|Style||Escorted or Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||September 2015 – April 2016|
|Departs||Miami (MIA) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Havana, Cojimar, Callejon de Hamel, Las Terrazas, Ernest Hemingway's Finca Vigia, and a dinner in a "paladar".|
|Themes||History & Culture|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted educational program includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
After many years, Americans are again able to travel to Cuba under a "People-to-People" program authorized by the U.S. government, which provides an opportunity to interact with Cubans through educational exchanges concerning art, music, culture, and more. Friendly Planet is proud to be one of the few tour companies in the United States to have been awarded a "People-to-People" license by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Join us for a unique adventure to experience this island which sits 90 miles off our shores and shares such an amazing and extraordinary history with the United States!
Cuba's culture is rich with contributions from its indigenous, African and European roots. But above all, the people of Cuba are the island's greatest asset. They are friendly, welcoming, resourceful and full of life. This travel package to Cuba will introduce you to the people and provide ample opportunities to interact with them in meaningful and rewarding ways, learning and teaching each other about life in Cuba vs the USA. But don't wait to reserve your spot. With a rare opportunity like this, and prices this low, space is sure to fly!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Sun||Jul 5||2015||Fri||Jul 10||2015||$2599||Closed|
|Sun||Aug 16||2015||Fri||Aug 21||2015||$2899||$2599||Closed|
|Sun||Sep 6||2015||Fri||Sep 11||2015||$2799||$2499||–$100||$2399||Available|
|Sun||Sep 27||2015||Fri||Oct 2||2015||$2799||$2499||–$100||$2399||Available|
|Sun||Oct 4||2015||Fri||Oct 9||2015||$2799||$2499||–$100||$2399||Available|
|Sun||Oct 18||2015||Fri||Oct 23||2015||$2799||$2499||Closed|
|Sun||Nov 15||2015||Fri||Nov 20||2015||$2899||$2599||–$100||$2499||Available|
|Sun||Dec 13||2015||Fri||Dec 18||2015||$2899||$2599||–$100||$2499||Available|
|Sun||Jan 3||2016||Fri||Jan 8||2016||$2899||$2599||–$100||$2499||Available|
|Sun||Feb 7||2016||Fri||Feb 12||2016||$2899||$2599||–$100||$2499||Available|
|Sun||Feb 28||2016||Fri||Mar 4||2016||$2899||$2599||–$100||$2499||Available|
|Sun||Mar 6||2016||Fri||Mar 11||2016||$2899||$2599||–$100||$2499||Available|
|Sun||Apr 3||2016||Fri||Apr 8||2016||$2899||$2599||–$100||$2499||Available|
Want to stay longer? Unfortunately, we don't offer late returns on this package.
Please note: Our Refer A Friend program is not applicable on our Cuba programs.
|Single Room Supplement|
|Jan 3, Feb 7, Feb 28, Mar 6, Apr 3||+$329|
|All other departures||+$299|
|Optional Post-Night Crowne Plaza Miami|
|Optional Post-Night Crowne Plaza Miami|
|Jan 3, Feb 7, Feb 28, Mar 6, Apr 3||+$85|
|All other departures||+$70|
|Single Room Supplement|
|Jan 3, Feb 7, Feb 28, Mar 6, Apr 3||+$85|
|All other departures||+$70|
|Taxes & Fees|
|Cuba Visa Fee||included|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
The first day of each listed departure date is an overnight stay in Miami, Florida, with an included pre-tour introductory briefing.
Day 1: Miami Overnight & Introductory briefing. Your unforgettable journey to Cuba begins today with an overnight stay in Miami, Florida. If you are arriving at Miami International Airport, complimentary hotel shuttle service to the Crowne Plaza is available every 20 minutes from any 2nd level departure terminal, simply hail the driver as they pass. This evening at 7:30pm, participate in an introductory briefing to get acquainted with your fellow travelers and review your documents and program itinerary. You will be informed of the departure time of the group shuttle leaving the hotel tomorrow morning. Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Miami Airport.
Day 2: Miami/Havana. Today, transfer to the Miami International Airport to board your non-stop flight bound for Havana, Cuba’s capital city and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bienvenidos a Havana! You are welcomed by your private Cuban people-to-people representative holding a Friendly Planet sign outside the arrivals terminal at the Havana Airport. Board your air-conditioned coach, and jump right in as you head directly to your first destination in Cuba.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the center of Old Havana, followed by a leisurely orientation walk with your guide through the vibrant cobblestone streets as you immerse yourself in the colors of Cuba which surround you.
Explore the Used Booksellers Market, a cross-cultural treasure trove for readers of every genre. Meet local independent booksellers and engage in friendly conversation with Cuban readers about popular Cuban and American literature.
Now that you’ve had a taste of what lies ahead during your visit to Cuba, it’s time to check in to your hotel.
This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. Accommodations: Hotel Nacional. Lunch & dinner provided.
Day 3: Old Havana. Begin our day with a visit to a primary school (ages 5 - 12) located in Old Havana. Interact with the children in their classrooms and participate in a discussion session with some of the school’s administrators and teachers about Cuba’s education system and how it compares to that of the United States. Please note that should a school not be available or not in session, Friendly Planet will substitute the school visit with an equally enjoyable and interesting visit to another community project in Havana.
Then continue on to the private studio of one of Cuba’s talented independent artists. During your visit you’ll learn different techniques of printmaking, sculpture and other art forms from innovative Cuban artists and their teams.
Continue to a local ration store. Your Cuban host will explain the system of rationing and the two-currency system as well as the difference between Ration Stores, Cuban Peso Stores, and CUC stores.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
This afternoon, visit the Vocal Leo, a group of 14 talented singers who perform under the direction of Corina Campos, general and musical director of this unique, award-winning group known internationally for its distinctive interpretation of choral music. The group is named for the Cuban guitar virtuoso, composer and orchestra conductor, Leo Brower. After watching a performance or rehearsal, discuss the professional music scene in Cuba and the USA.
Later this evening, meet in our pre-reserved meeting room at our hotel and engage in a discussion with an English-speaking Cuban expert on the history of U.S./Cuban relations in the 20th & 21st centuries with the opportunity to ask questions in an uncensored format.
Afterwards, enjoy dinner on your own. We recommend dining at a paladar. Feel free to choose one from the list we provide or ask your guides for recommendations. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 4: Havana, Alamar & Cojimar. This morning, drive to Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s Cuba retreat. Then, drive to the district of Alamar on the outskirts of Havana. Started as an expansive social housing project in the 1970’s, these Soviet-style pre-fabricated concrete apartment blocks are now home to hundreds of thousands of Cubans.
Among the buildings in Alamar are community gardens, called Organoponicos, where residents grow fruit, vegetables and herbs for their own consumption and local sale. Similar to co-op and community gardens in the United States, these Organoponicos facilitate community development and offer Alamar’s residents access to fresh produce. Enjoy a visit to one of these Organoponicos, which few visitors to Cuba have the opportunity to do.
Visit Cojimar, the fishing village that was the setting for Hemingway’s book, The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at a local paladar.
This afternoon, visit the famous Christopher Columbus Cemetery, a miniature city of mausoleums, crypts, family chapels, vaults, sculptures and ornate gravestones. Continue to the Artisan Market, where you’ll find plenty of souvenirs, including handicrafts, posters and other collectibles.
Afterwards, return to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 5: Havana & Las Terrazas. Depart for Las Terrazas in Artemisa Province, a “must see” in Cuba and known worldwide for its magnificent, scenic beauty.
Las Terrazas was founded shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 as a model community, where local farmers, known as campesinos, moved closer together in order to help each other overcome the hardships of sleeping in huts with thatched roofs, of living without electricity and of living without local schools or medical services.
First, stop briefly at the Clinica Las Terrazas† to learn how medical services are handled in rural Cuba. Locals visit this small, multi-purpose center for medical advice, often non-traditional and homeopathic, and referrals to larger medical centers in the city, dental care by the area’s sole dentist, and even a haircut by the town hairdresser, with whom the space is also shared.
At our next stop, we’ll visit the town’s coffee shop, Café Maria. Maria's family has been welcoming visitors for years to enjoy the “best coffee in the country.” Discuss coffee culture in Cuba and throughout the world and how cafes act as places for social interaction.
Las Terrazas is now part of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve, much of it reforested coffee plantation. Real reforestation began in the late 1960s by the local farmers who were concerned that their land had been degraded by former French coffee barons.
Visit the art studio of Lester Campa (When in residence).
Now you’re in for an authentic, country-style lunch prepared and served outdoors at a local farmhouse near Las Terrazas.
On the way back to Havana after lunch, we have the distinct pleasure of visiting “Fusterlandia”, the home and surrounding neighborhood of “The Picasso of the Caribbean”, Jose Fuster. Starting with a small wooden home as his canvas, Mr. Fuster has turned his dream into reality and transformed not just his own home but the entire neighborhood into a unique and colorful artistic landscape. Using the money he makes from selling his artwork, Jose adorns the community with sculptures and mosaics galore.
After some well-deserved ‘down time’ at the hotel, join your fellow travelers at the farewell dinner, served in a privately owned restaurant. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes as you enjoy live, traditional Cuban Buena Vista-style music and salsa dancing. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Havana/Miami. This morning, we travel to one of Cuba’s well known dance companies to enjoy watching a rehearsal, followed by a discussion with the directors and dancers about dance opportunities in Cuba compared with those in the USA.
Then, bid farewell to Cuba as you transfer to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport and check-in for your charter flight back to Miami. Adios Havana! Breakfast provided.
† These visits are subject to availability. When not possible to visit, appropriate alternate visits will be included.
NOTE: This itinerary provides a full time schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interactions between you and individuals in Cuba. U.S. law requires that all persons who participate in this program adhere to this full time schedule, and imposes on Friendly Planet the obligation to ensure such adherence.
Infrastructure in Cuba, including even the best hotels, may not always be up to U.S. standards. The hotels really do try to maintain quality accommodations, and in the properties we select for our tours, they generally do a good job. However, Cuba's resources and climate do sometimes impact a hotel's ability to keep up with maintenance and indoor air quality. For example, in Cuba's tropical climate, you might notice musty odors in some buildings, including hotels. We do our best to select the highest quality hotels, restaurants and paladars that Cuba has to offer, but we appreciate your flexibility and understanding when you encounter a minor imperfection. Cuba has a long way to go before its hotels, highways, public restrooms and other features reach U.S. levels, but all in all, you will not suffer any major difficulties in tolerating the small issues that may occur. If you have any medical or dietary concerns, however, please inform us when you make your reservation, so we can take whatever special precautions are required to assure your comfort and well-being.
FRIENDLY PLANET'S LICENSE NUMBER FOR SELLING CUBA: CT-2014-309385-1
It is difficult to summarize how great our experience was in Cuba with a short comment. Everything about our trip was memorable.... the people, the food, the history, Old Havana, the Malecon, Las Terrazas, the activities, and our guides were all great. I am glad that Cuba is not spoiled by an abundance of overzealous American tourists, but I do wish that more people could experience it.