Tour introduction and overview of activities

  • Experience the Tropicana dance show
  • Visit humanitarian projects in Havana
  • Relax on Havana’s eastern beaches
  • Cruise in 1950s American classic cars
  • Ride in bicycle taxis and coconut cabs
  • Visit Ernest Hemingway’s house
  • Cuban cooking lesson by master chefs
  • Curated history and art museum visits
  • Afrocuban and community projects
  • Tour Old Havana World Heritage sites

Havana extravaganza is the trip thousands of Americans have picked to witness authentic Cuba. It’s our most popular and affordable tour.

You will stay in the New Iberostar Hotel Riviera. The notorious Riviera was opened in 1957 as an opulent Las Vegas-style casino by American mobster Meyer Lansky. In recent decades the Riviera fell into disrepair and ill repute. Today Iberostar is returning the Riviera to its former glory as a symbol of 1950s modernism and comfort.

Wow factors. Hear music on the streets and feel it at the gala Tropicana floor show. Taste unique delicacies of Cuban cuisine. Swim in the warm, clean waters of Caribbean Sea. Discover heart-warming humanitarian projects in Old Havana. Ogle fantastic architecture and art. Behold kind effusive Cubans eager to connect with Americans.

Habana mi amor. On this tour, you’ll see and do a little bit of everything. It provides an up-close slice of Cuba life and culture. Geared to explorers, adventurers and sojourners seeking new encounters, and insights on humanity. It’s the ideal way for first-time visitors to learn about island society, or for returning guests who can’t get enough of Cuba.

Tour map

Cuba’s big! Its land mass is 42,426 square miles – about 80 percent the size of Alabama. Cuba is nearly as large as Louisiana, and larger than Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Altogether it’s bigger than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont combined.

Itinerary summary

Day 1 • Saturday • Hello Havana!

  • Arrival at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.
  • Collect your luggage and proceed through Cuban customs to the arrivals lobby.
  • Consider purchasing Cuban Convertible Pesos at the airport exchange bureau (CADECA), or later at your hotel.
  • Our airport concierge or your tour guide will arrange tour bus or private taxi transfers from the airport to the New Iberostar Hotel Riviera located in El Vedado, the heart of Havana’s cultural district. Every room has a panoramic view of Havana and the sea, and five hours of high-speed internet access.
  • Check-in to your hotel. Enjoy a welcome cocktail, then settle in and freshen up.
  • Dinner is served at your hotel’s restaurant.
  • Evening entertainment options: Groove to live jazz, relax in a lounge, or revel in a hot dance show at the New Riviera.

Day 2 • Sunday • Romancing historic Havana

  • The New Riviera serves delicious breakfasts prepared by Havana’s best chefs.
  • Vedado sightseeing: Visit Plaza de la Revolución. Awe at the giant image of Ché Guevara and the towering monument to José Martí, Cuba’s national hero. Then onto the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba frequented by world leaders and superstars. At points in between you’ll savor the architecture of one of the oldest and most stunning cities in the New World.
  • Bicycle made for you. Now on to Parque Central the location of Cuba’s national capitol building. It’s a scale model of the U.S. Capitol, only taller. We’ll enlist a cortège of bicycle taxis, and navigate the Old Havana's narrow streets that exude charm and vitality.
  • Followed by a guided walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll explore four landmark plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. Together they contain the most extensive collection of remaining Spanish colonial-era architecture in the world. We’ll wander Cathedral Square, Square of Arms, San Francisco Square, and Plaza Vieja.
  • Welcome lunch. In the historic center of Old Havana, Restaurante El Zaguán offers new flavors in an eclectic and cozy 18th century setting. We’re delighted to acquaint you with this private paladar that garners consistently top reviews in all social media.
  • Guided tour of the Museum of the Revolution housed in the magnificent palace of the former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. We'll learn the story of Cuba from colonial times to the present. Exhibits include the yacht Granma on which Fidel Castro and 81 other rebel combatants sailed to Cuba from exile in México in 1956 to launch the Revolution, together with relics from the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis.
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up.
  • Joyride. We’re off to dinner in a cavalcade of Cuban coconut cabs. Cocotaxis are a delightful crazy vehicle with a body shaped like a coconut set atop a motorcycle frame. Get ready for an exciting ride along the Malecón to your restaurant in Old Havana.
  • Welcome dinner. Hello to paladar Iván Chef Justo. Set in an ancient house in Old Havana, built in 1766, you can expect spectacular innovative food. It’s a light and airy place where it always seems to feel like springtime. The service is excellent, professional, attentive and quick. It gets top reviews in all social media.
  • Paradise under the stars. We’re off to the Tropicana experience. It’s a glimpse of pre-revolution Cuba, where Carmen Miranda, Josephine Baker, Nat King Cole and others entertained the wealthy with Latin dance numbers performed by women with 10-pound headdresses. It’s a stunning pageant filled with music, crazy dance numbers, a few contortionists and acrobats, and showgirls decked out in fabulous costumes. Many say the Tropicana is more inviting and earthy than glitzy Las Vegas productions.

Day 3 • Monday • Ernest Hemingway, Cuban cooking

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Foodie’s delight. Imagine how thrilled your friends will be when you return home and prepare authentic Cuban food and mojitos for them. This morning we’ll learn from the renowned Cuban chefs at El Ajiaco Paladar the secrets of preparing tasty Cuban dishes and drinks.
  • Lunch under the palms. El Ajiaco is considered one of the best private eateries in Havana and ranks high on TripAdvisor lists. Hands down it’s a Cuban dining highlight. Ajiaco is noted for fantastic service, atmosphere and scrumptilicious traditional Cuba cuisine. Organic vegetables and spices are supplied by nearby family gardens, lending to each dish a delightfully fresh aromatic flavor you’ll always remember.
  • Brief visit to the village of Cojímar, a small fishing community of east Havana. Here local fishers cast bronze bust of Hemingway from old anchors, props and tools. Inscription reads, “In loving memory of the people of Cojímar to the immortal author of Old Man and the Sea.” A plaque below the bust notes, “Sculpted with the contributions of the Fishermen Cooperative of Cojímar.”
  • Hemingway’s haunt. We’re off to visit Finca Vigía [Lookout Farm] where North America’s literary titan Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years penning 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. Hemingway’s house has been preserved just as it was when he lived there. You’ll see his personal effects, thousands of books and photographs, as well as animal trophies bagged on his frequent African safaris.
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. It’s an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 4 • Tuesday • Havana’s big heart and great art

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Charity act. We’re off to visit Convento de Nuestra Señora de Belén [Convent of Our Lady of Belén], a humanitarian healthcare and community service project in Old Havana. Construction of the massive Convent was begun in 1712. It was expanded and remodeled several times over the centuries. Finally abandoned in 1925, it fell into grave disrepair. In 1991 restoration began and continues today with fantastic results. The Office of the Historian (our Cuban sponsor), public health authorities and the Order of the Sisters of Charity jointly manage Belén Convent. It is home to fifty elderly people, and provides physiotherapy and ophthalmological services to many more seniors in the community. It hosts a day care and primary school. Other activities include exercise classes, board games, cognitive rehabilitation, films, crafts workshops, and “love among the elderly” workshops.
  • Good hair day. Arte Corte [Art Cut]: It’s a barbershop, it’s an art project, it’s a haircut museum, it’s a community center, park, and barber academy. Arte Corte is a little bit of everything. Stylist-proprietor-curator Gilberto Valladares, also known as Papito, runs this quaint spot in Old Havana, where visitors can have their hair cut or receive some other beauty treatment, all the while surrounded by objects, artifacts, and memorabilia that tell the story of hair care through the ages. It’s known as Callejón de los Peluqueros [Hairdresser’s Alley].
  • While in Hairdresser’s Alley, we’ll break bread at El Fígaro, affectionately named after the central character in the “The Barber of Seville.” It’s much kudoed in social media for atmosphere, gracious staff, Cuban music, delicious cocktails, and great food and desserts. Chef Alex Luco descends from a line of famed Cuban cooks. El Fígaro is part of the Arte Corte [Art Cut] community project that has received UNESCO World Heritage recognition. Its motto is “comida sin pelos” (food without hairs). Smile.
  • Art attack. 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 over 300 years. Together the exhibits account for the richness of the island’s Spanish, French, Chinese, African and Aboriginal cultural roots. Notable works include those of René Portocarrero and Wilfredo Lam. You’ll meet and chat with museum staff and perhaps local artists.
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. It’s an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 5 • Wednesday • Beach and Afrocuban life

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • What would a trip to Cuba be without a view of the sea? We’re off to Havana’s eastern beaches known as Playas del Este. We’ll visit two notable white sand shores: Santa María del Mar and Guanabo. Just 30 minutes from the capital, en route we’ll gaze incredible tropical vistas of sea and countryside. First stop is Santa María del Mar and time to relax on 14 miles of palm-lined seashore of the Caribbean Sea. Later we’ll tour the small resort town of Guanabo founded in 1800. These littoral spots are loved by Cubans and foreign guests. Don’t forget your swimsuit, towels and beach gear.
  • Lunch is not included. At the beach there are numerous food vendors. While in Guanabo we’ll schedule a stop at a local paladar [private restaurant].
  • Sea goddess. Visit the community of Regla across the bay from Havana. Once the site of a 16th century aboriginal settlement, today it’s a mixed race village that honors Yemayá, the Black Virgin of the Yoruba religion and patron goddess of Havana Harbor. Regla’s rich Afrohispanic traditions are celebrated via music, songs, dances, ritual handicraft and food. At the Regla Museum you’ll view ancient objects of significance to the Santería religion. When visiting Regla’s church, you’ll see a shrine to the Black Virgin goddess of Regla (and the oceans), Yemayá, whose roots lie in ancient Egypt.
  • We’ll return to Old Havana on a small ferry that crosses the bay of Havana.
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. It’s an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 6 • Thursday • Heavenly Havana and its people

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Now that you’ve become familiar with Havana, today is an opportunity to explore the many sights that piqued your interest independently. It’s an occasion to discover on your own, with tourmates, or your new Cuba friends. Your tour guide supplies lunch spot suggestions.
  • 1950s time travel. Think cocktails, Frank Sinatra, popsicles, sox hops, Hula Hoops, the twist, road trips, bikinis, I Love Lucy, Elvis Presley, and pink Cadillacs. One in ten cars in Havana were manufactured before 1959. And they’re all American: Chevrolet, Ford, Buick, Mercury, Dodge, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac. We’ll cruise the romantic Malecón in these lovingly maintained classics.
  • Special farewell dinner at the private restaurant Los Naranjos. Located in the heart of Vedado in an expansive 1930s mansion, its Chef Ernesto specializes in fusion style dishes combining Cuban, Italian and Spanish influences. Los Naranjos’ ambiance is fun and light, its food wonderful, authentic and fresh, and staff upbeat and attentive. It’s a favorite among TripAdvisor diners.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 7 • Friday • Adios Havana. Extend your stay?

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Check-out of your Havana hotel.
  • Transfer to Havana’s José Martí International Airport for flights home.
  • 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.
  • Wait! Want to extend your stay in Cuba? We’re here to help. Just ask us.
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.

Costs, dates, book now

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 28 to Aug 3, 2018
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$ 2049Sold Out
Aug 11 to Aug 17, 2018
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$ 2049Sold Out
Aug 25 to Aug 31, 2018
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$ 2049 $ 1699
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Sep 8 to Sep 14, 2018
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$ 2049 $ 1699
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Sep 22 to Sep 28, 2018
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$ 2049 $ 1699
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Oct 6 to Oct 12, 2018
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$ 2049 $ 1699
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Oct 20 to Oct 26, 2018
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$ 2049 $ 1699
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Included in tour cost

Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
Day1234567
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
  • Small group size, usually fewer than twelve guests
  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel in compliance with US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations (OFAC)
  • Havana airport and hotel transfers on tour start and end days
  • Quality Cuban hotels
  • An expert English speaking guide and tour leader throughout the program
  • Modern air-conditioned bus and professional chauffeur
  • Bottled water on 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

Not included in cost