22143
Cuba

The Best of Cuba: People, Life and Culture: Camaguey to Havana

Get a unique perspective into Cuba's vibrant culture through interactions with locals, musical and dance performances and artist visits alongside the experts.
Rating (4.99)
Program No. 22143RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,599
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
11 days
10 nights
25 meals
10 B 7 L 8 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Miami
D
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport & Convention Center

Activity note: This daily schedule is a representative guide. Program elements in Cuba are controlled by the Cuban government and are subject to change on short notice. Flight times are subject to change by the airlines. Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After you check in to the hotel, take your bags to your room. We will gather in the hotel lobby at 4:45 p.m. when the Group Leader will accompany everyone to our meeting room. Orientation: 5:00 p.m. This meeting is essential for all participants. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. The program is staffed by a bilingual Cuban host who will provide educational commentary and be with us throughout, as well as a Group Leader who will deal primarily with logistics. We will also have local experts from time to time who will provide additional information and educational leadership. Our accommodations in Cuba feature clean, comfortable rooms with private baths and standard amenities. Cuban hotel standards may not equal their American or European counterparts. Improvements are ongoing, and we hope that any potential glitch in service or amenities is a minor trade-off for the authentic connections and enrichment we will experience. Most staircases in Cuba do not have railings, so if you use a walking aid, please bring it with you on the program. Periods in the schedule designated as “At leisure” offer opportunities to make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Prepare for early morning check-out and our flight to Cuba in the morning.

DAY
2
Fly to Camagüey, Local History, Check-in
Camagüey
B,D
Hotel E Santa Maria

Activity note: Early morning transfer to airport via hotel shuttle. Camagüey hotel 2 blocks from motorcoach access point; luggage will be carried to hotel for you but you must carry your own hand baggage.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel early morning and gather in the lobby with our Group Leader for transfer to the airport via hotel shuttle. Be sure to have everything with you and ready to depart 15 minutes before the scheduled transfer.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to what you like at the airport. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Upon arrival, we will be met by an experienced, bilingual Cuban host who will be with us for the entire program. We will board a private motorcoach and ride to the hotel for check-in with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Exploring Camagüey, Rural Ranch
Camagüey
B,L,D
Hotel E Santa Maria

Activity note: Getting on/off pedicabs (bicycle rickshaws) with shared seating; step up 1 to 1.5 feet. Most streets in Camagüey historical district inaccessible to motor coaches; walking up to 2 miles, approximately 10-15 minutes each way between hotel, paladares, some activities. Getting in/out of a motorcoach; driving about 15 miles, approximately 1 hour. At ranch, walking up to 1 mile standing up to 1 hour; unpaved ground.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: From the hotel, we’ll set out on a field trip by pedicabs — each uniquely decorated by a local artist — to explore the main squares, the church, and the city park. Traveling by pedicab provides a close-up introduction to the pulse of the city's streets and residents. To begin, we’ll meet a local leather artist who creates unique carvings that combine nature and Afro-Cuban spiritual traditions. We’ll then board a motorcoach and go to meet a family of artisan ceramicists who make the distinctive urns traditionally used in Camagüey to store water. In addition to their craft, the workshop is beautifully decorated with the family collection of ornamental plants and cacti. Sure to be a highlight of the day, we will experience traditional Cuban country life at Finca Zaragozano — the Zaragozano ranch. We will meet Ququi, the head of the Zaragozano family and his son, the local veterinarian, who will introduce us to the workings of the ranch. We will also interact with ranch hands as we learn about Cuban agriculture, life in rural areas, family history and family life, and the sense of community the family and its workers share.

Lunch: At the ranch, we’ll have a meal prepared in the open air kitchen featuring traditional roast pig and side dishes such as tostones, rice and black beans, and more — shared with ranch hands and family members. A great opportunity to practice your Spanish and share a true intercultural exchange.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.

Dinner: At a nearby paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Camagüey Overview, Dance Company, Contemporary Artists
Camagüey
B,L
Hotel E Santa Maria

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 10 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking up to 2 miles and standing approximately 2 hours; pavement, some uneven areas. Most venues are not air-conditioned.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba, Camaguey played a prominent role as the urban center of an inland territory dedicated to cattle breeding and the sugar industry. It is the third largest city in Cuba and the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Camaguey is also reputed to have some of the most talented dancers in Cuba, and is home to three of the country’s best dance companies. We’ll visit a dance company, observe dancers during their daily rehearsal, and learn from the company manager about the challenges of operating a performance company with limited resources for props and costumes. After, we'll visit the studio of a local artist.

Lunch: At a paladar.

Afternoon: We’ll visit the home — that also serves as a studio/workshop and gallery — of noted artists Joel Jover and Ileana Sanchez, both born in Camagüey. Ileana is an exponent of vibrantly colored works that express “alegría de vivir” while Joel’s art is more expressionistic and his color palette more subdued. Their home is filled with paintings, antiques, books, and curios such as vintage toys. We will enjoy an aperitivo with these prodigiously creative artists before returning to the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Transfer to Trinidad, City of Sancti Spíritus
Trinidad de Cuba
B,L,D
Finca Ma Dolores

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 161 miles (260 km), approximately 4 hours including stops. Strenuous walking up to 2 miles in Trinidad and standing outdoors; very uneven cobblestone streets; sunny conditions, limited shade.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel, board a motorcoach, and begin our journey to Trinidad de Cuba. En route, we’ll stop in the city of Sancti Spíritus to walk through its colorful streets and squares. One of the original seven Spanish “villas,” it was founded in 1514 in the center of the island. We can see the vestiges of changing architectural styles over five centuries. Local folklore says that only a few years after its founding, the people moved several miles away due to an invasion of fire ants. There are also tales of magical creatures!

Lunch: At a Sancti Spíritus paladar.

Afternoon: We’ll board the motorcoach and continue our ride to Trinidad de Cuba. Upon arrival, we’ll take a walking field trip to explore the historic city center, one of the original Spanish Settlements and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trinidad de Cuba is a pristine example of Spanish colonial Caribbean architecture and has just celebrated its 500-year anniversary. During our field trip, we’ll meet with a local artisan who uses abandoned wood from houses to create one-of-a-kind sculptured portraits. We’ll then ride to the hotel and check in.

Dinner: In the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Cienfuegos, Remedios
Remedios
B,L,D
Hotel Encanto Barcelona

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 125 miles, approximately 5 hours. Walking up to 1 mile and standing up to an hour outdoors; pavement, gravel, uneven ground, sunny conditions, limited shade.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll board our motorcoach, and depart for Cienfuegos. Upon arrival, we’ll set out with a local expert on a walking field trip in the main square. It is named for José Martí (1853-1895), a journalist and poet who was also a hero of Cuban independence. The historic center is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “The colonial town of Cienfuegos was founded in 1819 in the Spanish territory but was initially settled by immigrants of French origin. It became a trading place for sugar cane, tobacco and coffee. Situated on the Caribbean coast of southern-central Cuba at the heart of the country’s sugar cane, mango, tobacco and coffee production area, the town first developed in the neoclassical style. It later became more eclectic but retained a harmonious overall townscape.” The city offers outstanding architecture and is home to a large artistic community. We’ll ride on and attend a performance by one of the city’s professional musical groups. We’ll discuss their professional and daily lives with members of the group.

Lunch: At a Cienfuegos paladar.

Afternoon: We’ll reboard the motorcoach and drive on to Remedios, the eighth oldest city in Cuba, founded by the Spanish to serve as a trading port on the route between Havana and Camagüey. We’ll stop in to meet a town resident who is a passionate collector of the town’s historic memorabilia. Moving on, we expect to arrive at the hotel late afternoon for check-in.

Dinner: At a paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
San Juan de Remedios, City of Parrandas
Remedios
B,L,D
Hotel Encanto Barcelona

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile, standing on pavement; riding in pedicabs for approximately 1/2 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: With our local Cuban expert, we’ll set out on a walking field trip to begin learning about local legends. We’ll visit the main church in Remedios, unique in Cuba for its gold altars and statue depicting the Virgin pregnant! We’ll also stroll through the main shopping street of Remedios to learn the differences between Ration, Cuban Pesos and CUC stores and consider the complexity of the two-currency system and the cost of living for local people. We’ll meet a local family and visit their home to see how everyday Cubans live. We’ll then meet a local artist who creates the design for one of the parrandas (festivities in the streets) and learn about the history of Remedios including its Christmas festival — Las Parrandas de Remedios — that is one of the most popular events of the region. It takes place on the 24th of December each year. The town, divided in two neighborhoods, spends the entire year preparing for a competition to have the most spectacular float. We’ll visit a workshop to see firsthand the ingenuity of the locals who strive all year to create the most spectacular float.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will meet with a cigar roller to learn about this famous Cuban craft. We’ll then ride to visit a community project in Caibarién for an opportunity to engage with local children. We’ll learn how the students reinvent compostable and recycle items to create pieces of art. We’ll end the afternoon with a coastal drive.

Dinner: At a paladar, we’ll have a feast with crab, fish, and other regional dishes.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Transfer to Havana, Sephardic Synagogue
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 200 miles (320 km), approximately 5 hours including stops.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach, and begin our drive to Havana.

Lunch: At a paladar en route.

Afternoon: We will continue our ride into Havana stopping at the famous Revolution Square if time permits. We will then continue to our hotel and check in.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Cuban Music,Old Havana
Havana
B,L
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking and standing approximately 2 hours through old Havana. Cobblestone streets, uneven terrain

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a Cuban musicologist who will discuss the synthesis of diverse traditions that merge harmoniously together to create the distinctive identity of Cuban music. With our local Cuban expert and Group Leader, we’ll set out on a walking field trip in Old Havana, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “Havana was founded in 1519 by the Spanish. By the 17th century, it had become one of the Caribbean's main centres for ship-building. Although it is today a sprawling metropolis of 2 million inhabitants, its old centre retains an interesting mix of Baroque and neoclassical monuments, and a homogeneous ensemble of private houses with arcades, balconies, wrought-iron gates and internal courtyards.” Next, we will visit the Holocaust Museum that sits within the beautiful Sephardic Synagogue. Here we will walk through the museum and interact with artisans who utilize the services set up by the Synagogue.

Lunch: At a paladar.

Afternoon: We’ll attend a performance by one of Cuba's preeminent dance companies, then engage in one-on-one discussions with members of the company about their lives and profession.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
U.S.-Cuba Relations, Fine Arts Museum, Dominoes
Havana
B,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking and standing for up to 2 hours in the museum. Some steps and no elevator

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll have a presentation on the history of U.S.- Cuba relations with an expert in the field. We’ll gain an understanding of Cuban perspectives on the tumultuous relationship between the two countries, followed by open discussion. We’ll then board a motorcoach and head out on a field trip to the Museum Nacional de Bellas Arts — the Fine Arts Museum of Havana — where a museum curator will lead our exploration. Cuban art is renowned worldwide. We’ll delve into the stories of how various works of art relate and what they say about politics, culture, and society.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Dominoes, Cuba’s national game, has its own set of rules, played enthusiastically in private and public. More than competition and skill, it is a greatly enjoyed social activity. We’ll meet members of a local dominoes league, learn the Cuban rules, then play with club members. Teams will rotate and each American will play with one Cuban, an opportunity to practice a few words in Spanish.

Dinner: At a paladar. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning. The Group Leader will announce check-out time and the time of our transfer to the airport in the morning.

DAY
11
Fly to Miami, Program Concludes
Depart Havana
B

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 12.5 miles (20.2 km), approximately 1/2 hour to airport. The walk from the arrival gate in Miami International Airport to the U.S. Immigration and Customs area is approximately 10-15 minutes. Assistance can be requested at check-in.

Breakfast: Boxed breakfast.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll transfer to the Havana airport. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback