22879
Cuba

Cuba Today: Havana and Viñales

Explore the Viñales Valley to uncover the natural beauty of this region. Discover the history and culture of Havana as you meet with dancers, artists, entrepreneurs and more.
Rating (4.95)
Program No. 22879RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,149
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7 days
6 nights
15 meals
6 B 5 L 4 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.

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. The Orientation meeting in the morning 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.

DAY
2
Orientation, U.S. & Cuba, Iglesia la Milagrosa, Dominoes
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. After the presentation, we will transfer by coach to a local church where we'll have the opportunity to learn about a couple of the services that they provide and meet some of the community members that are a part of their groups.

Lunch: At the location of a local community photography project. Along with our meal, we'll learn about the inception of the project and how it helps the community.

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: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. You might like to try one of the many paladares in Havana. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Religion in Cuba, Dance Performance, Community Arts Project
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking up to 1 mile and standing, approximately 3 hours throughout the day; mainly pedestrian-only streets, cobblestones, high curbs, sunny conditions, limited shade.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will enjoy an expert presentation at the hotel on religion and religious beliefs in Cuba. Next, we’ll set out with our Cuban host on a walking field trip into two of Old Havana’s four plazas: Plaza de la Catedral that originated in 1592, with its main feature the ornate Catedral de San Cristóbal; and Plaza Vieja, laid out in 1559 when it was the “new” square, now surrounded by elegant, historic buildings. After, we’ll attend a performance by a contemporary dance company and learn about their training and daily lives at their rehearsal space.

Lunch: In a paladar.

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll ride to a local art studio and community project where we'll learn about the inspiration for the foundation of the project and the see the works of some of the project's artists which are displayed throughout the studio. Following our visit, we'll return to the hotel by motorcoach. On the way to dinner, we'll stop at El Morro fortress which offers unique views of the city.

Dinner: In a paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Transfer to Viñales, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Viñales
B,L,D
Hotel Horizontes Los Jazmines

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving 2.5 hours with stop en-route, 115 miles. Walking up to 1 mile and standing indoors and out up to 2 hours. Cobblestones, high curbs, sunny conditions, limited shade.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we will begin our journey to Viñales, a beautiful valley in the Pinar del Rio province of Cuba in the Sierra de Los Organos. This area is rich with lush landscapes, tobacco farms, and karsts. On the way, we will stop at Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that began as a reforestation project in the 1960's. Here we will meet with local business owners and explore the reserve.

Lunch: At the restaurant at Las Terrazas.

Afternoon: Next, we'll continue our drive to Viñales. After checking into the hotel, we'll explore Viñales on foot with our Cuban Host before returning to the hotel in the early evening.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Tobacco Growing Process
Viñales
B,L
Hotel Horizontes Los Jazmines

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Walking up to 2 miles indoors and outdoors, uneven terrain, limited shade.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning, after a short walk in the valley with our Cuban Host, we will transfer to a local tobacco farm. Here, we will have a presentation on the complex and interesting process of growing and treating tobacco.

Lunch: After learning about the growing and drying process, we'll enjoy lunch at the farm's restaurant on site.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we'll board the motorcoach to visit a despalillo house where we'll learn about the next step in the process of preparing tobacco for cigars. This is where veins are stripped from the tobacco leaves. We'll then return to the hotel in the mid afternoon.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. You might like to try one of the many paladares in Viñales. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Mural, Botanical Garden, Organic Farm, Transfer to Havana
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving 2.5 hours with stop en-route, 115 miles. Walking up to 1 mile and standing indoors and out up to 2 hours. Cobblestones, high curbs, sunny conditions, limited shade.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning, we'll transfer to see the UNESCO "Mural de la Prehistoria", a modern mural depicting world history and evolution. Painted onto a rock wall by the former Director of Mapping at the Cuban Academy of Sciences, Leovigildo González Morillo, we'll learn about the efforts of the local community to maintain the mural. Next, we will transfer to the Casa de Caridad Botanical Garden where we'll learn about the history of the garden and some of the 190 species of plants. Then we'll board our motorcoach to visit an organic farm. Here, we'll have a walking exploration of the farm to learn about what is grown there and organic farming methods.

Lunch: After learning about the farm, we'll enjoy a delicious family style meal prepared with their own organic ingredients and paired with a spectacular view of the valley.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we'll ride to a local project where we'll learn about how they support and contribute to the community. Next, we'll board our motorcoach to transfer to Havana, arriving in the early evening.

Dinner: Farewell dinner in a paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Transfer to Airport, 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 bagged breakfast depending on flight time.

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!






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