Cultural Cuba: Havana to Cayo Santa Maria

May 14-22, 2017 / 9 DAYS

Soak up the singular culture of this colorful Caribbean island.

Make your way from Havana, Cuba’s vibrant capital, along the beautiful coastline of Cayo Santa María to the Spanish colonial city of Sancti Spíritus. …

Your package includes

  • 8 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 7 lunches
  • 7 three-course dinners
  • 13 guided sightseeing tours
  • Expert Tour Director & local guides
  • Private deluxe motor coach

Included highlights

Old Havana, Meeting local artists and musicians, Buena Vista Social Club performance, Ernest Hemingway’s home at Finca Vigía, Cienfuegos, Remedios, Tr…

Tour pace

On this guided tour, you’ll walk for about 3 hours daily across mostly flat terrain, including paved roads with some hills and stairs.

Itinerary

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Miami, Florida / 1 NIGHT

May 14: Arrival in Miami

Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Florida! Arrive in Miami and make your way to your hotel. Review important information with your Tour Director before gathering for a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers.

Havana / 3 NIGHTS

May 15: Arrival in Havana & sightseeing tour

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, board your flight from Fort Lauderdale to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival, head out with your group and discover the city with a local guide.  (Please note: flight times are subject to change.) •  Engage with locals as you visit Havana’s historic districts, including the Cerro, El Vedado and Miramar • See Metropolitan Park, the beautiful green space along the Almendares River, before making your way down the Malecón, a five-mile-long waterfront esplanade • Enjoy open discussions about important restoration projects as you view the historic Capitol Building, Revolution Square, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de San Francisco in Old Havana  After lunch, meet a local artist for an interactive discussion about what life is like in Cuba. Tonight, head to a local restaurant, or paladar, for dinner with your group.

May 16: Old Havana

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Get to know the UNESCO-recognized neighborhood of Old Havana, the heart of the city, with a local architect leading the way. • Engage in open discussions about recent restoration projects in Havana as you walk along the colorful main streets • Pass through Plaza de Armas, Plaze de San Francisco, Plaza de la Catedrale and Cortina de Valdés, home to the city’s ancient arsenal After lunch, continue learning about Cuban culture while meeting with locals during this afternoon’s activities.  • Interact with locals at Arte Corte, a community project centered around a hair salon and barber school • Enter the National Museum of Fine Arts, where you’ll take a guided tour led by a local art historian and discuss a vast a collection of Cuban work • Engage with community representatives at the Callejón de Hamel, where you’ll learn about Afro-Cuban religion and ceremonies as you watch performers in a traditional dance Tonight, enjoy dinner at one of the city’s paladares, or authentic local restaurants. Then, engage with musicians and locals at a traditional performance to get a taste of the lively Cuban music culture.

May 17: Finca Vigía & Cojimar

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, get a look at some of Cuba’s world-famous cultural touchstones, including the cigar, Hemingway’s writing retreat, and antique cars.   • Interact with staff at a local cigar factory to see how Cuba’s most famous export is made from start to finish • Take a salsa dancing lesson taught by the masters and engage with the performers at a demonstration • Meet with a local historian at Finca Vigía, where Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works, and discuss the importance of Hemingway’s novels in both Cuba and the United States • After lunch, visit with local fishermen at the nearby village of Cojimar, where Hemingway kept his boat, Pilar This afternoon, head back to Havana to engage with local artisans at the Almacenes San José craft market. Then, head to the historic Hotel Nacional to learn about its significance and sip Cuba’s signature drink, the mojito.

Cayo Santa María / 2 NIGHTS

May 18: Cayo Santa María via Bay of Pigs & Cienfuegos

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Say adiós to Havana this morning as you make your way to the historic Bay of Pigs. Along the way, stop at Zapata Swamp National Park to learn about area wildlife. Then, discover Cienfuegos with a local as your guide. • Visit the Bay of Pigs and discuss the failed U.S. invasion of 1961 from the perspective of the Cubans • Interact with locals as you discuss the culture and traditions of Cienfuegos, a UNESCO-recognized city   • Make your way through José Martí Square and view the Cathedral of  the Immaculate Conception, then pass by Teatro Tomás Terry and the neo-Gothic Palacio de Valle Then, continue on to the beautiful island of Cayo Santa María, home to pristine coastal scenery and azure waters.

May 19: Caibarién & Remedios

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Head out to the agricultural and cultural center of Caibarién this morning. • Engage with a local artist to learn about Cuba’s vibrant creative scene  • Discuss the tools and machinery used in sugar production at the sugar factory-turned-exhibit, Marcelo Salado Sugar Mill Museum  Then, board a steam train to Remedios, the eighth-oldest city in Cuba, and interact with the conductors en route. • Meet with a parish priest at the Remedios Cathedral to discuss the church’s work and community projects  • Learn about the famous Parrandas festival, one of the Caribbean’s largest and oldest traditional carnivals with roots stretching back to the 18th century • Hop on board a bicycle taxi for a tour of Remedios, heading into the main square where you’ll meet the drivers and share coffee

Sancti Spíritus / 2 NIGHTS

May 20: Sancti Spíritus via Santa Clara

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Travel to Sancti Spíritus, stopping in Santa Clara to discover the vibrant city from a local perspective.  • Visit Parque Vidal, named a national monument in 1988 for its eclectic and historic surrounding architecture and statues • Marvel at the impressive Che Guevara Mausoleum • Listen to traditional trova music and interact with the local musicians who play it Continue on to Sancti Spíritus, one of the oldest European settlements in Cuba.

May 21: Sancti Spíritus & Trinidad

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Set out to explore Sancti Spíritus on a guided walk.  • Stroll through the charming historic center and enjoy an open discussion about restoration projects in the city  •Visit the Sancti Spíritus School of Art, an elementary and middle school for talented youth, and engage with the students to learn about their studies and interests Continue on to learn about the history of the frozen-in-time town of Trinidad.  • Explore and discuss the UNESCO-recognized Spanish colonial zone, passing by Plaza Mayor, the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brunet Palace, Sánchez Iznaga Mansion and the bell tower of the old San Francisco Convent • Interact with locals at the Romantic Museum (located inside Brunet Palace) and view the ornate furniture, artwork and sculptures that members of the Cuban aristocracy once used to decorate their homes • Meet and interact with local artists in Trinidad to learn about their lives and work Back in Sancti Spíritus, join your group at tonight’s farewell dinner.

May 22: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast

After a late check-out from your hotel, transfer to Santa Clara airport for your flight to Fort Lauderdale. Then, travel to Miami airport to connect to your flight home. Please note: Depending on your home destination, you may spend the night in Miami before flying home on the morning of Day 10.



Go Ahead Tours is pleased to offer educational and cultural exchanges to Cuba. Go Ahead Tours qualifies for the people-to-people general license established by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury ("OFAC"). Under this license, Go Ahead Tours will offer educational and cultural exchanges and conversations with the people of Cuba. The itinerary is subject to change based on day of week and availability, but a complete people-to people itinerary will always be maintained.

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