Complete Cuba Itinerary

Learn more about people-to-people travel.


Day 1

Arrive Miami

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. (Meals Aloft)


Day 2

Miami / Camaguey or Cienfugos / Sancti Spiritus

Early this morning, return to the airport and board our charter flight to Cuba. Depending on your departure day, you will travel to either Camaguey, Santa Clara or Cienfugos. If time permits in Cienfugos, enjoy a performance by the Cienfugos choir. Those traveling to Camaguey will head to the Camaguey Ballet Company, meeting the dancers and talking to them about upcoming productions. Later, a walking tour introduces you to colonial architecture of these cities while you enjoy spirited interactions with vendors who line the atmospheric squares. Continue to Cienfuegos or Sancti Spiritus and spend tonight at the Hotel La Union or similar. (D)


Day 3

Sancti Spiritus / Valle De Los Ingenios / Trinidad

Drive through the spectacular Valle De Los Ingenios - Valley of the Sugar Mills - an UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site where we see the ruined hulls of 19th century sugar estates. During the 19th century there were more than 40 sugar mills with elaborate estate houses but now most are in ruins. Chat with villagers in Manaca Iznaga while enjoying a glass of cold mango juice. Travel to the architectural jewel of Trinidad, an architectural jewel proclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Red tiled roofs atop pastel stucco structures line the cobbled streets. This port city reflects its 16th century past and founding by Conquistadors. Eighteenth century smugglers and pirates made frequent calls here or even used this port as their base of operations in the Caribbean. The wealth and importance of Trinidad continued into the 19th century, when sugar barons reigned. Experience the community like a local, visiting with shop owners and sampling local fare as we walk through the colonial heart of the city. At Casa Del Alfarero Santander, an artisan workshop, meet local artists and learn about traditional pottery techniques. Stroll through town, with the chance to visit a music club to mingle with the locals and enjoy authentic Cuban music. Spend two nights at Hotel Los Helechos or similar. (B,L,D)
 

Day 4

Topes de Collantes / Trinidad

Enjoy a spectacular morning in the Sierra de Escambray mountains at Topes de Collantes National Park. After learning the history of Cuban coffee, relax over a cup of coffee while chatting with your guide. After lunch visit a modern art museum, seeing pieces by important artists. (B,L,D)

 

Day 5

Trinidad / Zapata Wetlands / Bay of Pigs

The Zapata Peninsula encompasses a national park protecting Cuba’s most important wetland area. It is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve closely resembling the Florida Everglades. There are 900 species of flora, 171 species of birds (18 endemics), 31 species of reptiles and many mammal species calling the Zapata Wetlands home. Join Orlando Ramirez, a local farmer, to search for the world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird. On the Bay of Pigs, discuss the importance of the wetlands with a local environmentalist. Spend tonight at Hotel Playa Larga or similar. (B,L,D)

 

Day 6

Bay of Pigs / Soroa & Vinales

An exclusive stop for IE travelers, begin our day at the Korimakao Project. If the staff is not traveling, we sit in on their practices before a discussion on the transformative power of art. The project houses some of Cuba’s finest musicians and artists, who refine their skills before traveling to remote villages to perform and teach. Present art, music and dance supplies to Yander, the director. Set out toward the western part of Cuba, traveling to Pinar del Rio Province. Stop at locally owned paladar, IL Divino, for lunch. Chat about the "new" Cuban economy with the entrepreneurs operating this small, private resataurant. After lunch, explore the adjacent farm, which uses sustainable agriculture to supply the restaurant. Pay homage to Ernest Hemingway while discussing his work with Cuban Hemingway specialists at his former home, Finca Vigia, preserved as it was on the day of his death. Travelers can only peer through the open windows of this museum, but the inside is arranged almost as if the home was waiting for him to return with guests. Hemingway’s fishing boat, El Pilar, is still on the grounds. Spend two nights at Villa Soroa or similar. (B,L,D)


Day 7

Soroa & Vinales

Wind our way through the Sierra de los Organos Mountains to Vinales. Enjoy a boating excursion into one of the huge limestone caves running through a mogote — limestone karst outcroppings. Sample the homegrown vegetables grown at an organic farm while meeting the family who is responsible for the land. Stop at a tobacco farm to learn about the processes and history of Cuban cigars. You have the chance to sample a famed cigar and sip a cup of Cuban coffee if you wish. (B,L,D)
 

Day 8

Soroa & Vinales / Havana

Survey an orchid garden with staff from the University of Pinar del Rio. Meet local naturalists, business owners and farmers in the planned “green” community of Las Terrazas. Stop at Cafe de Maria for a cup of locally grown coffee and chat with the family who runs the business. Drive along the oceanfront Malecon Avenue, seeing Revolution Square. Tonight, we have organized an excursion to the famed Buena Vista Social Club. Spend two nights at the Melia Cohiba or similar. (B,L,D)


Day 9

Havana

Havana is the center of all things Cuban, and as we stroll these streets it is like being on a movie set. Classic American cars from the 1940s and 1950s cruise wide boulevards while paint peels from glorious Spanish colonial buildings. Old men in straw hats puff on huge Cuban cigars and while music fills the air. Tour Old Havana before stopping at a community social project. The Arte Corte project began as a vocational program training hairdressers and barbers, but now supports a senior home and children's park. Interact with the locals as we explore an art market. (B,L,D)

Day 10

Havana / Miami

Transfer to the Jose Marti Airport for our charter flight to Miami, where you connect with flights home after 8 p.m. (B)


Please Note:
IE’s people-to-people program itinerary and /or specific hotel accommodations may vary depending on license regulations or other 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. A people-to-people license does not allow for time to explore independently.