Si! NoLa Cuba! Itinerary

December 14-22, 2015

Please note that this itinerary is subject to constant revision and improvement!

[1] Mon, 14 December 2015

Tonight we will reserve a room for you at a Miami Airport Hotel to allow you to arrive the night before so that we may all leave together for the airport. We will set a meeting time in the evening for cocktails and a brief orientation prior to the trip.


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[2] Tue, 15 December 2015 - WELCOME TO HAVANA!

- Miami Airport area

- Havana City


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


[5:00 pm] - Orientation and familiarization

We will take a few moments to offer an Orientation to the city and familiarization of the neighborhood around the hotel.


[7:30 pm] - San Cristobal Paladar

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. 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.


[10:00 pm] - Jazz activities. After dinner we will return to the Hotel Nacional and spend time in its famous back courtyard or visit the jazz clubs in the neighborhood. (Optional-on your own)

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[3] Wed, 16 December 2015

- Havana City


[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


[9:30 am] - Old Havana Four Plazas

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] - Lunch at Hotel Florida

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.


[2:30 pm] - Taller experimental de Grafica

The Taller was established in 1962 by a small group of artists lead by Orlando Suárez, a muralist whose initiative also helped found the Superior Art Institute. Mr. Suarez was supported in this effort by the Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda and by Che Guevara who applauded his efforts to create a center where all artists of the City of Havana can go to produce prints. The Taller is more than a workshop. It is a studio, a school and most of all, an art institution that preserves and develops the sophisticated art of print making with relative freedom of spirit and form. While at the center you will see artworks produced there and have a conversation with the artists present about their works, and about life as an artist in Havana.


[7:30 pm] - Dinner honoring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band -Club Habana

Built by Former President Fulgencio Batista this beautiful beach club is the most exclusive place in Havana catering to the business elite and and diplomatic corps in the island. We will immediately be transported to the 1940s when we set foot in this fully restored bastion of mid 20th Century elite fantasy. Enjoy a cigar on the seaside terrace prior to a sumptous dinner honoring the band on its first tour of the island. After dinner stay for dancing,


[9:30 pm] - Jazz activities After dinner we will return to the Hotel Nacional and spend time in its famous back courtyard or visit the jazz clubs in the neighborhood. (Optional-on your own)

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[4] Thu, 17 December 2015

- Havana City


[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


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

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.


[10:00 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 4 centuries


[12:30 pm] - Lunch at Parque Central

This restaurant serves international cuisine and authentic Cuban dishes with a modern, innovative twist. It affords amazing views in a pleasant and exclusive atmosphere.


[2:30 pm] - Lecture on Cuban Music by Prof. Alberto Faya and Maria Cordova

Married since 1973, both have been working together as musicians, professors and researchers within the Cuban musical world. Both have obtained national awards due to their work in the field of music and musicology. They will be joined by a quartet of musicians who will take us on a musical journey thru the history of Cuba. This will be an interactive experience, with the audience encouraged to engage the lecturers and musicians.


Afternoon free to rest and spend time on the hotel grounds or roam the neighborhood on your own


[6:00 pm] - Atelier Paladar

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.


[8:00 pm] - Attend the premiere concert of Preservation Hall Jazz Band in Havana!


[11:00 pm] - After-party with the band at Mella theatre or the Hotel Nacional

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[5] Fri, 18 December 2015

- Havana City


[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


[9:30 am] - Vedado and Havana Moderna visits

After breakfast - 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, Coppelia 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.


[12:30 pm] - El Aljibe criolla cuisine

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, for dessert, national sweets.


[2:30 pm] - Folklorico Nacional de Cuba private rehearsal

Go behind the scenes and witness this extraordinary ensemble of Afrocuban folkloric music and dances.After 35 years and 93 international tours you can't find more authentic Afrocuban performance than this.


[7:00 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. The tour guide will make the reservations. This is an opportunity to get away from the larger group and dine with a smaller group of friends. You will take a taxi to the meal that we will find for you. 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 is not included in the trip price.


[9:00 pm] - Jazz activities Havana Jazz Festival concerts

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[6] Sat, 19 December 2015

- Havana City and Vinales Valley


[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


[9:00 am] - Day trip to Vinales

Enjoy this all day excursion to Vinales Valley located in Western Province of Pinar del Rio. a UNESCO world heritage site Vinales Valley has one of the most beautiful views in Cuba, the mogotes are limestone mountains that come out the valley floor. Take a boat ride through a "mogote" and enjoy a typical Cuban lunch while enjoying rational country music.


[11:00 am] - Mural de la Prehistoria

The Mural illustrates on the face of a Mogote (a typically local steep-sided, flat-topped limestone formation) the process of animal evolution from the prehistoric ammonites to Homo Sapiens in the Sierra de los Organos, the surrounding mountain range. It was the work of Cuban artist Leovigildo Gonzalez, a disciple of famous Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera, who was commissioned by Fidel Castro himself to carry out such a task in 1959.


[12:30 pm] - Finca Paradiso Eco-agro farm restaurant. Lunch will be served at this ecological wonder where everything is organic.


[2:45 pm] - Local tobacco farm Vinales is tobacco country with tobacco plantations being the main activity in the valley. Cuba produces some of the world’s best quality cigars, with over 100 different brands and sizes. And it’s at Viñales that a lot of the premium tobacco grows to produce one of Cuba’s finest exports. You will learn directly from farmers about the process of growing the best tobacco leaves in the world, making cigars and of course smoking them.


[6:30 pm] - Delivery of musical instruments and supplies to music students in Havana Join the Preservation Hall Foundation and Horns to Havana in making a donation of the music supplies and instruments that we brought to young and aspiring musicians on the island that will benefit greatly from our support.


[7:30 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. The tour guide will make the reservations. This is an opportunity to get away from the larger group and dine with a smaller group of friends. You will take a taxi to the meal that we will find for you. 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 is not included in the trip price.


[9:00 pm] - Jazz activities Havana Jazz Festival concerts

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[7] Sun, 20 December 2015

- Havana City


[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


[10:30 am] - Callejon de Hamel

This Alley is located in the working class Cayo Hueso quarter that serves as an open-air Afro-Cuban Religion Sanctuary, the work of local artist Salvador Gonzalez who has adorned its walls with evocative Santeria murals paying homage to religious cults and currents of African origin. It hosts the famous Afro-Cuban rumbas that take place every Sunday afternoon.


[12:45 pm] - Lunch at Sarao Paladar


[3:00 pm] - Okan Tomi Afro Cuban music and dance performance


[7:00 pm] - Paladar Mediterraneo

Elegance and locally sourced food are the remarkable characteristics of this restaurant, the creation of a Cuban dreamer who lived in Italy for many years and a Sardinian chef, where you can enjoy the most delicious ravioli in Cuba.


[10:00 pm] - Jazz activities Havana Jazz Festival concerts

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[8] Mon, 21 December 2015

- Havana City


[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


[9:45 am] - Fuster Studio/home

Visit the Gaudí-like whimsical park-residence of Cuban painter, printmaker, and ceramicist José Fuster. For more information see, www.josefuster.com


[12:00 pm] - Lunch on your own (Not included)


[2:30 pm] - Afternoon is open to revisit places of appeal


[6:15 pm] - Classic cars

You will travel to dinner tonight “Havana style” when we will be pick you up with a fleet of classic American cars. These cars which are now part of the national patrimony of Cuba have been plying the streets of the city for over sixty years and do not feel worse for the wear. Enjoy the view of he city from your own exciting perspective sitting in a seat of one of these fabulous convertibles.


[7:00 pm] - La Guarida

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] - Jazz activities at some of Havana’s hottest jazz clubs.

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[9] Tue, 22 December 2015

- Havana City


[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


[11:00 am] - Check out of Hotel


[12:00 pm] - Transfer from the Hotel Nacional to the airport


[3:00 pm] - Depart Havana to Miami

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