Road Scholar : Home
Cuba Today: People and Society

Program Number: 20437RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/19/2013 - 2/27/2013; 4/14/2015 - 4/22/2015; 4/14/2015 - 4/22/2015; 4/21/2015 - 4/29/2015; 4/21/2015 - 4/29/2015; 4/28/2015 - 5/6/2015; 4/28/2015 - 5/6/2015; 5/5/2015 - 5/13/2015; 5/5/2015 - 5/13/2015; 5/12/2015 - 5/20/2015; 5/12/2015 - 5/20/2015; 5/19/2015 - 5/27/2015; 5/19/2015 - 5/27/2015; 6/2/2015 - 6/10/2015; 6/16/2015 - 6/24/2015; 7/7/2015 - 7/15/2015; 7/14/2015 - 7/22/2015; 9/15/2015 - 9/23/2015; 9/22/2015 - 9/30/2015; 9/29/2015 - 10/7/2015; 10/6/2015 - 10/14/2015; 10/13/2015 - 10/21/2015; 10/20/2015 - 10/28/2015; 10/27/2015 - 11/4/2015; 10/27/2015 - 11/4/2015; 11/3/2015 - 11/11/2015; 11/3/2015 - 11/11/2015; 11/10/2015 - 11/18/2015; 11/10/2015 - 11/18/2015; 12/1/2015 - 12/9/2015; 12/1/2015 - 12/9/2015; 12/8/2015 - 12/16/2015; 12/8/2015 - 12/16/2015; 12/15/2015 - 12/23/2015; 1/5/2016 - 1/13/2016; 1/12/2016 - 1/20/2016; 1/19/2016 - 1/27/2016; 1/26/2016 - 2/3/2016; 1/26/2016 - 2/3/2016; 2/2/2016 - 2/10/2016; 2/9/2016 - 2/17/2016; 2/16/2016 - 2/24/2016; 2/23/2016 - 3/2/2016; 3/1/2016 - 3/9/2016; 3/8/2016 - 3/16/2016; 3/15/2016 - 3/23/2016; 3/29/2016 - 4/6/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Cuba
Price starting at: $3,695.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: ; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 21; 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Delve into the rich history and heritage of Cuba. In the heart of Havana and Cienfuegos, meet members of the local communities to discuss their lives and cultural traditions. Meet face-to-face with community leaders, local residents, artists, and intellectuals to discuss Cuba today and explore local landmarks that are significant to Cuba’s cultural heritage.


• Meet with members of a local musical group in Cienfuegos and learn about their careers as musicians.
• Enjoy lively interactions at a local Senior Center.
• Learn about conservation and enjoy lunch at a beachfront private enterprise.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day with some walking on uneven cobblestone streets.

Round-trip charter flight from Miami to Cuba is included.

Cuban-born people who emigrated to the U.S. before 1971 are allowed to travel to Cuba with only their US passport, and Cuban Visa PE11. At this time, due to constraints upon international banking, Cuba is not processing the PE11 visa for People to People visits, only emergency Humanitarian reasons. Regretfully, there is no indication of when this might change and at this time, Road Scholar cannot ensure the ability to obtain the PE11 visa, therefore cannot take the enrollment. (All regular Tourist Card Visas for Cuba are already obtained on behalf of participants.)

Due to high demand we may operate two groups on the same departure date, one with a reverse itinerary. Please look at the Daily Schedule for more details.

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.

Date Specific Information


There are two departures on this date. One departure operates in reverse, starting in Cienfuegos and ending in Havana. Please see the Day by Day Itinerary for details.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Miami, Fla., 1 night; flight to Havana (Cuba), 4 nights; coach to Cienfuegos, 3 nights; flight to Miami for departure.

Arrival Miami, Fla.
1 night
Flight to Havana (Cuba)
4 nights

Enjoy an opportunity to visit with Cubans in private businesses and community centers. Embark on a walking exploration of Havana’s restored plazas and squares and admire the Spanish baroque architecture and visit Hemingway’s haunts.

Coach to Cienfuegos
3 nights

Delight in meeting the Cienfuegos Choir, which will serenade you with Cuban songs. Discover the town of Trinidad, a lovely colonial-era gem.


It's a time of rapid change on the island of Cuba. After decades of restrictions, dynamic Cubans seize new opportunities created by pro-free-enterprise reforms. Havana’s “yank tanks” (classic American cars) are increasingly joined by late model imports. Literacy and health care statistics outpace many developed countries. At the same time, some Cubans still lack access to goods as basic as toothpaste. It’s a fascinating moment to discover Cuba and meet with its people as they look to the future.

Miami: Comfortable hotel near airport. Havana: Historic landmark hotel on the Malecón. Cienfuegos: Mid-Century modern hotel with outdoor pool.
Meals and Lodgings
   Courtyard by Marriott Miami Airport South Hotel
  Miami, USA 1 night
   Hotel Jagua
  Cienfuegos, Cuba 3 nights
   Hotel Nacional de Cuba
  Havana, Cuba 4 nights
 Courtyard by Marriott Miami Airport South Hotel
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: 305-649-5000
  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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact Road Scholar Travel Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for details.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Hotel Jagua
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
  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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Nacional de Cuba
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
  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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program begins with orientation in Miami followed by dinner on day one of the program. Please arrive at the hotel by 4 PM. You will be staying at Courtyard by Marriott Miami Airport South Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends upon arrival of the charter flight in Miami on day nine. Avoid scheduling connecting flights that depart within 3 hours of the scheduled arrival time. You will be staying at Hotel Nacional de Cuba the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Elderhostel is licensed under the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) under the U.S. Department of Treasury for participants to travel to Cuba on a Road Scholar program. Participants will receive a copy of this license prior to travel to Cuba in Miami, during orientation. In addition to the Health and Safety forms, each participant is required to submit an Affidavit of Participation, Travel Affidavit, Cuba Travel Service Reservation Form, and a clear copy of the passport picture information page prior to departure. These forms are sent in this first mailing and they must be completed, signed, and submitted to Road Scholar eight weeks before the program start date. Please refer to the end of this information packet for these forms. IMPORTANT NOTE: Any participant born in Cuba, regardless of current nationality, must advise Road Scholar immediately as additional forms and costs may be required.
  Parking availability:
The hotel offers on site parking for 15 USD a day (subject to change).
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Miami
  Nearest highway: I 95 U.S. Interstate Highway
  Nearest airport:  Miami International Airport
  Transportation to site: The Courtyard Miami Airport South Hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to/from the Miami airport, which departs the airport every 15 minutes. Upon arrival in Miami, there is no need to call the hotel, as the shuttle circles every 15 minutes on the departure level (2nd level) 5am to 1am daily. Look for the red and white shuttle with the Marriott logo,marked with the Miami Airport Marriott, Courtyard and Residence Inn logos on the side (this information is taken from the hotel website and is subject to change without prior notice).
  From End of Program
  Location:  Havana
  Nearest highway: Cuba’s national highway, the Autopista.
  Nearest airport:  Havana International Airport
  Transportation from site: A group transfer from the hotel in Havana to the airport for our return charter flight is scheduled for all participants.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Flight to Miami / Overnight in Miami
(Tuesday, February 19)
 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.
Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott Miami Airport South Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Depart to Cienfuegos, Cuba / Ration and CUC vs CUP stores
(Wednesday, February 20)

Note: Walking up to 2 - 2.5 miles over uneven cobbled streets in Cienfuegos with limited places to sit.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on your own at the Miami Airport.
 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 Cienfuegos. PLEASE NOTE: Flight times are subject to change and will be confirmed in the Final Information Packet. Upon arrival in Cienfuegos, enjoy a welcome greeting by an experienced bilingual Cuban Guide, who will be with us for the entire program. Depart the airport and transfer to the hotel for lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: After eating lunch and checking into the hotel, 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 Plaza Jose Marti, the main square in Cienfuegos. Talk briefly about the square's history, see local Cuban life, and observe the beautiful buildings that surround it, including the Tomas Terry Theater. 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 Beny More Art School. Here, ask them questions, learn about their lives, careers as musicians, and their future plans.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Evening at leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Jagua
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cienfuegos / Trinidad / Valley of the Sugar Mills
(Thursday, February 21)

Note: Walking up to 2 - 2.5 miles over uneven cobbled streets in Trinidad with limited shade and places to sit.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Meet with faculty and students at the Beny 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 Beny 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 Beny 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 at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening at leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Jagua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Santa Clara / Santa Clara Jewish Community / Senior Center / Che Memorial
(Friday, February 22)

Note: Standing & 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: Meet with the Jewish Community at the Santa Clara Synagogue, learn about their history, and the work they have done to independently rebuild this new Synagogue (PLEASE NOTE: This is a great opportunity to drop off any donations, please see the donation list in this information packet for more details). Next, 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.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening at leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Jagua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Depart for Havana / Bay of Pigs
(Saturday, February 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart from the countryside to Havana 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. 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. Then on the way to Havana, make a stop at Playa Giron, also known as the Bay of Pigs, 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: Continue on the scenic drive to Havana. Upon arrival at the hotel, 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 into the hotel, unpack and relax before dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: Evening at leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: History and Architecture of Old Havana / Discovery of the Four Squares in Old Havana / Book Sellers Market
(Sunday, February 24)

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. 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 Plaza de San Francisco de Asis, the beautiful architecture of the restored Convento of San Francisco is an amazing sight. 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. Continue with a driving excursion of Contemporary Havana with highlights of the Prado and legislature buildings. 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.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Old Havana.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a drive through the Colon Cemetery, and learn about the stories of the historic upper class in Havana who are buried there. 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.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local open air patio restaurant serving family style classic Cuban cuisine.
 Evening: Evening at leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Expert Presentation / Guanabacoa Region and home visit / Afro-Cuban Religion / La Cabana / Hemingway
(Monday, February 25)
 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. 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. 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: 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."
 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.
Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: San Lazaro and medical care in Cuba / Fine Arts / Callejon de Hamel Project
(Tuesday, February 26)

Note: Standing & walking for about an hour through the Fine Arts museum with limited places to sit.

 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. People Connection: Then, visit a hospice specializing in long-term patient care for skin diseases such as leprosy, 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 (PLEASE NOTE: This is a location that accepts donations. Please see the donation list in this information packet for details). 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. Next, meet with members of a local community organization that educates children and mothers.
 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. Next, explore Callejon de Hamel, a unique alley devoted to Santeria artwork and murals. Interact with artists to learn about their works and inspirations, and how artists are able to express themselves through art. Browse original artwork by the muralist himself, which creates a wonderful opportunity to be able to purchase some of his original pieces, if desired.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening at leisure.
Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Departure to Miami / Return to US
(Wednesday, February 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Group transfer to the Havana 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: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Author: Pierre Hausherr (Photographer), Francois Missen

Description: With full-page photographs, introductory essays on history, architecture, music, food and more, this oversized, illustrated paperback by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Francois Missen and photographer Pierre Hausherr captures the spirit of Cuba, its people, nature and culture.

Cuba Map

Author: Borch Maps

Description: A detailed, double-sided laminated map at a scale of 1:1,000,000.

Cuba, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Ann Louise Bardach

Description: Bardach (Without Fidel) samples terrific contemporary writers for this anthology, organized geographically.

Cuba, Art and History from 1868 to Today

Author: Natha Bondil (Editor)

Description: With ravishing color reproductions of murals, posters, paintings and photographs, this magnificent book documents the history of art in Cuba from independence.

Cuba, What Everyone Needs to Know

Author: Julia Sweig

Description: Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Sweig traces the geography, history and identity of Cuba in this admirably succinct history of the island nation and its role in world affairs.

Culture Smart! Cuba

Author: Mandy Macdonald

Description: A concise, well-illustrated and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

Dreaming in Cuban

Author: Cristina Garcia

Description: A short, poetic novel of three generations of Cuban women, their reaction to the revolution and the complex relation between those who remained in Cuba and those who settled in the United States. Excellent reading.

Havana, A Cultural and Literary Companion

Author: Claudia Lightfoot

Description: An illuminating guide to the city, its history and geography, as the inspiration for writers, artists, musicians and intellectuals.

Moon Handbook Cuba

Author: Christopher P. Baker

Description: Baker's comprehensive, indispensable guide leaves no stone unturned, covering the natural, cultural and political life of the island with style.

Our Man in Havana

Author: Graham Greene

Description: The classic story of a British vacuum cleaner salesman who gets accidentally drawn into cold war espionage with disastrous results.

Teachings of the Santeria Gods, The Spirit of the Odu

Author: Ocha'Ni Lele

Description: Ocha'Ni recounts 100 sacred stories of Santeria, collected from the oral tradition of the African diaspora, ranging from creation myths, to love stories and share the wisdom and spirituality of Yoruba people.

The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics

Author: Aviva Chomsky (Editor), Barry Carr (Editor), Pamela Maria Smorkaloff (Editor)

Description: Organized chronologically, this multi-faceted portrait of a nation, with most of the selections by Cuban writers, includes not only history, journalism and literature but also songs, paintings, poems and cartoons and speeches.

The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Description: Hemingway's brief story of a fisherman who after 84 days with no luck finally makes a big catch is also an affectionate portrait of life in Cuba. It won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The Sugar King of Havana

Author: John Paul Rathbone

Description: John Paul Rathbone recounts ""elegant, decadent and whirligig years" of pre-revolutionary Havana and the dramatic life of Julio Lobo, the richest man in Cuba (until Castro’s revolution did away with such men). Surviving assassin's bullets and making and losing two fortunes, Cuba's last tycoon went from glittering man about town in pre-Revolutionary Havana -- and one of the world's richest men -- to solitary exile in Spain. With a mother that traveled in those same circles in Havana, Rathbone brings depth and the prespective of an insider to this fantastic story.

This is Cuba

Author: Ben Corbett

Description: Corbett interviews everyday people living on the fringe's of Castro's official Cuba for this account, both a stinging indictment of government policy and a testimony to the Cuban spirit.

Trading with the Enemy

Author: Tom Miller

Description: Miller captures the openness, sensuality and pride of Cuba and the Cubans in this eloquent account of entertaining travels in Fidel's Cuba.

Without Fidel

Author: Ann Louise Bardach

Description: A PEN award-winning journalist who has covered Cuba for 15 years, Bardach (Cuba Confidential) brings knowledge, tenacity and verve to this report on the future of the country.

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