Upon your arrival in Havana you will be met by your professional English speaking tour director and you will begin your culinary adventure. With influences from Spanish, African, Caribbean, and Indigenous flavors, Cuban food features a vibrant mix of homegrown recipes to savor and enjoy. Hearty stews, all kinds of beans with rice, distinctive fruits and vegetables…uniquely named dishes like ropa vieja, arroz con pollo, picadillo, and lechon asado…decadently sweet desserts and meals topped off with the ultra-sweet and strong espresso Cuban coffee...these amazing flavors beckon for you to explore and savor! First on the agenda is a visit to Finca Yoandra to take part in a cultural and educational exchange about their sustainable agriculture outreach project. Sip on a Cuban cocktail while you tour the medicinal gardens and interact with the representatives from the community projects for children and the elderly. Then take part in a cooking demonstration using the ingredients found at the finca and visit their famous wine cellar to choose a perfect vintage for lunch. Enjoy your first taste of authentic Cuban cuisine for lunch at the finca’s privately owned restaurant or “paladar” Il Divino. After your midday meal, check-in to your hotel and enjoy some time to settle into your room, then meet with your group for a welcome drink and short briefing about this outstanding Cuban culinary people-topeople program you are set to experience. Tonight, Cuba’s food scene says “Bienvenido” to you with a delicious dinner at San Cristobal Paladar. In small groups we will visit the kitchen for a discussion and live culinary presentation with the Chef. Later, a mixology moment is yours for the taking at Floridita, one of Hemingway’s favorite spots, and the birthplace of the Daiquiri where you will get to enjoy this well-known Cuban cocktail to toast your first day of exploring this island nation. (L,D)
Start your day with a delicious breakfast at your hotel then embark on an enlightening walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while participating in open dialogue with a local architect or historian. Learn about the challenges of renovating the city’s exquisite historic buildings, and see some of the area’s elegant restorations. Stroll along the beautiful cobblestone streets discovering Old Havana’s four main plazas and the Graphic Arts Workshop. Stop at the Museum of Chocolate for a delectable demonstration and tasting. Then move along to “Ivan Justo Paladar” for Cuban cuisine in this Old Havana private restaurant. After lunch, visit the School of Culinary Arts and take part in an interchange with Professors and Students. Tonight our dinner will be at a paladar that employs students and professors from the Culinary School. Later, enjoy a Jazz Show to round-out your evening of exploration and excitement. (B,L,D)
Today’s adventure begins with a visit to Finca Mediterraneo, which provides the organic products used by Paladar Meditteraneo where we will have lunch while enjoying a discussion with the Chef about farm-to-table Cuban cuisine. After lunch, we will head to the wholesaler that provides products to the paladares and as a group we will purchase food for tonight’s dinner. Return to your hotel and get ready for this evening’s lively and interactive activities. Before dinner, work up an appetite learning some sultry salsa moves as you take-in a live performance by the Danza Chevere Dance Company. Tonight’s paladar experience features a cooking demonstration where we will make a traditional Cuban meal utilizing the ingredients purchased at the wholesaler earlier in the day. An ultra-enriching optional excursion this evening offers you the exclusive opportunity to discover Havana’s Fabrica de Arte Cubano, an independent project and meeting place where the island’s avant-garde arts can be enjoyed, with all kinds of arts – music, painting, dance, and more – featured under one roof and offered at prices that make it accessible to the majority of Cubans. (B,L,D)
After breakfast at your hotel, depart for a day trip to Matanzas and Varadero. In Matanzas, visit the Afro-Atenas Community Project that focuses on Afro-Cuban culture and history. Here you will have the unique opportunity to discuss the specific culinary aspects of Afro-Cuban roots and traditions. Enjoy a musical performance and interchange with members before lunch at a nearby paladar. After lunch it’s on to Varadero where you will have time to enjoy the beach & bask in the glittering sun along Cuba’s most acclaimed beach before returning to Havana. Time to delve into the culinary scene and nightlife of Havana is yours for the taking during this evening at leisure. (B,L)
The day’s activities start with a visit to the Musuem of Decorative Arts that exhibits valuable works of French manufactures such as Chantilly and Limoges, and English manufacturers including Derby, Chelsea, Wedgwood, Worcester, and Staffordshire in its lobby and nine halls dating from 16th to 20th centuries. Before lunch, your will have an interactive experience at the Empresa Apicola Cubana to hear about Dulce Salud, “Sweet Health” and enjoy a taste of their honey- based products. Next, you will head to the charming fishing village of Jaimanitas to visit the home, workshop and gallery of world-renowned artist and painter José Fuster, often called the “Picasso of Cuba.” Take-in brightly colored sculptures and mosaics on the roofs, walls, doorways and benches stretching for blocks around his studio as you share lunch at the workshop. An afternoon to explore Havana at your own pace and evening sharing time with local residents caps off this splendid day. Dinner tonight is on your own to discover the flavors of Cuba. (B,L)
Today you will depart for Pinar del Rio and an all-day excursion to the eco-village of Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and site of the earliest surviving coffee plantations in Cuba. The picturesque white-washed village overlooks a lake and the community is filled with art studios workshops. On the way, stop at the Alamar Organoponico and speak with farmers and residents about organoponicos in Cuba while exploring the largest farm cooperative in the city. Enjoy lunch in Las Terrazas at El Romero, and participate in a discussion with Chef Tito about his special take on Cuban cuisine. After lunch, meet with residents, local farmers, and visit the local school before taking a plunge in the San Juan River for a refreshing swim. Return to Havana, then before dinner, visit the Hotel Nacional and enjoy a demonstration of how to mix the perfect Mojito, followed by cocktail hour in the garden. Your farewell dinner this evening will be enjoyed at La Casa Family Restaurant. (B,L,D)
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA with recipes to share and memories to enjoy from your immersive Cuban culinary extravaganza! (B)
Tour includes 16 meals: Breakfast daily, 6 lunches and 4 dinners with a cocktail and wine.
(*)Prices are per person, based on double occupancy and a minimum of 18 full paying passengers. Single supplements available on request.
Price does not include round trip air fare to Havana. With the return of scheduled air service from the USA to Cuba we are quoting the Hola Cuba program without including the air cost. Scheduled round trip flights will soon be available from your hometown to Havana.