Classic Art & Culture Cuba Itinerary

Learn more about people-to-people travel.


Day 1


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.

Day 2


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)

Day 3


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)

Day 4


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

Day 5


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)

Day 6


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)

Day 7


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)

Day 8


Our Cuba tour ends when we return to Havana for lunch before heading to the airport for our charter flight to Miami. (B,L)

Please Note: IE’s people-to-people program itinerary and /or specific hotel accommodations may vary depending local conditions. Remember, we are not traveling to a typical “tourist” destination and must plan to be flexible. Our hotels will range from basic to comfortable and you will enjoy a truly engaging experience. People-to-people travel does not allow for time to explore independently.