SUNDAY NOVEMBER 5TH
DAY 1 (L, D) USA-CUBA
Arrive in Jose Marti International Airport Terminal. Clear customs and immigration, this process takes around one hour. Meet your local tour guide who will be our representative in Havana throughout the trip.
Tour around the city. Take a panoramic drive around modern Havana. Your tour guide will take you to get your bearings around this amazing city. You will be taken around the modern part of Havana, including neighborhoods like Miramar, Vedado, Centro Habana. Stop at the historic Revolution Square; a political venue since 1959.
HOTEL MELIA COHIBA *****
Welcome dinner at a “Paladar”, a term commonly used in Cuba to refer to private restaurants. Home-made cuisine and authentic flavors of Cuba characterize these establishments. This is the restaurant where former president Barrack Obama had dinner when he visited Cuba. Meet with Chef Carlos.
Return to hotel
MONDAY NOVEMBER 6TH
DAY 2 (B, L, D) HISTORIC HAVANA
Take a drive around modern Havana. Start from the Malecón seafront, an 8km-drive where locals sit and enjoy the sunset every evening, Hotel Habana Libre, the Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor and Riviera Hotel. Your tour guide will take you around the modern part of Havana, including neighborhoods like Miramar, Vedado, Centro Habana.
Walking tour of Old Havana. The founding of Havana as one of the most important commercial cities in the New World brought aboutthe urban growth around different squares. Your local guide will take you to Plaza de Armas where the history of this amazing city began. Under the famous Kapok tree, Spanish settlers celebrated the foundational mass asking for good luck and fortune. Visit the Havana Cathedral and the Bodeguita del Medio. Admire the elegant colonial houses of the 19th Century such as Casa de Conde Lombillo and Casa del Marques de Arcos, overlooking the Plaza de la Cathedral. Visit Saint Francis of Assisi Square located next to the Havana Stock Exchange building, dating back to the 16th Century.
Appreciate the steps of rum making and bottling at the Rum Museum. After this informative tour, you will taste a sip of the internationally acclaimed Havana Club Rum.
Visit “El Callejon de Hammel”. Hammel Street is located in Centro Habana neighborhood and has been completely covered in murals; a work by local artist Salvador Gonzalez since the 1980’s. This serves as a community project that introduces people to Afro-Cuban heritage, symbols, music and religion.
Return to Hotel for a bit of down time before we depart for dinner
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 7TH
DAY 3 (B, L, D) CIGARS/RELIGION
Appreciate the art of rolling cigars. Visit one of Havana’s cigar factories and experience an up-close look of the rolling process. Learn more about the history of the cigar in Cuba and the production process and see a wide variety of premium Habanos. This is one of the most important exports for Cuba.
In the intimacy, comfort and coziness that Conde de Villanueva Boutique Hotel offers to tobacco aficionados, enjoy a demonstration of the art to roll a Cuban cigar by the highly skilled on-site “torcedor” (cigar roller).
Whether you’re a long-time enthusiast or just looking to taste one of the world’s best cigars, enjoy the comfortably pleasant lounge that invites you to smoke an artisan cigar.
Walk to the 17th century townhouse mansion at Obrapia #157 originally served as a shop selling wares and goods. Today, it has been converted into the House of Africa (Casa Museo de Africa) where there is a display of objects from different African cultures, especially ivory carvings, ritual and decorative masks, musical instruments, weapons, tools, textiles and clothes, many of which are gifts received by Castro from African countries.
Visit Mercado San Jose where the local arts & crafts will be readily available for purchase. Free time for you to admire not only the art but also to walk around the market, interact with Cuban private small entrepreneurs or sit in front of Havana Bay.
Ride in American vintage cars around modern Habana. Take pictures from your car of the Malecon, a seafront drive where locals sit every evening. Speak to the drivers about the cars’ up keep and maintenance of these jewels on wheels. Drop-off at dinner followed by a night show at the majestic Tropicana Cabaret, reminiscent of the Havana of the 1950’s.
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 8TH
DAY 4 (B, L, D) MUSIC & RELIGION
Illustration on the Cuban educational system while in Havana driving to the Guanabacoa neighborhood and receive a better understanding about art schools on the island by visiting the elementary Music Academy Manuel Saumell, where future Cuban musicians are forged. Also where legendary Cuban musicians like Chucho Valdés, Argelia Fragoso, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Aldo Lopez Gavilan learned their instruments before continuing on to higher levels of education.
Learn more about Cuban Religion by visiting the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla, close to the boat dock in Regla (one of 15 municipalities of Havana). Inside, on the main altar, you’ll find La Santísima Virgen de Regla: the Virgin, represented by a black Madonna, venerated in the Catholic faith and associated in the Santería religion with Yemayá, the orisha of the ocean and the patron of sailors (always represented in blue).
Tour and visit the Museo Municipal de Regla. You’ll have a specialized guide who can explain the cultural context of this art, which has significance for both Catholicism and Santería. Located two blocks from the pier, this is a required stop while in Havana for those interested in learning about anthropology, history, and folklore. After lunch return to the hotel for some leisure time before we depart for dinner.
Return to Hotel
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 9TH
DAY 5 (B, L, D) ALONG THE RIVIERA – HAVANA – VARADERO
Today, we depart to Varadero Beach located in Matanzas, the last of the Western provinces of Cuba. The second largest in Cuba, Matanzas is one of the most industrialized with petroleum wells, refineries, supertanker facilities and several sugar mills to process the harvest of the fields of sugar
cane in the province. Varadero beach houses more than 50 deluxe hotels, spread out along the coast of Havana’s eastern Riviera.
Pit stop at Bridge of Bacunayagua. The highest bridge in Cuba and one of the seven architecture wonders in the country. A moment to discover the beauty of Cuban nature, the bridge is located in an enviable position just in front of coastal hills between the Yumuri Valley and the Straits of Florida coast. Enjoy their famous piña colada.
Check-in at your Resort in Junior Suite Room.
HOTEL MELIA MARINA “THE LEVEL” *****
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 10TH
DAY 6 (B, L, D) MATANZAS CITY TOUR
Visit the Mansion Xanadu, just steps away from the sea, a beautiful and charming example of Moorish architecture of the early 20th Century. This was the first house to have been built in the peninsula.
Visit the city historic center of Matanzas and the Pharmaceutical Museum. Visit the San Severino Fortress.
Visit and lunch at Coincidencia Farm, where owner Hector explains about organic farming in Cuba his own production.
Return to Hotel for a FREE AFTERNOON AND EVENING
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 11TH
DAY 7 (B, L, D) SLAVERY IN CUBA
Visit Limonar town. Its Municipal Museum shows elements of African culture and a treasure of artifacts, documents and elements from that slave trade period of Cuban history.
Visit the Sugar Mill Triunvirato, where the Monument to the Slaves’ Rebellion is located. It was built in the 19th century, a period when the sugar industry boomed in the province of Matanzas.
Return to Hotel for a FREE AFTERNOON AND PRIVATE FAREWELL DINNER.
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 12TH
DAY 8 (B) FAREWELL CUBA!
MATANZAS – MIAMI – WASHINGTON, DC
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ITINERARY SUBJECT TO CHANGE