Road Scholar : Home
Inside Cuba: An In-Depth Island Journey

Program Number: 20612RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/22/2014 - 6/6/2014; 11/6/2015 - 11/22/2015; 12/4/2015 - 12/19/2015; 12/4/2015 - 12/20/2015; 1/8/2016 - 1/24/2016; 1/8/2016 - 1/23/2016; 1/15/2016 - 1/30/2016; 1/15/2016 - 1/31/2016; 1/22/2016 - 2/6/2016; 1/22/2016 - 2/7/2016; 1/29/2016 - 2/14/2016; 1/29/2016 - 2/13/2016; 2/5/2016 - 2/21/2016; 2/5/2016 - 2/20/2016; 2/12/2016 - 2/28/2016; 2/12/2016 - 2/27/2016; 2/19/2016 - 3/5/2016; 2/19/2016 - 3/6/2016; 2/26/2016 - 3/13/2016; 2/26/2016 - 3/12/2016; 3/4/2016 - 3/19/2016; 3/4/2016 - 3/20/2016; 3/11/2016 - 3/26/2016; 4/1/2016 - 4/16/2016; 4/1/2016 - 4/17/2016; 4/8/2016 - 4/23/2016; 4/15/2016 - 4/30/2016; 4/22/2016 - 5/7/2016; 4/29/2016 - 5/14/2016; 5/6/2016 - 5/22/2016;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Cuba
Price starting at: $5,596.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: ; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 39; 15 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

On our most in-depth learning adventure in Cuba, journey across the island from Santiago de Cuba to Havana, exploring the historic Spanish colonial cities and interacting with Cubans from all walks of life. Meet musicians, artists, students, farmers, teachers, workers and the new rising entrepreneurs. This is a rare chance to experience the country’s natural beauty and the warm people of Cuba.


• Learn about the Spanish colonial era, the Cuban Revolution and life on the island today.
• Interact with Cuban people eager to teach you about culture, religion, music, dance, cuisine and more.
• Explore grand plazas, churches, forts, sites of the Cuban Revolution, museums and Ernest Hemingway’s home.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day. Getting in/out of a bicycle rickshaw (pedicab) and a horse carriage. Travel in a tropical climate.

Round trip charter flight from Miami to Cuba is included.

For programs where there are two identical departure dates shown, one itinerary operates in reverse. The 16-night departures travel from Santiago to Havana and include an additional overnight in Miami at the end due to the late arrival of the charter flight. The-15 night departures travel from Havana to Santiago and do not include an additional night in Miami at the end. Please review the day-by-day itinerary for your selected date before making travel arrangements.

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

Date Specific Information

11-6-2015, 12-4-2015, 1-8-2016, 1-15-2016, 1-22-2016, 2-5-2016, 2-19-2016, 3-4-2016

Due to the late arrival of the return charter flight from Havana to Miami, the hotel in Miami is included on the return for this program date.

12-4-2015, 1-8-2016, 1-15-2016, 2-5-2016, 3-4-2016

Please note that this itinerary operates in reverse, and due to the charter flight time the hotel in Miami is not included on the return for this program date.

Itinerary Summary

Independent arrivals Miami, Fla., 1 night; fly to Santiago de Cuba, 4 nights; coach to Camaguey, 3 nights; coach to Trinidad 1 night; coach to Santa Clara, 2 nights; coach to Havana, 4 nights; return flight to Miami for departure. (Itinerary operates in reverse on some dates.)

Arrival Miami, Fla
1 night
Flight to Santiago de Cuba (Cuba)
4 nights

Begin your discovery of Cuban culture and history of the revolution at Santiago de Cuba’s Plaza de la Revolution and the memorial to Jose Marti, Cuba’s national poet. Meet with salsa dance instructors to learn about life in Cuba, while participating in a dance class. Interact with musicians to learn about the original Cuban musical style that has spread from Guantanamo to all other parts of the Island. Learn about Afro-Cuban history and eastern Cuban religions. Visit an island fishing community.

3 nights
Coach to Trinidad
1 night

Heading inland to the UNESCO-listed city of Camaguey, meet world-renowned sculptor and painter Martha Jimenez. Attend a rehearsal of one of the best dance companies in Cuba and talk to the dancers about their careers. Venture to a ranch to learn about Cuban cowboy culture, and in a rural village meet a family and hear about their day-to-day lives. Explore Trinidad de Cuba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and pristine example of a Spanish colonial Caribbean town. Experience the warmth and hospitality of Cubans while spending a night in a Casa Particular - a private bed & breakfast and support private enterprise firsthand.

Santa Clara
2 nights
Coach to Havana
4 nights

In Cienfuegos, also a UNESCO site, learn about its outstanding architecture and meet with members of a local choral group. At the local senior center in Santa Clara, engage with vivacious seniors and learn what retirement is like in Cuba. Explore Old Havana and its quickly changing architecture. Visit Ernest Hemingway’s house, La Cabana fortress and meet residents of a sustainable eco-community. Explore Cuba’s history through art at the Fine Arts Museum and dine in privately owned Paladars.


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: Modern, full service hotel near airport. Santiago de Cuba: Modern, four-star resort-style hotel. Camaguey: Clean and comfortable hotel. Trinidad: Clean and comfortable privately–owned Bed & Breakfast with private bathroom. Santa Clara: Clean and comfortable three-star hotel. Havana: Historic landmark hotel on the Malecón.
Meals and Lodgings
   Courtyard by Marriott Miami Airport South Hotel
  Miami, USA 1 night
   Melia Santiago
  Santiago de Cuba, Cuba 4 nights
   Gran Hotel
  Camaguey, Cuba 3 nights
   Plaza Hotel
  Sancti Spiritus, Cuba 1 night
   Hotel America
  Santa Clara, Cuba 2 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

 Melia Santiago
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: PLEASE NOTE: Hotels in Cuba are basic by American standards, while this hotel is the best available, clean and safe, it may not meet our higher expectations.
  Contact info: Avd. de las Américas y Calle M, 90400
Santiago de Cuba,   Cuba
phone: +88895MELIA
  Room amenities: Tea and coffee making facilities, LCD TV in all rooms with 24 multi-language channels, telephone internal channel, CD player, safe (additional charge), telephone with outside line (additional charge), mini-bar (additional charge), air conditioning, writing desk, table for breakfast, bathtub – shower, hair dryer, make up mirror, weighing scales, coffee maker, radio / alarm clock.
  Facility amenities: Business center with secretarial services, foreign exchange service, car rental, tourism bureau, boutique and shop with local art, 24-hour medical attention, parking, exclusive reception area with Concierge service (9th floor), exclusive lounge bar (9th floor) named "Sierra Cristal" with LCD TV, continental breakfast service from 7 am. to 11 am. in the lounge bar (9th floor), 3 swimming-pools set in spacious gardens and terraces, daytime and evening entertainment program with dancing lessons, shows, etc., domino, gym with new equipment including sauna and massage services.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Gran Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: PLEASE NOTE: Rural hotels in Cuba are very basic by American standards, while this hotel is the best available, clean and safe, it may not meet our higher expectations.
  Contact info: Maceo 64 e/ General Gomez e Ignacio Agramonte
Camaguey,   Cuba
phone: +3229209332292094
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, baby's cot (on request), balcony (subject to availability), bathroom, double beds, hot & cold water, safe box, radio, satellite TV, telephone and twin beds.
  Facility amenities: Bar, café, restaurant, grill, international cuisine, snacks and drinks 24 hours a day, internet, money exchange, reception staff speak Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, medical service, safety - uniformed security personnel 24hrs, shop(s) with basic supplies, souvenirs & gifts, taxis desk, telephone - national & international calls
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Plaza Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel Islazul Plaza Sancti Spiritus stands in the old quarter of Sancti Spirtius City, near Trinidad. This hotel is perfect for those who would like to explore this wonderful city, discover its traditions, customs and life of local people. Plaza Hotel was first built in 1843 as a family mansion, but by 1914 it had been transformed into a cafeteria, cake shop, guest house and meeting place for the main landowners in the central region of the country. The premises were reopened in 1996, after being entirely rebuilt in such a way that all the former colonial style features of the building were returned to its original glory.
  Ship Information: NA
  Contact info: Calle Independencia No. 1, esq.a Ave. Martires
Sancti Spiritus,   Cuba
phone: +Not Available
web: none available
  Room amenities: Air Conditioning, Bathroom (ensuite) and Shower only, Hot & Cold Water, In-room Safe (paid), Room service, Satellite TV, Telephone and Terrace or Balcony
  Facility amenities: Hotel Plaza is a quite small hotel, only 29 rooms. Its facilities include a 24 hour lobby bar, restaurant that offers National and International cuisines, tourist desk from where you can book various tours to visit the Museum of Colonial Art (the house of a hundred doors), the Main Parish Church (National Monument), the bridge over the Yayabo river, the Ruben Martinez Villena library and many more.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Shower only

 Hotel America
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Hotel America is located very close to Leoncio Vidal Central Park and Santa Clara´s Civic Square, the main socio-cultural and economic center of the territory, a place where you can enjoy museums, night clubs, shops, cafes and restaurants. PLEASE NOTE: Rural hotels in Cuba are very basic by American standards, while this hotel is the best available, clean and safe, it may not meet our higher expectations.
  Contact info: Ave. Eucaliptos y Circunvalación. Santa Clara, Villa Clara
Santa Clara,   Cuba
phone: +204513
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, radio, telephone, and satellite TV.
  Facility amenities: Swimming pool, safe (extra charge), internet cafe (24 hrs but very slow), a la carte restaurant with indoor and outdoor terrace, snack-bar, sunbathing area, ideal for entertainment and stage shows, international and national phone service, custodial service for luggage, hair dryers, minibar.
  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 the last day. 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 Participant Information Form is required. Elderhostel / Road Scholar 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 Personal Information 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 (check-list provided). These forms are sent in the First Information Packet and they must be completed, signed, and submitted to Road Scholar eight weeks before the program start date. Please refer to the end of the First 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:
Parking at the Marriott is $15/day (subject to change). It is also possible to park at the airport and take the hotel shuttle.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Miami
  Transportation to site: The Marriott 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. Please check the hotel web site for the most up to date instructions for the shuttle.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Depart for Miami
  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 flight is currently scheduled to arrive in Miami around 11:00 AM. For those looking to make early flight arrangements, please do not schedule connecting flights within 4 hours of arrival in Miami due to possible delays and airport security. We recommend that you not make flight arrangements from Miami until 40 days prior to departure due to possible schedule changes with the charter flight times. The Final Information Packet will have the confirmed charter flight times. PLEASE NOTE: Charter flight times are subject to change at any time, Road Scholar has no control over these changes.
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 / Orientation / Overnight in Miami
(Thursday, May 22)

Note: Please note: Most staircases in Cuba do not have railings, so if you use a walking aid, please bring it on the program.

 Afternoon: PLEASE NOTE: This day-by-day schedule should only be used as a guide only. 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 population in Miami to hear about the Cuban American experience. We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott Miami Airport South Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Flight to Santiago de Cuba and Discover EL Morro
(Friday, May 23)

Note: The fortress has many uneven steps

 Breakfast: Boxed breakfast from the hotel.
 Morning: Early morning transfer to the airport for our charter flight to Santiago de Cuba. Currently the flight is scheduled to leave at 8:00 AM and arrival in Santiago de Cuba is scheduled for 9:30 AM (times are confirmed in the Final Inforamtion Packet which is sent approximately 4-5 weeks prior to departure. Please note: Departure times are subject to change).
 Lunch: Lunch in Santiago de Cuba.
 Afternoon: Discover El Morro, the old fortress in Santiago de Cuba boasting history in a port that was one of the first in Cuba. Our Cuban tour guide will lead you through this fortress that once protected the harbor from pirate attacks and guided explorers to its shores. Later, transfer to your hotel to check in.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Melia Santiago
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Discovering the Soul of Santiago de Cuba
(Saturday, May 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore Santiago de Cuba. We start with a stop at the Plaza de la Revolution and the Mencado barracks for photo stops and learn a bit about Santiago during the revolution. Later in the morning we make our way to the cemetery to see some of the most beautiful burial crypts built in Cuba and to learn about Jose Marti, the Cuban National Hero. We end our discovery witnessing the changing of the guard at the tomb of Jose Marti. We end the morning at the Diego Velázquez House and Museum, said to be the oldest standing house in Cuba, the Spanish colonial structure is an excellent example of how Spaniards built and lived in Cuba.
 Lunch: Light lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: People to People Connection: This afternoon we walk over to the Casa de la Trova where you meet with your dance instructor and spend the hour learning the Salsa while you engage in a truly cultural connection. Later this afternoon enjoy an expert presentation on Afro-Cuban Culture and Religion.
 Dinner: Dinner at a paladar, a privately run restaurant.
Accommodations: Melia Santiago
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Guantanamo's Musical Cultural Heritage: Chengui and the Tumba Francesa
(Sunday, May 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: People to People Connection: Interact with musicians from Casa del Chengui. Chengui, is the original Cuban musical style and rhythm made famous all over the world and originating in the country side around Guantanamo. During this activity, interact with the musicians and learn how each instrument is played. Later enjoy another People to People Connection: Interact with dancers at the Tumba Francesa Pompadour, a Franco-Haitian dance. La Tumba Francesa is a traditional cultural dance and style that emerged in the 18th century in Oriente, Cuba. It combines music from West Africa and traditional French music. It is on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Speak with the members of this group and learn about their cultural heritage.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore the main square of Guantanamo - Plaza Marti, which features the smallest Cathedral in all of Cuba and which was once a busy commercial city center. Later enjoy a People to People Connection: Meet the Vincente Family and learn what life is like for Cuban families on the eastern side of the island.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to discover paladars in Santiago.
Accommodations: Melia Santiago
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Art in Santiago de Cuba, Fisherman's community, the History of the Spanish American War and San Juan Hill
(Monday, May 26)

Note: Many uneven steps, Artist Collaborative uneven paths

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: People to People Connection: Explore a local arts school and meet with students and faculty. Learn and discuss education in Cuba and especially artistic education in Cuba.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: People to People Connection: Meet fisherman from an island community to learn about their fishing techniques. View and discuss the equipment they use and how their catch is sold. Later wander San Juan Hill and learn about the battle fought here and made famous by Teddy Roosevelt and the rough riders.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to discover one of the local paladar (private Cuban restaurants run out of people's homes).
Accommodations: Melia Santiago
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Discover El Cobre Sanctuary and Bayamo, and Transfer to Camaguey
(Tuesday, May 27)

Note: Today we cover 300 KM as we make our way from Santiago de Cuba to Camaguey. Roads can be bumpy at times.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we transfer from Santiago de Cuba to Camaguey via Bayamo. the road takes us into the heart of Cuba and you witness some of the most beautiful scenery. This will take about 3 hours with a rest stop along the way. Bayamo was the second city founded by the Spanish in Cuba in 1513. We stop to discover the 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 most cherished saint. People to People Connection: Explore a traditional horse-drawn carriage factory unique only to Bayamo. Meet the craftspeople and learn about this disappearing art. People to People Connection: Interact with the horse-drawn carriage drivers and enjoy an educational ride through Bayamo.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Bayamo.
 Afternoon: Transfer to your hotel and enjoy a welcome cocktail upon arrival. Get ready for dinner and relax after check-in.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Gran Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Discovering Camaguey, its Squares and its Artists
(Wednesday, May 28)

Note: Extensive use of bicycle rickshaws this morning. You must be able to share the seat with another participant and get on and off the rickshaw with no assistance (step up is 1 - 1.5 Feet)

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba, Camagüey played a prominent role as the urban centre of an inland territory dedicated to cattle breeding and the sugar industry. It is the 3rd largest city in Cuba and the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later on bicycle rickshaws we explore the city. We start at the workers square, La Iglesia Nuestra Senor de la Merced, Principe theater, Agromonte park, the farmer's market and end at Carmen square. We end the morning with a People to People Connection: People to People Connection: Camaguey has been blessed by some of the best dancers in Cuba and the city is home to 3 of the best dance companies in Cuba. Today we attend a rehearsal of one of these companies (which is dependent on their touring schedule and we cannot confirm until just a few days prior) and we meet the dancers and enjoy an opportunity to talk about their careers and their art.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Camaguey.
 Afternoon: People to People Connection: Meet the creator of a very unique public art program that has received UNESCO awards for cultural heritage. 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.
 Dinner: Dinner at a paladar. People to People Connection: Talk with the family and learn about what it's like to run a private enterprise in Cuba.
Accommodations: Gran Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Camaguey and Rural Ranching
(Thursday, May 29)

Note: While on the ranch some steep steps (10 steps) are unavoidable to get onto the seating observation area and climbing into a horse drawn wagon is required (1 - 1.5 foot climb up)

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we leave the city center and explore the region outside of Camaguey. People to People Connection: We meet with real Cuban cowboys. Camaguey is the center of livestock in Cuba and outside of the city are a number of ranches. We explore a working ranch and witness the work and the games before engaging the ranchers in a conversation about rural life in Cuba. Later we enjoy another People to People Connection: Next to the ranch is a small rural village were the workers and their family live, meet the local teacher and see and speak with students in the one classroom school. Later visit a humble home and meet the family to hear about life in this very isolated and poor community.
 Lunch: Lunch on the ranch.
 Afternoon: People to People Connection: This evening we visit a unique Artist studio and meet with 3 artists each 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.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Gran Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Discover Sancti Spiritus and the Role of the Writer in Cuba
(Friday, May 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we depart Camaguey and transfer to Sancti Spiritus the western part of central Cuba. The transfer takes you through some of the most rural and least developed parts of Cuba. We will stop in Sancti Spiritus, another of the original 7 cities founded by the Spaniards. The drive is about 200 KM and with some bathroom breaks will take us about 3.5 Hours. Upon arrival in Sancti Spiritus enjoy a People to People Connection: Meet with a local writer that runs a number of community programs and hear about those programs first hand.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Experience another People to People Connection: Explore the Guayabera Project and Center. Learn about the famous Cuban shirt the Guayabera and the work done by the center. Later, discover the Historic center Square of Sancti Spiritus, one of the original 7 Spanish village settlement and also one of the most original Cuban cities we explore. Few tour groups stop to explore this small city, which make it an ideal place for us to enjoy some authentic experiences. Check into your hotel where we will stay for one night.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Discovering the Beauty of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, UNESCO World Heritage sites
(Saturday, May 31)

Note: Extensive walking over rounded cobble stone streets is required and can be difficult in Trinidad. Standing and walking in the heat of the day is unavoidable.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning explore 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 towns. Before leaving Trinidad, participate in a People to People Connection: meet the owners of a Casa Particular (private B&B) and learn about the challenge they face as a small private business in Cuba.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Trinidad.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we drive to Cienfuegos, Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site but a city founded by the French, who came to Cuba after the Haitian revolution. The city offers outstanding architecture and is home to a large artistic community and one of the most beautiful theaters in Cuba. After exploring the city center, enjoy another People to People Connection: meet with members of the local choir and learn about what they do, we have some time to listen and talk to them.
 Dinner: Dinner buffet at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel America
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Discovering the People of Santa Clara
(Sunday, June 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we have our first People to People Connection at the local Senior center. Learn a new sport, dance, talk about life and learn about what retirement is like in Cuba.
 Lunch: Lunch at the local senior center to continue discussions with our hosts.
 Afternoon: People to People Connection: Run by an independent theater group for children, each week this small group of kids get together to rehearse and perform Cuban folk plays and songs. Join the rehearsal and meet the parents and the kids and enjoy a discussion about life in Santa Clara. This afternoon you gain insight into a central figure in the Cuban revolution as you explore the Che Guevera Memorial and Museum.
 Dinner: Dinner at leisure at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel America
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Transfer and an Introduction to Havana
(Monday, June 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We start the morning with a drive to Havana along the autopista (highway), the drive is just about 3.5 hours (with stops) and covers almost 300 KM.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Havana
 Afternoon: After lunch experience a People to People Connection: Visit the dance group Mal Paso and watch a performance with a discussion to follow. Later, discover the Revolution Plaza and learn about the monumental events that take place and have taken place here. Later enjoy a drive through the famed Colon Cemetery to see the spectacular crypts built prior to the revolution. We end the afternoon exploring la Cabana Fort overlooking Old Havana and learn about the defense of Havana harbor. Afterwards transfer to the hotel by coach and check in.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Discovering Old Havana, Cuban Art and an Urban Family Visit
(Tuesday, June 3)

Note: Standing and walking in full sun with limited shade for up to 2 hours is unavoidable in Old Havana.

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: We start the morning with an expert presentation: Havana City of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Then, explore the Cuban Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts with our own private guide.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in Old Havana.
 Afternoon: After lunch explore Old Havana and have the opportunity to look at the vast types of architecture and see the restoration first hand. We end our tour of Old Havana with a People to People Connection: Meet with members of a graphics workshop and discuss what they do. Our last People to People Connection: Meet with a local family in a nearby suburb of Havana. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy a conversation and compare your experience between Oriente, Camaguey, Trinidad and Havana.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to discover one of the many paladars that have opened in Havana (suggestions will be provided).
Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14: Cuba - US Relations, Las Terazzas a Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage site
(Wednesday, June 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning enjoy an expert presentation: US - Cuba Relations: A Cuban Perspective. We then depart 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 rural sustainable project and meet residents, Artists, Artisans and many others who make their lives here in this self sustaining community.
 Lunch: Vegetarian lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon our final People to People Connection allows you to meet with Maria who will make us Cuban coffee and engage us in a conversation about her life in Las Terrazas.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to discover one of the many paladars that have opened in Havana (suggestions will be provided).
Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15: Cuban Society and Religion, Hemingway, and Community Projects and Organizations
(Thursday, June 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Start the Morning with an expert presentation: Religion and Society in Cuba Today. Later explore Finca la Vigia home and museum, Ernest Hemingway's house.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After Lunch we participate in two People to People Connections. We start by meeting with nuns at the San Lazaro Hospice to learn about the hospice care they give and about health care in general. Later we travel a few kilometers away to a small town and meet with members of a local community organization that works with young kids and women on health and education.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner in Havana.
Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Return flight to the U.S.
(Friday, June 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer from the hotel to the airport in Havana for your return flight to the US.
 In Transit: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
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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