Mariachi USA-ITINERARY

October 05-10, 2016

Please note that this itinerary is subject to constant revision as we continue to make your visit to Cuba a very magical experience.

[1] Wed., 5 October 2016 - Miami Airport area - Havana City

Checkout: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport

Travel to Havana

Checkin: Hotel Cohiba


[2:00 pm] - Arrive in Havana and check in to the Hotel Melia Cohiba


[5:00 pm] - Orientation and familiarization

We will take a few moment to offer a welcome cocktail and a brief Orientation to the city and familiarization of the neighborhood around the hotel.


[7:30 pm] - San Cristobal Paladar welcome dinner

Rated by The Guardian as the number one Paladar in Havana, This paladar, is in a space that is cluttered and eclectic on the bottom floor of an early 20th-century mansion. Piles of old books are stacked atop beautiful old furniture; black and white photos jostle for space with antique record covers and bullfighting posters, while a selection of clocks, religious artefacts and, even a full-size zebra pelt, add to the mix. The food is Cuban-Creole: malanga, yucca, cerdo asado (roast pork), lobster, fresh fish, shrimp and other traditional fare. The dessert menu is expansive: pudding San Cristóbal (eggs, fruit, milk and almonds) is an excellent choice among many. The wine list is broad and reasonably priced. We will have a chance to speak with the Chef and the owner of the establishment to discuss food and new opportunities in the food industry in Cuba.


[9:30 pm]- After dinner music at some of Havana’s famous clubs (Optional)

We will provide you with a list of the most interesting and fun places and what is happening tonight for those who have the energy to go dancing all night!

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[2] Thurs., 6 October 2016 - Havana City

[7:00 am] - Enjoy the sumptuous breakfast buffet at the hotel at your leisure before we start our exciting day.


[9:30 am] - Old Havana Four Plazas tour

Tour Old Havana on foot, walking between the four main plazas that comprise Cuba’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start at Plaza de Armas, the site of the oldest Spanish fortress in the Americas, the 1519 locale of the first mass in Cuba, and the massive Baroque seat of government, known as Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. Continue to Plaza de San Francisco de Assis and Plaza Vieja, where we will visit artists' galleries and historic buildings and get a sense of the structure of the colonial city. Wind through historic streets spanning 5 centuries of historic architecture and end at Plaza de la Catedral and see the Baroque cathedral.


[12:30 pm] - Hotel Florida lunch

Founded in 1885, The hotel is located in the middle of Old Havana on the bustling Obispo Street. You will immediately relax as you enter this Colonial urban oasis. The food is Cuban Creole.


[2:30 pm] - Taller de Grafica

Stroll to Plaza de La Catedral to visit Havana’s premiere graphics arts workshop. This public center for local artists was established by Pablo Neruda and Che Guevara at the beginning of the Revolution as a place where artists living and visiting Havana can work on printmaking projects. Over the years they have developed an inventory of prints by unknown artists as well as more celebrated artists. This is an excellent time to meet some of the young artists of Havana and purchase art directly from them at great prices.


[4:00 pm] - Folklorico Nacional de Cuba private rehearsal

Go behind the scenes and witness this extraordinary ensemble of Afrocuban folkloric music and dances. Founded in 1962. The Ensemble has always had as main purposes to contribute to the rescue and recovery of Cuban dance and music folkways. Today after 35 years of its founding the Ensemble has developed a theater-folklore style with strong aesthetic effectiveness and power on stage. El Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba has provided more than eight hundred thousand shows through its 93 international tours in Europe, America and Asia. Audiences from more than three hundred cities and towns have applauded the profound national art of this dance ensemble.


[7:30 pm] - Gala Dinner honoring MARIACHI USA -Club Habana

Tonight we will enjoy a gala dinner at this fabulously eclectic 1928 mansion in Miramar that once housed the Havana Biltmore Yacht & Country Club. These days the history of the establishment seems to have swung full circle and it is again a popular hangout for foreign correspondents and diplomats. The club has its own beach, swimming pool, tennis courts, bar, boutiques and health club. We will dine in the main dining room and have time to visit with the MARIACHI USA artists.

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[3] Fri., 7 October 2016 - Havana City

[7:00 am] - Enjoy the sumptuous breakfast buffet at the hotel at your leisure before we start our exciting day.


[9:30 am] - Capitolio Central Park and Prado tour

Lying on the border of Old Havana and Centro Havana municipality, this area is notable for containing numerous architecturally and historically significant buildings that exemplify mid-19th c. urban center. We will begin at the 1877 Central Park, then walk along the 1772 Prado Promenade, see the Moorish-style Inglaterra Hotel, oldest in the city, the 1929 Capitolio building, which is modeled on the US capitol, and the Bacardi building, the best example of tropical Art Deco.


[10:30 am] - Museo de Bellas Artes Cuban art collection/Bellas Artes Museum

You will visit the Cuban collections in this striking modernist building which was completed in 1953 and exemplifies the combination of sculpture with architecture in Cuban mid-century modernism. The Palace of Fine Arts houses a collection of Cuban visual art that spans four centuries.


[12:30 pm] - Lunch at Parque Central Hotel


[2:45 pm] - This afternoon is reserved for your own exploring of Havana and revisiting some of the places you have seen along the way.


[6:00 pm] - Atelier Restaurant dinner

Calling Atelier contemporary is like calling Havana a little rundown: true, but enough of an understatement as to miss the point. The large main room is decorated with sparse modern lines, inside a typically idiosyncratic Vedado mansion. Two balconies have boundless cushions for the outdoor lounge. An antique hob outside, old sewing and adding machines inside make the place retro yet not old. The food changes every day, every week, hence the handwritten menus.


[9:30 pm]- POP UP performance by the artists of MARIACHI USA at the Fabrica de Arte (FAC).

Join us for a fun night of music and art at Fabrica De Arte, Havana’s most exciting art venue. FAC an old oil factory that’s now a thriving arts space in Vedado, one of Havana’s residential districts. The eclectic crowd includes the who’s who of the art and music world mixing it up with young people from all over the city who attend regularly to experience art and music. The cavernous space includes an art and photographic gallery, a dance space, a cinema and a very well-stocked bar. On any given night you can watch a fashion show and a live concert, enjoy a meal, see a film and generally hang out in the most creative scene on the island.

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[4] Sat., 8 October 2016 - Havana City

[7:00 am] - Enjoy the sumptuous breakfast buffet at the hotel at your leisure before we start our exciting day.


[10:30 am] - Rumba Demonstration at Callejón de Hamel

Rumba (guaguancó) is a secular Afro Cuban music, song, and dance tradition that lies at the heart of all Cuban rhythms. In this concert workshop, the ensemble Rumba Morena will describe how this music, song, and dance is played. The setting is the Callejón de Hamel, a back alley where, 20 years ago, artist Salvador Gonzalez decided to eschew the traditional art scene and paint on the outside walls of his apartment. After the neighbors started to applaud his artistic effort, he transformed it into a large scale mural and public art installation inspired by AfroCuban spiritual practices where rumba music, dance, and rituals happen every Sunday.


[12:30 pm] - El Aljibe criolla cuisine lunch

An outdoor thatch roof restaurant located in the residential area of Miramar, a few minutes from downtown Havana. A flavor created and maintained by the family tradition since the first restaurant was founded on the El Aljibe farm. The specialty is the El Aljibe Chicken, which combines roast chicken with French fries and fried plantain, delicious black beans, white rice, salad and national sweets for dessert.


[2:30 pm] - Vedado and Havana Moderna visits

Visit Vedado, Plaza and Modern Havana districts. The morning starts with a visit to Plaza de la Revolucion or revolution Square followed by a visit of the Vedado district which highlights the architecture of the area, drive by the mane monument and the Malecon, Copelia Park the Havana Libre hotel and the Rampa district. The group will visit the farmers market, and other places of interest in Havana where they will have the opportunity to interact with the Cuban people.


[6:00 pm] - Dinner on your own

Tonight dinner is in a paladar of your choice from a list of the hottest foodie scenes in the City. This is an opportunity to get away from the larger group and dine with a smaller group of friends. The tour guide will make the reservations and assist you with securing a taxi. The group will have a chance to speak with the Chef and owner of the establishment to discuss food and new opportunities in the food industry in Cuba. The cost of this meal & Taxi is not included in the trip price.


[9:00 pm] - Attend the Premiere concert of Mariachi USA/Cuba.

Tonight is the anticipated performance of MARIACHI USA’s premiere concert in Havana! Enjoy a wonderful example of cultural diplomacy as the MARIACHI USA Fiesta presents

Cuba’s first major Mariachi concert ever produced on the Island. Feel the pride as fans sing along to traditional Ranchera favorites intertwined with a few Cuban classics

Mariachi style. MARIACHI USA’s ensemble of musicians and ballet presented by our own Rodri!

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[5] Sun., 9 October 2016 - Havana City

[7:00 am] - Enjoy the sumptuous breakfast buffet at the hotel at your leisure before we start our exciting day.


[9:00 am] - Day trip to Las Terrazas Biosphere

Enjoy this all day excursion to Las Terrazas a Planned community based on environmentalism and sustainability.

See the Cuban Countryside and spend time with residents of the Biosphere discussing environmental issues facing Cuba in the 21st Century.


[2:45 pm] - This afternoon is reserved for your own exploring of Havana and revisiting some of the places you have seen along the way.


[7:30 pm] - La Guarida farewell dinner

Anyone who has been to La Guarida will find it difficult to disagree that Enrique and Odeisys have managed to create their own magical place. It oodles a cosy atmosphere with soft lights, fine table linen, German silver cutlery, candles, Cuban music and good jazz. The effect is magnified by the entrance from a run-down Central Havana street. The building, originally known as La Mansión Camagüey, shows its former grandeur from the magnificent wooden entrance door through the marble staircase up the two flights of stairs to the restaurant itself. Fidel’s famous explanation of [why he said] Patria o Muerte (country or death) is a photographer’s dream on the way down. For visitors to Havana, La Guarida has become a must experience. This is deservedly so for while it may be busy, expensive and has been discovered before, it retains its intimate (somewhat formal) charm and provides a quality dining experience with sensitivity and professionalism.


[10:00 pm] - After dinner music at some of Havana’s famous clubs (Optional)

We will have a list of the most interesting and fun places and what is happening tonight for those who have the energy to go dancing all night!

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[6] Mon, 10 October 2016 - Havana City

Checkout: Hotel Cohiba


[7:00 am] - Enjoy the sumptuous breakfast buffet at the hotel at your leisure before we start our exciting day.


[11:00 am] - Check out of Hotel


[12:00 pm] - Transfer from our Havana hotel to the airport


[3:00 pm] - Depart Havana for Miami