On this Cuba travel program, unlock the secrets of Eastern Cuba on this unique people-to-people program with Globus. This rare travel opportunity facilitates memorable interactions between Americans and Cuban workers, performers, artisans, and residents, and explores this beautiful island nation’s compelling history and rich culture. You’ll be immersed in everyday life here through captivating educational activities and conversations with Cubans about a wide range of topics. Visits include a print shop that still employs traditional printing and binding methods, a mechanical music-organ factory, the Casa de la Cultura (a community center), Fidel Castro’s boyhood home at Birán, the Matachin Museum in an 18th-century Spanish Fortress, a cocoa farm, a rum factory, Santiago de Cuba’s historic city center, and Teddy Roosevelt’s fabled San Juan Hill. You’ll also visit the San Pedro de la Roca Castle, a World Heritage Site built in 1638, and you’ll interact with the semi-indigenous Guirito community. You’ll join in a farm-to-table mojito-making demonstration and an interactive dance lesson, enjoy a scenic cruise on Santiago Bay, and see the changing of the guards at Santa Ifigenia Cemetery. All this and more await on this Cuba tour program as you explore and discover “Eastern Cuba’s Hidden Gems.”
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: “Eastern Cuba’s Hidden Gems” 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 Santiago de Cuba
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Arrive in Miami and transfer to your hotel. This evening, meet your Globus Group Leader for a 6 pm welcome drink and briefing. This is a good time to meet your fellow program participants, ask questions, and get prepared for your trip to fascinating Cuba.
This morning, fly to Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second-largest city, located on the island’s southeastern shores. Upon arrival, continue to Guantánamo and visit CASA DEL CHANGUI, where you’ll learn about the origins of Cuban music and will interact with the cultural center’s members and musicians. Travel through lush mountain scenery and climb the stunning mountain road of La Farola, arriving in Baracoa, Cuba’s oldest city and the site where Christopher Columbus first set foot in Cuba.
As this is known as the “Land of Cocoa,” our first stop is FINCA DUABA to learn about the world of cocoa production and the strong cocoa bean traditions in this region. Meet workers and discuss the process still used by farmers in the area. Next is an interactive exchange with the semi-indigenous GUIRITO community to experience traditional Kiriba and Nengon music and dance. Over a light lunch with the locals, sample some of the most typical foods that are found only in this part of Cuba. Visit the MATACHIN Museum, located in an old fortress. Interact with the city historian and staff, and hear tales of Baracoa’s past and some of the village’s unique citizens. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local paladar (special, privately owned restaurant). Over dessert, discuss the free enterprise system in Cuba and the U.S. with the owner and staff.
Leave the seaside village of Baracoa and travel on the scenic La Farola road which climbs through the lush Cuchillas de Baracoa mountains. Stop for incredible views and to interact with the vendors selling crafts and goods from this region. Continue through rolling farm lands to the sandy shores of your beautiful waterside resort for a 2-night stay. Enjoy an interactive DANCE LESSON before dinner this evening.
Travel to the fishing village of Gibara where you’ll met with local FISHERMEN to discuss how they make a living from the sea. Next, interact with members of the community at CASA DE LA CULTURA. Discuss the variety of programs offered to local children, adults, and senior. Lunch today is a “farm-to-table” experience at a local paladar. Visit the restaurant’s garden, and discuss the different herbs grown and how they’re used in cooking. Enjoy a mojito-making DEMONSTRATION before returning to your hotel.
Today, includes time in Holguin, with a visit to a traditional PRINT SHOP. Interact with staff and learn about the process used to make paper, print and bind their one-of-a-kind books. Continue to a mechanical MUSIC ORGAN FACTORY to see these impressive instruments from yesteryear. Continue to the farming village of BIRAN, Fidel and Raul Castro’s birthplace and boyhood home. Learn about the Castros’ early years, their family, life in this rural community and interact with local residents. Arrive Santiago de Cuba and check into the modern Melia Santiago de Cuba Hotel for a 3-night stay.
Start the day with a stroll through the streets of historic Santiago de Cuba with a local HISTORIAN, and discuss the various architecture types, restoration projects, and damage still present from Hurricane Sandy. Next, enjoy a panoramic CRUISE in Santiago Bay, arriving at quaint Granma Island. Over lunch, join a DISCUSSION with local fishermen and learn about their fishing practices and their community project that helps sustain the environment. Then, visit legendary SAN PEDRO DE LA ROCA CASTLE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1638, it has been the site of battles against pirates, smugglers, and home to many well-known prisoners. During your visit, meet a local VOCAL GROUP that will impress you with their musical talents. Discuss the inspiration for their songs, various backgrounds, and future aspirations. A stop is made at SAN JUAN HILL, where Teddy Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and America’s Buffalo Soldiers emerged victorious in the Spanish-American War. Before returning to your hotel, join in a DISCUSSION with local university students and their professors to learn more about Cuba’s educational system.
Start the day with a visit to the church of Cuba’s patron saint, LA CARIDAD DEL COBRE (Our Lad of Charity). Located near a copper mine, the church sits on a hillside overlooking the beautiful valley below. Interact with local parishioners and discuss the history of this amazing shrine as well as some of the traditions, holidays, and special events celebrated here. Visit the sanctuary which holds everything from the humblest of offerings to precious jewels, sports trophies, military decorations and once held the Nobel Prize for Literature medal placed here by Ernest Hemingway. Return to Santiago de Cuba, where we visit Jardin de los Helechos, the GARDEN OF FERNS. Here you’ll interact with workers to learn about the various ferns and orchids found in the garden. Next, visit CASA CARIBE to discuss the Santeria religion, and its connections to Roman Catholicism and Native Indian Traditions. This afternoon, visit SANTA IFIGENIA CEMETERY, where Cuba’s national hero, Jose Marti, is laid to rest. Witness the Changing of the Guards, hear the interesting folklore, and admire the magnificent architecture of this beautiful cemetery. Before returning to your hotel, stop at a RUM FACTORY to discuss the history of this factory and the important of the rum industry in Cuba. This evening, enjoy a festive dinner, the perfect ending to your time in Cuba.
After breakfast, depart for the airport and your return flight to Miami. Please schedule connecting flights from Miami after 2:15 pm.