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Road Scholar
Program #20437RJ
9 Days | 8 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Aug 27 — Sep 4, 2013

Expand all
Type: Hotel

Description: Explore a full range of attractions within minutes of Miami Airport hotel's front door- including Downtown Miami, South Beach, University of Miami, the Miami Beach Convention Center, Coral Gables and countless golf courses. The airport is 10 minutes from the hotel and offers a free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel which runs every half hour. Look for a red colored Marriott shuttle curbside at the "Arrivals" level.

Contact info:
1201 N.W. Lejeune Rd.
Miami, FL 33126 USA
phone: 305-642-8200
web: www.marriott.com/miaap

Room amenities: AC, hair dryer, cable TV, telephone, free in room high-speed internet

Facility amenities: Business center, pool, fitness center, restaurant on-site, room service

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Contact Road Scholar Travel
Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for details.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Tuesday, August 27 - Flight to Miami / Orientation / Overnight in Miam...
Afternoon: PLEASE NOTE: This day-by-day schedule should only be used as a guide since program elements are subject to change as availability is controlled by the Cuban government. Individuals will arrive at the Miami International Airport with an independent transfer to the hotel using their free shuttle service. Upon arrival at the hotel, check in and relax until orientation. Please arrive no later than 4 PM. The Road Scholar Group Leader will be in the hotel lobby at 4:45 PM to accompany the group to the orientation room. Welcome and orientation begins at 5:00 PM followed by a presentation by a member of the Cuban American community in Miami to hear about the Cuban American experience.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Courtyard by Marriott Miami Airport South Hotel

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Located in the center of the city, the hotel stands on a hill just a few meters from the sea, which offers a great view of the Havana Harbor, seawall/malecon, and the city. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was declared a National Monument and was inscribed in the World Memory Register.

Contact info:
Calle 21 y O, Vedado, Plaza
Havana, 10400 Cuba
phone: + 53 7 836 3564 al 67
web: www.hotelnacionaldecuba.com/en/home.asp

Room amenities: Air conditioning, safe, radio, TV, minibar, phone, hairdryer

Facility amenities: 3 Restaurants, swimming pool, bar, 24 hour room service, business center with computers that have internet access (open from 9:00AM-7:00PM). The hotel has unreliable WiFi service. There is internet service at the hotel however, it is very expensive and very slow. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba charges 2.5 CUC’s for 15 minutes of internet access. PLEASE NOTE: If you exceed that time and use 16 minutes, you will be charged for two(2) 15-minute intervals.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Two: Wednesday, August 28 - Transfer to Miami airport for flight to Havana, C...
Transfer to Miami airport for flight to Havana, Cuba / Revolution Square / Welcome to the Nacional Hotel

Breakfast: Breakfast boxes at the hotel in Miami.

Morning: Early morning departure from the hotel to the terminal (final flight times will be confirmed during orientation). The Road Scholar Group Leader will meet the group in the hotel lobby to transfer to the airport. Please be in the hotel lobby with your luggage and be ready to depart the hotel 15 minutes before departure schedule. Transfer to the airport and check in to the charter flight to Havana. PLEASE NOTE: Flight times are subject to change and will be confirmed in the Final Information Packet. Upon arrival in Havana, enjoy a welcome greeting by an experienced bilingual Cuban Guide, who will be with us for the entire program. Along the route, visit the famous Revolution Square in Havana and learn about the monumental events that have taken place there. On some buildings facing the square, notice monuments of several Cuban heroes. This is a great opportunity to take a group picture. Enjoy a drive through the Colon Cemetery, and learn about the stories of the historic upper class in Havana who are buried there.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, continue with a coach excursion through Modern Havana. Arrive at the Hotel Nacional and enjoy a welcome cocktail and a guided exploration of this historical and beautifully preserved hotel. This sprawling property includes a Hall of Fame featuring pictures and folklore about its many famous past guests: Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson, Eva Gardner, John Wayne and many, many more. After checking in, unpack and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Evening at leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Located in the center of the city, the hotel stands on a hill just a few meters from the sea, which offers a great view of the Havana Harbor, seawall/malecon, and the city. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was declared a National Monument and was inscribed in the World Memory Register.

Contact info:
Calle 21 y O, Vedado, Plaza
Havana, 10400 Cuba
phone: + 53 7 836 3564 al 67
web: www.hotelnacionaldecuba.com/en/home.asp

Room amenities: Air conditioning, safe, radio, TV, minibar, phone, hairdryer

Facility amenities: 3 Restaurants, swimming pool, bar, 24 hour room service, business center with computers that have internet access (open from 9:00AM-7:00PM). The hotel has unreliable WiFi service. There is internet service at the hotel however, it is very expensive and very slow. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba charges 2.5 CUC’s for 15 minutes of internet access. PLEASE NOTE: If you exceed that time and use 16 minutes, you will be charged for two(2) 15-minute intervals.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Three: Thursday, August 29 - History and Architecture of Old Havana / Discover...
History and Architecture of Old Havana / Discovery of the Four Squares in Old Havana / Book Sellers Market

Note: Walking up to 2 - 2.5 miles over uneven cobbled streets is required in Old Havana

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy an open discussion with a local architect involved with the government-funded restoration project of Old Havana; converse about the work being done and ask questions to someone who is central in the execution of this enormous project. Next, discover the four "plazas" in Old Havana: Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco de Asis, and Plaza de Armas. Each square has its own unique features. In the Plaza de la Catedral, visit the Cathedral de la Havana with its stunning architecture (seeing the inside of the Cathedral is subject to it being open). The Cathedral is an enormous structure built in Spanish Baroque style in 1729 and once housed the ashes of Christopher Columbus' son, Diego. Today, it has been completely restored and features wooden and ceramic figurines of the saints. In Plaza Vieja, discover the finest examples of restoration and see the wooden bricks in the walkway. In the Plaza de San Francisco de Asis, the beautiful architecture of the restored Convento of San Francisco is an amazing sight.

Lunch: Lunch on your own at a local restaurant in Old Havana.

Afternoon: People Connection: In Plaza de Armas, see the facade of the city museum, also in Spanish Baroque style, and speak with every day Cubans at the the used Book Sellers Market. Understand how books have a large cultural influence in Cuba and have an opportunity to discuss with locals their tastes, thoughts and desires in literature. The market is a cross cultural treasure trove for those interested in literature. Stop at the San Jose Feria, 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: Dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Evening at leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Located in the center of the city, the hotel stands on a hill just a few meters from the sea, which offers a great view of the Havana Harbor, seawall/malecon, and the city. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was declared a National Monument and was inscribed in the World Memory Register.

Contact info:
Calle 21 y O, Vedado, Plaza
Havana, 10400 Cuba
phone: + 53 7 836 3564 al 67
web: www.hotelnacionaldecuba.com/en/home.asp

Room amenities: Air conditioning, safe, radio, TV, minibar, phone, hairdryer

Facility amenities: 3 Restaurants, swimming pool, bar, 24 hour room service, business center with computers that have internet access (open from 9:00AM-7:00PM). The hotel has unreliable WiFi service. There is internet service at the hotel however, it is very expensive and very slow. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba charges 2.5 CUC’s for 15 minutes of internet access. PLEASE NOTE: If you exceed that time and use 16 minutes, you will be charged for two(2) 15-minute intervals.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Four: Friday, August 30 - Expert Presentation / Guanabacoa Region and home ...
Expert Presentation / Guanabacoa Region and home visit / Afro-Cuban Religion / San Lazaro Medical Center / Community Center

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Participate in a dialog about the history of U.S.-Cuban relations led by an expert in the field. Listen and understand a Cuban's perspective on the tumultuous relationship between the two countries, and have an open discussion on the topic. People Connection: Next, interact with a middle-class family and learn about life in Cuba. Explore the Guanabacoa Museum, and learn about the religion of Santeria. This religion melds Catholicism and native African beliefs developed by slaves to hide their true religions from their owners. This museum is also devoted to other forms of Afro-Cuban religion and features a small but significant collection of displays. Enjoy the opportunity to interact with Santeria practitioners, and witness a music and dance performance by the Santeria deities.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: People Connection: This afternoon, visit a hospice specializing in long-term patient care for skin diseases, which is run by the Sisters of Charity. Enjoy a brief presentation by one of the Sisters, and have enlightening discussions with the Sisters who take care of the sick. Afterwards, discover the San Lazaro Church named after the Catholic Saint of the Poor. Each year on December 17th, San Lazaro Day, thousands of Cubans trek to this church; some pilgrims even make the trek barefoot or drag stones behind them. People Connection: Next, meet with students at a community center in Managua that educates underprivileged children in several subjects including English. (PLEASE NOTE: These two locations accept donations. Please see the donation list in this information packet for details.)

Dinner: Dinner on own in Havana. This is an ideal opportunity to explore one of the many paladars (home hosted meals) that offers a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face in much smaller groups with local Cubans. This is also an opportunity to go into Old Havana and explore the culinary selection available. A list will be provided of good choices and the Cuban Guide can help make recommendations on site.

Evening: Evening at leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Located in the center of the city, the hotel stands on a hill just a few meters from the sea, which offers a great view of the Havana Harbor, seawall/malecon, and the city. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba was declared a National Monument and was inscribed in the World Memory Register.

Contact info:
Calle 21 y O, Vedado, Plaza
Havana, 10400 Cuba
phone: + 53 7 836 3564 al 67
web: www.hotelnacionaldecuba.com/en/home.asp

Room amenities: Air conditioning, safe, radio, TV, minibar, phone, hairdryer

Facility amenities: 3 Restaurants, swimming pool, bar, 24 hour room service, business center with computers that have internet access (open from 9:00AM-7:00PM). The hotel has unreliable WiFi service. There is internet service at the hotel however, it is very expensive and very slow. The Hotel Nacional de Cuba charges 2.5 CUC’s for 15 minutes of internet access. PLEASE NOTE: If you exceed that time and use 16 minutes, you will be charged for two(2) 15-minute intervals.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Saturday, August 31 - Expert Presentation / La Cabana / Hemingway / Fin...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Connect with an expert on religion and identity in Cuba. Partake in an interchange of ideas revolving around religion and ethnicity in Cuba and how Cubans have formed their identities throughout and after the Revolution. This afternoon, pause at the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana, also known simply as "La Cabana." This fortress protected the mouth of the Havana harbor in its day and offers unique views over Havana - ideal for gaining a better understanding of the city's layout. The journey continues to the Finca La Vigia, the Hemingway Farm. This beautiful property hosts the house where the Nobel Prize-winning author lived with his third wife Mary for over 30 years. Look into the open windows and doors to see the home in perfect condition with Hemingway’s personal belongings as he left them. Walk the grounds to see his private writing studio, swimming pool, and beloved Pilar vessel which he used to patrol the Caribbean waters for Nazis. This Pilar vessel is featured in his novel "Islands in the Stream." People Connection: Visit a Farm " La Yoandra" that is part of the network of Sustainable urban agriculture. Meet with the farm expert and learn about the project and discuss the work they do.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Take a field-trip to the Fine Arts Museum of Havana. Among the permanent pieces, see a castle made entirely of coffee percolators and a sculpture of the world made entirely of small wooden carvings of Cuba.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Evening at leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: With its magnificent location in the well-known residential area of Punta Gorda in the southern city of Cienfuegos, the Jagua is considered one of Cuba's most famous hotels. Its comfortable rooms are characterized by the spaciousness of the 50 's and offer beautiful panoramic views.

Contact info:
Calle 37 No. 1 e/ 0 y 2
Punta Gorda
Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos Cuba
phone: +53 43 551 003
web: www.gran-caribe.com/english/hotel.asp?hotel_code=SCTGCJagua#rooms

Room amenities: Air Conditioning, safe, phone, room service, minibar, 220 volt electricity, TV, hairdryer,

Facility amenities: Bar, swimming pool, restaurant, laundry service. PLEASE NOTE: The hotel does not have WiFi service. There is internet service at the hotel however, it is very expensive and very slow. You may purchase a card at the hotel for internet access. The price is 3 CUC’s (subject to change) for 30 minutes.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Six: Sunday, September 01 - Depart for Cienfuegos / Bay of Pigs / Ration and ...
Note: Walking up to 2 – 2.5 miles over uneven cobblestone streets in Cienfuegos with limited places to sit.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Depart Havana for the countryside where life unfolds before our eyes. It is a very unique and interesting experience to see horse drawn carriages in abundance, and horses used frequently for transport. Make a stop at Playa Giron, also known as the Bay of Pigs, which is a small coastal village, and was the site of the historical 1961 clash between CIA-trained Cuban exiles and Cuban rebel forces. Explore the Bay of Pigs Museum which commemorates the devastating battle that took place at this location. The museum reveals the Cuban perspective of the infamous invasion, and houses many historical artifacts including a Sea Fury fighter aircraft, photos, and maps outlining each step of the failed mission.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant on the Caribbean Sea.

Afternoon: People Connection: Upon arrival in Cienfuegos, stroll through the main shopping street of Cienfuegos and learn about the differences between Ration, Cuban Pesos and CUC stores. Explore the complexity of the two-currency system and have the opportunity to talk with Cubans and workers who shop at these stores. Explore the city of Cienfuegos and enjoy a short walking excursion of the Plaza Jose Marti, the main square in Cienfuegos. Talk briefly about the square's history while you have the opportunity to see local Cuban life and observe the beautiful buildings that surround it, including the Tomas Terry Theater.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Evening at leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Jagua

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: With its magnificent location in the well-known residential area of Punta Gorda in the southern city of Cienfuegos, the Jagua is considered one of Cuba's most famous hotels. Its comfortable rooms are characterized by the spaciousness of the 50 's and offer beautiful panoramic views.

Contact info:
Calle 37 No. 1 e/ 0 y 2
Punta Gorda
Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos Cuba
phone: +53 43 551 003
web: www.gran-caribe.com/english/hotel.asp?hotel_code=SCTGCJagua#rooms

Room amenities: Air Conditioning, safe, phone, room service, minibar, 220 volt electricity, TV, hairdryer,

Facility amenities: Bar, swimming pool, restaurant, laundry service. PLEASE NOTE: The hotel does not have WiFi service. There is internet service at the hotel however, it is very expensive and very slow. You may purchase a card at the hotel for internet access. The price is 3 CUC’s (subject to change) for 30 minutes.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Seven: Monday, September 02 - Arts School / Trinidad / Valley of the Sugar Mill...
Note: Walking up to 2 - 2.5 miles over uneven cobblestone streets in Trinidad with limited shade and places to sit.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Meet with faculty and students at the Benny More Art School. Beny More, a native of Cienfuegos and famous Cuban singer, is honored and remembered by this institution. Here, speak with students and faculty about life at the Benny More school. (PLEASE NOTE: This is an activity on the program that accepts donations, please see the donation list in this information packet for more details. If the Benny More Art School is closed or is unable to accept the group, then another site will be substituted). Afterward, depart for Trinidad, the crown jewel of the colonial Cuban cities. Founded in 1514, this time capsule of a city is a mix of historical landmarks and majestic natural beauty.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Trinidad

Afternoon: Discover the colonial city of Trinidad and walk to Plaza Mayor to explore the historically and architecturally significant landmarks of this colonial province. The Cuban Guide will talk about the history of the once decadent buildings on the Plaza Mayor. People Connection: After the walk through beautiful Trinidad, enjoy an enlightening encounter with the owner of a free-enterprise "casa particular" or Cuban bed-and-breakfast. This is the perfect place to learn about the relatively new development of independent business in Cuba, while understanding the owners' family history as it is tied with the home that he transformed into a casa particular. Explore his home and business and ask him questions about his entrepreneurship, family, and the history of the house. Next, explore the Valley of the Sugar Mills (Valle de los Ingenios), to discover the natural history of the valley and see the ruins of one of twelve sugar mills where 50 sugar mills once stood at the peak of the Cuban sugar industry. The panoramic views and incredible historical valley have contributed to the honor bestowed upon the region in 1988 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dinner: Dinner buffet at leisure at the hotel.

Evening: Evening at leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Jagua

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: With its magnificent location in the well-known residential area of Punta Gorda in the southern city of Cienfuegos, the Jagua is considered one of Cuba's most famous hotels. Its comfortable rooms are characterized by the spaciousness of the 50 's and offer beautiful panoramic views.

Contact info:
Calle 37 No. 1 e/ 0 y 2
Punta Gorda
Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos Cuba
phone: +53 43 551 003
web: www.gran-caribe.com/english/hotel.asp?hotel_code=SCTGCJagua#rooms

Room amenities: Air Conditioning, safe, phone, room service, minibar, 220 volt electricity, TV, hairdryer,

Facility amenities: Bar, swimming pool, restaurant, laundry service. PLEASE NOTE: The hotel does not have WiFi service. There is internet service at the hotel however, it is very expensive and very slow. You may purchase a card at the hotel for internet access. The price is 3 CUC’s (subject to change) for 30 minutes.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Check out time: 12:00 PM

Day Eight: Tuesday, September 03 - Santa Clara / Senior Center / Che Memorial / Musi...
Note: There will be standing and walking through the Che Memorial & Museum for about an hour with limited places to sit.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning, take a field-trip to Santa Clara, the beautiful provincial capital of the region Villa Clara. People Connection: Discover a local Farmers Market, where you will have the opportunity to talk with local farmers about their produce, and learn about what it is like to farm and be a farmer in Cuba. People Connection: Enjoy lively interactions at the local Senior Community Center. The young-at-heart folks will show their wonderful crafts and play music they grew up with. Learn about how some Cubans enjoy retired life and ask them about their lives in Cuba.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Santa Clara.

Afternoon: En route for our return to Cienfuegos, visit the Che Guevara Memorial and Mausoleum which features unique historical pieces from one of the most influential revolutionary leaders. The displays chronicle the events of an era in this extraordinary mans' life, and the mausoleum is the final resting place of Ernesto "Che" Guevara and his companions. People Connection: Next, enjoy a performance by a musical group. Depending on which marvelous group of young people is available, the Cienfuegos Gospel Choir, Cantos Novinus, or the Cienfuegos Chamber Orchestra will perform. Cantos Novinus features young men and women who sing Cuban songs infused with Afro-Cuban dance. The Cienfuegos Chamber Orchestra is comprised of young people, many of whom are instructors at the Benny More Art School. Here, ask them questions, learn about their lives, careers as musicians, and their future plans.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant near the hotel.

Evening: Evening at leisure and pack for tomorrow's return to the U.S.

Lodging: Hotel Jagua

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Nine: Wednesday, September 04 - Departure to Miami / Return to U.S.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Group transfer to the Cienfuegos Airport for the flight to Miami. Charter flight times will be confirmed in the Final Information Packet which is normally sent approximately 4-5 weeks prior to departure. Please do not schedule connecting flights within 3 - 4 hours of arrival in Miami due to possible delays and airport security. PLEASE NOTE: The flight time is subject to change.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
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Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
8 nights of accommodations
21 meals: 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
4 Expert-led lectures
13 Field trips
12 Hands-on experiences
2 Flights during the program
Visas: 1(out of 1 required)

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Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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