Day 17 Havana–Miami, USA
After breakfast, depart for the airport and your return flight to Miami. Please schedule connecting flights from Miami after 6:50 pm.