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.
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.Lunch: In a local restaurant.Afternoon: In this People to People Connection, visit one of Cuba’s only independent dance companies, MalPaso, to watch a rehearsal, then interact with them for one-on-one conversation, an opportunity to practice some Spanish! Enjoy a drive through the Colon Cemetery, and learn the stories of the monumental architecture and of the famous Havana personalities who are buried there.Dinner: Free Enterprise: Enjoy dinner in a Paladar, a privately owned restaurant.Lodging: Hotel Nacional de CubaMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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. Field Trip: Walk through Old Havana and focus on the oldest part of the city at the Plaza de Armas (Arms Square). People to People Connection: Visit the home of a family who all work in the medical fields and at the same time, operates a private business.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, Lunch
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 Biophere 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
People to People Connection: meet with members of a professional choir and learn about their work, their performance travels and their daily lives.Lunch: In a Paladar in Cienfuegos.Afternoon: Continue on to Trinidad, about a one-hour drive. Field Trip On Foot: Explore the historic center of Trinidad de Cuba, one of the original Spanish Settlements and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is a pristine example of Spanish colonial Caribbean architecture and has just celebrated its 500 year anniversary. People to People Connection: Meet your host families for these evening, residents who operate bed and breakfasts in their homes and some of the first people in Cuba to practice the new spirit of free enterprise.Dinner: Enjoy a home-cooked meal prepared by your hosts at your Casa Particular.Evening: Relax at your bed and breakfast accommodation or take an evening stroll through the town.Lodging: Casa Particular (Privately Owned Bed & Breakfast)Meals 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.Dinner: In a privately owned Paladar on San Juan Square.Lodging: Gran HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
In 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 Santiago. 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. Arrive in Santiago in the late afternoon.Dinner: Buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant.Lodging: Melia SantiagoMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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: Free Enterprise: Farewell dinner in a Paladar (privately owned restaurant).Lodging: Melia SantiagoMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner