Full itinerary and tour activities descriptions

This exclusive program promises comfortable, safe, fun people-to-people cultural and nature travel. It is fully escorted. From the minute you land in Havana until you return home, you are in the conscientious care of our fulltime multilingual Cuban tour guide, and our professional bus chauffeur. They're available to assist you in every way.

Your Western Cuba Culture Tour commences with the arrival of group flights from Florida. 

On the way to your hotel relish views of one of the oldest and most stunning cities in the New World. During our many excursions around the capital, and beyond, your guide provides historical commentary on all points of interest.

After having settled in and had a chance to rest and freshen up, enjoy a first taste of island cuisine at a group arrival dinner prepared by the hotel’s restaurant chef. Afterwards your guide may have some fun evening activities to suggest, time permitting.

Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel. Then examine Cuba's greatest visual masterpieces spanning three centuries at Havana’s museum of modern art – Palacio de Bellas Artes. Sections are devoted to landscape, religious subjects and narrative scenes of Cuban life. A gallery devoted to the 1970s displays the latest generation of Cuban artists whose works reflect the strong symbolic imagery prevalent in recent decades. Together the exhibits account for the richness of the island's Spanish, French, Chinese, African and Aboriginal cultural roots. 

Ernest Hemingway described Havana as the "Paris of the Americas." He was alluding to its incredible architecture, arts, and of course the city's engaging outgoing people. We’ll have a chance to share this impression on a walking tour of four historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. These plazas contain the largest collection of Spanish colonial-era architecture in the Americas. Witness Cathedral Square, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza on the island. Explore the Square of Arms [Plaza de Armas], an ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers.

Continue onto Plaza San Francisco de Asís, one of the oldest plazas in the historical quarter. The square is named after the magnificent Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís dating from the 16th century. And, finally visit Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. In contrast to the churches and government buildings of the previous squares, opulent aristocratic 17th century mansions characterize Plaza Vieja. All of this takes place in the company of Cubans eager to engage with the American cousins.

Lunch this afternoon happens at El Santo Ángel. Set within a beautiful colonial mansion, El Santo Ángel Restaurant enjoys the magical atmosphere of Plaza Vieja. Its stately inner courtyard is lined with plants to which many birds flock. Its menu features nueva Cubana cuisine and superb international dishes. There is always fabulous live music to accompany your meal.

We’ll participate in an open group discussion led by a longtime member of the the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba [Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, UNEAC]. The theme is “Cuban Society Today.” The workshop is a freewheeling opportunity to exchange ideas about Cuban culture and US-Cuban relations. Our American guests consider this close encounter a tour highlight.

Dining highlight. Group welcome dinner at the new Restaurante Conde del Castillo located in the Hotel Palacio del Marquees de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal that is located in Old Havana's Plaza San Francisco. This restaurant is absolutely impeccable. Restaurante Conde del Castillo was given this title held by Juan Clemente Núñez del Castillo y Molina, 4th Marquis of San Felipe and Santiago in 1805, whose descendants were in the early 19th century the owners of the grandiose mansion that is now a five-star hotel. The restaurant is undeniably gorgeous in both its general look and décor. Artists and artisans from across the island complete the restaurant’s interior decoration with an excellent collection of contemporary masterpieces. Food wise, the house's specialty is Mediterranean cuisine and the traditional Cuban dishes. The restaurant is renowned for its excellent service, its beautiful spaces and the exquisite presentation of meals.

Tour highlight. Behold a most dramatic ceremony – El Cañonazo – the Firing of the 9PM Cannon at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña where Ché Guevara established his headquarters after the Revolution came to power in 1959 – four hundred years after the fortress was built. El Cañonazo is an enchanting colonial reenactment dating back to 1519 when the city of Havana was enclosed by a tall thick rock wall to ward off attacks from pirates and the English. The cannon firing signaled the closing of the city gates for the night. If you were outside at the time, you were in "vedado" or the forbidden zone. Today Vedado is an important cultural hub and elegant modern Havana neighborhood.

After breakfast we begin a day excursion to the amazing Las Terrazas region just one hour to the west of Havana. Once mired in poverty and completely deforested as a result of centuries of charcoal production for coffee processing and cooking, Las Terrazas today is a vibrant self-sustaining eco-community.

Located in the Sierra del Rosario mountain range Las Terrazas spans the provinces of Artemisa and Pinar del Río. Tour the rural village called Rancho Curujey and enjoy a welcome cocktail while learning about this self-sustaining community's successes in reforestation, historical preservation, environmental balance, and a good life. Later we'll walk the incredible ruins of a French Coffee Plantation built in 1801 worked by African slaves.

Enjoy lunch at an open-air restaurant specializing in traditional country cuisine – La Casa del Campesino – ever popular with tour participants and locals alike. The eatery is located on the fresh water shore of the Río San Juan making it lush tropical paradise. Your local guide will explain the restoration of the jungles and forests of Las Terrazas and learn the principles, approaches and practices that combined serve to sustain the region.

Return to Havana and your hotel with time to freshen up before dinner – enjoy a barbecue feast at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba’s outdoor La Barraca Grill. Set atop a buff overlooking Havana city and the Caribbean Sea, this meal is a real treat. Afterwards we'll attend a musical review at the Cabaret Parisién and relish this colorful dance.

Greet the morning with a hardy breakfast at your hotel.

In preparation for this morning’s activity, check out this riveting British Broadcasting Corporation feature from Around the World in 80 Gardens on urban organic farms in Havana including a walk-through of Vivero Organopónico Alamar by fab host Monty Don.

We’ll visit the UBPC Vivero Organopónico Alamar, 15 km (9.3 miles) east of Havana. It’s one of the most successful urban organic farms in Cuba raising ornamental plants, medicinal herbs, and sprouting millions of seedlings for neighboring private and collective farms. Established in the early 1990s by a dozen people, the Alamar cooperative now has over 400 members who together supply a vast range of healthy, organic vegetables to nearby communities.

We have lunch at Ajiaco paladar, considered one of the best private eateries in the region. Located in the romantic coastal fishing village of Cojímar (the setting for Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea"), Ajiaco paladar [restaurant] is amongst the top rated eateries on TripAdvisor. It's noted for it fantastic service, atmosphere and food. Organic fresh produce and other ingredients come from Vivero Organopónico Alamar.

Now savor a visit to Finca Vigía [Lookout Farm] where North America's literary giant Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years penning the building blocks of English literature. Claimed by both the United States and Cuba as their son, it was Hemingway himself who declared the island his true home. The house has been preserved just as it was when Hemingway lived there. You'll see his personal objects, thousands of books and photographs, as well as some "trophies" bagged on his frequent safaris.

  • We return to our hotel and freshen up.
  • Dinner tonight is not included in tour cost. You are free to explore the many excellent local paladares (private restaurants) in the neighborhood. Your guide will gladly suggest the best eateries as well as evening entertainment options.

Early morning departure to Trinidad de Cuba's Playa Ancón following breakfast at our Havana hotel.

En route to Trinidad, we stop in beautiful Cienfuegos founded by French immigrants at the beginning of the 19th century. The city is renowned for its wealth of stunning historical buildings. Your guide will recount the story of the origins of this quaint yet cosmopolitan city, known as the "Pearl of the South." You'll walk its main Plaza Martí where the ceremony of its foundation took place, as do many important events still today. We'll visit such neoclassical buildings as the Cathedral built with donations from wealthy slave owning families – enduring names like Lebranc, Albi, and Terry. Inside the Cathedral a marvelously rendered stained glass mural of the Twelve Apostles imported from Paris will awe you. The original machinery of the Cathedral's tower clock was also crafted in France and keeps on ticking to this day. Cienfuegos, founded by French colonists, naturally sports a replica of the Arc de Triomphe in its central plaza.

Lunch at private restaurant Villa Lagarto.

Now we journey on to the historic city of Trinidad and check to your all-inclusive beach resort. Following time to freshen up, the resort will host a welcome dinner.

This evening you might choose to visit Casa de la Música or Casa de la Trova – both great sound venues and opportunities to chat and dance with Cubans and your tour companions

This morning, following a buffet breakfast, we board Soviet Army trucks to climb the peaks of Topes de Collantes in the Escambray Mountains. The Escambrays comprise the island's second highest range, reaching to 3,700 feet atop Pico San Juan. The Escambrays are home to small villages and a true delight for birders and naturalists alike. Dramatic slopes are swathed in Caribbean pines, ancient tree ferns, bamboo and eucalyptus. It’s the perfect environment to spot the Cuban parakeet, Fernandina's flicker, the Cuban parrot, the Cuban pygmy owl (about the size of a robin), and the Gundlach's hawk.

Upon arrival at Hacienda Codina, an old Spanish coffee plantation, we'll enjoy a traditional Cuban lunch, Next we'll take a walking tour of the area to admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape and the animals and plants it hosts. After some exploration by foot, descend the mountain and return to Trinidad.

Board our bus and stop at a mirador [lookout] high above the Valle de los Ingenios [Sugar Mill Valley], also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sugar was king in Cuba for centuries. Spaniards introduced the sweetener in 1512. It enriched conquistadors and nobles returning more wealth than all the gold and silver extracted from Peru and Chile. It helped make Cuba the wealthiest nation in Latin America. Sugar’s stellar profits allowed select families to built incredible mansions and monuments. The lust for sugar was the engine of the African slave trade, redefining ownership of human beings along color lines for the first time in history. Today sugar plays a greatly diminished role in the economy.

Your all-inclusive resort is surrounding by miles of pristine beaches on the tip of Península de Ancón. Birds and marine life thrive in the surrounding Caribbean waters. This provides us with an opportunity for birding, and marine life identification.

This evening is free to explore the sights and sounds of Trinidad, or entertainment options and amenities at your resort.

After a tasty breakfast buffet at your hotel we'll explore on foot the historic central plaza of Trinidad de Cuba. Its 16th century edifices are the most pristine and unblemished on the island. Road access to Trinidad happened after 1959. Prior to that it was only accessible by ship and sea. The village was established in 1514 on orders of the conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar who traveled to Cuba with Columbus in 1493. It was from Trinidad de Cuba that conquistador Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro (1485–1547) launched his attack on the Aztec Empire, toppling its capital Tenochtitlan, the world's largest, most opulent and hygienic metropolis of the day.

Visit Plaza Mayor, Museum of Architecture, Museum of the Romantic Era, the main town parish and other amazing sites, some dating back centuries. We will wander the streets of Trinidad's historical center and examine the oldest architecture in the Americas with local Cubans. You’ll immediately see why UNESCO declared the city a World Heritage Site in 1988.

Trinidad is well known for its pottery makers. We'll meet a family that has been passing on the tradition for generations: the Santanders. We spend time talking with these artisans and perhaps learning some secrets of their craft.

After lunch at a local paladar in Trinidad, we will drive back to our Havana hotel and have some time to freshen up in preparation for a fabulous farewell group dinner at Restaurante Café del Oriente. This elegant upscale eatery is considered tops in the city and gets consistent high marks on TripAdvisor. The menu is one of the more extravagant in Havana, offering exotic entrees available nowhere else.

Breakfast at our hotel is followed by packing and checking-out of your hotel for transfer to Havana’s José Martí International airport for your flight home.

Keep in touch with your new Cuban friends – exchange email addresses! Bring some business cards to pass out. Take pictures and keep a journal. Upon your return, we'll post them on this website for all to see and enjoy.

We'll miss you and hope you will return soon! In Cuba we say: A true friend remembers the song in your heart when you have forgotten the lyrics.

Cuba travel is a challenge. Our staff and Cuban partners work super hard to make your tour unfold seamlessly despite Third World conditions on the island. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Flexible travelers understand this is part of their Cuban adventure.

Tour cost based on double room occupancy (sharing a double room during tour). Cost of a single room for duration of tour is $300.

Tour date Cost Comments Availability
Jul 15 to Jul 22, 2017
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Jul 22 to Jul 29, 2017
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Jul 29 to Aug 5, 2017
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Aug 5 to Aug 12, 2017
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Aug 12 to Aug 19, 2017
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Aug 19 to Aug 26, 2017
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Aug 26 to Sep 2, 2017
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Sep 2 to Sep 9, 2017
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Sep 9 to Sep 16, 2017
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Sep 16 to Sep 23, 2017
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Sep 23 to Sep 30, 2017
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Sep 30 to Oct 7, 2017
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Oct 7 to Oct 14, 2017
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Oct 14 to Oct 21, 2017
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Oct 21 to Oct 28, 2017
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Oct 28 to Nov 4, 2017
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Nov 4 to Nov 11, 2017
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Nov 11 to Nov 18, 2017
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Nov 18 to Nov 25, 2017
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Nov 25 to Dec 2, 2017
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Dec 2 to Dec 9, 2017
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Dec 9 to Dec 16, 2017
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Dec 16 to Dec 23, 2017
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Dec 23 to Dec 30, 2017
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Dec 30 to Jan 6, 2018
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Jan 6 to Jan 13, 2018
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Jan 13 to Jan 20, 2018
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Jan 20 to Jan 27, 2018
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Jan 27 to Feb 3, 2018
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Feb 3 to Feb 10, 2018
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Feb 10 to Feb 17, 2018
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Feb 17 to Feb 24, 2018
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Feb 24 to Mar 3, 2018
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Mar 3 to Mar 10, 2018
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Mar 10 to Mar 17, 2018
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Mar 17 to Mar 24, 2018
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Mar 24 to Mar 31, 2018
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Mar 31 to Apr 7, 2018
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Apr 7 to Apr 14, 2018
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Apr 14 to Apr 21, 2018
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Apr 21 to Apr 28, 2018
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Apr 28 to May 5, 2018
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May 5 to May 12, 2018
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May 12 to May 19, 2018
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May 19 to May 26, 2018
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May 26 to Jun 2, 2018
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Jun 2 to Jun 9, 2018
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Jun 9 to Jun 16, 2018
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Jun 16 to Jun 23, 2018
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Jun 23 to Jun 30, 2018
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Jun 30 to Jul 7, 2018
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Jul 7 to Jul 14, 2018
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Jul 14 to Jul 21, 2018
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Jul 21 to Jul 28, 2018
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Jul 28 to Aug 4, 2018
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Aug 4 to Aug 11, 2018
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Aug 11 to Aug 18, 2018
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Aug 18 to Aug 25, 2018
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Aug 25 to Sep 1, 2018
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Sep 1 to Sep 8, 2018
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Sep 8 to Sep 15, 2018
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Sep 15 to Sep 22, 2018
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Sep 22 to Sep 29, 2018
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Sep 29 to Oct 6, 2018
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Oct 6 to Oct 13, 2018
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Oct 13 to Oct 20, 2018
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Oct 20 to Oct 27, 2018
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Oct 27 to Nov 3, 2018
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Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
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Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
  • Small group size, usually sixteen or fewer guests, never more than twenty-four
  • Certificate of US Department of the Treasury (OFAC) authorized people-to-people Cuba group travel
  • Havana airport and hotel transfers on tour start and end days
  • Quality Cuban hotels
  • An expert English speaking Cuban guide throughout the program
  • Luxury air-conditioned bus and professional driver (bottled water on the tour bus)
  • All activities, entrance fees, services, speakers and meetings in tour itinerary
  • Flexible monthly tour payment options
  • Emergency telephone and internet access to America from Cuba
  • Cash advances for participants facing money problems while in Cuba
  • Participants become Club Cubano alumni and receive future tour discounts
  • Ongoing support from our US and Cuban staff before, during and after travel