22461
Cuba

Cuba Today: People and Society: Havana & Cienfuegos

Discover the unique social and cultural heritage of Cuba as you enjoy a musical performance, converse with locals and embark on a walking adventure of historic Havana.
Rating (4.92)
Program No. 22461RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,699
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8 days
7 nights
18 meals
7 B 6 L 5 D
DAY
1
In Transit, Arrive Havana, Check-in, Welcome Dinner
Havana
D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

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, as are flight times. Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After checking in at the hotel, take some time to freshen up. Orientation: 6:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. 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. Some meals will be in paladars: privately owned and operated family restaurants. Periods in the schedule designated as “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and 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. The Orientation meeting is essential for all participants. We will review the regulations that govern our program and are set by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Program elements in Cuba are controlled by the Cuban government and are subject to change on short notice; therefore, the daily schedule is a representative guide. In Cuba, we will have a bilingual Cuban host who will be with us for the entire program.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a 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.

DAY
2
Orientation, U.S. & Cuba
Havana
B,L
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 15 miles total, approximately 1 hour. Walking and standing for approximately 3 hours, pedestrian streets, cobblestones, high curbs.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, have what you like from the extensive buffet with a variety of hot and cold choices and beverages.

Morning: Orientation: 8:30 a.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. 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. Some meals will be in paladars: privately owned and operated family restaurants. Periods in the schedule designated as “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and 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. Next, 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. We’ll then board our private motorcoach and set out on a field trip to a community project that helps self-taught Cuban artists.

Lunch: At a paladar (privately-owned restaurant).

Afternoon: In the afternoon, we will learn about dominoes. 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 and an opportunity to practice a few words in Spanish!

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Havana. The Group Leader will be glad to offer suggestions.

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

DAY
3
Transfer to Cienfuegos, Musical Performance
Cienfuegos
B,L,D
La Unión Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 124 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking up to 2.5 miles; uneven cobblestone streets in Cienfuegos, few places to sit.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach, and begin the journey to Cienfuegos on the southern part of the island. The drive through the countryside will be a fascinating experience as we observe the forms of transportation available to Cubans, including an abundance of horse drawn carriages. En route, we will stop at Playa Larga, in the heart of the Zapata Wetlands, to learn about ecology and conservation in Cuba from a local expert.

Lunch: At a seaside paladar.

Afternoon: After lunch, there will be an opportunity to take a short swim in the Caribbean Sea or walk along the beach. We will then visit the Dancare Community Project and learn about what they do. We’ll reboard the motorcoach and continue our ride to Cienfuegos. Once we arrive in Cienfuegos we will attend a rehearsal of a local music group, with an opportunity to interact with the musicians. Next, we’ll go on a walk with our Cuban host and Group Leader through Plaza José Martí, the main square in Cienfuegos. We’ll hear briefly about the square’s history as we observe local life and see beautiful buildings that surround it including the Tomas Terry Theater. We’ll then reboard the motorcoach, ride to the hotel, and check in.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Trinidad Field Trip
Cienfuegos
B,L,D
La Unión Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 108 miles total, approximately 3 hours. Strenuous walking up to 2.5 miles and standing outdoors; very uneven cobblestone streets; sunny conditions, limited shade. The historic center of Trinidad is not accessible to motorcoaches and ca only be reached on foot.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board the motorcoach for a full-day field trip to Trinidad, one of the original Spanish Settlements and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 1514, this time capsule of a city is a mix of historic landmarks and majestic natural beauty. We’ll set out walking with our Cuban host to Plaza Mayor where we will see historically and architecturally significant landmarks of this colonial town.

Lunch: At a local hotel with beverage choices of coffee and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: During our Trinidad field trip, we’ll visit with a local artisan who uses abandoned wood from houses to create one-of-a-kind sculptured portraits. Returning to our hotel in Cienfuegos, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.

Dinner: In a paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Transfer to Havana, Havana Overview
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 145 miles (233 km), approximately 3 hours including stops. Walking up to 2 miles, uneven ground.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board our motorcoach for the return trip to Havana.

Lunch: At a paladar in Cojimar, a fishing village on the outskirts of Havana.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we will visit an independent organic farm and see the various ways food is grown. Next, we’ll arrive in central Havana for a motorcoach overview of some of the city’s key sights including Havana University, Paseo del Prado, Revolution Square, and the Malecon. . We’ll check in to the hotel late afternoon with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In a paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Restoration Projects, Old Havana, Dance Group
Havana
B,L
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles, standing indoors and out up to 2 hours; pedestrian streets, cobblestones, high curbs; sunny conditions, limited shade.Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined at the hotel by a local architect who is involved with the ongoing government-funded restoration projects in Old Havana. We’ll learn about the work being done and discuss the challenges and the vision for Havana’s future. Next, we’ll set out on a walking field trip to explore the historic plazas of 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.” We’ll then meet with members of a graphic arts cooperative and learn what they do.

Lunch: At a paladar.

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll ride to their practice space to meet with members of a modern dance group. We’ll observe a rehearsal and have conversation and interactions with some of the group’s members.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Women in Cuba, Chorale Concert, Sephardic Synagogue
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking up to 1/2 mile and standing indoors and out; pavement, cobblestones, stairs without railings, uneven curbs and sidewalk surfaces. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 10 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll joined by an expert in gender studies and sociology for a presentation on women in Cuba that will provide perspectives on women in today’s Cuban society. Next we will visit the Sephardic Synagogue of Havana and explore the Holocaust museum there.

Lunch: At a paladar.

Afternoon: Next, we will visit a local market of independent artists. We will regroup at the hotel to attend a performance by a women’s a capella chorale. This is an opportunity to hear beautiful voices and to discuss what life is like for women today in Cuba.

Dinner: We will ride to 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.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
Depart Cuba
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon. See your program’s Transportation Information regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet or boxed breakfast depending on flight times. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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