Travel-Learn Program

Island Life in Cuba

When: November 04, 2017 - November 12, 2017 (iCal)

Description

 

“...one of those unusual experiences in which everything came together to perfection... Bravo!”

 

Due to extraordinary demand and "two thumbs up" from our previous travelers, we are once again offering this much anticipated program that provides a “People to People” opportunity—engaging Cubans and U.S. visitors with one another. Spend three nights in the spirited, soulful capital city of Havana, two nights in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cienfuegos, one night in culturally active Santa Clara, and two nights in Camagüey, also a UNESCO World Heritage site. We’ll also visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Old Havana, Trinidad, and the Viñales Valley. Accompanied by experienced, English-speaking Cuban hosts, we will immerse ourselves in Cuba’s history, culture, and daily life; interact with local Cuban experts including musicians, artists, farmers, academics and architects; and experience firsthand the character and traditions of the Caribbean’s largest and most complex island. Holguín and Santiago de Cuba Post-Program Option is available.

 

Activity Level: Very Active

During the excursions, we will experience cobblestone and potholed streets, rugged terrain, bumpy rides, lack of  elevators and air condoning in many locations, slippery surfaces, and very long staircase - some without railings. 

 

Brochure & Registration Form

 

Cost

Price From: $6,695
Price From: $6,195 (if booked by June 6, 2017)
Includes land and round trip air from Miami to Havana; per person, based on double occupancy.
Itinerary and price are tentative and subject to change.
To avoid the disappointment of a sold out program, Register Now!

Contact

Usha Nand Sellers Ed. D., Director Tufts Travel-Learn Program, at usha.sellers@tufts.edu or 617-627-5323.

Itinerary

Day 1: U.S./Havana, Cuba
Depart for Havana. Upon arrival, meet our Cuban hosts and guides, who will accompany us on this extraordinary “people-to-people” exchange opportunity. Check into Iberostar Parque Central and attend the Welcome Reception and Dinner.

 

Day 2: Havana
Havana’s downtown district of Vedado is a mix of old and new, including the University of Havana, the Capitolio reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol, the iconic Malecón (oceanfront promenade), the legendary Hotel Nacional de Cuba and many colonial mansions and townhouses. See Revolution Square, and visit Colón Cemetery with its stunning sculpture and architecture of its chapels, mausoleum, and vaults. The Spanish core of Habana Vieja, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a neighborhood of cobblestone streets, pastel-hued houses and picturesque squares. Here, the street life reflects the artistic and social lives of the locals. Lunch is at one of the city’s premier restaurants. Visit the community of Jaimanitas, home to one of Cuba’s best-known artists, José Rodríguez Fuster, a sculptor and painter inspired by Antoni Gaudí.

People-to-People Cultural Enrichments:

♦  Learn about student life at Havana University during a walking tour.

♦  Walk through Old Havana for its art and architecture.

♦  Attend a performance at Habana Compás Dance that merges the spirit of Spanish dance with percussive Afro-Cuban rhythms and contemporary dance.

♦  Interact with residents of José Rodríguez Fuster’s artistic community.

♦  Dinner is in a local paladar.

 

Day 3: Havana for Pinar del Río and Viñales Valley 
Viñales Valley in the province of Pinar del Río is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The valley is a widely photographed 270-square-mile plain surrounded by limestone karst hills called mogotes. This farmland is among Cuba’s richest, and renowned for robust coffee and tobacco products central to Cuban history and identity.

People-to-People Cultural Enrichments:

♦  In the historic Pinar del Río, visit a community art project for youngsters with Down syndrome.

♦  Tour an organic farm and engage in discussion with the farmer, followed by a home style lunch with his family.

♦  Meet a traditional tobacco farmer and cigar roller in Vuelta Abajo, the country’s tobacco heartland. Meet his family in his home to sample Cuban coffee.

♦  Meet for dinner in a paladar.

 

Day 4: Havana/Santa Clara/Cienfuegos
Check out of the hotel and visit Finca Vigía, the former home of “Papa” Hemingway, This farmhouse is where he wrote The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Visitors are not allowed inside the home, but may walk around the property. Continue to Santa Clara, an active town and the gateway to Cuba’s agriculturally rich region. Long associated with Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the prestigious university town of Santa Clara features spectacular colonial theaters. Visit the Teatro La Caridad, and one of the eight Grand Theaters, where famed musicians such as Enrico Caruso once performed. See the impressive Che Guevara Monument and walk through the History Museum of the Revolution. Transfer from Santa Clara to Cienfuegos. Upon arrival, check into the Jagua Hotel.

People-to-People Cultural Enrichments:

♦  In the ommunity Casa de Abuelos, learn about social welfare in Cuba and speak with elder residents and staff, who will introduce us to a Cuban dance tradition, the danzón.

♦  Dinner this evening is in a paladar.

 

Day 5: Cienfuegos/Trinidad
This “Pearl of the South,” a UNESCO World Heritage harbor city of Cienfuegos was founded by French settlers from Louisiana and Bordeaux while located in a Spanish territory, making for fascinating blend of history and local culture. Once a trading port for sugarcane, coffee and tobacco Cienfuegos was built in a neoclassical style from the wealth of these industries, and its original grid layout plan reflects early urban planning. Visit the eclectic Teatro Tomás Terry, which hosted its first opera in 1890, and walk through the town square, Parque José Martí, named for the Cuban national hero. Following lunch in a local restaurant, transfer to Trinidad and check into the Iberostar Grand Hotel.

People-to-People Cultural Enrichments:

♦  Listen to a performance by the Orquesta de Cámara and meet the musicians.

♦  Dinner is in a local paladar.

 

Day 6: Trinidad
Developed from the wealth of the sugar industry, UNESCO World Heritage Trinidad retains much of its colonial charm, with terra-cotta tiled roofs, pastel-hued houses, cobblestone streets and ornate tiled courtyards. Walk through Plaza Mayor, and visit the neoclassical Museo Romántico and Palacio Cantero, two museums showcasing the history of Trinidad.

People-to-People Cultural Enrichment:

♦  Attend rumba and salsa performances at the Palenque de los Congos Reales, an outdoor music center devoted to traditional Cuban music and dancing.

♦  Visit Casa Chichi, a multigenerational pottery workshop that uses clay sourced from Cuba’s caves, and the Yudit Vidal Faife art studio, to see this artist’s colorful and optimistic series of paintings.

♦  Lunch and dinner in paladares.

 

Day 7: Trinidad/Sancti Spíritus/Camagüey
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage- Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) for an in-depth look into the sugar industry that once flourished.  In nearby Sancti Spíritus—one of Cuba’s seven original villas founded by conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar and named after the Holy Spirit—take a walking tour through the town’s colorful, historic center. Transfer through the scenic, verdant heartland of Cuba to Camagüey and check into the Hotel Santa María.  Dine in the hotel’s rooftop restaurant.

People-to-People Cultural Enrichment:

♦  Lunch is in a paladar in Sancti Spíritus.

 

Day 8: Camagüey
According to legend, Camagüey’s narrow, winding streets, reminiscent of a Moroccan medina, were designed to protect the city’s residents by confusing marauding pirates. Today, the friendly camagüeyanos help visitors discover the hidden gems among their alleyways and beautifully preserved plazas, Baroque churches, and a Gothic necropolis. The city’s center, the best preserved on the island, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Seldom-visited Camagüey is known as the city of tinajones. These large, red earthenware pots were used to store water but are now an ornamental hallmark of residents’ patios, gardens, and courtyards. In addition to the impressive architecture, cultural treasures abound in Camagüey. From a prestigious ballet company to numerous art galleries and houses painted in a rainbow of pastels, Camagüey has a rich tradition of celebrating the arts. Following lunch in a local restaurant, experience the sights and sounds of Camagüey’s old town aboard a famous Cuban bicitaxi—a three-wheeled pedicab. This evening, attend a Farewell Dinner in an authentic local restaurant.

People-to-People Cultural Enrichment:

♦  See a demonstration of the making of tinajones at the family-run Casanova pottery studio.

♦  Interact with performers of the world-famous Camagüey Ballet during a rehearsal.

♦  Visit several contemporary art studios, including that of the award-winning artist Martha Jiménez, the home of painters Joel Jover and Ileana Sánchez, painter Orestes Larios Zaak and Magdiel García Almanza’s sculpture studio.

♦  Attend a performance of local flamenco dancing.

 

Day 9: Camagüey/U.S.
Check out of the hotel and continue to Holguín for the Post-Program Option, or transfer to the airport for homeward bound flights.

 

*Price and Itinerary are tentative and subject to change

 

617-627-5323|usha.sellers@tufts.edu