Tour introduction and overview of activities

A Cuba expedition focused on people-to-people education, cultural exchanges. Lovers of the arts, history and architecture. The tour has a very diverse itinerary and features comfortable accommodations and tasty Cuban cuisine.

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.

Full tour itinerary

DAY 1 – Saturday February 27: Arrival/ Hello Cuba

  • Arrival at Havana’s José Martí International Airport. Collect your bags and go through customs. You’re welcomed at the airport lobby by your Cuba Education Tours guide and professional bus chauffeur.
  • Private check-in with assistance from your guide.
  • Free time to settle in and rest up at your hotel.
  • Welcome dinner at El Aljibe restaurant, included

DAY 2 – Sunday February 28: Exploring Old Havana, our common heritage

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Followed by a walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll visit four of the five historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. It contains the largest collection of remaining colonial-era architecture. This is a private tour led by your Cuba Education Tours guide.
  • Cathedral Square, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza on the island. Named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture: the Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana built by the Jesuit order.
  • Square of Arms, an ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers, surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
    • Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City.
  • We continue onto San Francisco Square, one of the oldest plazas in the historical quarter. The square is named after magnificent Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís dating from the 16th century. The basilica is a striking example of Cuba baroque architecture.
  • And then on to Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. Absent are churches and government buildings, and is in contrast surrounded by opulent aristocratic 17th century residences. We’ll visit an important center for the visual arts.
  • Group welcome lunch at El Templete Restaurant. (included in tour cost)
  • Visit Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes de Depósito San José. This marvelous restoration of an old dock warehouse has resulted in a gigantic market exhibiting the wares of hundreds of Cuban artists and craftspersons.
  • Visit Callejón de Hamel (Hamel Alley) to see the artwork of famed Afro-Cuban Artist Salvador González.
  • Return to hotel to freshen up.
  • Now for a special group dinner at private restaurant La Moneda Cubana, included

DAY 3 – Monday February 29: Las Terrazas/ Soroa

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Morning departure to Las Terrazas eco-community. About an hour west of Havana is the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve, declared a Reserve of the Biosphere by UNESCO in 1985. Centuries of timbering and subsequent harvesting for charcoal led to deforestation, erosion and infertility in the once lush Sierra del Rosario Mountains.
  • We'll visit the rural village called Rancho Curujey and we will learn about this self-sustaining community's successes in reforestation, historical preservation, environmental balance, and a good life.
  • Visit the art studio of a local artist.
  • Lunch at El Romero vegetarian restaurant, (included)
  • Onwards to Soroa
  • Guided visit to Soroa’s Orchid Garden, created by Cuban naturalist and lawyer Tomás Felipe Camacho. The Garden features a collection of 250 orchids endemic of the Island, and over 700 from around the world, along with numerous species of exotic plants that thrive here thanks to the local climate. Today, there is also an Orchid Research Center belonging to the University of Pinar del Río
  • Followed by a visit to the waterfalls.
  • Hotel Villa Soroa check in
  • This evening you’ll enjoy a group dinner at Hotel Villa Soroa, included.
  • Evening is free

DAY 4 – Tuesday March 1: Viñales Valley/ Havana

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Early morning departure to Viñales Valley: Viñales village is a picturesque town in the heart of Cuba's prime tobacco growing region. The town itself sits in the center of a flat valley surrounded by stunning karst hills formations known locally as mogotes. Mogotes are irregularly shaped steep-sided hills that can rise as high as 300m (985 ft.) and have bases ranging from just a few hundred yards in diameter to as much as a couple of kilometers in length. The mogotes comprise part of the Sierra de los Órganos mountain chain, and were formed by eons of erosion. Many consider this the most beautiful nature spot in Cuba.
  • Upon arrival visit Cueva del Indio [Indian caves].
  • Visit Mural de la Prehistoria.
  • Free time to enjoy nature.
  • Lunch at private restaurant El Balcón del Valle, included
  • Visit tobacco farmers.
  • Tour the town square of Viñales village.
  • Continue to Havana.
  • Hotel Saint John’s -Vedado check in.
  • Dinner is not included

DAY 5 – Wednesday March 2: Architecture/ Community Project/ Arts

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Tour of Havana University.
  • Meeting with representatives of Grupo de Desarrollo Integral de la Ciudad (City's Integral Development Group) for a presentation on:
    • Planning in Old Havana
    • Restoration in Old Havana
    • Urbanization in Old Havana
  • Visit community project Arte Corte in Old Havana. One of the most interesting projects of social rescue for Old Havana is the famous and internationally awarded Arte Corte project (hairdressing salon). This is one of the projects supported by the work of the Office of the Historian of Old Havana, which stimulates different plans emerged in the community.
  • Lunch at private restaurant El Figaro, included.
  • Visit The Museum of Fine Arts (The Cuban Collection).
  • Return to hotel to freshen up.
  • Dinner tonight is not included. You are free to explore different eateries.
  • Evening is free to explore the sights and sounds of the city.

DAY 6 – Thursday March 3: Hemingway/ Organic Agriculture

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Visit Finca La Vigía (House and farm of Ernest Hemingway Museum)
  • 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 millions of seedlings for neighboring residential and collective farms. Established in the early 1990s, the Alamar cooperative has over 20 members and provides a range of healthy, organic vegetables to the community. Produce is raised employing the practice of permaculture: no chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, natural biological methods are used to nourish the soil, frustrate pests and conserve water. The result is an increased rate of yield and reduced costs.
  • TOUR HIGHLIGHT: Lunch prepared by private restaurant El Ajiaco, included
  • Visit Cojímar, small fishing village one of Hemingway’s favorites places in Cuba
  • Return to hotel to freshen up.
  • Now for a group dinner at private restaurant Prado 115, included

DAY 7 – Friday March 4: Health Care/ Education/ Afro Cuba

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Visit to the Convento de Nuestra Señora de Belén [Convent of Our Lady of Belén], a humanitarian health project in Old Havana. Construction on the 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 with amazing results. Today the Office of the Historian, local Public Health authorities and the Order of the Sisters of Charity jointly manage the Belén Convent. It is home to fifty elderly people and provides physiotherapy and ophthalmological services to many more elderly in the community. Other activities include exercise classes, board games, cognitive rehabilitation, films, crafts workshops, and "love among the elderly" lectures. We'll meet with project Director Nelson Águila and tour the facility.
  • Visit Escuela taller Gaspar García de Jovellanos (school where students are trained in restoration of old buildings, paintings, etc.)
  • Lunch at private restaurant Nazdarovie, included
  • Visit the Museum of Regla featuring Afrocuban artifacts; meet with a Santería priest
  • Visit the Church of Regla, a temple that dates from 1811, which is devoted to a Black Virgin Saint
  • Continue to Santa María Beach.
  • Return to hotel to freshen up.
  • Dinner not included

DAY 8 – Saturday March 5: Havana/ Home

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Check-out of hotel.
  • Transfer to José Martí International Airport for flights home.
While in Cuba, our attentive island team ensures your trip is magical and memorable.

Included in Cuba tour package cost

Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
  • All taxes. Prices listed are the total amounts you pay. All amounts are quoted in US dollars.
  • Airport transfers: We meet you at José Martí Int’l Airport in Havana and take you to your hotel upon arrival. We return you to José Martí Airport for departure.
  • Hotels as listed in tour itinerary or similar.
  • Welcome cocktail and orientation gathering with hotel management, staff and your Cuba Education and Explorer Tours guide upon arrival.
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners as per itinerary.
  • All activities, services, speakers, meetings and meals as described in tour itinerary except those noted as “optional” or “not included in cost.”
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach transportation and a full-time professional driver.
  • An expert Cuban English-speaking guide and translator whose background matches tour content throughout the program.
  • Mandatory official Cuban medical insurance coverage during your island stay.
  • Ongoing support from Cuba Education and Explorer Tours staff in Canada before, during and after your stay.
  • Emergency collect call access to our North American staff while in Cuba.
  • Emergency cash advances for our tour participants who face complications accessing funds from aboard while in Cuba.

Not included

  • Cost of airfare to and from Havana.
  • Cuban Tourist Card.
  • Gratuities for Cuban tour guide, bus driver, chambermaids, restaurant staff, porters, etc.
  • Optional travel interruption and cancellation insurance. Your tour cost already includes an excellent Cuban medical policy. See USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services.