The hotel is a 10 minute drive from the airport and offers a free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. To call the shuttle upon arrival at the airport: On the 2nd Level / Departure Level, go to the nearest outside door and identify the Door number. Call the hotel on (305) 261-3800 and tell them your location. The shuttle will come and pick you up upon request.
People to People Connection: La Tumba Francesca Pompadour. Meet and interact with dancers and perfomers who carry on this Franco-Haitian tradition. The dance, song, and drumming style known as “Tumba Francesa” (French drum) was brought to Cuba by Haitian slaves who were resettled in the island’s eastern regions during the 1790s. It embodies one of the oldest and strongest links to the Afro-Haitian heritage -- a fusion of music from Dahomey in West Africa and traditional French dances. La Tumba Francesca is inscribed on the UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
People to People Connection: Casa del Changüí. Meet and interact with musicians who play this style of popular Cuban music and see how each instrument is played. Changüí originated in the early 19th Century, combining elements of Spanish canción with African rhythms and percussion instruments.
Lunch: In a local restaurant.Afternoon: Return to Santiago. En route, a People to People Connection: Meet and interact with a local family. Their home, as is typical with many Cuban families, houses three generations. Over coffee and conversation, learn what life is like for typical Cubans in this area.Dinner: Explore the selection of private enterprise Paladars in Santiago. A list of suggestions will be provided.Lodging: Melia Santiago de CubaMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Stop at El Cobre Sanctuary, dedicated to the Patron Saint of Cuba. Here, pilgrims from all over Cuba come to pray and ask for favors of the country’s most cherished saint. Continue on to Bayamo, the second city founded by the Spanish in Cuba, in 1513.
People to People Connection: Meet woodworkers and craftspeople who build horse carriages – both real and model – that are used all over the country as one of the main forms of transportation. Then, experience this mode of travel first hand during a short carriage ride through the city, an enlightening change of perspective from riding in a motorcoach.
Lunch: In a local restaurantAfternoon: Continue the drive to Camaguey, arriving in the late afternoon.Dinner: Buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant.Evening: Enjoy the evening breezes and views from the rooftop terrace of the hotel.Lodging: Gran HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Field Trip: One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba, Camagüey played a prominent role as the urban center of an inland territory dedicated to cattle breeding and the sugar industry. The third-largest city in Cuba, the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that just celebrated its 500 year anniversary. Explore the main squares, the church and the city park by pedicab, each uniquely decorated by a local artist. Traveling by pedicab is an intimate introduction to the pulse of the city's streets and residents.
People to People Connection: Meet the creator of a unique public art program who has received UNESCO recognition as an intangible cultural treasure of Cuba. Martha Jimenez is a world-renowned sculptor and painter; she created the Plaza Carmen Sculpture project and will share with us her motivation and her community around Carmen Square.
Lunch: In a Paladar on Carmen Square.Afternoon: Free Time in Carmen Square: Examine the sculptures of every day life by Martha Jimenez. Stroll at your leisure to peek into the other independently owned art galleries on the square and speak with the artists on your own. Return to the hotel on foot.
People to People Connection: This evening we visit a unique artist studio and meet the owner and some of the resident artists, each one using a different medium. This presents the unique opportunity to discuss the role of the Artist in Cuban society and to better understand the level of freedom they are given in their pursuit of creativity. It is also an opportunity to engage with the owner who is a member of the Cuban Jewish community.
Dinner: Walk to dinner in a restaurant nearby.Lodging: Gran HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
People to People Connection: meet with members of a professional choir and learn about their work, their performance travels and their daily lives. Continue on to Santa Clara, about a one-hour drive.Dinner: In the hotel restaurant.Lodging: Hotel AmericaMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Drive through the famed Colon Cemetery to see the spectacular crypts built prior to the revolution. Late afternoon arrival at the Hotel Nacional. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and an orientation walk through this historical and beautifully preserved national monument. This sprawling property includes a Hall of Fame, featuring photographs and folklore about its many famous past guests: Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Meyer Lansky and more.Dinner: In the hotel restaurant.Lodging: Hotel Nacional de CubaMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Field Trip: Explore the Fine Arts Museum of Havana. Cuban art is renowned world-wide. Delve into the stories that each work of art relates and the statement on politics, culture and society that each artist conveys.
End the morning in Old Havana with a People to People Connection: Meet with members of a graphics workshop and discuss what they do.Lunch: Lunch on your own in Old Havana.Afternoon: Field Trip on foot to discover 2 of the main squares of Old Havana: Plaza de la Cathedral and Plaza Vieja. Each square has its own unique features.
People to People Connection: At the San Jose Artisan Market, interact with artisans selling their original works. Here, see paintings, photography, crochet, wood crafts and many other forms of art. This is a wonderful opportunity to ask the artisans about their inspirations and their daily lives.Dinner: On your own to discover one of the many Paladars that have opened in Havana (suggestions will be provided).Lodging: Hotel Nacional de CubaMeals Included: Breakfast
Depart to the Artemisa region for a full morning of People to People Connections as you interact with students and faculty at a small rural school in Las Terrazas. Learn about this UNESCO Biosphere reserve that was a pioneer in ecovillages when it was founded in 1968. Meet residents, Artists, Artisans and many others who make their lives here in this unique community.Lunch: Enjoy a unique vegetarian meal at the Las Terrazas restaurant, El Romeo, which focuses on sustainable farming practices and produces most of its own ingredients.Afternoon: People to People Connection: Meet Maria and learn how she, like many Las Terrazas residents, conceived an idea and developed her own business in the community. At the town square, meet with local residents at the ration store, the doctor and artisans. Return to Havana.
People to People Connection: At San Lazaro Hospice, meet with the nuns to learn about the hospice care provided. (Please Note: Road Scholar makes a financial contribution to the hospice on your behalf but if you wish to bring donations, the most up-to-date needs are listed on the Road Scholar Discussion boards. This hospice is able to continue to exist in large part, due to the support of Road Scholar participants.)
Dinner: On your own to discover one of the many Paladars that have made Havana a foodie destination. (Suggestions will be provided).Lodging: Hotel Nacional de CubaMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Visit the famous Revolution Square in Havana and learn about the monumental events that have taken place there.
People to People Connection: Meet the members of a community center and learn about the variety of activities that the center sponsors in their neighborhood.Lunch: Enjoy a meal prepared for you by the ladies of the community center.Afternoon: Cross the harbor to take in the view from La Cabana Fortress, overlooking the city skyline and the mouth of the harbor. also known simply as "El Morro" This fortress protected the mouth of the Havana harbor in its day.
People to People Connection: Visit the home of a family who all work in the medical fields and at the same time operate a private business.Dinner: Free Enterprise: Farewell dinner in a Paladar.Lodging: Hotel Nacional de CubaMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transfer from to the airport in Havana for your return charter flight to the US.Dinner: On your own in the airport café.Evening: Upon arrival at Miami International Airport, clear U.S. Customs and Immigration then transfer to the hotel using the hotel shuttle. Check in to the Miami Airport hotel. Program ends.Lodging: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport & Convention CenterMeals Included: Breakfast