Tour Date: November 2018
Tour Price: $5,500 ***INCLUDES RT AIRFARE from USA gateway city
Registration Deadline: TBC
Single supplement TBC
Guest Pro: Deborah Sandidge - www.debsandidge.com/about/
Sign-up early for M&M 10th Anniversary Discounts on ALL trips
What’s Not Included
- Flight from Miami to Cuba
- First-class accommodations when hotels selected or Room in private houses where available
- Travel health insurance while in Cuba
- Cuban Visa ($85) - Havana Airport departure fee ($25)
- Letter of Authorization and U.S. Department of the Treasury License
- Full schedule of guided people-to-people activities
- All meals
- Cuban bilingual guide
- All entrance fees to scheduled activities and events
- All in-country ground transportation 24-hour emergency phone while in Cuba
- Tips for drivers/ guides
- Personal expenses like laundry etc.
- Other things not mentioned in the itinerary or "What is included"
DAY 1 Hola, bienvenido a Cuba! We will arrive in the morning.
After clearing immigration and customs we will meet our guide and driver and will visit Finca Vigia, the site where Ernest Hemingway lived while in Cuba. Welcome lunch will be served at Restaurant El Divino.
Check in at Habana Libre Hotel or Vedado Palace, in the neighborhood of Vedado. Welcome cocktail and meeting with our guide that will explain the program for our trip. Dinner will be served at 6:45PM at Paladar Cañonazo. We need to move quickly because the cannon blast ceremony is scheduled for 9PM. After the ceremony we will attend a presentation by Felipe Ventura about the Colonial history related to pirates and buccaneers. We will have opportunities to take some pictures and to have informal chats with those young men who run the ceremony while serving their military duties.
This morning we will walk through Old Havana in a guided tour for appreciation of the colonial buildings in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Central Park, Obispo Street, Cathedral Square, the Old and Saint Francis Abbey and a book market are among the spots we will visit. After a short walk through cobblestone streets in Old Havana, lunch will be served at “Paladar Cuba 54". After lunch we will visit Callejon de Hamel guided by Elias Assef, a specialist in Afro-Cuban religion. We will visit the home of a Babalao, (Yoruba Priestess) who will receive the group and explain the religious deities and elaborate alters in her home. We will witness the entire ceremony photographically.
Photo walk Cuba’s famed seawall, the Malecón, to capture a beautiful sunset while we create photo opportunities with locals in a very Cuban atmosphere.
Before return to the hotel we can stop by Nacional Hotel to enjoy the sea breeze in the patio. Return to the hotel for rest and leisure. Dinner at Paladar Rejoined.
After breakfast at the hotel we will meet self employed taxi drivers who run their businesses in old cars such as Chevy, Chrysler, Oldsmobile, all of them built in U.S. before the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Ride those cars to visit Art Studio of Jose Fuster. He is well known for his work converting a poor fishermen village into an open art gallery. Lunch at Paladar Atelier.
Photographic session with the drivers and the cars at different strategic locations of Havana (Facing Capitolio, Next to locomotive repair station, from the car wondering around the Malecon). After lunch, complete the Old Havana tour visiting the Cuban Association of Artisans where they will show us the way they express, through their art, the modern living of the Cuban people. Bargain and buy artworks from authentic Cuban painters. In the way back to the hotel we will visit an orphanage in Miramar where about 15 children between 10 and 15 years old have a home. Return to the hotel for rest. Dinner will be served at Paladar California.
Bus to early walk in "El Malecon" with our Cuban photographer/guide. Visit Museo de la Revolución (Museum of the Revolution)
10:30am Walk from Centro Habana (Calle Reina and Belascoain) . Lunch will be served at at paladar 5 Esquinas (Pizzas)
2:00pm: More shooting on your own in Habana Vieja or bus back to the Hotel for siesta. 5:00pm: Bus from hotel (or walk) to Castillo de San Salvador de La Punta for sunset 6:45pm: Bus from La Punta to 7:00pm dinner at paladar a local Paladar
Check out at 9AM. Depart to Las Terrazas. Visit this biosphere reserve and discover the living of Cuban artists and people in the countryside of Pinar del Rio, the westernmost province of Cuba. Visit the studio of Lester Campa or one of the artists living in the village. Visit other projects in town. Lunch at Casa del Campesino. Visit the coffee terraces and if possible visit the orchid garden. Continue the trip to Viñales. Check in at private homes. Rest and wander around in the neighborhood. Dinner at home with the Cuban families.
After breakfast we will head our steps to a tobacco farm to learn about the tradition of growing and making the best cigar in the world. Visit the faux prehistorical mural and if possible ride a horse in the surrounding area. Lunch will be served at the organic farm Finca Paraiso where you will learn about organic farming in Cuba. In the afternoon visit Cueva del Indio where you will ride a boat through the river under the cave. Continue with a visit to the center of the town for local-made crafts shopping. Dinner at a local paladar or at a Patio with the group. Depending on the schedule of Casa del Son, attend a Fiesta Campesina with live music and dance.
The breakfast will be early as we need to depart to Trinidad to explore its colonial architecture. Exotic lunch at Paladar "Palpite". We will make a stop to visit the historic Bay of Pigs, learn the role of the invasion in the history of the relations between Cuba and the USA. Continue our trip to Trinidad, one of the 7 first villages of Cuba. It was founded by Diego Velazquez in 1514. Together with the nearby Valle de los Ingenios (Sugar Mill Valley), it has been one of UNESCO ́s World Heritage sites since 1988. For this tour we have handpicked several "casas particulares" -private homes in the center of the Village- where we will be lodged. Dinner will be served at home accompanied by the Cuban friends.
OPTIONAL: Visit "Casa de la Trova" to enjoy a life performance of local musicians. The main spots in Trinidad are less than 2 blocks distance from our homes.
Early morning photo shoot to catch the beautiful sunrise of Trinidad, walk around the colonial houses and capture the local atmosphere, return to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast we will meet the Historian of the Village who will offer a lecture about the Colonial Heritage in the region. We will be able to chat with other artists who will explain their motivation to create art in this ancient village of Cuba. We will visit the gallery of Danilo Moreno to discover the sculptures and the ingenuity of their creations with disposable materials. The lunch will be served at
paladar "San Jose" with a very special menu designed exclusively for In Touch.
In the afternoon we will visit the pottery of Chichi Santander to learn about the restoration process of the village, we will visit "El Valle de los Ingenios" -Sugar Mills Valley. They represent the importance of sugar to the Cuban economy over the centuries.
Return home for a brief rest and to have one of the best sunset from the balcony of one of our homes. We should find a place for photo sunset with colonial atmosphere.
At night we will get together in one of our homes for a pizza time (or visit "La Botija" restaurant). After dinner we can burn calories dancing at "Casa de la Musica" in the center of the Village.
Visit Parque El Cubano and other important spots in the Valley to learn about the projects to protect the environment in the area. Lunch at the park.
Visit the gallery of Yudit Vidal and continue to the village Ancon. We will visit the reef barrier and learn about endangered species and how they protect them. Enjoy the sunset.
Return to Trinidad to catch the photogenic spirit of the afternoon in the town. Visit the local market and catch one of the best sunsets from our house.
Dinner will be served at local paladar "Guitarra Mía".
Early morning photo shoot and walk around the colonial houses and capture the local atmosphere, return to the our houses for breakfast. Depart to Cienfuegos airport to board our return
flight to Miami. Adios Cuba! See you soon!
HOTEL AND RESTAURANTS MAY CHANGE DEPENDING ON AVAILABILITY.
GUESTS SHOULD PACK LIGHT. YOU MAY BE EXPECTED TO CARRY, ROLL, SCHLEP, AND/OR OTHERWISE TRANSPORT YOUR OWN BAGS AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES ON THIS TRIP. LAUNDRY SERVICES ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE. M&M RULE OF THUMB IS ONE BAG FOR CAMERA GEAR AND ONE 20-22"" ROLLER FOR YOUR CLOTHES AND TOILETRIES. INVEST IN A TRAVEL TRIPOD - BENRO (http://www.benrousa.com/products/travel-angel-ii/) HAS MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE. MEDICAL DEVICES SUCH AS CPAP MACHINES ARE EXCLUDED FROM THIS RECOMMENDATION. PACKING LIGHT WILL MAKE YOUR TRIP MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE.