Eat, Drink, Think Havana

Join Us For a Food-Trip of a Lifetime!

April 25-May 1, 2018

Group led by Nancy Nichols & Chef Joanne Bondy

Enjoy a rare and special opportunity to join food writer Nancy Nichols and Chef Joanne Bondy on an exciting and informative People-to-People trip to Havana, Cuba. Learn about the new cuisine of Havana and the exciting young Cuban entrepreneurs creating a new economy. Meet the new cooking talents creating behind the recent gastronomic revolution on the island. Dine at the city's best restaurants and paladares, and enjoy plenty of out-of-the-way delights. Discuss the menu items with the chefs in their kitchens. Visit local farmers markets and learn about Cuban agribusiness. Meet the Cuban People, see the architecture, and experience its soul-moving music with roots deep in the culture. There will be lots of time devoted to meeting everyday Cubans and to make substantive connections with them through frank discussions of both of our country’s policies related to these fields. Cuba’s warm and welcoming people are waiting to engage with you and learn firsthand about Americans and our values.

Program Prices

Double Occupancy

Land & Air $3860.00 Per passenger. Hotel Capri or similar

Single Occupancy

Land & Air $4445.00 Per passenger. Hotel Capri or similar

Seven Days Program Price Includes

* Air Dallas-Havana-Dallas

* Cuban Visa

* US Traveler paperwork management (People to People General License)

* Transfers in and out from the airport to hotel

* Medical Insurance in Cuba

* Accommodations for six (6) nights at excellent four star hotel

* Daily breakfast at the hotel

* Four (4) dinners

* Five (5) Lunches

*Cooking Class at Ajiaco

* Classic cars ride

* Luxury Motor coach transportation as per itinerary

* Full time, bilingual, professional Cuba based guide

* Program Management in Cuba

* City tours and visits to a variety scenic places in Havana

* Visits to Revolution Museum, Muraleando Project, and Finca Vigia Museum

* Visit to Finca Marta Farm

* Day trip to Vinales and a visit to a working tobacco farm

* Our Cuba Travel Tips publication and extensive traveler guidance



*Tips for (Guide and Driver, baggage handlers & waiters)

*Trip Interruption Insurance

*All other items not listed in “PROGRAM PRICE INCLUDES”

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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Day 1 - Wednesday, 25 April , 2018 - Havana City

[TBD ] Depart US Airport to Jose Marti International Airport

[TBD ] Arrive in Havana

Havana’s enchantment is not limited to her time-worn charm or rich and diverse cultural identity -- it’s in the light, the sounds, the Caribbean Sea at her feet and most of all, in her people. Welcome to Havana!

[TBD] Orientation and Familiarization

We will take a few moments to offer an orientation to the city and help you get familiar with the neighborhood around the hotel.

[TBD] Check into Hotel & Enjoy a Welcome Cocktail

You will be accompanied by your guide every step of the way to assist with check-in. Their will be a brief orientation at the hotel.

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[7:30 pm] Dinner at San Cristobal Paladar

Set in an early 20th Century mansion in the “Centro Habana” district of the city, San Cristobal Paladar is probably, the best restaurant in Havana. Restaurateur and Executive Chef, Carlos Cristobal Marquez, has created a uniquely engaging ambience within a cluttered, but warm, eclectic décor; each room offering a journey through a particularly iconic aspect of Cuban culture. The cuisine, Cuban Creole with a very refined and international twist, has a five-star rating by many international food critics and was enjoyed by President Barack Obama and his family during their recent visit to Havana.

[9:30 pm] Yellow Submarine Nightclub - Not included in the price

The underground bar Yellow Submarine pays tribute to the Beatles. It is a very quaint and very popular bar in the heart of Vedado. The Beatles are commemorated by live cover bands playing their songs accompanied by audiovisuals of the area. The creators were inspired by the closeness of the statue of John Lennon found in the nearby park with the name “Parque John Lennon”. Decorated with bright colors that blend with the dark blue walls covered in Beatles’ song lyrics, creating a 60’s atmosphere. The Yellow Submarine is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 2:00 pm until 2:00 am.

Day 2 - Thursday, 26 April, 2018 - Havana City

[7:00 am] Breakfast at the hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[9:00 am] Old Havana Four Plazas

The morning begins with a walking tour of the Four Plazas; a magical journey, led by an expert from the city historian’s office through five centuries of history and architecture that culminate to comprise Cuba’s first of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites – “La Habana Vieja” or Old Havana. The tour takes you on a historical journey through the four main plazas, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco de Asis and Plaza de la Catedral. The tour will give you an insight to the truly magnificent and powerful place Cuba held in the Caribbean for centuries.

[12:30 pm] Lunch at Havana 61

Located in one of the oldest colonial areas of Havana, near the beautiful Iglesia del Angel, is a bright and airy, Havana 61. The modern design is in extreme contrast with the six-century old city and offers traditional Cuban cuisine as well as culinary creations of their own. The seafood is the house specialty as well as the originally concocted libations.

[2:30 pm] Revolution Museum

The Museum of the Revolution, located in the former Presidential Palace, chronicles the history of the Revolution from its beginning at the University of Havana to the modern period. Many artifacts from the process, including the Granma Boat which brought Fidel Castro and his forces from Mexico to begin the major offensive of the Revolution, can be seen in this building located at the heart of La Habana Vieja.

[3:30 pm] El Prado – Capitolio, Parque Central, Paseo and more…

El Prado is one of the most exquisitely designed and splendid major avenues in all of the Americas and home to the quintessential structures that define Havana, ranging from Colonial to Baroque to Neoclassical to Art Deco. Designed in 1772 by French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, El Prado runs for many blocks from the dramatic fountain, La Fuente de la India, to the iconic Malecon, marking the boundary between Habana Vieja and Centro Habana. El Paseo, a marble promenade lined with a natural canopy of trees, marble benches and bronze lions was recently chosen by the House of Chanel for one of the most dramatic runway shows in the history of fashion. It is home to El Capitolio (1929): El Gran Teatro de La Habana (1918), home to the National Ballet of Cuba; The Bacardi Building (1930), a testament to Art Deco and dozens of other structures immortalized in photography and film for decades. Havana’s Central Park, is home to first statue of Jose Marti in Cuba. The gardens stand out for the 28 magnificent royal palms. Some of Havana most recognizable buildings surround the park. El Prado encompasses all of the mystery and magic, all of the historic and cultural wealth that Havana has offered from the 17th to the 21st century.

[7:30 pm] Dinner at Tierra

"TIERRA" in the hugely popular Fabrica de Arte Cubano, otherwise known as the F.A.C. They describe their menu as "Arte Culinario" "La Vuelta al mundo en 20 platos" A trip around the world in 20 dishes. There's an outdoors and an indoors part, both small and cozy. Food is just excellent and they served one of the best mojitos in Havana. After dinner, we will step outside the door and mingle with the locals at the Fabrica de Arte.

[10:00 pm] Nightlife activities (Fabrica de Arte Cubano)

Fabrica De Arte is probably Havana’s most exciting art and performance venue. FAC is inside 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. It was Mick Jagger’s favorite hangout in Havana and it will probably be yours. Your cover charge is included however drinks are not included.

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Day 3 - Friday , 27 April, 2018 - Havana City

[7:00 am] Breakfast at the hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[9:30 am] Learn about Cuban Agricultural products. - Shop like a Cuban - Farmers Market.

Cuba is known for its fertile lands, diversity of ecosystems and its agricultural productivity. The local farmers markets are strategically located throughout the towns and cities are the source of this spectacular selection of produce for the Cuban population. Daily, folks purchase their fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and other produce at the local market in local currency. Your guide will escort you to one of the best of these markets in the heart of the Vedado district on 19th St. and B. Pick up some fresh fruit for your room or just feast your eyes on the tropical delights that grow on this island paradise.

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[11:00 am] Farm Tour and lunch in Finca Martha

Fernando Funes Monzote will probably go down in history as the well digger who saved Cuban agriculture. We will meet with Fernando and his co-workers at Finca Marta to hear the tale of his amazing agricultural achievement. Fernando acquired the rocky land from a farmer who’d lived there for 40 years. He spent seven months hand digging a dry well in search of water. Fast forward 4 years: Fernando operates a self-sufficient (solar power, biofuel from cow poop) organic farm that produces over 60 varieties of fruits and vegetables. He sells to local restaurants (paladares) and farmers markets. Although tourism is growing in Cuba, Fernando only allows one, maybe two, visits a week to his farm. “I don’t want to become a circus act,” he said. “And we have lots of work to do.” We will enjoy a delicious lunch harvested from the garden.

[4:00 pm] Revolution Square

One of the most dramatic examples of modern architecture in Havana, if not the world, is the Plaza de la Revolución José Martí. The Plaza is among the largest civic plazas in the world, measuring nearly 24,000 sq. ft., surrounded by modern construction and featuring the enormous obelisk monument to Jose Marti, built on the highest ground in Havana. It is major attraction for visitors of all walks of life, world leaders and dignitaries, including Pope Francis who held mass their recently and Pope John Paul II who visited in 1998. The plaza was constructed prior to 1959 during the government of Fulgencio Batista, but gained popularity afterward as the center of public celebration and demonstration in Cuba. Two of the government buildings in the square, both mid-century modern (1958), are best known for the iron sculptures of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos that cover their facades, both by Cuban artist Enrique Avila. This grand plaza is also home to the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, built in 1979. This plaza is another one of those magical locations in Havana that throw you back in time but simultaneously offer you a great vision and hope for the future.

[4:30 pm] Driving tour Miramar-Havana

Just west of the Vedado district, across the Almendares River, is the extremely opulent and formerly posh Miramar district. The area borders the sea and is home to magnificent mansions, embassies and some of the best hotels in Havana. Havana’s famous “Quinta Avenida” or 5th Avenue traverses the district from east to west and is home to some of the most lavish and eccentric residential architecture in Havana. Today, the district is home to most of the foreign embassies and consulates and has a growing culinary scene of international restaurants.

[7:00 pm] Dinner on your own - Not included in the price

You will dine at a paladar of your choice from our list of the best restaurants in Havana. Our staff and your guide will help you with selection and making reservations. You can be adventurous and travel by taxi that our staff will also help you get and your return trip can be arranged by the establishment where you dine. The cost of this meal is not included in the price of the trip. We recommend reservations be made at least one day in advance.

Day 4 - Saturday, 28 April, 2018 - Day Trip to Vinales

[7:00 am] Breakfast at the hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[8:00 am] Day trip to Pinar del Rio

[10:30 am] Vinales Valley, including horseback riding

Boasting the most spectacular scenery in all of Cuba, the Vinales Valley dates back to the Jurassic period and is, geologically speaking, the oldest region of the island. While looking out across 51 square miles of majestic nature, you can almost sense the prehistoric creatures and humans making their way across the enormous valley and around the “Mogotes” rising dramatically from the ground, up to 1,300 ft. high, dating back to when the ocean floor gave way to giant limestone formations. The valley is home to one of the largest cave systems in the Americas making these limestone formations navigable. In watery caves there are still remnants of prehistoric man in the form of ancient cave drawings. The town of Vinales, founded in 1607, frozen in time offers a window into Cuba’s charming rural past. The Vinales Valley was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in the late 1990s and is as heavenly a place on Earth as there will every be.

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[1:00 pm] Lunch in Vinales town TBD

[3:30 pm] Visit a Tobacco Plantation & Interact with Farmers

[5:00 pm] Return to Havana and Hotel

[7:00 pm] Dinner on your own

You will dine at a paladar of your choice from our list of the best restaurants in Havana. Our staff and your guide will help you with selection and making reservations.

Day 5 - Sunday, 29 April, 2017 - Havana City

[7:00 am] Breakfast at the hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[9:30 am] Callejon de Hamel

Callejon de Hamel is a unique tourist attraction in Havana Centro, the venue is known for its Afro Cuban art and Santeria rituals with rumba dance sessions.

The narrow two-block long alley between Aramburu and Hospital streets in Centro Habana has over the years become a shrine to Afro-Cuban religions through the art created by Salvador González. The buildings are lined with brightly-colored paintings, murals, sculptures and objects, which depict rituals and deities. Also, rumba groups play here every Sunday.

[12:30 pm] Lunch at Mediterraneo Havana Restaurant

A true “farm to table” and “sea to table” restaurant, Mediterraneo Havana features fresh plant and protein from their own two private, organic farms and fresh catch and seafood fished every other day from their own fishing boat. It doesn’t get any more fresh or real than this in Cuba. The food is prepared fresh daily without preservatives or additives, the pasta and the desserts are homemade and the menu, created by Chef Luigi, executive chef and founder, is a work of art. Enjoy an extraordinary fusion cuisine and exceptional service in this lovely, airy, Mediterranean environment in a beautifully retrofitted Vedado home. This extraordinary restaurant is the recent recipient of the coveted British farm to table award, the International Quality Crown Award in the “gold” category, chosen by culinary experts from 49 nations.

[2:30 pm] Muraleando Project

When local artists Manuel (Manolo) Diaz Baldrich and Ernesto Quirch Paz began teaching art workshops in the neighborhood school in 2001, they had no thoughts of starting community development project. They quickly moved the workshops into the streets, and there the seeds of Muraleando (literally "muraling" or mural-making) were sown. The murals that started springing up throughout the neighborhood were a natural outgrowth of the art classes. The murals depict fanciful celebrations of Cuban life. In a country where nothing is disposable and everything is useful, broken typewriters, old telephones, tire rims, wrought-iron chair parts - all were fair game to weld and paint and turn into sculpture. Muraleando also helped address community fragmentation with a recurring Peña Comunitaria, a block party when streets are blocked off, tables and chairs are set up, and young and old arrive to share in the festivities. Invited artists include musicians, dancers, singer, actors and poets from local, national and international realms. The Peña also gives emerging and aspiring artists from the neighborhood a venue to demonstrate their talents. Food is served, of course, neighbors and visitors come together in a cultural celebration.

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[7:00 pm] Dinner at Atelier

A very unique and upscale restaurant, Atelier is the brainchild of Niuris Higueras, who has long nurtured her passion for exciting food. She has designed a very contemporary space housed in an idiosyncratic Havana mansion in the Vedado district. The décor has a retro feel including an antique hob grate and old sewing machines. While Niuris is the inspiration, Chef Enrique cooks the food on the very eclectic menu that changes every day. Together they create an international range of dishes than might include from falafels to duck confit to stewed rabbit in wine. The food may vary from day to day, and sometimes be unpredictable, but it is consistently excellent as is the service.

Day 6 - Monday, 30 April, 2018

[7:00 am] Breakfast at the hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[10:00 am] Cooking Class at Ajiaco and visit La Finca

Welcome cocktail and Brief Introduction about the history of the Cuban cuisine and its relation with our nationality.

Elaboration, along with the chef, 5 different Cuban dishes.The chef will be interacting with the group all the time giving explanations about the history and the elaboration of each dish. After guests finish their cooking, they will try all the dishes and will have a drink.
After lunch. Lighting of a real Habano in the traditional way and the explanation by a Habano expert and the presence of coffee, chocolate, and a fine Cuban rum to enjoy the cigar. Giveaway Certificate recognition for their participation signed by the chef with the name of the client.

[12:30 pm] Lunch at Ajiaco Cafe

“Papa ́s” passion for fishing and drinking has left an indelible mark on Caribbean seaside the town of Cojimar, the picturesque fishing village where Hemingway docked his boat, El Pilar, and where some old timers might still remember Hemingway and his guide, Gregorio, whom the “old man” was based on. Café Ajiaco is a Cojimar favorite. The fare is as varied as the drinks, but given that you are so close to the coast it is almost mandatory that you go for some seafood. The choice of fish changes daily with the catch. Enjoy this seaside fishing port village that is almost frozen in time since Hemingway made it his favorite hangout and experience a cooking lesson. Here you will experience a cooking lesson by a chef who will teach you how to prepare an authentic Cuban dish that is also one of the main specialties of the house.

[3:00 pm] Finca Vigia - Ernest Hemingway’s Home and Museum

Named Finca Vigia or “Lookout Farm”, the home was built in 1866 and purchased by Hemingway in 1940. This property, emerging from a lush tropical flora and fauna, was his primary home from 1940 until his death in 1961. Hemingway loved Cuba and according to close sources, he spent more time there during those two decades that any of his homes around the world. Here, Hemingway wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Old Man and the Sea”, and his famous fishing boat, El Pilar, is also on display here. In 1962, Finca Vigia was turned into a museum making it the first institution in the world devoted to Ernest Hemingway and his work. Recently, the feature film, “Papa” was filmed on location in Cuba and much of it at Finca Vigia.

[6:00 pm] Classic Cars Havana Tour

Enjoy an amazing driven tour of Miramar’s Quinta Avenida and Havana’s “malecon” in beautifully restored vintage 1950s convertibles. Spending an hour with the owner/operators of these classic cars promotes the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities and offers the US traveler the chance to learn about and support the entrepreneurial efforts. This drive is a retrospective, nostalgic journey through time and you can feel you’re in the 1950s with the backdrop of the Cuban skyline, nearly frozen in time.

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[7:00 pm] Dinner at Rio Mar

Amazingly for a city by the sea Havana has precious few places to eat with a view to the deep blue ocean. Rio Mar has a whole terrace overlooking the Caribbean where the Rio Almendares flows into the sea. This little bay is sheltered but gives you a sense and smell of the ocean without the waves. Considered one of the best restaurants in Havana, the selection of fresh seafood is wonderful and the service is five star.

Day 7 - Tuesday, 1 May, 2018 - Havana City

[8:00 am] Breakfast at the hotel

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[TBD am] Check out of Hotel

[TBD pm] Transfer from a Havana hotel to Jose Marti International Airport

You’ll be met by your guide and transportation for your airport transfer from the hotel to Jose Marti International Airport. Your guide will remain with you at the airport, assisting with check-in and to see you off, ensuring a smooth departure.

[TBD pm] Depart Havana for US

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We provide health insurance in Cuba as part of the program cost through the Cuban visitor’s health insurance agency Assistour. Please see the terms of coverage below (Exhibit B). We will also offer each participant the option of choosing Trip Interruption insurance with our travel insurance partner, Access America Allianz Travel Insurance, at an added cost. .

Meet Nancy Nichols

Nancy was the Food and Travel Editor at D Magazine for 18 years. She says it's a perfect job for her as she loves to eat and travel and travel to eat. Nancy’s culinary adventures have taken her to Africa (8 times), Vietnam, Thailand, Borneo, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Czech Republic, and many other destinations. She has studied cooking in Bangkok, Singapore, France, Italy, and England.


Besides writing about food, Nancy has led successful group culinary tours through Cornwall, Italy, the Caribbean, Alaska, New York, Los Angeles, Texas and Havana.

In February 2015, she spent two weeks traveling all over Cuba and living with families. She learned to cook (and eat!) local foods from home cooks. Her hosts took her to local markets and restaurants where she was introduced to Cuban chefs, cooks, and agricultural workers at fresh food markets. In February 2016, she participated in a tour of Havana focused on the music scene.

Before her tenure at D Magazine, she spent close to 20 years working in and around the food business working in many different capacities --- from her first job as a waitress at the J. C. Penny's coffee shop to catering Christmas parties for Steven Spielberg and Jane Fonda. In between she was an event coordinator for the L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena and produced events ranging from NBA basketball games to Bruce Springsteen concerts. A native of Dallas, she spent 11 years in Los Angeles before returning to Dallas in 1992 just as the local dining scene began its transformation.

Nancy is also the editor of SideDish, the most popular food blog in Dallas.

Meet Chef Joanne Bondy

Popular Dallas chef Joanne Bondy was a leader of the farm-to-table movement long before it became a culinary trend. Her involvement with the Dallas Farmers Market and its popular cooking classes goes way back. Bondy is quite familiar with Cuban, Mexican, and Latin American cooking. She was the executive chef and partner and Cuidad D.F. in Dallas. Early in her career, she cooked in Tampa, Florida where she learned her way around Cuban food. Currently Bondy is the owner of Stocks and Bondy at the Dallas Farmers Market. There she creates homemade stocks, sauces, soups and a variety of culinary provisions that are made with locally sourced ingredients. Her pozole is the stuff dreams are made of.

Cuba Tours and Travel

Cuba Tours and Travel has over fifteen years of experience offering expert-driven cultural travel to Cuba. Our management and program-design team, working together with a team of superb Cuban travel associates in both Havana and Miami, are uniquely suited to offer you the finest in-depth travel program to the island. We are licensed by the US and Cuba and are fully insured. Most importantly, we have an abiding love for Cuban art and culture and have strong connections to the cultural institutions on the island.

Cuba Tours and Travel is a full-service agency licensed by the U.S. Government

TSP# CU-077926-b. CST number 2073790-40. Fla. Seller of Travel Reg. No. ST39635

Miami, FL. Office

10631 N. Kendall Drive

Suite 1208

Miami, Fl. 33176

For more information:

or call us at 888 225-6439 Ext. 804