PROJECT RESTORE- CUBA ITINERARY

MARCH 11-18, 2017

Cuba People to People Trip with special emphasis on architectural heritage and urban issues.

Please note that this Itinerary is subject to change and will be continually updated until departure to ensure the best trip possible.

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[1] Sat, 11 March 2017 - Havana City

Checkin: Hotel Telegrafo, one of Havana's most comfortable and well located hotels. You will be in the heart of Old Havana within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and visitor destinations like El Prado and Malecon promenades, the Parque Marti, The Bellas Artes museums, and the Capitolio.


[8:30 pm] - Arrive in Havana


[10:00 pm] - Check into hotel. We will have a welcome cocktail and there will be snacks and food for late dinner.

[2] Sun, 12 March 2017 - Havana City

[7:00-9:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel Enjoy a casual but sumptuous tropical feast this and every morning in the Hotel dining room.


[9:30 am] - Callejon de Hamel

We will start right up with our extensive exploration of the city of Havana by visiting this very interesting public art and culture installation. This Alley is located in the working class Cayo Hueso quarter that serves as an open-air Afro-Cuban Religious Sanctuary. It is 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. Callejon de Hamel hosts the famous Afro-Cuban rumbas that take place every Sunday afternoon. Salvador has produced murals in the City of Los Angeles as part of the Social And Public Resources Center (SPARC) and he is keen to discuss his second favorite city: Los Angeles.


[11:00 am] - Old Havana Four Plazas

Old Havana’s Four Plazas - All day walking and bus tour. Leave hotel on bus to tour Habana Vieja, Cuba's first and most significant UNESCO World Heritage site. We will see the eclectic mix that is Old Havana, focusing on the architecture of the 16th - 19th centuries. Our tour will begin in the Plaza de Armas, the oldest in the city, containing the 16th Century Castillo de la Real Fuerza that is the oldest Spanish fortress in the Americas. We will visit the former Palace of the Captains Generals, built in 1776 that now serves as the museum of the city of Havana, and then walk the streets that form the original colonial settlement. We will continue in the Plaza de la Catedral, the Cathedral Plaza, with its unfinished 1727 Baroque cathedral, and the most splendid of the colonial mansions. One now houses the Museum of Colonial Art, which we will also visit. From there we will walk to the Plaza de San Francisco, housing the port, the stock exchange, and the San Francisco convent. We will visit the studios of la Escuela Taller, a workshop-training center that prepares young people to work in preservation trades such as plastering, mural painting, historic ironwork and stone masonry.


[12:30 pm] - La Moneda Cubana Paladar

Close to la Plaza de la Catedral in colonial Old Havana, serving a wide variety of Cuban food and liquor in a historic setting with beautiful views.


[3:00 pm] - La Maquetta de la Habana

Get a bird's eyeview of the city and how it grew at the Maquetta de la Habana where you will explore the urban development of the city through the years. Herein lies a 1:500 scale model of Habana Vieja complete with an authentic soundtrack meant to replicate a day in the life of the city. It's incredibly detailed and provides an excellent way of geographically acquainting yourself with the city's historical core. "Herein lies a 1:500 scale model of Habana Vieja complete with an authentic soundtrack meant to replicate a day in the life of the city. It's incredibly detailed and provides an excellent way of geographically acquainting yourself with the city's historical core."


[5:00 pm] - Return to hotel for rest and relaxation.


[7:00 pm] - Rio Mar Paladar, Dinner

This restaurant is located in the Miramar neighborhood of Havana, and features fresh, delicious seafood, You will enjoy wonderful views of the Almendares river and the Malecon from this upscale paladar.

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[3] Mon, 13 March 2017 - Havana City

[7:00-9:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel Enjoy a casual but sumptuous tropical feast this and every morning in the Hotel dining room.


[10:00 am] - Vedado and Havana Moderna visits

After breakfast we will visit the 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. On the way we will drive by the Maine monument and the Malecon. We will stop at the Habana Libre Hotel (formerly the Havana Hilton) designed by Los Angeles architect Welton Becket. Opened in March 1958, it was Latin America’s tallest and largest hotel, financed by the pension fund of the union of Cuban restaurant workers but operated by Hilton Hotels. On January 8, 1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana and the hotel served as his headquarters, even as it continued operating as a Hilton (until October, 1960, when all American hotels in Cuba were nationalized). In 1996 the Spanish Sol Melià chain assumed management of the hotel and restored the enormous original mural by artist Amelia Peláez over the main entrance which had spent decades hidden from public view.


Before boarding the bus, we will enjoy a visit to Coppelia, one of the largest ice cream parlors in the world, in an iconic flying saucer-shaped building built in 1966. Architect Mario Girona was influenced by the biomorphic modernism of Italian, Mexican and South American modernists like Pier Luigi Nervi, Felix Candela and Oscar Niemeyer.


[12:00 pm] - El Aljibe criolla cuisine restaurant

El Aljibe is an outdoor thatch roof restaurant located in the residential area of Miramar, a few minutes from downtown Havana. The specialty of this family run business is the famous El Aljibe roast chicken, served with a side of delicious bitter orange sauce, French fries, fried plantains, delicious black beans, white rice, salad and, for dessert, traditional Cuban sweets.


[2:30 pm] - 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


[4:00 pm] - Hotel Nacional Visit

Is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon of mojitos and sunset, on the beautiful grounds of the back patio.


[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] - Tropicana nightclub. The Tropicana was the most famous nightclub in the world from 1939 to 1959. Built in the gardens of an early 20th century residence, it contains one of Cuba’s most significant modern buildings, the Arcos de Cristal (1952), a thin-shell concrete structure. The club continues to operate and is the only one of Havana’s famed clubs to survive the revolution. Rosa Lowinger, your study leader, wrote the definitive work on this club: Tropicana Nights: The Life and Times of the Legendary Cuban Nightclub (Harcourt 2005), demonstrating how it was a microcosm for Cuba in the period of the revolution. Rosa will lead us on a rare behind-the-scenes architectural tour, followed by the legendary Tropicana show. The price of the show is not included in your trip price.

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[4] Tue, 14 March 2017 - Havana City

[7:00-9:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a casual but sumptuous tropical feast this and every morning in the Hotel dining room.


[10:00 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.


[11:00 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.


[12:00 pm] - La Guarida Paladar

On the top floor of a spectacularly dilapidated Havana tenement, La Guarida's lofty reputation rests on its movie-location setting (Fresa y chocolate was filmed in this building) and a clutch of swashbuckling international newspaper reviews. The food is up there with Havana's best, shoehorning its pioneering brand of Nueva Cocina Cubana into dishes such as tuna with a sugar-cane glaze. (the Lonely Planet)


[3:00 PM] - Visit the artist studio of Luis Camejo Vento. This painter is a prolific painter of Havana. Every city has an artist that captures its image and ethos at a particular time. Paris had the painter Maurice Utrillo at the beginning of the 20th Century, San Fransisco had pianist George Shearing at Mid Century, Los Angeles had the writer Raymond Chandler in the 1040’s, Havana has Luis Camejo in this date and time. His paintings inspire and provoke you to see the City in new ways. Camejo has an interest in cities. He has shown his work in LA and is working on a series of paintings about our city. We will spend some time with him viewing his works and discussing both of our towns.


[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. 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.


[10:00 pm]- Jazz and music clubs. We will meet at one of Havana's jazz clubs to see what the night brings under the tropical stars. Havana is a place for jazz and we will see the best of the best in concert. (optional-on your own)

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[5] Wed, 15 March 2017 - Havana City

[7:00-9:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a casual but sumptuous tropical feast this and every morning in the Hotel dining room.


[9:00 am- 2:30 pm] - Day trip to Vinales Valley

Enjoy this all day excursion to Vinales, an area 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 traditional country music, and a visit to a tobbaco farm.


[11:00 am] - Cueva del Indio

This cave was discovered in 1920 and it was outfitted to be visited in the 1940’s, paving its floors and electrifying it. This large grotto was thus named because the local indigenous Guanahatabey people used it as graveyard and a refuge during the Spanish conquest period, the main reason why remains of this native culture were found inside. This cave is 1700 meters long (5100 feet) but only one third of it is visited, combining a short walk and a motorized boat ride through marvelous limestone formations.


[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.


[10:00 pm]- Jazz and music clubs. We will meet at one of Havana's jazz clubs to see what the night brings under the tropical stars. Havana is a place for jazz and we will see the best of the best in concert. (optional-on your own)

[6] Thu, 16 March 2017 - Havana City

[7:00-9:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel Enjoy a casual but sumptuous tropical feast this and every morning in the Hotel dining room.


[10:00 am] - Ferry ride across Havana Bay

Take the ferry from Old Havana across Havana Bay, to visit the historic City of Regla.


[11:00 am] - Ernest Hemingway's Finca La Vigia

Visit Ernest Hemmingway's Finca La Vigia, located on a hilltop in the rural village of San Francisco de Paula, just southeast of the City of Havana. The home, now the Hemingway Museum, has recently undergone a massive preservation effort by America's National Trust for Historic Preservation, to preserve the home as the author left it in 1961. You will also see Hemingway's sport-fishing boat, the Pilar. The Finca Vigia estate and the fishing village of Cojimar are considered the most significant locales for those interested in Hemingway’s history.


[12:30 pm] - Ajiaco Paladar

Considered among the very best restaurants on the Island, this paladar, located in the fishing village of Cojimar (where Hemingway kept his boat the Pilar) features traditional Cuban flavor. The menu includes such things as "Crema de Malanga", Ajiaco (a stew made up of various vegetables and roots), Bacalao (codfish), "fricase de pollo" (chicken fricasse), plus the traditional moros (rice and beans), white rice, fried bananas, fried yuca, etc. If you have room at the end of the meal, enjoy delicious home made flan.


[3:00 pm] - Return to hotel to freshen up and relax before dinner.


[7:00 pm] - San Cristobal Paladar

This is the Paladar that President Obama chose for his family lunch on his historic visit to the island in March 2016. 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. This is not, however, the bland standard cuisine found in many state restaurants. The dessert menu is expansive: pudding San Cristóbal (eggs, fruit, milk and almonds) is excellent while the fruit tart and rice puddings are pretty passable, as well as the omnipresent flan. The wine list is broad enough 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.

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9:30 PM Lighting ceremony and cocktail party for the restoration of the historic Los Angeles Theater sign in Central Havana. Project Restore will present a gift to the Citizens of Havana in the relighting of the one sign in the city that has our LA namesake. The Los Angeles Theater in central Havana was part of a extensive network of neighborhood theaters throughout the city. The sign went dark after at the beginning of the Revolution and we will be bringing it back to life for the benefit of the neighborhood.

[7] Fri, 17 March 2017 - Havana City

[7:00-9:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a casual but sumptuous tropical feast this and every morning in the Hotel dining room.


[12:00 pm] - Atelier Paladar

The large main room is decorated with sparse modern lines, inside a typically idiosyncratic Vedado mansion. Two balconies with boundless cushions form the outdoor lounge. Scattered antiques offer a retro, yet not old, feeling. The food changes every day, every week, hence the charming handwritten menus.


[7:00 pm] - Classic Cars Havana Neon Tour

The city of Havana was an early adopter of neon lights starting in the early 1930s and quickly became a city of lights that reflected the urban and commercial aspirations of the City. The Jazz age was in full bloom and neon became a symbol of Modernism for the citizens of the city and the legions of visitors to Havana from through the 1930’s through the 1950s. At the triumph of the Revolution the products and companies that were promoted by this commercial signage was soon ancient history on the island. Many of the signs were dismantled and some were discarded. There is only a small fraction of the signs left in the city. There are many connections and parallels between Los Angeles and Havana we will be joined by Havana Artist Kadir Lopez in an urban exploration of the neighborhoods of Havana and some of its lost signage. Kadir and Adolfo will also present their neon restoration project that aspires to return neon light to the Havana Skyline.


[8:00 pm] - Dinner at Kadir Lopez studio

Kadir Lopez, and his brother Kelvin Lopez are graduates of the Instituto Superior de Arte. Their expansive studio and exhibit spaces are located in A 1930’s Havana mansion that has been re-purposed by the artists for their home-workspace. Here the group will enjoy a great and delicious traditional Cuban home-made dinner cooked by the family of the artist.You will have a chance to talk with Kadir, Kelvin and other artists who will join us and beyond having a fabulous dinner you will enjoy warm conversation about everything Cuban.

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[8] Sat, 18 March 2017 - Havana City

Checkout: Hotel Telegrafo


[7:00-9:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy a casual but sumptuous tropical feast this and every morning in the Hotel dining room.


[9:00 am] - Check out of Hotel


[12:30 pm] - Depart Havana for Los Angeles