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|Itinerary at a Glance|
|1||Miami Overnight/ Pre-tour
|4||Havana & Santa Clara|
|5||Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus,
|8||Trinidad & Havana|
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Havana, Trinidad, Santa Clara, Cojimar, and Ernest Hemingway's Finca Vigia.|
|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.|
Registration deadline by June 4th, 2014. Only 12 spaces available.
Sorry, there are no currently available tour dates.
Day 1 - Saturday, Sep 6: Miami Overnight/ Pre-tour 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 - Sunday, Sep 7: 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 Cuban 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 a leisurely orientation walk in Old Havana. Then, visit the Plaza de la Revolución and the Columbus Cemetery. Accommodations: Capri Hotel.
Visit the private home and studio of famed photographer Roberto Salas. Mr. Salas was formerly the personal photographer of Fidel Castro during the revolution. Many of his iconic photos of Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra are known to the world to this very day.
Enjoy a walk through Old Havana with options to take pictures of the cobbled stoned streets, plazas, and colonial buildings. Visit to the Fototeca de Cuba and photo gallery in Conde de Villanueva.
Visit Lazaro Salsita, a wonderful after school art project for children in Central Havana, run by Lazaro Medina. Here, children learn not only how to create art, but also how to invent materials from just about anything. His most popular materials are typically discarded “Granma” and “Juventud Rebelde” newspapers. Meet Lazaro, his young students and maybe try your own hand at creating a sculpture made out of old newspaper or discarded string.
This afternoon, drive in classic American vintage cars to the house of Hemingway, Finca Vigia, and the sleepy fishing village of Cojimar which served as the setting for “The Old Man and the Sea”.
Stop at Morro Castle for a scenic view of Havana. Breakfast provided.
Upon arrival, visit the high lights of the city, including a visit to Che Guevara Mausoleum and Museum where we learn about the man himself. This is a fascinating study in both history and passion of Che’s possessions and the photographic chronicle of his life.
Enjoy a visit to the Santa Clara Music and Performing Arts School, with dance, theater and music performances by the students and plenty of opportunities to take photos. Participate in a discussion with faculty and students about the role of music and education in the USA, and the impact of music on Cuban life and its importance in education in Cuba. Should this school not be available, or in session, during your trip, an equally enjoyable and interesting visit to another community project will be substituted. Accommodations: Hotel America. Breakfast provided.
Visit 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.
Then, depart for Trinidad and visit Sancti Spiritus on the way. Accommodations: Hotel Las Cuevas. Breakfast & dinner Provided.
Day 6 - Thursday, Sep 11: Trinidad. After an early breakfast at the hotel this morning, visit the local steam train through the Valley of the Ingenios.
In the afternoon and at sunset, a local professional photographer leads us on a personal photo tour of the downtown historical center of Trinidad. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Then, our photo tour will continue through the colonial city of Trinidad. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 8 – Saturday, Sep 13: Trinidad & Havana. We depart Trinidad this morning and drive back to Havana.
This afternoon, visit the colorful Callejon de Hamel, one of the shortest but most interesting streets in Havana.
Here you will discover how the African Cuban religion of Santeria, a fusion of African belief systems like spirit worship and Christianity, is portrayed in the street art and music. Meet with artists, including Salvador Gonzalez Escalona (when in residence), whose prolific murals that adorn the neighborhood reflect the culture and religious beliefs of this area.
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. Accommodations: Capri Hotel. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 9 - Sunday, Sep 14: Havana / Miami. Today, 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.
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. Visits indicated are subject to availability. When not possible to visit, appropriate alternate visits will be included.
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 it’s hotels, highways, public restrooms and other features reach US 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.
Having once discovered the delights of Paris and Germany, the travel bug was firmly in place. Trish spent three years living and working in the beautiful island of Hawaii where she built up an in depth knowledge of the island, its people, its history and mastered her talent as a photographer. In addition to speaking Portuguese, she speaks English and Spanish. In 2012, Trish became a Certified International Tour Manager through IGA located in Denver, CO. She has been leading tour groups with Friendly Planet around the majestic Caribbean island of Cuba for the past two years – Thus far, she has gained extensive knowledge of this country, its unique people and fantastic culture. Eventually, Trish would like to combine her love of travel and photography to aid countries like Cuba, Brazil and Africa through humanitarian aids.
Trish Oliveira, Certified International Tour Manager
FRIENDLY PLANET'S LICENSE NUMBER FOR SELLING CUBA: CT-2012-295959-1