22143
Cuba
The Best of Cuba: People, Life and Culture: Camaguey to Havana
Stroll the cobbled streets of Old Havana, discussing baroque architecture, traditional music, complex history and the importance of agriculture in this vibrant island nation.
Rating (4.96)
Program No. 22143RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,699
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11 days
10 nights
25 meals
10 B 7 L 8 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Miami
D
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. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Fly to Cuba
Camagüey
B,D
Hotel E Santa Maria

Activity note: Early departure via hotel shuttle to the airport. Flight times to Cuba are subject to change. This day-by-day schedule should be used only as a representative guide as program elements are subject to change on short notice. The hotel in Camaguey is located in a pedestrian street 2 blocks from the motorcoach access point. Luggage is carried to the hotel for you but you must carry your hand luggage.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Depart from the hotel to the airport. 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. Please be in the hotel lobby with your luggage and be ready to depart the hotel 15 minutes before departure schedule.

Lunch: On your own in the Miami airport.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Camaguey, we’ll meet our Cuban expert who will provide local history and knowledge throughout the program. We’ll then check in at the hotel with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Discovering Camaguey, Ranch, Life in Rural Cuba
Camagüey
B,L,D
Hotel E Santa Maria

Activity note: Extensive use of bicycle rickshaws (pedicabs). 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). Most streets in the historic center of Camagüey are inaccessible to motor coaches and the short distances between Paladares, some activities, and the hotel are, on foot, a 10-15 minute walk each way. At the ranch, be prepared for walking and standing up to one hour on unpaved ground.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll take a field trip, moving by pedicabs — each uniquely decorated by a local artist — to explore the main squares, the church, and the city park. Traveling by pedicab is an intimate introduction to the pulse of the city's streets and residents. People to People Connection. Next we'll meet with a local leather artist who creates unique sculptures that combine nature, Afro-Cuban spiritual traditions, and art. Via motorcoach, we’ll go to meet a family of artisan ceramicists who create the distinctive urns traditionally used in Camaguey to store water. In addition to their craft, the workshop is beautifully decorated with the family collection of ornamental plants and cacti. Mainly agricultural, the Camaguey region produces the majority of Cuba’s beef and dairy products. On the outskirts of the city, the busy streets give way to fields and farms. Experience traditional Cuban country life at the Zaragozano ranch, where we meet Ququi, the head of the Zaragozano family. His son, the local veterinarian, introduces us to the workings of the ranch. People to People Connection: As we interact with the Black Smith, the manager of the milking station and other ranch hands, learn about Cuban agriculture, life in rural Cuba and this family's history. Learn about Cuban family life and the sense of community that this family and its workers share.

Lunch: People to People Connection: Enjoy a home-cooked meal with a traditional pig roast, including tostones, rice and black beans, shared with the ranch hands - a great opportunity to practice your Spanish and share a true intercultural exchange.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we’ll return to the hotel via motorcoach and have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.

Dinner: In a nearby paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Overview of Camaguey
Camagüey
B,L
Hotel E Santa Maria

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. People to People Connection: 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: In a Paladar.

Afternoon: We’ll have another People to People Connection. In their home, we’ll enjoy an aperitivo with two of Cuba’s most creative and prodigious contemporary painters, Joel Jover and his wife Ileana Sanchez. Their magnificently decorated home is itself a work of art.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like.

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

DAY
5
The City of Sancti Spiritus En Route to Trinidad
Trinidad de Cuba
B,L,D
Finca Ma Dolores

Activity note: A full day travel by motorcoach from Camaguey to Trinidad, about 160 miles (260 kilometers), with stops en route. Extensive, strenuous walking approximately 2 miles in Trinidad; very uneven cobblestone streets; walking and standing for approximately 1/2 hour outdoors around the main square; limited shade.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and begin our journey to Trinidad de Cuba. En route, we’ll stop in the city of Sancti Spiritus to walk through the charming colonial streets and squares.

Lunch: In a paladar in Sancti Spiritus. Try the flan for dessert!

Afternoon: We’ll depart by motorcoach 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. People to People Connection. We’ll meet a local artisan who uses abandoned wood from houses to create his unique sculptured portraits. We’ll then check in at the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel.

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

DAY
6
Cienfuegos, Remedios
Remedios
B,L,D
Hotel Camino del Principe

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile and standing up to an hour outdoors; pavement, gravel, uneven ground, limited shade.

Breakfast: At Casa Particular.

Morning: We’ll regroup, board our motorcoach, and depart for Cienfuegos. There, we’ll take a walking field trip to explore the main square, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was 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. People to People Connection: We’ll enjoy a performance by one of the city’s professional musical groups and discuss their professional and daily lives with members of the group.

Lunch: In a paladar in Cienfuegos.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our drive to Remedios, the eighth oldest city in Cuba, founded by the Spanish to serve as a trading port on the route between Havana and Camaguey. People to People Connection: We’ll stop in to meet a town resident who is a passionate collector of the town’s historic memorabilia.

Dinner: In a paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
San Juan de Remedios, City of Parrandas
Remedios
B,L,D
Hotel Camino del Principe

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, learn about local legends and visit the main church in Remedios, unique in Cuba for its gold altars and statue depicting the Virgin pregnant! We’ll 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 locals. People to People Connections. Next, 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, unique in Cuba for 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 first hand the ingenuity of the locals who passionately work all year to create the most spectacular float. br>

Lunch: At Hotel El Camino del Principe.

Afternoon: We’ll visit an agricultural museum that preserves the equipment used throughout the centuries for sugar production, and also includes an impressive collection of train locomotive.We’ll end the afternoon with a coastal drive to the small town of Caibarien on the beach.

Dinner: In a paladar, we’ll enjoy a feast of local crab, fish, and other regional dishes.

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

DAY
8
Hemingway's Haunts
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: A full day travel by motorcoach from Remedios to Havana, about 200 miles (320 KM), with stops en route.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll regroup, board our motorcoach, and depart for Havana.

Lunch: In a paladar.

Afternoon: We’ll 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. We’ll look into the open windows and doors to see the home in perfect condition with Hemingway’s personal belongings as he left them. We’ll also walk the grounds to see his private writing studio, swimming pool, and beloved fishing boat, Pilar, featured in his novel "Islands in the Stream." Late afternoon check in to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

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

Activity note: Walking and standing for 2 hours in the Fine Arts Museum. There is no elevator.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning, we’ll be joined by a Cuban musicologist who will introduce the diverse traditions that merge harmoniously together to create Cuban Music. We’ll then head out on a field trip to 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 each work of art relates and the statement on politics, culture, and society each artist conveys.

Lunch: In a paladar.

Afternoon: People to People Connection: Enjoy a performance by one of Cuba's preeminent dance companies, then engage in one-on-one discussions about their lives and profession.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Discovering Old Havana, Dominoes
Havana
B,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile and standing up to an hour outdoors; pavement, gravel, uneven ground, limited shade.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Begin with a presentation on the history of U.S.- Cuban relations with an expert in the field. Gain an understanding of the Cuban perspective of the tumultuous relationship between the two countries, followed by open discussion on the topic. After, we will walk through Old Havana with our Cuban Study Leader who will show us the government funded restoration project of the historic district. We’ll also explore some of the main plazas in Old Havana.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: People to People Connection. 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: In a paladar, we’ll have a farewell dinner and share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

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

DAY
11
Return Flight to Miami, Program Concludes
Depart Havana
B

Activity note: The Group Leader will announce check-out time.

Breakfast: Boxed breakfast.

Morning: Group transfer to the Havana airport. 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.) 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!






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