20612
Cuba
Inside Cuba: An In-Depth Island Journey: Holguín to Havana
Go on a comprehensive exploration of Cuba as you meet its people, learn its history and discover the enduring traditions from Holguín to Havana.
Rating (4.99)
Program No. 20612RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
6,399
Special Offer
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15 days
14 nights
35 meals
14 B 11 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Miami
D
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport & Convention Center

Activity note: Please note: Most staircases in Cuba do not have railings, so if you use a walking aid, please bring it on the program. All accommodations in Cuba feature clean, comfortable rooms with private baths and standard amenities. Please note that Cuban hotel standards may not equal their American or European counterparts. Improvements are ongoing, and we hope that the potential glitch in service or amenities is a minor trade off for the authentic connections and enrichment you’ll experience.

Afternoon: The Road Scholar Group Leader will be in the hotel lobby at 4:45 p.m. to accompany the group to the orientation room. Welcome and orientation begins at 5:00 p.m. This very important meeting prepares you for our educational program and travel in and out of Cuba. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and discuss U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations that govern our program. Flight times to Cuba will be confirmed during Orientation. The day-by-day schedule in Cuba is a representative guide only as program elements are controlled by the Cuban Government and are subject to change on short notice.

Dinner: In the hotel’s restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
2
Fly to Holguín, Cuba, Introduction to Holguín and Gibara
Gibara
B,D
Hotel E Ordono

Activity note: Travel by motorcoach, approximately 1 hour. Walking up to a half mile and standing. Varied terrain.

Breakfast: A buffet breakfast or boxed breakfast will be included based on the flight time.

Morning: Departure from the hotel to the terminal to check into Flight AA1041 to Holguín departing at 11:25 AM. Flight times are always subject to schedule changes made by the airline. Flight times will be reconfirmed at orientation. The Road Scholar Group Leader will meet the group in the hotel lobby to transfer to the airport via hotel shuttle. Please be in the hotel lobby with your luggage and be ready to depart the hotel 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Transfer to the airport and check in to the charter flight to Holguín. Upon arrival in Holguín, meet your Cuban Study Leader who will provide local history and knowledge throughout the program. Overview of the city of Holguín, capital of the third most populous province in Cuba.

Lunch: Lunch on your own.

Afternoon: Drive north to the coastal village of Gibara. When Christopher Columbus first laid eyes on the northern coast of Cuba in 1492, he called this “the most beautiful land human eyes have ever seen.” Discover the main town square on foot, and meet local residents along our way. Late afternoon, check in to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel’s restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. After a long day of travel, rest and prepare for a full day tomorrow.

DAY
3
North Coast, Puerto Padre, Sugar Mill, Latin Jazz
Gibara
B,L,D
Hotel E Ordono

Activity note: Walking up to a half mile at a time and standing. Varied terrain.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, the self-serve buffet includes cereal, yogurt, fruit, juice and eggs cooked to order served at the table, coffee, tea.

Morning: We will set out with our local Cuban expert to explore the north coast. We’ll learn about the importance of the area and its mills that connected to the coast by railway for export by sea to America. We’ll also meet workers in a sugar mill (built in 1910) that is considered the largest sugarcane producing factory in the country. We’ll visit the charming little town of Puerto Padre that was the birthplace of two internationally known jazz players: Emiliano Salvador, considered the father of Latin Jazz; and Juan Pablo Torres, one of the world's greatest trombone players in the 20th century. We’ll meet jazz musicians of today to hear their music and stories. Returning to the countryside, we’ll visit an agro-ecological farm to learn about its sustainable farming practices.

Lunch: At the farm, enjoy a delicious pig roast with side dishes that feature local products.

Afternoon: We’ll return to Gibara in the late afternoon with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In a paladar a short walk from the hotel, enjoy a typical Cuban meal. “Paladares” are distinctively Cuban private restaurants.

Evening: At leisure. Perhaps you’ll do as the locals, and go for a stroll through town.

DAY
4
Lyric Opera Rehearsal, Typesetting Workshop, Cemetery
Santiago de Cuba
B,L,D
Melia Santiago de Cuba

Activity note: Travel by motorcoach approximately 2 hours, with stops. Walking on busy cobblestone streets. Standing at the cemetery.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant.

Morning: Head into the center of Holguín city —officially San Isidore de Holguín, Cuba — to attend a rehearsal at the school of the Lyric Opera to hear music from upcoming performances. Then, meet with workers at a unique paper and typesetting workshop that uses equipment from the early 20th century. Before lunch we'll visit the home of a family of artists, one of whose sculptures are featured throughout Holguín province.

Lunch: Lunch at a local farm.

Afternoon: Arrive to Santiago de Cuba. Our first stop will be the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, the resting place of many notable Cubans, including icons Jose Marti and Fidel Castro. Late afternoon hotel check-in.

Dinner: Buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Old Santiago, Community Arts School, Diego Velazquez House
Santiago de Cuba
B,L,D
Melia Santiago de Cuba

Activity note: Walking on busy cobblestone streets. Walking in an old stone fortress with many steps.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: This morning we discover Old Santiago. First we see the Diego Velazquez House Museum. The oldest house still standing in Cuba, this early colonial abode dating from 1522 was the official residence of the island's first governor, situated on the main square of Santiago. Field Trip: Discover El Morro fortress with your Study Leader. The fortress, overlooking one of the oldest ports in Cuba, protected the harbor of Santiago de Cuba. For the hardy, the winding steps to the top of the fortress provide expansive views over the eastern coastline.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: People to People Connection: At a community arts center, enjoy a presentation and engage with students and directors to learn about the training students and community members receive there. Back at the hotel, we'll listen to a lecture on the history of US and Cuban relations.

Dinner: Dinner at a local paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Guantanamo City, Cuban Musical Heritage
Santiago de Cuba
B,L
Melia Santiago de Cuba

Activity note: The drive to Guantanamo is 55 miles, approximately 1.5 hours, each way.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: We depart with our Cuban Study Leader on a full day field trip to the city of Guantanamo, founded by Catalan (Spanish) and French colonists who eventually intermingled with native people and slaves. The area’s deep-rooted musical and dance traditions were also influenced by Franco-Haitian immigrants. (Please note: The US base of Guantanamo is in a different location and is neither accessible nor visible.) People to People Connection with La Tumba Francesca Pompadour. Meet and interact with the dancers who carry on this Franco-Haitian tradition. The dance, song and drumming style known as “Tumba Francesa” (French drum) was brought to Cuba by Haitian slaves who were resettled in the island’s eastern regions during the 1790s. It embodies one of the oldest and strongest links to Afro-Haitian heritage -- a fusion of music from Dahomey in West Africa and traditional French court dance. La Tumba Francesca is inscribed on the UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. People to People Connection with the Casa del Changüí. Meet and interact with musicians who play this style of popular Cuban music and see how each instrument is played. Changüí originated in the early 19th Century, combining elements of Spanish canción with African rhythms and percussion instruments.

Lunch: Lunch at a nearby paladar.

Afternoon: People to People Connection: Meet a local artist and learn about his work and inspiration.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own. Choose to explore local paladars or explore restaurant options at the hotel. Your group leader and guide can offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Transfer to Camagüey, Discover El Cobre Sanctuary & Bayamo
Camaguey
B,L,D
Gran Hotel

Activity note: Today is a full day of travel from Santiago de Cuba to Camagüey, about 200 miles / 8 hours with stops and visits en route. Road conditions vary and can be bumpy at times. The hotel in Camagüey is situated in a pedestrian street, about 2 blocks from the coach drop off point. Coach access in Camagüey is limited.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Depart Santiago de Cuba to Camagüey via Bayamo. Journey into the heart of Cuba and witness some of the most beautiful scenery. The drive through the countryside is a unique and interesting experience as you observe the forms of transportation available to Cubans, including an abundance of horse drawn carriages. Stop at El Cobre Sanctuary, dedicated to the patron saint of Cuba, the Virgin of Charity. Here, pilgrims from all over Cuba come to pray and ask for favors of the country’s most cherished saint. Continue on to Bayamo, the second city founded by the Spanish in Cuba, in 1513. Experience the horse and buggy ride first hand during a short carriage ride through the city, an enlightening change of perspective from riding in a motorcoach.

Lunch: In a local restaurant

Afternoon: Continue the drive to Camagüey, arriving in the late afternoon.

Dinner: Dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Discovering Camagüey
Camaguey
B,L
Gran Hotel

Activity note: Climbing into a pedicab (about 1 foot up) and riding on sometimes bumpy streets.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Camagüey is reputed to have some of the most talented dancers in Cuba, and is home to three of the country’s best dance companies. People to People Connection: Visit a flamenco company and observe dancers during their daily rehearsal, and learn from the company manager the challenges of operating a performance company. Field Trip: One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba, Camagüey played a prominent role as the urban center of an inland territory dedicated to cattle breeding and the sugar industry. The third-largest city in Cuba, the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that just celebrated its 500 year anniversary. Explore the main squares, the church and the city park by pedicab, each uniquely decorated by a local artist. Traveling by pedicab is an intimate introduction to the pulse of the city's streets and residents. People to People Connection: Meet the creator of a very unique public art program that has receive 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.

Lunch: Lunch in Carmen Square.

Afternoon: People to People Connection: We visit a unique artist studio and meet the owner and some of the resident artists, each one using a different medium. This presents the unique opportunity to discuss the role of the Artist in Cuban society and to better understand the level of freedom they are given in their pursuit of creativity. It is also an opportunity to engage with the owner who is a member of the Cuban Jewish community.

Dinner: On your own to explore.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Meeting the People of Trinidad
Trinidad de Cuba
B,L,D
Finca Ma Dolores

Activity note: Travel by motorcoach over winding roads for approximately 4 hours with stops. Strenuous walking up to 2 - 2.5 miles over uneven cobblestone streets in Trinidad with limited shade and places to sit. The historic center of Trinidad is not accessible to motorcoaches and must be accessed on foot.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Depart to Trinidad, the crown jewel of colonial Cuban cities. Founded in 1514, this time capsule of a city is a mix of historic landmarks and majestic natural beauty. The ride is about 4 hours long, with stops.

Lunch: Lunch upon arrival in Trinidad.

Afternoon: On foot, discover the historic center of Trinidad with your Cuban Guide. Walk to Plaza Mayor to explore the historically and architecturally significant landmarks of this colonial town.

Dinner: Buffet dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
City of Cienfuegos, Musical Performance, Santa Clara
Santa Clara
B,L,D
Hotel America

Activity note: Travel by motorcoach over winding roads. Walking and standing on pavement.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Depart to Cienfuegos. Upon arrival explore the city and enjoy a short walking through Plaza Jose Marti, the main square in Cienfuegos. Talk briefly about the square's history while you have the opportunity to see local life and observe the beautiful buildings that surround it, including the Tomas Terry Theater. People to People Connection: Enjoy a performance by one of Cienfuegos’ talented musical groups and discuss their musical careers, how they studied their art and what a typical day is for them.

Lunch: In a paladar in Cienfuegos.

Afternoon: Depart to Santa Clara. Hotel check in.

Dinner: Dinner in a local paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Santa Clara, Che Memorial, Senior Center
Santa Clara
B,L
Hotel America

Activity note: There will be standing and walking through the Che Memorial & Museum for about an hour with limited places to sit. The center of Santa Clara is inaccessible to motorcoaches and must be accessed on foot.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.

Morning: Walk to the Museum of Decorative Arts and enjoy a sampling of troubadour music. People to People Connection: Enjoy lively interactions with a vivacious group of senior citizens. These young-at-heart folks share their leisure activities and discuss how some Cubans enjoy retirement.

Lunch: Lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Afternoon: 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 man's life. The mausoleum is the final resting place of Ernesto "Che" Guevara and his companions.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Transfer to Havana, Art Studio, Colon Cemetery
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Travel by motorcoach. The exploration of Old Havana is on foot through pedestrian-only areas and necessitates walking and standing outdoors for 2 hours/ 2 miles over uneven, cobblestone streets with high curbs.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.

Morning: Depart to Havana, the drive is about 3 hours (with stops) and covers 174 miles.

Lunch: At a paladar in Old Havana.

Afternoon: Discover the historic “plazas" in Old Havana on foot. Each square has its own unique features. People to People Connection: Meet with members of a graphic arts cooperative and discuss what they do. Explore Colon Cemetery with a local expert and learn the stories of the monumental architecture and of the famous Havana personalities who are buried there. Late afternoon arrival at the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel's buffet restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Cuban Architecture, Discovering Old Havana
Havana
B
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking and standing outdoors in the sun for up to 2 - 2.5 miles over uneven, cobblestone streets in Old Havana for up to 2 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Begin with an expert presentation on the evolution of Havana’s modern architecture. Learn about the restoration work being done and discuss the challenges and the vision for Havana’s future. Continue exploring Old Havana.

Lunch: Lunch on your own in Old Havana.

Afternoon: Drive to the outskirts of Havana to 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 fishing boat, Pilar. The boat is featured in his novel "Islands in the Stream."

Dinner: On your own to discover one of the many paladares that have opened in Havana (suggestions will be provided).

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Religion in Cuba, Fine Arts Museum, Dance Rehearsal
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking and standing at the Fine Arts Museum. The museum does not have an elevator and there are few places to sit.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: An expert presentation on religion and religious beliefs in Cuba. Field Trip: Explore the Fine Arts Museum of Havana. Cuban art is renowned world-wide. Delve into the stories that each work of art relates and the statement on politics, culture and society that each artist conveys.

Lunch: At a paladar.

Afternoon: People to People Connection: Watch a performance by one of Havana's most talented dance companies.Then have an open discussion. On the way back to the hotel visit the famous Revolution Square, the site of Fidel Castro's speeches.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Return to US, Program Concludes
Depart for Miami
B

Activity note: The walk from the arrival gate in Miami International airport to the U.S. Immigration and Customs area is 10-15 minutes. Assistance can be requested at check-in.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in the hotel.

Morning: Check out of the hotel. Group transfer to the airport in Havana to check into Flight AA2678 to Miami departing at 8:45 AM. Flight times are always subject to changes made by the airline. You can check the status of this flight at any time on the American Airlines website. Please do not schedule connecting flights within 3 - 4 hours of arrival in Miami due to possible delays, schedule changes and airport security (PLEASE NOTE: The flight time is subject to change.)






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