Upon your arrival in Havana you will be met at the airport and taken by deluxe motor coach to begin your exploration of Havana. We start with a visit to the former presidential palace, now the Museum of the Revolution that displays documents and artifacts, weapons and planes from the 1950s revolution. The museum was formerly the home to Cuba’s leaders from the 1920s until 1959. Upon check in at your hotel there will be a briefing to review your tour schedule, followed by your official welcome-to-Cuba dinner. (D)
¡Bienvenidos! After breakfast at the hotel, depart for Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to explore its four main plazas and cobblestone streets. Stop at the Maqueta Vieja Habana Museum that houses the scale model of the city before continuing to the Graphic Arts Workshop where you will have an opportunity to speak with their artists. Next it’s on to meet locals at ArteCorte, a community project started by a successful hairdresser that gets idle young kids off the streets and teaches them moneymaking skills. After an enjoyable lunch at El Figaro, a local paladar, continue through Old Havana and see the Almacenes de San José, an artisans market for shopping and learning first-hand how some of the local crafts are created. Dinner this evening will be at “La Elite” Paladar. (B,L,D)
Your culturally enriching adventure continues today with a morning visit to a local cigar factory to see firsthand how they grow, dry and prepare the tobacco before hand-rolling the famous Cuban cigars. Next, in the Romerio neighborhood, you will visit one of Cuba’s most well-known artists, Kcho, world-renowned for his monumental and evocative sculpture, installations, paintings and prints inspired by his island home. Following, continue on to the home/studios of acclaimed artist José Fuster who specializes in ceramics, painting, drawing, engraving and graphic design. His ongoing project is redecorating his and his neighbors’ houses into what is called Fusterlandia in Jaimanitas with lunch following. In the afternoon enjoy a special presentation and tour of the Antonio Núñez Jimenez Foundation for Nature and Humanity, a scientific and cultural institution dedicated to the research and promotion of culturally and socially directed environmental protection. This evening is yours to enjoy dinner and explore the city at your leisure – make Cuba your own tonight! (B,L)
Following breakfast, depart for a visit to a community dance project where you will see and learn firsthand how to dance and sway to the marvelous rhythms of salsa. Then it’s on to the Litz Alfonso Dance Company to meet the students and be treated to a special live rehearsal. After a visit to a marvelous children’s art project, lunch has been organized at a local paladar. Next, step back to the 1940s and 50s as you enter the landmark Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Feel like Hollywood elite as you tour the hotel where time stands still and sip on a mojito in the lovely gardens overlooking the Malecón (broad esplanade and seawall) and Straits of Florida beyond. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the wonders of Havana. Take in the sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club with dinner at Café Habana where you can dance late into the night. (B,L,D)
We depart Havana today for Cienfuegos, Cuba’s “Pearl of the South.” Our morning commences with a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts or the Museum of Decorative Arts to marvel at Cuban masterpieces and more. On our way to Cienfuegos we visit Finca Yoandra, a farm that supplies many of the local restaurants – including Il Divino Paladar, where we will enjoy lunch. Upon arrival in Cienfuegos you will get to check in to the hotel and then partake in dinner at a local restaurant followed by a stop at the Afro-Cuban community project of Trazos Libres, an art project of murals on homes. (B,L,D)
Today, on your way to the colonial city of Trinidad, stop for a walk through the Botanical Gardens of Cienfuegos, brimming with lush greenery and beautiful flora and fauna. Then it’s on to Trinidad, a well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 1514 situated between the mountains and the sea. After a city tour and lunch at a local restaurant, tour Casa del Alfarero, a ceramics workshop where you will learn the secrets to creating some of the handicrafts you have seen throughout this adventure. Then enjoy some free time to walk the winding cobblestone streets with oxcarts loaded with local wares, and take in the views of the pastel colored homes and buildings. Dinner and further discoveries are at your leisure this evening back in Cienfuegos. (B,L)
After breakfast this morning, enjoy the Cienfuegos Choir before departing the city and heading towards Finca Vigia (Lookout Farm), in San Francisco de Paula, to visit Ernest Hemingway’s winter home from 1939 to 1960. See the author’s 9,000 volume library, his yacht Pilar and the typewriter on which he wrote some of his greatest works (For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea) while learning about his life here during a talk with a docent. Lunch will be enjoyed in the former fishing village of Cojimar, where Hemingway moored his boat and the movie The Old Man and the Sea was filmed. After having time to speak with local fishermen, you will head back to Havana and check in to your hotel. A special farewell dinner is planned this evening to cap off your Cuba vacation. (B,L,D)
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA. We hope you had an inspiring, insightful, and wonderful holiday with Central Holidays in Cuba! (B)