Cuba

Music, History and Nature


Dance between Cuba's two worlds of energy and nature, from the city where music spills out onto the storied streets, to the gentle lullabies of the beach.

Jump into the heart of the action in historical Havana, then travel to the town of Matanzas, and learn the traditions behind the dance and music, ron and danzón. Continue on to Playa Larga where history and relaxation merge between the Bay of Pigs and the incredible wildlife of the Zapata Swamp.

This adventure is offered under the Support for the Cuban People category of travel.

Price Includes:People are the heart of Cuba
All accommodations
Meals as indicated in the itinerary
Round-trip transportation between Havana, Matanzas and Playa Larga
English-speaking guide for activities in Havana, Matanzas and Playa Larga

Prices Does Not Include:
Alcoholic beverages
Gratuities for guides


Sample Itinerary

Our itineraries are designed to let the country and its people guide your experiences. Please be flexible and allow the program to unfold.

DAY 1

Arrival in Havana, Cuba

Be welcomed to Havana by your host and our very good friend Mauricio and enjoy a coffee on his terrace overlooking the Malecon and the ocean. Let Mauricio tell you wonderful wild stories of the city and his incredible life in Cuba.

Take in Havana "at a first glance" on a cruise with a local guide in a classic American car, and enjoy a drink on the terrace of the famous Art Deco Hotel Nacional.

Overnight at the Casa Particular

MEALS:  None


DAY 2

Havana

After breakfast at the casa particular, take the morning to explore on foot, experiencing the colonial magnificence and funky art-filled alleys of Havana. Check out the second-hand book market in the Plaza de Armas, browsing through the classic and new books and an amazing variety of revolutionary propaganda posters from all over the world. Listen awhile to street musicians practicing and trying out new songs. Don't forget to stop for a Cuban pastry (pastele) and a strong sweet cup of coffee!

In the afternoon, a classic old American convertible car will pick you up to discover the life of Hemingway and take in many of his old haunts in Havana and the surrounding area. You will end your tour in Cojimar, the small fishing village where Hemingway moored his boat. It was also the location of the old Spanish fort (1649) presently occupied by the Cuban Coast Guard. Very few people actually stay in Cojimar. It is a quaint little town that will provide a glimpse into the quiet life of Hemingway.

In the evening, explore the different genres of Cuban music with guide and jazz singer, Meiby.

Overnight at the Casa Particular

MEALS:  B


DAY 3

Matanzas

After breakfast at the casa particular, you will meet up with your guide, our good friend Evelyn, who will transport you to the wonderful town of Matanzas, about 1.5 hours away.

Often overlooked, Matanzas is a cultural gem. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the expansive trade of the port allowed this affluent town to develop rich literary and musical traditions, inspiring the nickname “the Athens of Cuba”. The large population of Afro-Cubans influenced the musical styles of danzón and rumba with drums and rhythms and developed distinct variations of the Santaria religion that are still practiced today. Boasting 17 bridges over three rivers, Matanzas is also known for poetry and theater, with performances produced in the 19th-century Sauto theater.

With Evelyn, you will be sure not to miss any of the best sites, including visits to the San Severino Castle (part of the "Slavery Path" project) and Finca Triunvirato (the site of one the most important slave revolts), as well as visiting a handmade book arts project and one of Cuba’s first and oldest pharmacies.

A highlight is a visit to La Coincidencia Farm, the brainchild of Hector Correa, his wife Odalys, and their three children. Trained as an agronomist, Hector received his land from the Cuban government during their agricultural revival program. After working hard for 30 years, La Coincidence is now a permaculture haven! Hector's wife Odalys is an art historian who translates the land around her into art and expression. Under her influence, the farm is home to a ceramics and artist’s workshop. Currently, the farm grows native fruits and vegetables, along with legumes, sugar cane and honey. The farm also produces eggs, pork, poultry, beef and dairy. On this land, La Coincidencia supports three families and feeds and employs fifteen more families!

Dinner will be served, using only food from the surrounding land, including even the sugar and butter!

MEALS:  B,D


DAY 4

Matanzas - Playa Larga

After breakfast, enjoy a relaxing morning on the farm. Around mid-day, you'll take a taxi to Playa Larga. Playa Larga is well known in American history as one of the invasions sites of the Bay of Pigs. Today it is a beautiful local beach resort, not too touristy, with great snorkeling and diving.

Check in at the Casa Particular and enjoy a Cuban coffee or other welcome drink upon arrival at the home of your host.

Enjoy the afternoon with some relaxing beach time. The evening is free for you to rest and explore.

Overnight at a Casa Particular

MEALS:  B


DAY 5

Playa Larga

Enjoy breakfast at your Casa Particular. In the late morning, your guide and driver will pick you up for a snorkeling excursion. Gear can be rented at the first stop. You will visit several sites including a deep cave and some lovely white sand beaches, including one of the most famous beaches in the area.

In the afternoon, check out Playa Giron. Head over to the second beach that, along with Playa Larga, makes up the Bay of Pigs. Take part in a historical exploration of the area and learn the story of the failed invasion by the American-sponsored paramilitary in April 1961.

Enjoy a relaxing evening on your own.

Overnight at a Casa Particular

MEALS:  B


DAY 6

Playa Larga - Havana

After breakfast at your Casa Particular, take a taxi to back to Havana. The drive from Playa Large to Havana is around 2 hours. Check into your Casa Particular and drop off your things.

In the afternoon, you'll venture back in time to learn the vibrant history of the founding of Havana, the colonial background and evolving design of the city. Then bring it more to the present with the story and path of the revolution on a guided tour through Havana. Or enjoy some free time to explore Havana on your own. We can give you many suggestions for wonderful places to visit and things to do!

For your last night in Havana, we recommend a visit to the Fabrica del Arte Cubano. Is it an art gallery? Is it a restaurant? Is it a dance club? Yes to all above! The Fabrica del Arte Cubano is not to be missed. Find out what’s new and interesting in the art scene, grab a meal or drink at El Cocinero and dance a little. You shouldn't miss it!

MEALS:  B


DAY 7

Havana - Departure

Breakfast at the Casa Particular

On your last day in Cuba, embark on a morning visit with our friend Mauricio to the artistic creation of Fusterlandia, a fascinating project of mosaics that is the dream of the Cuban artist José Fuster. Compared to surrealist artists such as Picasso, Gaudí, Gauguin and Wifredo Lam, Fuster uses bright colors and simple shapes to create whimsical worlds and fantastical creatures.

In 1975, with the idea of large-scale public art in his mind, Fuster moved into the dilapidated neighborhood of Jaimanitas and began to decorate his home studio in his unique style of colorful mosaics. Soon the art began to extend over the walls and barriers of his house, and into and around his neighbors' land. His project grew like ceramic ivy and within a decade, nearby bus stops, doctor's offices, public fountains, benches and dividing walls were illustrated with his designs. Today, the neighborhood stands as an ever-evolving living kaleidoscope of art.

Return to the Casa Particular to pack up and head to the airport for an early afternoon flight home.

MEALS:  B


PRICE

From $1,945 based on double occupancy

DURATION

7D / 6N

DEPARTURE DATES

Custom departures available year-round


ACTIVITY LEVEL

Easy-Moderate

ROUTE

Havana - Matanzas - Playa Larga - Havana

PROGRAM ELEMENTS

Customizable



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