Elle Powell's Trip to Cuba
A Cultural journey to Cuba
A Cultural trip to Cuba
Wednesday, March 1st 2017 at 7:30pm
Be prepared for an experience of a lifetime!!!
Cuba is set to open it's gates to more tourism over the next few months and it's only a matter of time before the Cuba we have come to know and love is completely re-imagined as a Cuba of the future. It's time to schedule your trip now, while the charm and unique culture are still vibrant, yet on the cusp of exciting change.
On this 9 night trip, you will learn about the culture of Cuba, meet the Cuban people, learn the history of the renown Cuban style of architecture, experience Cuba's soul-moving music and its deep rooted culture. You will listen to the enchanting melodies of Cuban music, dine at beautiful restaurants and paladares (private homes) in Havana and Trinidad, sampling Cuba's newest and most exciting food scene.
Cuba’s warm and welcoming people are waiting to engage with you and learn first hand about Americans and our values. The visit will also include a day trip the country town of Vinales, where much of the tobacco grown for the famous Cuban cigars is harvested. This visit will allow you to experience the mythic Cuban countryside.
You will experience colonial Cuba on a 2 night journey to Trinidad, with a stop in Cienfuegos to see the historic old square. You will visit a sugar cane plantation and stroll the cobbled streets where cowboys continue to ride in order to do business. You will see the beautiful architecture and embrace the culture of a country so near, yet so far away.
*Departure from your city of residence (to be determined)
* Arrival assistance at JOSE MARTI INTERNATIONAL Airport, HAVANA, CUBA
* Transfers to and from the airport to hotel
* Medical Insurance in Cuba
* Accommodations for 6 nights at the The Prestigious Hotel Parque Central (HAV)
* Daily breakfast at the hotels
* 8 Dinners
* 8 Lunches
2 nights at a Casa Particular in the Colonial town of Trinidad
* A Day trip to the country town of Vinales with lunch
* A ride in a fleet of Old American Cars
* Transportation for the whole program
* Program Management in Cuba
Land $5,499.00 Per Person Plus Airfare
Hotel Parque Central (Habana Vieja)
Casa Particular in Trinidad
Day One -
12:30 p.m. Arrival into Havana - you will be met at the airport in Havana by our guide and driver who will assist you with your luggage after clearing customs. The driver and guide will drop you off at the Parque Central Hotel and assist with check in.
2:30 Lunch at Dona Eutemia, one of the loveliest paladares in Havana (included)
After lunch you can walk back to hotel for R&R and to freshen up before dinner.
7:30 Pick up for Dinner at Vista Mar (included)
Day Two -
8:00 Breakfast at Hotel Capri (all breakfasts are included in your price).
9:00 Meet guide in lobby for your 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 five centuries of historic architecture and end at Plaza de la Cathedral and see the Baroque cathedral.
*This tour is a private tour - at your own pace. If you are tired, we can arrange for you to be transported back to the hotel to rest. There are places along the way to stop and sit on benches, so don't be worried.
12:00 Your tour will be ending in Plaza Vieja where you will have lunch al fresco at San't Angel, a local paladar, while listening to the strains of a beautiful Cuban band.
2:30 It's only a short walk to the San Jose craft market where you can see handicrafts made by local artisans. Transportation back to hotel will be on your own after you finish shopping. There are local taxis outside of the market. Just tell them the name of your hotel - the Hotel Capri, and the taxi driver will take you there.
7:30 Pick up for Dinner at San Cristobal. 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 artifacts and, even a full-sized 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-run restaurants. The dessert menu is expansive: the pudding San Cristóbal (eggs, fruit, milk and almonds) is excellent while the fruit tart and rice pudding are delicious, as is the omnipresent flan. The wine list is broad.
Day 3 - 8:00 Breakfast at hotel
9:00 Pick up for transport to Ernest Hemingway's Estate.
Visit Ernest Hemingway's Finca La Vigia Estate, located on a hilltop in the rural village of San Francisco de Paula, just southeast of the City of Havana. The home has recently been the subject of a massive preservation effort by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and has been left exactly as the author left it in 1961. At his home, you will be able to see the famous sport fishing boat, the Pilar, the pool where Ava Gardner famously went skinny-dipping and the collection of valuable art maintained by this Pulitzer-prize winning author. The Finca Vigia estate and the fishing village of Cojimar are considered the most significant locales for those interested in the history of Ernest Hemingway.
Beach stop - Dip your toes in the blue waters for an hour or so.
11:30 Lunch in Cojimar, the small fishing village made famous by Hemingway in his book "The Old Man and the Sea." Lunch will be at Paladar Bodegon Las Brisas. (included)
2:00 Return to Havana and visit the famous El Moro Fortress and La Cabana.
7:30 Tonight you will be picked up in classic convertibles a one hour tour around Havana and will then be dropped off for dinner at La Guarida (included)
Anyone who has been to La Guarida will find it difficult to disagree that Enrique and Odeisys (the owners of the restaurant) have managed to create their own magical place. It oozes 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 favorite building in all of Havana and the reason why he exclaimed to his countrymen "Patria o Muerte" (country or death) is a photographer’s dream. For visitors to Havana, La Guarida has become a must experience.
Day 4 - 7:30 Breakfast in hotel.
8:00 Depart for the Province of Pinar del Rio.
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 traditional country music.
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.
12:30 pm Lunch at Finca Rojas and visit to a beautiful farm located in the heart of Vinales. Enjoy organic food from the farm to your plate. (included)
5:00 return to Havana
7:00 Dinner on your own
Day 5 - 8:00 Breakfast in hotel.
9:00 Walking tour of Capitolio/Prado and visit to Bellas Artes Museum (Cuban Collection) with art curator as a guide.
12:00 Lunch at 134 O’Reilly, a delightful new restaurant in Old Havana (included)
2:00 Visit to Artist Studio - TBD
4:00 Dance performance at Compas Dance. The company merges the spirit of Spanish dances with the Afro-Cuban rhythms and contemporary dance through new aesthetic codes, in which the female dancers not only dance, but also use percussion, using any element at hand: drumsticks, castanets, heels, wood slipper, claves, chequerés, and percussive chairs.
7:30 Pick up for dinner at Rio Mar (included).
Day 6 - 8:00 Breakfast in hotel.
9:00 Pick up for transfer to Cienfuegos and Trinidad.
Today you will be transported to Colonial Cuba. You will make a stop in Cienfuegos for a quick tour of the colonial old city, a UNESCO world heritage site, before continuing onto Trinidad.
12:00 Lunch en route (included).
2:30 Arrive in Cienfuegos.
La ciudad que más me gusta a mí (the city I like the best) singer Benny Moré once said of his home city in the song 'Cienfuegos.' He wasn't the settlement's only cheerleader. Cuba's so-called Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South) has long seduced travelers from around the island with its elegance, enlightened French spirit and feisty Caribbean panache. If Cuba has a Paris, this is most definitely it.
Arranged around the country's most spectacular natural bay, Cienfuegos is a nautical city with an enviable waterside setting. Founded in 1819, it's one of Cuba's newest settlements, but also one of its most architecturally interesting, a factor that earned it a Unesco World Heritage Site listing in 2005. Geographically, the city is split into two distinct parts: the colonnaded central zone with its elegant Paseo del Prado (commonly shortened to Prado) and Parque Martí; and Punta Gorda, a thin knife of land slicing into the bay with a clutch of eclectic early 20th-century palaces, including some of Cuba's prettiest buildings.
3:00 Walking tour of old Cienfuegos
4:30 Continue our drive to Trinidad
5:30 Check into Grand Hotel Iberostar in Trinidad
7:30 Dinner at one of the fabulous Paladares in Trinidad (Quince Catorce) (Included)
Day 7 -
8:00 Breakfast at Grand Hotel Iberostar
9:00 Walking tour of colonial Trinidad.
Trinidad, located in the central Cuban province of Sancti Spíritus, was founded in the early 16th century but owes its existence and its historical raison d’être to the sugar industry that flourished there and in the nearby Valley de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) from the late 18th century to the late 19th century. The exemplary city of Trinidad’s prosperity during this period is clearly legible in its existing built environment, its buildings ranging in expression from modest, vernacular variants to elaborate, luxurious edifices. The Valley de los Ingenios is a remarkable testimony to the development of the sugar industry. A living museum of Cuban sugar production, it includes the sites of 75 former cane sugar mills, plantation houses, barracks and other facilities related to this vulnerable industry, which has witnessed a gradual and progressive decline.
12:00 Lunch (on your own) (not included).
1:30 Trip to Valley of the Sugar Mills.
Twelve kilometers northeast of Trinidad are three interconnected rural valleys – San Luis, Santa Rosa and Meyer – that make up the 225-km2 Valley de los Ingenios. More than fifty sugar mills were in operation here at the industry’s peak in the 19th century, and in 1827 more than 11,000 slaves were working in the mills. A long, gradual decline in Cuba's sugar industry accelerated significantly in the 1990s. The former plantations, mill buildings and other facilities and archaeological sites in the Valley de los Ingenios represent the richest and best-preserved testimony of the Caribbean sugar agro-industrial process of the 18th and 19th centuries, and of the slavery phenomenon associated with it.
7:30 dinner at La Cubita (included).
Day 8 -
8:00 Breakfast at Grand Hotel Iberostar.
9:00 Leave for Havana.
12:00 Lunch on the way back to Havana. (included)
5:00 Return to Havana and check into the fabulous and historic Hotel Nacional.
7:30 Dinner at Nero di Sepia (included).
Day 9 -
9:00 Breakfast at Hotel Nacional.
10:00 Pick up for transportation to Cemeterio Colon.
Colon Cemetery is one of the great historical cemeteries of the world, and is generally held to be the most important in Latin America in historical and architectural terms, second is La Recoleta in Buenos Aires. It was built by the Galician architect Calixto Arellano de Loira y Cardoso, a graduate of Madrid’s Royal Academy of Arts of San Fernando, and who became Colón’s first occupant when he died before his work was completed. Yet for all its elegance and grandeur Colon Cemetery conceals as much as it displays. Empty tombs and desecrated family chapels disfigure the stately march of Cuban family memorials even in the most prominent of the avenues, and away from the central cross-streets, ruin. Many of these are the tombs of exiled families, whose problems with caring for their dead have been complicated by residence in new countries.
11:00 Visit the village of Jaimanitos, made famous by artist, Jose Fuster.
Visit the Gaudí-like whimsical park residence of this Cuban painter, printmaker, and ceramicist.
12:00 Lunch at La Casa de Julio. (included)
2:00 Return to Havana - free afternoon. (I suggest a free tour of the Hotel Nacional at 3:00. Meet in the lobby.)
7:30 Farewell dinner at Vista al Mar. (included)
Situated right on the ocean, this is the perfect spot for a farewell sunset dinner and Mojito, as we say goodbye to Havana.
Day 10 - 8:00 Breakfast in hotel.
Transport to airport
Traveling with Janice Chieffo
Janice Chieffo is an experienced adventurer, having traveled to over 30 countries on 6 continents. She is an avid photographer and art collector and is always on the hunt for images and pieces of art intrinsic to each locale. Her experience as a lawyer for almost 30 years allows her to navigate her way through almost any situation one could encounter while traveling. Janice has developed a love for Cuba and "for all things Cuban." She has earned a certificate from the prestigious Legal Center, Jose Marti, in Havana, Cuba, qualifying her as an associate of the Center. Janice's attention to detail, her knowledge of Cuba and her love of travel will ensure that your trip will be a success.
Applicants participating on this trip will be licensed under OFAC Regulations operational at the time of departure from the United States, as these regulations are currently being revised, due to the December 17, 2014 announcement by President Obama that the United States will be establishing Diplomatic Relations with Cuba.
For more information on OFAC licensing please visit the following document: