People-to-People travel is an initiative allowing U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba on a limited basis to participate in cultural experiences and have direct contact with the Cuban people to learn more about them and their culture, while they learn about the American way of life. This is a highly rewarding educational experience, where you enjoy direct engagement with the Cuban people you will meet. IE’s people-to-people activities focus on education and cultural exchange as you meet Cuban musicians, artists, architects and more. International Expeditions offers authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba that engages participants in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.
Cuba: Classic Art & Culture
Cuba: Classic Art & Culture
Allow yourself to be swept away by the profoundly original art and literature of Cuba on IE’s newest people-to-people Cuba travel program. This journey includes stopping to chat with artists in their studios, surveying Hemingway’s former home and favorite bars and discovering the Afro-Cuban history of the Varadero Peninsula.
Meet Cuban Entrepreneurs
Highlighting the journey are opportunities to mingle with Cuba’s new generation of entrepreneurs – restaurant owners. Family run paladars offer the best cuisine, plus chances to discuss the changing face of Cuba’s economy with private business owners.
The sample itinerary below can be customized to take full-advantage of your travel time and interests.
Cuba Art and Culture Musician in Havana
Cuba Art and Culture: Jose Fuster community project
Cuba Art and Culture: Viñales
Cuba Art and Culture: Malecon
Cuba Art and Culture: Tobacco in Viñales
Classic Art & Culture Cuba Itinerary
Our Cuba people-to-people travel program begins in Miami with a briefing and welcome reception before an overnight at the Cambria Suites Miami Airport.
Miami / Havana
Board our charter flight to Havana. Discuss Havana’s past and future with our local guide while stopping at iconic sites such as Revolution Square. Enjoy dinner in Old Havana at La Imprinta and stroll to the famed Floridita bar, a favorite haunt of Hemingway known as the “Cradle of the Daiquiri”. Our path takes us along a lively pedestrian boulevard, where we mingle with locals out for an evening walk. Spend four nights at the Saratoga Havana or Parque Central in Old Havana. (D)
Stroll through the atmospheric squares of Old Havana, calling on artists in their studios as we pass. These parks and plazas are popular with locals who frequent the stalls selling books along the edges of the park while musicians fill the air with sound. Lunch is at the Spanish restaurant La Paella and then we continue our exploration and discussions this afternoon. See Hotel Ambos Mundos, where Ernest Hemingway kept a room for years. The hotel served as a refuge for writing such works as For Whom the Bell Tolls and as a base for frequenting his favorite bars. You have a moment to see the room where Hemingway worked if you wish before sampling a mojito at the rooftop bar. This afternoon, learn more about Cuban history at the Museum of the Revolution, housed in the former Presidential Palace, or join an expert in modern art to tour the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. While here, our small group concentrates on the modern art collection, which includes works by such Cuban artists as Wifredo Lam, Rene Portocarrero and Victor Manuel Garcia. Visit Hotel Nacional for a drink overlooking the sea before dinner at Paladar Dona Eutimia. Paladar owners are truly Cuba’s new breed of entrepreneurs. Dinner is followed by Cuban music nearby at Café Taberna which is the venue for the Buena Vista Social Club revue. (B,L,D)
Havana: VIÑALES VALLEY DAY TRIP
Head west this morning into the province of Pinar Del Rio to the famed Viñales Valley. Viñales boasts Cuba’s most strikingly beautiful landscapes and is where the island’s best tobacco is grown. At a family-run tobacco farm, the family discusses their lives and why their crop is among the world’s best. The valley is punctuated by huge limestone caves that form inside one of the many spectacular mogotes – limestone karst outcroppings. A small boat takes us on a river running inside the cave. Sample the homegrown vegetables grown at an organic farm while meeting the family who is responsible for the land and prepared our lunch. Cap-off our day by meeting locals in the small community of Viñales before returning to Havana. Dinner tonight is at Restaurant El Tocororo located in a restored mansion, where our meal is accompanied by jazz music in the main dining room. (B,L,D)
After breakfast we head to the outskirts of Havana to the interesting neighborhood of Jaministas. It was here where he grew up that distinguished artist Jose Fuster launched a community beautification project. The entire neighborhood is a living canvas and our conversations with both residents and local artists focus on the transformative power of art in the lives of ordinary Cubans. Pay homage to Hemingway at his former home Finca Vigia, preserved as it was on the day of his death, and discuss his life with Cuban experts and researchers. Stop to chat with the farmers at a sustainable garden which supplies one of Cuba’s best private restaurants – Il Divino – where we have lunch. Learn about art and dance in the lives of Cubans elite and ordinary citizens. At Habana Compass Dance, a private school of dance, we attend rehearsals and meet the director. Beforea visit to the Arts and Crafts market we stop for a visit at the prestigious National School of Arts. Say farewell to Havana with dinner at the elegant Café Del Oriente. You may cap off the evening with an optional lavish cabaret show at the famous Tropicana (at your own expense). (B,L,D)
Havana / Matanzas / Varadero
This morning we travel west to Matanzas and the Atlantic Coast. While the Varadero Peninsula is known for its beautiful beaches, our time here will focus on the area’s people! Matanzas was Cuba’s major colonial-era port, exporting coffee, tobacco and sugar, and it also served as a slave trading port. The bay is the deepest in Cuba and during one battle in 1628 more than twenty Spanish galleons were sunk here by a Dutch admiral. Discuss the history of traditional dance with the young musicians and dancers at Las Munequitos de Matanza. Enjoy a taste of the area’s history at a colonial pharmacy. Enjoy lunch in a local paladar, much different from those in Havana. We travel into Varadero to check into Hotel Iberostar Varadero. (B,L,D)
Learn the history of rum and the importance of this spirit to Cuban history at Casa del Ron. We enjoy lunch on the terrace of the storied Xanadu Mansion, built by Irenee Dupont de Nemours. (B,L,D)
Varadero/ Havana/ Miami
Our Cuba tour ends when we return to Havana for lunch before heading to the airport for our charter flight to Miami. (B,L)
Things to Know
What does "People-to-People" Cuba travel mean?
How active is this trip to Cuba?
A trip to Cuba is an active one that calls for good health. You should be able to walk without assistive devices or the help of others a minimum of two hours at a somewhat brisk pace in order to participate in this expedition. The activities involve a great deal of walking on uneven terrain such as cobblestone streets or slippery trails, and standing, all of which will be in hot weather. You will occasionally have to climb/descend stairs and negotiate places where the footing is uncertain, often times without handrails. If you are in any doubt that you will be able to participate then check with us, and we will be happy to discuss it further.
Melia Marine Varadero
The Melia Varadero features well-appointed rooms with convenient amenities, but this spectacular hotel also leaves quite an impression. Located in an ecological reserve, each fresh, modern room is decorated with nautical motifs, and offers stunning views of the surrounding seascape. Room amenities include air conditioning, television with cable/satellite, safe and minibar.
Located on beautiful Central Park in the heart of Havana, the Parque Central comprises two buildings, a colonial section and modern tower. The tower is sleek, chic and contemporary, with a wood, glass and steel design theme set off by bright colors and textured fabrics. The colonial part is classic elegance: what you’d expect to find in a five-star hotel in any global capital city. All rooms feature air conditioning, balcony or terrace, private bath, satellite TV and a coffee/ta maker.