Please note: This is a representative itinerary. Features are subject to change, as availability is controlled by the Cuban government.
Day 1 - Miami
Make your own air arrangements to Miami today. After settling into your hotel, gather with the group for a welcome briefing, which includes an overview of the meetings we will have with Cubans throughout our visit.
Day 2 - Havana
We fly to Cuba in the morning, and transfer to our hotel in Havana. During a walk through the neighborhood of Habana Vieja (Old Havana), we'll admire the historic restorations of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll also visit the Museum of the Revolution.
Day 3 - Havana
After breakfast, a member of the Ludwig Foundation will discuss the role of art and artists in contemporary Cuba. Then we visit a residential neighborhood and stop at a non-governmental community institution like Iglesia Merced, a church that operates a senior center. Here we meet local elders, perhaps share family photos and snacks, and learn a little about Cuban family life. Afterwards we visit a handicraft market, where we meet with local artisans. We'll return to Habana Vieja for lunch.
This afternoon, we visit the Sephardi Synagogue and senior center. Here, we discuss Judaism and religious freedom in Cuba, and gain insight into what it was like growing up Jewish during the revolution.
Day 4 - Havana
Creative expression is our focus again this morning as we visit the Museo de Bella Artes (Fine Arts Museum), and see how Cuban artists have interpreted society throughout the nation's history.
We then get a promising look at modern Cuba at the UBPC Vivero Organopónico Alamar, one of Cuba's most successful neighborhood-managed, worker-owned, cooperative urban organic farms. We'll discuss farming techniques and ways to enhance organic farming in our respective countries.
This afternoon, we return to Habana Vieja, and enjoy a walking tour of the neighborhood.
Day 5 – Havana/Cienfuegos
Today we drive from Havana to Cienfuegos, and take an introductory stroll through the town.
This evening, we attend a concert including religious music by the Chorus of Cienfuegos—and perhaps share a song of our own with them. We'll chat with members of the chorus afterwards.
Day 6 – Cienfuegos
At a meeting with the Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC), we'll discuss how artists and writers manage to freely express their ideas and push limits in both countries. Our new insight will lend special depth to our visit to some artists' studios in Cienfuegos. We'll view their work and hear about the challenges artists face in earning a living through their craft. We'll also participate in a social program with young people.
This evening, we'll return to UNEAC for a performance by a traditional son band such as Los Naranjos, who have been playing Cuban classics since 1926.
Day 7 – Cienfuegos/Trinidad
Today we drive from Cienfuegos to Trinidad. This afternoon we meet local basket makers and learn how their modest enterprises help support local families.
Day 8 – Trinidad
We experience the Sugar Mill Valley today, where the ruins of some 30 sugar mills stand as a testament to Cuba's brief heyday as a center for sugar production in the 18th and 19th centuries. Back in Trinidad, we enjoy a walking tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site, a city frozen in time that has changed little since its colonial heyday. We'll also visit Templo de Yemaya, where we learn about the complex traditions of Santeria—a religion that blends Afro-Caribbean and Roman Catholic beliefs.
Tonight enjoy dinner at a local paladar and learn about the challenges and opportunities facing Cuba's new entrepreneurs.
Day 9 – Trinidad
Today we visit small villages in the Escambray Mountains, a natural wonderland where Cuba's biodiversity takes center stage. After lunch, we visit a local Trinidad pottery studio that has been run by the Santander family for generations. We'll be invited to take a turn at the wheel and to learn about their techniques, their family history, and their lives.
Day 10 – Trinidad/Havana
Today we make our way back to Havana, where we stay at a historic hotel, the Nacional.
This evening, we gather for a dinner reception with local artists and scholars from the Ludwig Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting contemporary Cuban arts and culture.
Day 11 – Havana
Learn a little about Cuban customs at the ornately historic Cristobal Colon cemetery. Then we have an opportunity to interact with children at a daycare facility sponsored by a local church.
Later, we'll be guests at a private rehearsal and reception at Teatro Nacional with Danza Contemporanea de Cuba (or another local dance group). We'll also participate in a discussion on Cuban/U.S. relations.
Day 12 – Return to U.S.
We bid Cuba farewell today as we board our return flight to Miami.
Please note: This is a representative itinerary. Features are subject to change as availability is controlled by the Cuban government.
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