Breakfast daily, 10 lunches, 8 dinners including a welcome dinner in Guardalavaca and a farewell dinner in Havana
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Day 1 ARRIVE IN HOLGUÍN, CUBA–GUARDALAVACA
Arrive in Holguín, Cuba, and transfer to your hotel in Guardalavaca for a 2-night stay. Tonight, meet your Globus Group Leader and Cuban National Tour Director for a 7 pm welcome dinner. This is a good time to meet fellow program participants, get your questions answered, and prepare for your time in fascinating Cuba.
Day 2 GUARDALAVACA. EXCURSION TO GIBARA
Travel to the fishing village of Gibara, where you’ll meet 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 seniors. Lunch today is a “farm-to-table” experience at a local paladar (special, privately owned restaurant). Visit the restaurant’s garden, and discuss the different herbs grown and how they’re used in cooking. Enjoy a mojito-making DEMONSTRATION, then return to your hotel. Before dinner this evening, join an interactive DANCE LESSON to learn some of Cuba’s popular dances, such as the Rumba, Mambo, and Tango.
Day 3 GUARDALAVACA–SANTIAGO DE CUBA
This morning, visit a rural FARM to meet workers and discuss the region’s fruits, vegetables, and spices. Interact with the farm family and enjoy a cool drink and tasting of local fruits. Continue to Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second-largest city, located on the island’s southeastern shores. We 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. Next, enjoy an orientation tour of Santiago, including the historic city center, REVOLUTION SQUARE, and SAN JUAN HILL, where Teddy Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and America’s Buffalo Soldiers emerged victorious in the Spanish-American War. Stop at SANTA IFIGENIA CEMETERY, where Cuba’s national hero, José Martí, is laid to rest, as well as Fidel Castro. Witness the Changing of the Guards, hear the interesting folklore, and admire the magnificent architecture of this beautiful cemetery. Check into the modern Melia Santiago de Cuba Hotel for a 2-night stay.
Day 4 SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Start the day with a visit to the church of Cuba’s patron saint, LA CARIDAD DEL COBRE (Our Lady 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 that holds everything from the humblest of offerings to precious jewels, sports trophies, military decorations, and even the Nobel Prize for Literature medal that was placed here by Ernest Hemingway. 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 community project that helps sustain the environment. This evening is at leisure to explore more of Santiago de Cuba on your own.
Day 5 SANTIAGO DE CUBA–CAMAGÜEY
Travel across Cuba, arriving later this afternoon in Camagüey, 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 Camagüey.
Day 6 CAMAGÜEY. EXCURSION TO KING RANCH
Today, meet dancers with the world-renowned CAMAGÜEY BALLET COMPANY, which has performed in more than 40 countries. You’ll have a chance to meet and interact with the dancers, teachers, and costumemakers. Journey to KING RANCH, an expansion of the famous Texas ranch of the same name, and its neighboring village, and step inside a home 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. Before returning to your hotel, visit a local ARTIST STUDIO and discuss the inspiration for his work and the tools used to create his unique art. Tonight is free to explore more of Camagüey.
Day 7 CAMAGÜEY–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. Then, stroll the streets of Trinidad, a cobblestone showcase of colonial architecture and pastel-colored houses decorated with wooden shutters and wrought-iron grilles. Next, 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. Learn about Santeria’s beliefs, practices, and more. Continue to Cienfuegos for a 2-night stay.
Day 8 CIENFUEGOS
Start the day with a visit to Jardin Botanico Soledad de Cienfuegos, the BOTANICAL GARDENS of Cienfuegos. Here, interact with workers to learn about the interesting and unusual plants found in this garden. Next, enjoy a performance and discussion with the CIENFUEGOS ORCHESTRA, which will delight you with their talent and songs. Then, time to explore Cienfuegos. Settled by immigrants from France and Louisiana more than 150 years ago, the city is often referred to as the “Pearl of the South” because of its impressive beauty and colorful history. Your Tour Director will take you for an informative walking tour around the city’s main square to learn more about the city and its captivating past. Dinner tonight is at a local paladar.
Day 9 CIENFUEGOS–BAY OF PIGS–HAVANA
After breakfast, travel through Cuba’s countryside, passing sugar cane fields and banana plantations. We stop in Playa Girón for a guided visit of the BAY OF PIGS MUSEUM. Over lunch, join a DISCUSSION with a local Naturalist as well as the family that runs the restaurant. Arrive later this afternoon in Cuba’s capital, the city of Havana. Before dinner, meet with musicians from the CUBAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. Enjoy a performance and then discuss their training, inspiration, and the importance of music. You may even be asked to join in for a song or two.
Day 10 HAVANA
Your day begins with a DISCUSSION on Cuba’s economy. Share information on the recent changes in Cuba and in the United States, past difficulties, and what is to come in the future. Next, walk through OLD HAVANA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a local architect. Discuss Havana’s unique architecture, the challenges of renovating the city’s exquisite historic buildings, and the future of these restorations. We then visit the illustrious HOTEL NACIONAL DE CUBA for a tour. The hotel has hosted celebrities and world figures, including Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, and Steven Spielberg. After lunch, visit the MURALEANDO community project, known as the People’s Art Gallery. Learn how this project has changed the community, given members a sense of belonging, and developed new talent. This evening is free to explore Havana on your own. You may wish to visit the famous Tropicana Nightclub, see a baseball game (seasonal), visit some of Hemingway’s old haunts, or explore the charming cobblestone streets of Old Havana.
Day 11 HAVANA
This morning, visit JOSÉ FUSTER’S STUDIO, cleverly nicknamed the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Here, you’ll discover a surreal world—like nothing you’ve seen before. Interact with members of the neighborhood to discuss the project’s impact on the community. Next, enjoy a workshop at HAVANA COMPASS DANCE COMPANY. Watch one of their rehearsals, then take some time to speak to the dancers and teachers about their training, future careers, and daily lives. Our attention turns to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Cuba for more than 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. Over lunch, meet former Cuban baseball players for a DISCUSSION about the history and the love of this favorite pastime in Cuba and the United States. Ride in an OLD STYLER CAR to your farewell dinner this evening—the perfect ending to your adventure across Cuba!
Day 12 HAVANA
Your programs ends after breakfast with guests departing on individual schedules. Airport transfers are provided.