22879
Cuba
Cuba Today: Remedios and Havana
Visit the historic town of Remedios, unspoiled by mass tourism. Discover the history and culture of Havana as you meet with musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and more.
Rating (4.96)
Program No. 22879RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,099
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7 days
6 nights
14 meals
6 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
In Transit, Arrive Santa Clara, Registration, Welcome Dinner
Remedios
D
Hotel Encanto Barcelona

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m. The hotel in Remedios does not have an elevator. Most rooms are located on the 2nd floor; limited ground floor rooms, assigned as available.

Afternoon: Transfer from Abel Santamaría Airport in Santa Clara to your hotel. Meet your Road Scholar Group Leader in the hotel lobby for Program Registration and hotel check in. Take time to relax before departing for dinner.

Dinner: At a local paladar.

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

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile, standing; pavement.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: First, we'll gather for Program Orientation. This very important meeting will prepare you for your travel in Cuba. We will discuss OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) regulations that govern our program, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, our program schedule, and answer any questions you may have. PLEASE NOTE: The day-by-day schedule that follows should be used only as a representative guide. Program elements are subject to change on short notice as availability is controlled by the Cuban government. Next, with our local Cuban expert, 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. Next, we’ll meet a local family and visit their home to see how everyday Cubans live. People to People Connections: We will visit a museum dedicated to las “parrandas” (revels). We’ll learn about the history of Remedios, unique in Cuba for this 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 then visit a workshop to see first hand the ingenuity of the locals who passionately work all year to create the most spectacular float.

Lunch: Hotel buffet.

Afternoon: We’ll walk to Iglesia Mayor de San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist Church). Remedios is the only town in Cuba with two churches on its main square, though the other, Iglesia del Buen Viaje (Church of the Good Voyage), is awaiting restoration. San Juan Bautista, built in 1692, is an outstanding example of Spanish colonial architecture. It is also renowned for its main altar covered in gold and a statue of the Virgin Mary “encinta” (pregnant). People to People Connection: We’ll stop in to meet a town resident who is a passionate collector of the town’s historic memorabilia. Returning to the hotel, we’ll have a presentation by a local expert on the history of Remedios.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Sugar Cane Production, Caibarién
Remedios
B,L,D
Hotel Encanto Barcelona

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile, standing on pavement approximately 2 hours. Riding in pedicabs shared by 2 people on seat for approximately 1/2 hour; step up is 1-1.5 feet. Most venues not air conditioned.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll head out of Remedios via motorcoach for a field trip to an agricultural museum that preserves the equipment used throughout the centuries for sugar production. The museum is home to an impressive collection of pre-diesel locomotives used to transport sugar cane between the fields, factories, and ports. Continuing north, we arrive in the small town of Caibarién, the gateway to the north coast keys, or Cayos.

Lunch: In a local paladar.

Afternoon: People to People Connection: We’ll visit a music group in Caibarién.

Dinner: In a local paladar.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Santa Clara, Che Guevara & Havana
Havana
B,L,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: The drive to Havana is about 200 miles, approximately 5 hours including stops en route; winding roads. Walking and standing for approximately 40 minutes in mausoleum and museum.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and depart Remedios, traveling along the central highway to Santa Clara, capital of Villa Clara province. The city was the site of the last battle of the 1958 Cuban Revolution and was therefore chosen as the final resting place of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, one of major figures of Cuban history. We’ll learn about this Argentine’s life story at the museum dedicated to him, and the mausoleum where he and other revolutionaries are interred. Walk to the Museum of Decorative Arts and enjoy a sampling of troubadour music.

Lunch: In a paladar nearby.

Afternoon: Afternoon check in to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Old Havana, Modern Dance, Hemingway Farm
Havana
B,L
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking in Old Havana and standing, approximately 1.5 hours in the morning, 1.5 hours in the late afternoon; cobblestone, mainly pedestrian-only streets, high curbs, limited shade.

Breakfast: In the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers numerous options such as hot foods, meats, cheeses, pastries, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will begin our guided walk of Old Havana — a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site — including stops at Plaza San Francisco and Plaza Vieja. 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.”

Lunch: Enjoy lunch in a paladar.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll drive to Finca La Vigia (Lookout Farm), Ernest Hemingway’s home in the small, working-class town of San Francisco de Paula on the outskirts of Havana. Hemingway’s love of Cuba was reciprocated by the people. The Nobel Prize-winning author lived here with his third wife Mary for more than 30 years. We’ll be able to look through the open windows and doors to see the house furnished with Hemingway’s personal belongings as he left them. As we walk the grounds, we’ll see his private writing studio, swimming pool, and beloved fishing boat “Pilar” featured in his novel "Islands in the Stream." People to People Connection: After returning to the center of Havana, we’ll enjoy a performance by a contemporary dance company, then engage in a discussion on their training and daily life.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
US/Cuba Relations, Fine Arts Museum, Community Arts
Havana
B,D
Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Activity note: Walking and standing in the museum up to 2 hours. The museum is not always air-conditioned; stairs, no elevator.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by an expert on US/Cuba Relations for a lecture and discussion. We’ll then go out on a field trip to the Fine Arts Museum and meet a museum curator who will lead our exploration and provide commentary. Cuban art is renowned worldwide. We’ll delve into the meanings of various works and what the artists are communicating about politics, culture, and society.

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

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: People to People Connection. We’ll enjoy homemade cooking prepared by the members of a neighborhood arts center and learn the story of the center’s unique construction.

Evening: People to People Connection. We’ll interact with local people at a neighborhood community arts center and enjoy their music and dance party. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
7
Transfer to Havana airport, Program Concludes
Depart Cuba
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

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

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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