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DISCOVER CUBA - Highlights of Havana, Varadero & Pinar del Rio

About Havana - From $4,495.00 USD per person

October 25 - November 1, 2017

Enjoy an amazing 7-Nights tour as we Discover Cuba.


Highlights & Experiences

  • 2 Nights Varadero - All-Inclusive Resort
  • 4 Nights in Havana
  • Matanzas School of Art & Music
  • Pharmaceutical Museum
  • Museum of the Revolution
  • Old Havana Walking Tour (UNESCO)
  • Home & Studio of Artist Jose Fuster
  • Walking Tour of the Colon Cemetery
  • Havana Club Rum Museum Tour
  • Hemingway’s Farm - Finca La Vigia
  • Habana Compas Dance Group Performance
  • Old Style Classic Car Club Discussion
  • Nacional Hotel Tour
  • Former Cuban Baseball Player Discussion
  • Pinar Del Rio & Vinales Valley (UNESCO)
  • Cigar Factory Visit & Tour
  • Tobacco Farm & Farmhouse Visit

Inclusions

  • Round Trip Airfare from Miami
  • Air Departure Taxes & Fees
  • Havana Airport Departure Taxes
  • Cuban Visa & Cuban Health Insurance
  • 7 Nights First Class Hotel Accommodations
  • Professional Bilingual Cuban Guide
  • 16 Meals - (6B, 6L, 4D)
  • Interactions & Admissions per Itinerary.
  • Baggage Handling - (1 Checked Bag pp)
  • Deluxe Air Conditioned Motorcoach
  • Hotel & Airport Transfers In Cuba
  • Gratuities for Hotel Porters, Wait Staff at included Meals, Step on Guides and All People to People Visits & Interactions

Day 1: Arrive Miami Arrive in Miami and transfer on your own to your Miami airport hotel. This evening an informational briefing will be held at the hotel about tomorrow’s charter flight to Havana and the start of your people to people experience in Cuba. The evening is at leisure. Overnight: Miami

"Aeropuerto" by Christian Córdova, Flicker

Day 2: Miami - Bienvenidos La Havana Cuba - Arrive Varadero This morning transfer to the Miami Airport and check in for your short flight to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival at the Jose Marti International Airport and clearing customs, meet your local bilingual Cuban guide outside the baggage terminal. Your drive from the airport orients you with Cuba’s enigmatic capital city, whose nearly 500-year Old Havana is home to the largest collections of Spanish-Colonial architecture in the Americas. Make a photo stop and learn more about the Plaza de la Revolucion, the center of Cuban political life and Havana’s largest plaza where huge rallies are held. Your Cuban guide speaks below the grandiose portraits of national heroes Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, and gives you time to reflect on the fact that you’re standing where millions of Cubans have stood while listening to speeches of Fidel Castro. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Havana before departing Havana on a scenic drive that takes you past rural landscapes, small towns to the beautiful turquoise Caribbean Sea. Stop at the overlook for photos. Check into your all inclusive resort located directly on a pristine white sand beach offering beautiful views of the Caribbean and Varadero Peninsula. Enjoy a welcome drink before unpacking and exploring the resort. Dinner is included this evening. Overnight: Varadero (L,D)

"Plage de Varadero, devant le Barcelo y Solimar" by Emmanuel Huybrechts, Flicker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Day 3: Varadero - Matanzas - Varadero This morning following breakfast we head to the town of Matanzas, founded in 1693 and known as the “Athens of Cuba”. Enjoy a brief tour of the town square and see the Sauto Theater (a national monument of Cuba), the San Carlos Cathedral and more. Next tour the pristine Pharmaceutical Museum founded in 1892 and closed in 1964 where time stands still. See hand painted French porcelain vases, more than 500,000 original medical recipe formulas, antique bottles and jars, other ancient pharmaceutical items on display. Next visit a book making shop (Ediciones Vigia) to see books being hand made and learn about this craft. Also meet and interact with a local Cuban artist and sculptor in his studio and art gallery. Visit the Matanzas School of Art and Music, a high school for talented children from different provinces throughout Cuba. Take an opportunity to talk with and interact with the teachers and students to learn about their work and aspira tions. Next travel back to Varadero and stop to visit an arts & crafts market with an opportunity purchase art and items and to meet and interact with local artists and craft workers. Dinner is included this evening at the resort. Overnight: Varadero (B,L,D)

"Apoteke Museum panorama" by Thomas Quine, Flicker is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Day 4: Varadero - Havana After breakfast this morning we travel to Havana. Religion has always played an important role in Cuban society that continues today, enjoy a walking tour with a local historian of the fascinating Colon Cemetery founded in 1876 and named for Christopher Columbus. The cemetery is noted for its many elaborate sculpted memorials and contains more than 500 major mausoleums, chapels and family vaults and is considered by many to be the most ornate necropolis in the world and is the final resting place for noted Cubans including artists, writers, musicians and ballplayers. Next enjoy a performance by the amazing Habana Compas Dance Group. Interact with the students and teachers to learn more about the Cuban dance culture. Today visit the famous Nacional Hotel, once Havana’s flagship hotel that hosted celebrities and world leaders during its heyday, such as Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra to name a few. Enjoy a tour of this historic property housing pictures and nostalgia from a bygone era. Meet a former famous professional Cuban baseball player and join in a discussion regarding the history and love of this game in Cuba and the U.S. Check into your hotel for a four night stay. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local paladar (privately owned restaurant) with an opportunity to talk with the owners about the challenges of running a private business in Cuba. Overnight: Havana (B,L,D)


"20160324_Cuba_5331 Havana sRGB" by PRODan Lundberg, Flicker is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Day 5: Havana - Old Havana - Museum of the Revolution - Casa Fuster This morning enjoy a guided walking tour of pedestrian only Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the beautiful Cathedral de la Havana, built in baroque style in 1748 and learn about its preservation and continuous restoration. Visit the Marqueta Vieja Havana Museum that houses the scale model of the City of Havana and to meet with an expert on the city’s architecture and restoration efforts. Begin with a presentation and lecture from a local architect who discusses Havana’s unique architecture, the current challenges of restoring the city’s historic buildings and the future of the city’s restoration effort. Next, enjoy a fascinating tour of the Havana Club Rum Museum to learn about the history and process of making Cuban Rum. Following the tour we will have a private discussion about rum and an opportunity to sample the differences. Following lunch in Old Havana we visit the famous Museum of the Revolution that displays documents and artifacts, weapons and planes from the revolution. See artifacts & learn more about the Bay of Pigs, the 1961 historic clash between the CIA trained Cuban exiles & rebel forces, the event that defined US-Cuba relations for decades. The museum is housed in the former Presidential Palace, which was the home to Cuba’s leaders from the 1920s until 1959. Next head to the charming fishing village of Jaimanitas to visit the community project and incredible Home and Work Shop of world famous artist, painter and ceramicist Jose Fuster, often called the “Picasso of Cuba”. He has adorned a neighborhood with colorful ornate murals and domes. Here we spend time with the Fuster family and staff to discuss the influence of the artist’s work, lives and community. Dinner is on your own this evening allowing you to experience the restaurants, cuisine and jazz clubs of Havana. Perhaps even take in the world famous Tropicana Cabaret Show on your own. An evening of music and history at this famous nightclub show that presents song-and-dance performances reminiscent of 1950s Cuba. Overnight: Havana (B,L)

"Havanna, Kathedrale, Cathedral" by Joerg Lutz, Flicker is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Day 6: Havana - Vinales Valley (UNESCO) - Pinar Del Rio - Havana Today we travel out of Havana and into the rural Cuban countryside to the Vinales Valley located in the western most mountainous range in Cuba and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This region, the western province of Pinar del Rio is known for its stunning scenery, a landscape of prehistoric looking flat-top mountains or “mogotes”, tobacco plantations, caves and rivers. Next, visit a traditional Tobacco Farm and Farmhouse to meet with the farmer to learn about tobacco cultivation, the drying process and experience a cigar rolling demonstration inside the drying hut. Enjoy a visit inside his farmhouse, meeting and interacting with his family while enjoying some Cuban coffee. A great opportunity to witness up close, how Cuban families live in a rural setting. Next enjoy lunch at the beautiful Finca Paraiso Paladar (organic farm) offering incredible views of the Vinales Valley and an opportunity to meet the Cuban family that owns this paladar. and home. Later stop at the Los Jasmines viewpoint on the way back to Havana for incredible panoramic views of the Vinales Valley and an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular scenery and take photos of this beautiful and unique region. Return to Havana with the evening free to relax or explore on your own. Overnight: Havana (B, L)


Day 7: Havana - Hemingway Farm - Old U.S. Classic Car Club - Farewell Paladar Dinner Begin your day with a fascinating guided visit with a local cigar expert to the La Corona Cigar Factory. See first hand and learn about the history and the process of Cuba cigars being hand rolled. This factory rolls such brands as Hoya de Monterrey and Cuaba & Punch. Next enter the world of Ernest Hemingway with a visit to Hemingway’s Farm, Finca La Vigia (meaning ‘lookout house’). This beautiful property hosts the house where the Nobel Prize winner lived with his wife Martha for 21 years. View the perfectly preserved home where many of the Hemingway personal belongings remain intact. View his yacht on display, the Pilar in which he used to patrol for Nazis in the Caribbean waters and featured in his novel “Islands in the Stream”. A photo stop is made at the Morro Castle, built in 1589, to protect the mouth of the Havana Harbor. “Morro” in Spanish means a rock which is very visible from the sea and therefore serves as a navigational landmark. Perched on the headland on the opposite side of the harbor from Old Havana it can be viewed from miles around as it dominates the port entrance.Next visit the San Jose Craft Market and Art Center or similar to meet and interact with the local artists to discuss and learn of the importance of their art in Cuban culture. Learn from the artists who share their experiences of pursuing the arts with limited access to materials and funding. Before dinner, meet with the local U.S. Old Style Car Club owners. This is a chance to interact and talk with the owners and learn why Havana’s streets are filled with vintage American automobiles and understand what it takes to keep them on the road. Enjoy a drive through the streets of Havana in a vintage American car to your Farewell Dinner at a local paladar (a privately owned restaurant). After dinner you have an opportunity to meet and discuss with the owners how this private enterprise works in Cuba. Overnight: Havana (B,L,D)


Day 8: Depart Havana - USA Transfer to the airport for our return flight home with incredible memories of the culture and people of Cuba and your Discover Cuba - Highlights of Havana, Varadero & Pinar del Rio Tour. (B)




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