Stride climate

Trip Type : Group Tour
Hidden Rajasthan and the Holi Festival

Discover Cuba: Its People and Culture

Smithsonian Journeys
3.0 . Average
50%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
8 days
From: $ 5,895 $ 737 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Preservation: Explore World Heritage sites and learn about preservation efforts from Cubans who are passionate about their architectural heritage.
  • Art Traditions: Discover Cuba’s sophisticated art traditions during visits with artists in their studios.
  • Religion: Learn about the African origins of Cuba’s Santeria religion as you engage with practitioners 
at a local museum.
  • Music: Hear the complex rhythms of Cuban music, from son to rumba and jazz, and learn about these uniquely Cuban music styles.
  • Unique to our program! Attend a special panel discussion with a diverse group of experts, which takes place in Miami prior to your departure for Cuba.
  • Please note: Our November 10-19, 2016 departure runs on a 10-day schedule.

Short Description

With Cuba going through dramatic change, this enigmatic and frozen-in-time nation is a compelling place to visit now. With Smithsonian Journeys, you
 will have a historic opportunity to enjoy the traditional Cuban culture of today. *During our specially designed People-to-People program, explore Old Havana, charming Trinidad, and more. You’ll learn through firsthand contact with Cuban artists, musicians, students, teachers, environmentalists, and others who are eager to exchange views with you.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Miami
End City Miami

Trip Includes

  • Pre-program one-night hotel stay included in the cost of the program.
  • Cuban visa, processing and required Cuban medical insurance
  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour management throughout the tour.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy).
  • Meals as indicated on the itinerary, including special welcome and farewell dinners.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • Baggage handling for one bag plus one carry-on bag per person.
  • Service charges and gratuities.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Miami

Meals: Dinner

Arrive in Miami and check into the Pullman Miami Airport hotel. This evening, begin your People-To-People program in Miami with a welcome reception and lively, thought-provoking panel discussion on the most vital issues facing Cuba today. Your Smithsonian Journeys expert joins two other Cuba experts to share insights into the Cuban economy, political structure, and culture. A lively question and answer session concludes the panel, preparing you for the week ahead. This valuable meeting with a range of Cuba scholars is an exclusive feature of Smithsonian Journeys’ Cuba programs.

Day 2: Miami to Havana

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Parque Central

Depart Miami this morning on a charter flight to Havana. After clearing customs and claiming your luggage, visit Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemmingway’s home for 20 years. With an expert, explore the 12 acre property and house that contains original furniture, artwork and personal memorabilia. Then continue on to lunch at a local restaurant that sources ingredients from their organiponico, or urban garden. After lunch, take an orientation bus tour of the city, including Revolutionary Square and Morro Castle. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception, introductory talk by your Smithsonian Journeys expert, and dinner at one of the city’s paladars, a privately owned restaurant.

Day 3: Havana

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Parque Central

Begin the day with an historical overview of the city of Havana with an architectural historian. Hear about the city’s history, urban layout and architecture, as well as the success and challenges of Havana’s preservation efforts before embarking on a walking tour of Habana Vieja to see the city’s Colonial architecture and plazas firsthand. Along the way, meet with artists at a local graphics art workshop. Later, visit a children’s community project utilizing circus performance for social development.

Day 4: Havana

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Parque Central

This morning, meet with a representative from the U.S. Embassy in Havana to learn about the recent developments in normalizing the relationship between the two countries. Next, visit the National Arts Schools. Accompanied by a faculty member, tour the campus learning of its unique architecture and meet with students. After lunch, visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts to explore the museum’s Cuban collection to learn how the country’s history and diverse cultures have influenced its art. *Schedule permitting

Day 5: Havana to Cienfuegos

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation:

Depart for Cienfuegos and after lunch, explore the French-influenced city center of Cienfuegos, a World Heritage site. Walk down the Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian-only boulevard lined with various stores, to Parque Martí. Some of Cienfuegos’ prominent architecture frames this central square. This afternoon, enjoy a performance by the Choir of Cienfuegos, a local acapella group that has received international acclaim. After dinner tonight, mingle with local residents at a community block party.

Day 6: Trinidad

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Rancho Luna

En route to Trinidad, a World Heritage site, stop at the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens, the largest of its kind in Cuba, and learn of their efforts to maintain their rich biodiversity and extraordinary plant life. Afterwards, visit a former sugar mill town and with a historian, tour the town and meet the modern day inhabitants. Continue to Trinidad and discover its pastel-colored Colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and beautiful plazas. Meet with a representative of the City’s Historian Office to discuss the achievements and the challenges of preserving this 16th-century city. During your exploration of Trinidad, meet with shopkeepers, owners of Casas Particulares, or privately owned Bed and Breakfasts, and other members of the community.

Day 7: Cienfuegos to Havana

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Rancho Luna

This morning, return to Havana and en route, stop at the Bay of Pigs and visit the nearby Playa Giron Museum. Stop in the outskirts of Havana at the community of Guanabacoa to learn of the continent’s influence on Cuba and the Afro-Caribbean religion, Santeria. Enjoy a musical performance dedicated to the various deities of the religion. Take the opportunity to discuss the importance of the arts with the performers.

Day 8: Havana

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Parque Central

Begin the morning with a visit to the Felix Varela Cultural Center to hear about the fascinating programs offered to Cuban citizens including the Cuba Emprende Project, a training and advisory center for Havana’s future entrepreneurs. Next, visit the University of Havana and enjoy a guided tour of the historic campus with students and school representatives. After lunch, engage in a Q&A session with a panel of Cuban experts from different fields to discuss such topics as economics, women’s rights and the future outlook of their country. This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner.

Day 9: Depart for the U.S.

Meals: Breakfast

Bid farewell to Cuba and transfer to the Havana Airport today for your return charter flight to Miami. 

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 5,895
Price Per Day: $ 737 per day
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  • Deposit Price: $ 500

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Smithsonian Journeys.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Stride Featured in

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2 Smithsonian Journeys Travel Reviews & Ratings

50%
3.0 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 1
Great 0
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 1
Value
3.0
Guide
3.0
Activities
5.0
Lodging
5.0
Transportation
3.0
Meals
4.0

Discover Cuba: Its People and Culture

Write a Review

Get to Cuba before it changes because it has to.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Cuba has been open to limited group travel for four years and is being opened to individual travel (still with restrictions) now. With thousands of Americans descending on our nearest island neighbor, Cuba has to increase its tourist infrastructure - and lose some of its charm.

Smithsonian Journeys is a great way to see Cuba before it changes. Yes, Smithsonian tours are more expensive than some other tour companies but the phrase, "you get what you pay for", certainly holds true. Everything about the tour was top notch - the American tour coordinator, the local Cuban guide, the itinerary - the best. And everything is included - everything - tipping, all activities, tours. Cuba is a fascinating destination and deserves a quality tour company.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

Pullman Miami Airport - Miami, United States

Conveniently located near the Miami International Airport, the hotel is tastefully decorated in Art Deco style overlooking a peaceful blue lagoon. Modern rooms feature the Pullman's luxurious feather top and duvet sleep system. Airport Shuttle service is available and there are two restaurants on site.

Number of nights: 1

Hotel Parque Central - Havana, Cuba

The Hotel Parque Central is located in the center of Old Havana and within walking distance to Plaza de la Catedral, the Capitolio, the Gran Teatro de La Habana, and the Havana Harbor. There are beautiful views of Havana from the rooftop pool. The hotel amenities include a business center, pool, and two restaurants, as well as wireless Internet in the lobby. All hotel rooms feature air-conditioning, satellite television, telephone, hair dryer, and safety deposit box. Travelers on 2016 departures will stay in the Parque Central on the evenings of days 2-4, 7, and 8.

Number of nights: 5

Cancellation Policy:

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: $500 retained (entire deposit).
  • Final payment due: 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations made less than 90 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.

No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

Trip ID#:

DisCubSmi

Trip Excludes

  • Round-trip charter airfare, $525 per person, between Miami and Havana, is additional and must be purchased with your tour.
  • Transfers to and from your home to the program site and transfers to and from the airports, unless specifically noted
  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, a-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Room service and valet/laundry service.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.

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