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New! Cuba: People to People: An Island of Diversity (2017)
Limited to 24 guests
Days: 10 | From: $6,795
Day 1: ARRIVE CAMAGUEY, CUBA
Arrive at Ignacio Agramonte International Airport where you complete immigration and customs formalities and transfer to your hotel. Meet your Program Director and fellow guests before enjoying an exciting flamenco performance, followed with welcome dinner at a local paladar (family-run restaurant), a lively Cuban establishment.
Hotel Santa Maria | Meals: D
Day 2: CAMAGUEY / Bicitaxis & Pottery Making
This morning, travel to the outskirts of the city to visit the Jose White Conservatory, a renowned historic music school. Then return to town for an excursion by bicitaxi (pedicab or rickshaw), navigating the twisting lanes to Plaza San Juan de Dios. Here, stop at an artist’s studio to admire and discuss the work of the local artisans. Then, learn about the significance of General Ignacio Agramonte Revolution Square and its historical importance to the city. After lunch, meet with expert potters at Casanova Pottery Studio, home of the prominent local artist Carlos Alberto Casanova. See how the region’s fabled tinajones (earthenware pots) are thrown and discover the skills required to create these beautiful pieces before you have the opportunity to learn to spin the pottery wheel yourself. Afterwards, attend a private rehearsal of an aspiring student dance company with the opportunity to interact with the young performers.
Hotel Santa Maria | Meals: B L D
Day 3: REMEDIOS / Colonial History & Street Carnivals
Travel through the colorful Cuban countryside as you make your way from Camaguey to Remedios, arriving in time for lunch in the historic center of this colonial architectural gem. Remedios was founded in 1513 and is renowned for hosting Las Parrandas, a lively series of street parties and religious carnivals that take place throughout the holiday season. This afternoon, visit the Parrandas Museum workshop and warehouses where elaborate the floats are made (when available).
Hotel Barcelona | Meals: B L D
Day 4: REMEDIOS / Cuban Traditions
This morning, enjoy the opportunity to visit with parishioners at the local Catholic Church, "Iglesia Mayor" of San Juan Bautista. Afterwards, tour the nearby Camajuani Cigar Factory, where you delve deeper into the history of Cuba's tobacco industry and observe as workers demonstrate the cigar rolling process. After lunch, visit the coastal town of Caibarién and a print shop with equipment from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Watch as printed materials are still produced on machinery from centuries past. You also visit Agroindustry Azucarero, a small museum which focuses on slave culture and its influence on the sugar industry. See examples of steam locomotives that transported sugar cane to nearby sugar mills. Return to Remedios in time for dinner at a family paladar.
Hotel Barcelona | Meals: B L D
Day 5: TRINIDAD / Marketplace Crafts & Resident Chat
After breakfast, drive to Trinidad, a 19th-century colonial gem frozen in time and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk through the cobblestone streets and elegant tiled plaza, then shop in the marketplace filled with hand-sewn table cloths, colorful papier and local handicrafts. Later, meet a follower of the Santeria religion, learning how this Afro-Cuban religion lives in harmony with Catholicism in Cuban culture. Enjoy dinner this evening in a popular local paladar.
Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad | Meals: B L D
Day 6: COJIMAR / Hemingway’s Finca La Vigia
This morning, depart for Havana, stopping in Cojimar en route. This is the fishing village where Nobel-Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most influential work. Join the local fishermen for lunch, then visit Hemingway’s home Finca La Vigia (“lookout house”), where he penned both The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. As you look through the windows and open doors of this remarkably preserved home, imagine the author’s life during the more than 20 years he lived there. Arrive late afternoon in Havana and your new luxury hotel, located in the heart of Havana, with panoramic city views. Enjoy dinner tonight at a Havana paladar.
Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski | Meals: B L D
Day 7: HAVANA / Cuba’s Capital
Begin the day with a walk through the historic streets of Habana Vieja (Old Havana) with a local architect, discussing the challenges and successes of the city’s reconstruction projects, while absorbing the vibrant architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy time for lunch on your own, followed with a visit of the Museo de Bellas Artes and see firsthand how Cuba’s turbulent history is reflected in every work of art. After time for lunch on your own, stop at the studio of a contemporary Cuban painter or sculptor who speaks to you about his work, art education in Cuba and the key role the arts play in everyday life. Dinner tonight is at Paladar San Cristobal, where President Obama dined during his visit to Havana.
Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski | Meals: B D
Day 8: HAVANA | Immersed in Cuban Culture
This morning will begin with a stop at Revolution Square, the political center of the city, site of many historic rallies have taken place. Afterward, visit the Proyecto Kcho Studio, a nonprofit cultural space for the community created by renowned artist Leiva Machado that includes a library, theater, two galleries and an experimental graphic workshop. Drive to Club Melen, a private restaurant located in the Miramar section of Havana, where you have lunch with local dominoes players before challenging them to a game. This evening, relax at the hotel or explore one of the city’s interesting variety of restaurants.
Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski | Meals: B L
Day 9: HAVANA | Current Affairs &' Yank Tanks'
Begin the day with a visit to the Arte Corte project. Gilberto “Papito” Valladares was a local barber who wanted to give back to the community. His legacy, Arte Corte (Art of the Haircut) project, is transforming the neighborhood. Explore the unique barber-themed artistic play area, Barbeparque, located near the Museum of the Revolution. Later, after lunch on your own, attend a private professional dance rehearsal and learn about the remarkable art of Cuban dance, an eclectic fusion of styles from the Americas, Spain and Africa. Early this evening, take a drive in a photogenic “Yank tank” (vintage car) along the Malecón to visit the Morro-Cabana fortress, an 18th-century hilltop complex at the entrance to the Bay of Havana, offering panoramic views of the city. Tonight your farewell dinner is at one of Havana’s premier paladars.
Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski | Meals: B D
Day 10: DEPART CUBA
Transfer to the airport, where you have access to the VIP Lounge before departure. Board your international flight home.
SPECIAL PROGRAM NOTES: PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE
Please note that this special, people-to-people program will be different from other programs on which you may have previously participated. Abercrombie & Kent USA, LLC operates the people-to-people program to Cuba under a general license issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control and, as dictated by U.S. law, all participants are required to adhere to a full-time schedule of activities designed to inform, educate and promote meaningful interaction with the people of Cuba. Deviation from this itinerary, even in part, is not permitted. Per the general license requirements, this is a full-time program with many inclusions and there will be little to no free time on most days of the program.