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|Featuring||Take in the heart & soul of this colorful & cultural island: Havana, Cojimar & Las Terrazas|
|Style||Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Havana, Cojimar, Las Terrazas, Ernest Hemingway's Finca Vigia, and a dinner in a "paladar".|
|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.|
In recent months, we’ve seen the restoration of ties continue between the US and Cuba, and more and more travelers are clamoring to visit the elusive island now, while it remains a genuine time capsule.
Discover Havana is the perfect opportunity to visit this island, only 90 miles off the coast of Florida, on a short six day getaway. You’ll dive deep into the extraordinary history and attractions of Havana, Cuba’s political and cultural center. Explore the Spanish Colonial architecture and vibrant colors of Old Havana as you visit the private studio of one of Cuba’s talented independent artists. Then discover Ernest Hemingway’s home, a co-op community garden in Alamar, and an old coffee plantation at Las Terrazas. Plus plenty more! This program will introduce you to the people of Cuba and provide ample opportunities to interact with them in meaningful and rewarding ways.
Friendly Planet is proud to be one of the first U.S. tour companies to have been awarded a People to People license. We received our first license in September, 2011, and since then, we’ve sent thousands of American travelers to Cuba to participate in unique, inspiring, and affordable encounters with the Cuban people.
Dates, Prices & Options
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Flights & Departure Cities
First day of listed departure date is an overnight stay and introductory briefing in Miami.
Day 1: Miami Overnight/Pre-tour introductory briefing
Accommodations: 1 night Crowne Plaza Miami Airport Hotel.
- Arrive in Miami
- Attend an introductory briefing at your hotel at 7:30 p.m.
Full Day Itinerary: Your journey to Cuba begins today with an overnight stay in Miami. 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 7:30 p.m., participate in an introductory briefing to get acquainted with your fellow travelers, review your documents, and complete the final paperwork for travel to Cuba. You will be informed of the departure time of the group shuttle leaving the hotel tomorrow morning.
Day 2: Miami/Havana
Accommodations: 4 nights Hotel Nacional, Havana. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- Depart the USA on your charter flight for Havana
- Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant
- Leisurely orientation walk through Old Havana
- Explore the Used Bookseller's Market
- Welcome dinner at your hotel
Bienvenidos a Havana! You are welcomed by your private Cuban National Guide 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 into your hotel. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.
Day 3: Old Havana
Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.
- Visit a primary school or a community project
- Continue to a private studio of one of Cuba's talented independent artists
- Learn about Cuba's two currency system at a local ration store
- Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant
- Watch a performance by Vocal Leo
- Engage in a discussion with a Cuban expert about the history of U.S.–Cuba relations
Full Day Itinerary: Begin your day with a visit to a primary school (ages 5–12) 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. Should a school not be available or not in session, you'll instead enjoy an equally 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.
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.
Return to the hotel and gather in a pre-reserved, private meeting room where you will engage in a discussion with an English-speaking Cuban expert on the history of U.S.–Cuba 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.
Day 4: Havana, Alamar & Cojimar
Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.
- Explore Ernest Hemingway's home, Finca Vigia
- Tour co-op community gardens in Alamar
- Enjoy lunch in the fishing village of Cojimar
- Visit the famous Christopher Columbus Cemetery
- Stop by the Artisan's Market on the Malecon
Full Day Itinerary: This morning, drive to Hemingway's Cuba retreat. There are many historical and cultural ties between Cuba and the United States, and one of the best known is the legacy of Ernest Hemingway, who lived more than 20 years in Cuba, from 1939 to 1960. You'll visit Hemingway's beautiful mansion, now a museum, Finca Vigia, (literally meaning "lookout farm"), where his 9,000 book library is preserved, as well as his animal trophies and famous fishing boat, Pilar.
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.
You'll continue on to the quaint fishing village of Cojimar, the setting for Hemingway's book, The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at a local paladar. La Terraza Restaurant, where the book's character Santiago brings in the remains of his epic fish, still stands today, and the pier where Hemingway's fishing boat docked can be seen from the shore.
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.
Day 5: Havana & Las Terrazas
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- Stop by the Clinica Las Terrazas
- Enjoy a cup of coffee at Café Maria
- Tour the old coffee plantation
- Visit the studio of Lester Campa, when in residence
- Enjoy an authentic, country-style lunch prepared and served outdoors
- Visit Jose Fuster's whimsical "Fusterlandia"
- Join your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner
Full Day Itinerary: 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 their rural life: sleeping in huts with thatched roofs, without electricity, and with no 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 your next stop, you'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. Tour the old coffee plantation.
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, you'll visit "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 downtime at the hotel, join your fellow travelers at a farewell dinner, served in a privately owned restaurant. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes as you enjoy live, traditional Cuban music and salsa dancing, reminiscent of Buena Vista Social Club.
Day 6: Havana/Miami
Included meals: Breakfast.
- Watch a rehearsal by one of Havana's well-known dance companies
- Transfer to the airport and board your charter flight back to Miami
Full Day Itinerary: 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!
† These visits are subject to availability. When not possible to visit, appropriate alternate visits will be included.
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 wellbeing.
Our Refer A Friend program is not applicable on our Cuba programs.
FRIENDLY PLANET'S LICENSE NUMBER FOR SELLING CUBA: CT-2014-309385-1
Best trip we have ever taken. Our guides (Gary White and Ari) were so friendly and professional. We saw things we could never have found ourselves. I can't say enough good things about the experience. It all went like clockwork (to the extent anything in Cuba can do so). If you ever want to see Cuba, see it now, and see it with Friendly Planet!
Valerie Fisher, Portland, OR
Before You Book
- Do I need a visa or any other documents? Travel visas are required for this package. Please review the requirements.
- Should I purchase travel protection? Protect your travel investment with our recommended travel protection plan.
- What's the fine print? Read the terms & conditions for this package.
- I'm traveling solo. Can you help me find a roommate? Yes, you can connect with other travelers to share a room and avoid single occupancy rates.
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 12 or older at the time of travel.
- What should I know about Cuba? Check out our country guide for travel tips, the best time to go, blog posts, videos, and more.
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