A once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits on this Cuba travel program! Join Globus and be among the first American travelers in five decades to visit Cuba and its most fascinating cities. This special people-to-people program allows Americans and Cubans to share meaningful interactions while enjoying the rich history and culture of this amazing country. Every day of your travel program is filled with compelling educational activities and conversations, where both Cubans and Americans can openly share their ideas and opinions. Participate in discussions about Cuba’s history, agriculture, music, religion, and art. You can embrace Cuban culture when you meet and join in a discussion with the dancers of the world-renowned Camagüey Ballet Company; interact with local artists and exchange views on the importance of art to a community; engage with musicians who will introduce you to son, Cuba’s popular music; discuss private enterprise in Cuba with local owners and staff; and meet Cuban baseball players to discuss this favorite pastime in both Cuba and the U.S. All people-to-people interactions weave seamlessly into the daily visits around the country, serving to enrich and enlighten. On this Cuba tour program, you’ll also have a chance to explore some of Cuba’s colonial cities, with their cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. In fact, the city centers of Camagüey, Trinidad, and Havana have all been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Fascinating, informative, and insightful discoveries await you on this rare opportunity to visit the “Pearl of the Antilles.” It’s an experience like no other!
Group Voyagers, Inc.* is an organization licensed by the United States Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), CFR 515.565(b) and authorized to provide those who register as participants in our programs to visit Cuba legally for educational people-to-people interactions. Our unique itinerary for 2015: “Cuba’s Charming Colonial Cities & Havana” provides a full-time schedule of people-to-people educational exchange activities designed to result in meaningful interactions between our travelers and individuals in Cuba. United States law requires that all participants in our programs adhere to the full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.
*Group Voyagers, Inc. is the company that markets and sells the Globus family of brands.
The following UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be seen or visited on this vacation:
Breakfast daily including a Continental Breakfast in Miami, 7 lunches, 6 dinners including a farewell dinner in Havana
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Arrive in Miami and transfer to your hotel. Tonight, meet your Globus Group Leader for a 6 pm welcome drink. This is a good time to meet fellow program participants, get your questions answered, and prepare for your trip to fascinating Cuba.
This morning, a short flight brings you to Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city. Meet your Cuban National Tour Director, who will show you the city’s beautifully restored plazas and explain why Camagüey is nicknamed the “City of Squares.” One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards, much of the city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch, meet an award-winning ARTIST, and discuss the inspiration for her work and how she has given back to the community. Enjoy a bici (bike) taxi TOUR of the city center. Arrive at your hotel in the heart of Camagüey.
Today, meet dancers with the world-renowned Camagüey BALLET COMPANY, which has performed in over 40 countries. You’ll have a chance to meet and interact with the dancers, teachers, and costume makers. Journey to KING RANCH, an expansion of the famous Texas ranch of the same name, and its neighboring village, including stepping inside a home and school to discuss rural life and education. Then, over a barbecue lunch, connect with the cowboys who call the ranch home. Stop at Casanova POTTERY STUDIO to learn about Camagüey’s famous tinajones—large red pots found outside homes, a symbol of the city. See the traditional way of making the vessels and interact with the artists to learn the local legend. A relaxing dinner is at a local paladar (special, privately owned restaurant). Over dessert, discuss with the owner and staff the differences between a paladar, co-operative, and government-run restaurant in Cuba. Before returning to the hotel, meet members from the American Car Association and enjoy a ride in an OLD STYLER car.
Travel to Trinidad, crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial cities, founded in 1514 and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at a Casa Particular (bed & breakfast) and discuss private enterprise in Cuba with the owners and staff. This afternoon, stroll the streets of Trinidad, a cobblestone showcase of colonial architecture and pastel-colored houses decorated with wooden shutters and wrought-iron grilles. Caged songbirds outside the home are a Trinidad tradition. Interact with the librarian at the local LIBRARY, built from the estate of an American woman in the early 1900s, and learn about the library system in Cuba, including censorship and how the facilities are supported. Spend time at TEMPLO YEMAYA to discuss the Santeria religion. The religion was first brought to Cuba by African slaves who worked at the sugar plantation, and it has connections to Roman Catholicism and Native Indian traditions. Continue to Cienfuegos for a two night stay.
Settled by French immigrants more than 150 years ago, Cienfuegos is often referred to as the “Pearl of the South” because of its impressive beauty and colorful history. Your Cuban Tour Director will take you for an informative walk around the city’s main square. Next, an opportunity to engage with tobacco rollers at a CIGAR FACTORY, and to learn about the importance of tobacco, both culturally and commercially, for Cuba. Join in a discussion with artists at a graphic arts STUDIO and learn more about their lives, work, and how their art is created. Lunch is served at a waterside paladar. Before returning to your hotel, enjoy a performance and discussion with the CIENFUEGOS CHOIR.
After breakfast, travel through the countryside, passing sugar cane fields and banana plantations. We’ll stop in Playa Girón for a guided visit of the BAY OF PIGS MUSEUM. Nearby is the old sugar mill used by Fidel Castro as his center of operations during the 1961 invasion. Over lunch, join in a DISCUSSION with a local Naturalist as well as the family that runs the restaurant. Arrive in Havana, Cuba’s vibrant capital city. Before dinner this evening, meet with jazz musicians from the CUBAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. Enjoy a discussion to share the importance of music in everyday life and then be treated to a performance. Afterward, enjoy a tour of the illustrious HOTEL NACIONAL DE CUBA, a symbol of history, culture, and Cuban identity. The hotel has hosted celebrities and world figures over the decades, including Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, and Steven Spielberg.
Your day begins with a DISCUSSION with a local architect. Topics include Havana’s unique architecture, the challenges of renovating the city’s exquisite historic buildings, and the future of these restorations. Then, the opportunity to explore the charming cobblestone streets of OLD HAVANA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while participating in open dialogue with the local architect on architectural topics of interest. Our attention then turns to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Cuba for over 30 years and left behind an enduring legacy. It is here that he wrote several books, participated in fishing contests, and enjoyed the laid-back ambiance and warmth of the Cuban people. Engage with staff at FINCA VIGIA, his beloved home, and see his fishing boat, El Pilar. Lunch is at a local ORGANIC FARM, where you’ll join a discussion with the owners and learn about organic urban farming in Cuba. Before returning to Havana, visit a DAYCARE CENTER to interact with the children and workers who run the program.
A photo stop is made at REVOLUTION SQUARE before exploring the world-famous COLON CEMETERY with its elaborately sculpted memorials. Hear the cemetery’s captivating history, folklore, and stories about the many noteworthy people laid to rest here, including musicians, filmmakers, writers, politicians, Major League Baseball players, and La Milagrosa—the “Miraculous One.” Next, enjoy a visit to JOSÉ FUSTER’S STUDIO, cleverly nicknamed the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Here, you’ll discover a surreal world—like nothing you have seen before. Interact with members of the neighborhood to discuss the project’s impact on the surrounding area. Enjoy an afternoon choir performance, and join a discussion with choir members and their director from the CUBAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC. Before dinner, meet former Cuban baseball players for a DISCUSSION about the history and the love of this favorite pastime in Cuba and the United States. This evening, join your Cuban Tour Director and Globus Group Leader for a festive farewell dinner—the perfect ending to your time in Cuba.
After breakfast, depart for the airport and your return flight to Miami. Those returning to Miami on Sundays, please schedule connecting flights after 6:50 pm; those returning to Miami on Fridays, please schedule connecting flights after 2:15 pm.