Weekend in Havana

Immerse yourself in the culture of Havana through meaningful interactions with locals, and learn about how the complicated history has impacted this remarkable city.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23508RJ
5 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Embark on an extraordinary urban adventure as you get to know Cuba’s people, culture and history through its capital city. Discover the plazas of Old Havana with your Cuban host and venture to the outskirts of the city for a taste of rural life. Enjoy interacting with local artists, domino players, community organizers, business owners and farmers while learning about this city by supporting the amazing people that call it home.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles a day on a combination of cobblestone streets and dirt paths. Getting on and off of a motorcoach. Navigating high curbs, uneven steps and stairs without railings. Travel in a tropical climate.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Gain an intimate understanding about life in Cuba – politically and culturally – as you meet local artists, musicians, dancers and entrepreneurs.
  • Learn about urban planning in Havana from a local architect and explore its four plazas on foot with a Cuban host.
  • Engage in authentic Cuban passions as you learn to play dominoes with a local club and enjoy traditional dance from a private dance company.

General Notes

Road Scholar offers opportunities to travel legally to Cuba under the new OFAC Regulations published June 5, 2019. Following the General License category “Support for the Cuban People,” Road Scholar programs include activities intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba. Each day's program promotes independence for the Cuban people and results in meaningful interactions with the Cuban people. Questions about traveling to Cuba? Road Scholar has your answers. Learn more: www.roadscholar.org/cubafaqs.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Carlos Alzugaray Treto
Dr. Carlos Alzugaray Treto is a Cuban diplomat, educator and writer. Between 1961 and 1996 he was a diplomat with the Cuban Foreign Service, then served as a regular lecturer on current international affairs, Cuban Foreign Policy and on European political developments at the University of Havana and other Cuban higher learning institutions. He has published four books and has received the Cuban equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. At present he is a member of the Cuban Union of Writers and other civil society organizations.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Carlos Alzugaray Treto
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Miguel Coyula
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Spaces Between, Contemporary Art in Havana
by Antonio Eligio Fernandez
This study of shared, communal spaces for Havana artists examines the context of contemporary Cuban art. Including major contemporary figures, the work discusses artists’ techniques, their major themes and the environments in which they create.
by Pierre Hausherr (Photographer), Francois Missen
With full-page photographs, introductory essays on history, architecture, music, food and more, this oversized, illustrated paperback by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Francois Missen and photographer Pierre Hausherr captures the spirit of Cuba, its people, nature and culture.
Cuba Journeys
by Rowland Scherman (Editor), Charles Fields
Fields presents Cuba in his newest collection, featuring 120 color and 30 black-and-white photographs that illustrate the island's diverse landscapes. He captures the Matanzas coastlands, Vinales Valley tobacco fields and Havana metropolis, which serves as a backdrop to a series highlighting classic American cars. Includes cultural and historical commentary written in English and Spanish.
New Art of Cuba
by Luis Camnitzer
A survey of Cuban art since 1981, all by young artists who have come-of-age since the revolution, and revised to reflect more recent developments. Twenty-four new color plates augment the 200 black and white illustrations.
The Distant Marvels
by Chantel Acevedo
A life-affirming tale of love set during a hurricane in 1960s, post-revolutionary Cuba. To keep hope alive amongst the evacuees, Maria Sirena tells the incredible story of her childhood during Cuba's Third War of Independence.
Passage to Cuba
by Cynthia Carris Alonso
An wonderful coffee-table book that takes readers through the crumbling, baroque splendor of Havana. Subtitled "An Up-Close Look at the World's Most Colorful Culture."
The Pride of Havana
by Roberto G Echevarria
Professor Gonzalez Echevarria expertly traces the arc of baseball in Cuba, intertwining its heroes and their stories with the politics, music, dance, and literature of the Cuban people.
A Simple Habana Melody, From When the World Was Good
by Oscar Hijuelos
An unlikely love story and lyrical tribute to Latin music by the author of Mambo Kings.
Cuba and Its Music, From the First Drums to the Mambo
by Ned Sublette
A thorough and entertaining history of Cuba and its music by the popular radio producer, music historian and cofounder of Cuban record label QbaDisc.
Trading with the Enemy
by Tom Miller
Miller captures the openness, sensuality and pride of Cuba and the Cubans in this eloquent account of entertaining travels in Fidel's Cuba.
Havana, A Cultural and Literary Companion
by Claudia Lightfoot
An illuminating guide to the city, its history and geography, as the inspiration for writers, artists, musicians and intellectuals.
The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway's brief story of a fisherman who, after 84 days with no luck, finally makes a big catch. It’s an affectionate portrait of life in Cuba and winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Culture Smart! Cuba
by Mandy Macdonald
A concise, well-illustrated and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.
Havana & Cuba West Map
A full-color map to the city center of Havana, at a scale of 1:10,000. Plus, on the reverse, a regional map of Cuba at a scale of 1:600,000.
Cuba, This Moment, Exactly So
by Lorne Resnick
This deluxe coffee-table book organizes 250 black-and-white photographs around micro-stories that immerse readers in the heat and culture of the "Pearl of the Antilles." Includes a foreword by great travel writer Pico Iyer.
Moon Cuba
by Christopher P. Baker
A practical guide in the Moon series, packed not only with travel necessities (hotels, restaurants, sights), but also with a good overview of history and destinations throughout Cuba.
Havana, History and Architecture of a Romantic City
by Maria Luisa Lobo Montalvo, Hugh Thomas (Introduction)
This magnificent history of Havana, featuring 480 color illustrations, shows the city and its growth from its founding as a Spanish colony to independence.
Cuba, A History in Art
by Gary R. Libby
This slim, yet comprehensive survey of Cuban art between 1725 and 1959 explains the development of artists’ styles and how developments in Cuba (and especially Havana) changed their work.
Cuba, What Everyone Needs to Know
by Julia Sweig
Director for Latin America Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Julia Sweig traces the geography, history and identity of Cuba in this admirably succinct portrait of the island nation and its role in world affairs.
Our Man in Havana
by Graham Greene
The classic story of a British vacuum cleaner salesman who gets accidentally drawn into Cold War espionage with disastrous results.

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