Cuba: FOOD, ARTS AND MUSIC 

OCTOBER 6 - OCTOBER 13, 2018

THIS all-inclusive itinerary is USD $5750 PER couplE And USD $3200 FOR single TRAVELERS

 

The natural beauty of the land and its rich, colorful history is what makes Cuba such a desirable destination.  Come and experience the colonial Spanish architecture, UNESCO heritage sites, dramatic valleys, pristine beaches and rural communities that proudly open their arms to travelers.  Cuba’s political history has created a mid-century time capsule where the 1950s American remnants and abandoned Soviet investment clash, a microcosm that only exists on this unique island.  Combine all this beautiful country has to offer along with a class act travel agency to witness Cuba through our eyes!

 

Your Trip Includes:

  • 8 days & 7 nights in Havana and Pinar Del Rio, Cuba.
  • Round trip airfare from the port of departure.
  • Cuban visa processing and fee (There is an additional fee for Cuban born travelers).
  • Medical insurance while visiting Cuba.
  • All airline and airport fees (U.S. & Cuba except baggage & excess weight fees).
  • Ground transportation within Cuba in vintage American automobiles.
  • All accommodations while visiting Cuba (Private Bed & Breakfast with air-conditioned bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms).
  • Entrance fees when applicable.
  • All gratuities are included.
  • Experienced tour guides (English, Spanish, Portuguese and French speaking are available).
  • All meals are included (two national mixed drinks or beers with dinner).  Please advise us about any restrictions or food allergies.

 

Not Included:

  • Activities outside of the tour itinerary.
  • Water sport rentals are not included.
  • Baggage fees are common upon check-in at the airport.  These fees are the responsibility of the passenger.
  • Travel insurance, which is highly recommended for all travelers.



Itinerary

 

DAY 1: HAVANA, CUBA

Arrive at Jose Marti airport, Havana, Cuba.  Hola, Cubita Linda.  

After clearing customs and getting luggage we travel to our homes in order to get settled in and meet your hostesses before we begin our journey. 

Lunch today is based on flight arrival times.

After lunch we will embark on a panoramic tour of Havana:  Plaza of the Revolution (Plaza de La Revolucion), Colon Cemetery, Botanical Gardens (El Bosque de la Havana), Fifth Avenue (5ta Avenida) and the famous seawall, El Malecon.

** Possible private salsa lesson **

The next stop is the Hotel Nacional, a historical luxury hotel, circa 1930.  There are terrific sunset views of Havana and El Malecon from the hotel.  This is always a wonderful stop to enjoy a welcome cocktail.

8:00pm - Chef Diego owner of Los Balcones de Diego and recently awarded the International Culinary degree, is excited to share some of this favorite Cuban dishes.  Learn how he creates his magic with him this evening and later enjoy one of his amazing dishes.   

9:00pm - Dinner is included:  Los Balcones (outdoor theme dining).

 

DAY 2: HAVANA, CUBA

Breakfast at your residence.

Today, we tour Havana’s Old Town (La Habana Vieja), which in 1982 was awarded UNESCO Heritage Site status.  You will walk through squares surrounded by the impressive baroque and neoclassic-style buildings that have made Havana one of the most architecturally significant cities in the Americas.  Along the way, we visit The Cathedral Square and tour the inside of one of the oldest Cathedrals in the Western Hemisphere.  This stop is a favorite of all religious denominations because of the building’s history and beauty.  Next, we travel down Obispo Street which is one of Havana’s most populous streets.  For those who wish to shop, this route is lined with stores from Bernaza Street to Plaza de Armas.

Next we enjoy mojitos at the well known Bodeguita Del Medio, which was frequently visited by Hemingway.  This is a great music and cocktail stop this early afternoon.

1:00pm - Lunch is included:  La Cervezeria (Havana), the newest brewery in Havana.  Talk over a refreshing lunch and enjoy the locally brewed beer with live sounds of Cuban salsa and rumba tunes.  

Lizt Alfonso behind the scenes tour of the Afro Cuban dance school.

** Private salsa lessons **  

Private tour of the Art Factory (Fabrica de Arte), a two story restored warehouse with a fantastic collection of Cuban art, along with national cocktails and live music.

Dinner is included:  El Cocinero Restuarante (Havana’s new happening place).

 

DAY 3: HAVANA & cojimar, CUBA

8:00am - Breakfast at your residence.

This morning we travel to the east side of Havana to the town of Cojimar, a small fishing village, that is best known for inspiring Ernest Hemingway’s, "The Old Man and the Sea".  This is home to a wonderful culinary experience today.

The group will walk with the restaurant staff to see the Ogranoponico farm location, where the restaurant picks daily vegetables and spices for their meals.  Along the way we will explore the little charming village, which remains intact to the time when Hemingway was a beloved friend of the people. 

We return to the restaurant and interact with the kitchen and the cocktail scene to learn how to create a very special Cuban dish.  Enjoy the fruits of your labor at lunch today!  Happy cooking at El Ajiaco!

Next, we head over to the Recording Studios Abdala, where we will partake in a behind the scenes experience of the recording studios activities today.  Additionally, we will be part of a Cuban jazz jam session, sit back and enjoy the show! 

Enjoy a little relaxation prior to dinner.

Dinner is included:  ChaChaCha!  Loving the new look for Cuba.  This is the perfect example of the changing times and how the youth of Cuba is shaping the culinary culture.

 

DAY 4: HAVANA & SOROA, CUBA

Breakfast at your residence.  

Today we move towards Pinar Del Rio, the Western-most province of Cuba, famous for its rich soil, tobacco production and picturesque scenery.  We will visit the charming village of Viñales nestled in the Sierra de los Organos mountains.  Viñales Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and settlement dating back to the Spanish colonial era.  The area while quiet, is booming with excitement and a lively population. 

On the way we stop at Soroa, a natural preservation with beautiful orchid gardens that have been in existence prior to the revolution, a great rest stop to break up the drive to Viñales.  After touring the gardens, enjoy a light lunch in the “Castle by the Clouds” prior to continuing our journey.

We arrive in Viñales late in the afternoon, get situated into our homes and enjoy a casual stroll around town or among the friendly farm families.  The Valley of Viñales is home to some of the nicest and most caring people of Cuba.

Late dinner tonight at El Campesino.

After dinner those wishing to return to the town can stop at the local cafes, bars with music and the Casa De La Musica, which is filled with the energy and sounds of Cuba.

 

DAY 5: ViñaleS & HAVANA, CUBA

For those that enjoy the early morning hours, this area is a photographers dream.  At first light, the area wakes up to the sounds of roosters and other farm animals prior to the children venturing to school.  Life here is peaceful yet full of energy and positive affection towards the visiting tourists.

Breakfast at your residence.  

Most of the day is spent in one of the largest working farms in Viñales, which features tobacco rolling, coffee growing and harvesting, honey production and rum distilling.  Horseback riding or oxen carts are options today for our farm journey.

Lunch is included:  Surprise!

Late afternoon we head back to Havana.

Dinner is included:  De Camino.

 

DAY 6: HAVANA, CUBA

Breakfast at your residence.  

Today we take a look at the arts in Havana, an excellent cultural encounter to witness the ever changing art world of a country that has been dormant to the world for over 50 years.

We will visit the Museum of Bellas Artes (contemporary art) or take a tour of Alicia Alonso's ballet theater.

Next, we tour the Havana Club rum museum.

This afternoon we travel to an area of Cuba that very few visitors get to explore, the rural side of the city.  Here we will visit the butcher shops on the side of the road, the fruit stands and the locations where the Cubans travel to get their rations of food allotted to them.  This is a true Cuban encounter with the welcoming people of this country. 

Lunch is included:  Rural Cuba.

Anyone interested in a little coffee?  We will visit the local barista and the mother of our lead tour guide.  Does she have some yummy coffee for you!

The afternoon is free to explore or partake in some fun shopping opportunities.

Did I mention our favorite bar with awesome cocktails, maybe a little stop here prior to dinner?

Dinner is included:  Chef Privado.

 

DAY 7: HAVANA, CUBA

Breakfast at your residence.  

On the way to our fun day today, we travel down Embassy Row (5ta Avenida), providing a look at the amazing embassies and consulates located in Havana.  

We will stop at Fuster's Village, a community project that has put the once sleepy fishing village on the list of must see destinations.  Artist Jose Fuster has embraced his artistic talents and created the famous Mosaic City for your viewing pleasure. 

We will spend the rest of the afternoon at the private Club Havana, where you can enjoy the breathtaking beach, eat lunch and enjoy cocktails (cocktails are at the cost of the client).

Please advise your driver of your desired pick-up time.

Early evening preparation for a wonderful dinner experience.  

Dinner is included:  La Galia.  This mixologist extraordinaire will amaze you with his talents and creative national cocktails.  A fantastic, interactive exercise for the group.  Enjoy your Cocktails!  

Experience the one and only Tropicana Cabaret Celebration and Show.  The show and drinks are included!

 

DAY 8: HAVANA, CUBA

Today's activities are based on departure times.

Breakfast and preparation for airport departure.  

 

* Cocktails in excess of those provided in the package are the responsibility of the travelers.

Travel authorized by license through the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) that authorizes registered guests of our programs to legally travel to Cuba to participate and engage in a full time schedule of authorized exchange activities in Cuba, which will involve meaningful interaction between travelers and people in Cuba.


Deposit

A deposit of $700 per person is required to guarantee your reservation, which will be applied towards the cost of your tour.  Deposits are generally non-refundable, except in rare cases when we cannot confirm all components of a booking at the purchase price. 

 

Final Payment

Any pending balance must be paid in full at least 30 days prior to departure.  If your booking falls within the 30 days, payment in full is expected at the time of booking.  For those who wish, a payment plan can be established:  One month after the deposit is paid, the remaining balance will be divided by the amount of months remaining in order to have the balance paid 30 days prior to departure.


John and Kathy Spangler

Meet the Tour Hosts

Our good friends John and Kathy Spangler hail from Pinehurst, North Carolina where they own the popular Culinary Tours of the Pines.  John and Kathy are true foodies at heart (like us) and Your Cuba Travel always enjoys having kindred spirits on our adventures!  You can learn more about John and Kathy and their tours by visiting their website here:  CLICK!


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