Tour introduction and overview of activities

A Cuba expedition focused on people-to-people education, nature and cultural exchanges. The program is geared to naturalists, and lovers of the arts, history and architecture. The tour has a very diverse itinerary and features comfortable accommodations and tasty Cuban cuisine.

Cuba’s big! Its land mass is 42,426 square miles – about 80 percent the size of Alabama. Cuba is nearly as large as Louisiana, and larger than Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Altogether it’s bigger than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont combined.

Day 1 – Saturday :: Hello Cuba

  • Arrival at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.
  • Collect your bags and go through customs. You’re welcomed at the airport lobby by your Cuba Explorer Tours guide and professional bus chauffeur.
  • Private transfer to your hotel located in heart of Havana’s entertainment and cultural district.
  • Private check-in with assistance from your guide.
  • Free time to settle in and rest up at your hotel.
  • This evening you’ll enjoy a group welcome dinner at Los Naranjos with your Cuban guide and tourmates, included.

Day 2 – Sunday :: Exploring Old Havana, our common heritage

  • Breakfast in hotel (included)
  • Followed by a walking tour of Old Havana. We’ll visit four of the five historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. It contains the largest collection of remaining colonial-era architecture. This is a private tour led by your Cuba Explorer Tours guide.
  • Cathedral Square, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza on the island. Named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture: the Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana built by the Jesuit order.
  • Square of Arms, an ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers, surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
  • Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City.
  • Palacio del Segundo Cabo [Palace of the Second Lieutenant] dates from 1770.
  • We continue onto San Francisco Square, one of the oldest plazas in the historical quarter. The square is named after magnificent Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís dating from the 16th century. The basilica is a striking example of Cuba baroque architecture.
  • And then on to Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. Absent are churches and government buildings, and is in contrast surrounded by opulent aristocratic 17th century residences. We’ll visit an important center for the visual arts.
  • Group lunch at El Rum Rum private restaurant. (included)
  • Get ready for a bus tour of Havana. You will tour of the most important sites of Modern Havana such as the Capitol building, the Grand Theatre, Central Park, Prado promenade, Revolution Square, Coppelia Ice Cream Park, Plaza José Martí (in front of US Interests Section), Malecón seawall, Monument to the Battleship Maine, Hotel Nacional, University of Havana, Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón, and the Miramar, Central Havana and Vedado neighborhoods.
  • Rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy the city
  • Return to hotel to freshen up.
  • Dinner at Decamerón private restaurant (included)
  • EVENING HIGHLIGHT: We witness a most dramatic ceremony – El Cañonazo – the Firing of the 9PM Cannon at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña. This enchanting colonial reenactment dates back to 1519 when the city of Havana was enclosed by a tall thick rock wall to ward off attacks from pirates and the English. The cannon firing signaled the closing of the city gates for the night. If you were outside at the time, you were in "vedado" or the forbidden zone. Today Vedado is an important cultural hub and beautiful section of modern Havana.

Day 3 – Monday :: Viñales : the natural explendor of rural Cuba

  • Breakfast in hotel (included)
  • Early departure to Viñales Valey
  • Visit mirador at Los Jazmines Hotel
  • Visit Mural de la Prehistoria painting Wall
  • Visit a tobacco plantation
  • Lunch at private restaurant El Balcón del Valle (included)
  • Visit the Indian’s cave
  • Return to Havana hotel to freshen up
  • Dinner not included

Day 4 – Tuesday :: Community services and Arts 

  • Breakfast in hotel (included)
  • Visit Convento de Belén community center
  • Visit Escuela taller Gaspar García de Jovellanos (school where students are trained in restoration of old buildings, paintings, etc.)
  • We'll feast on a delicious lunch hosted by José Fuster, one of Cuba's most important ceramists and painters at his whimsical studio in Jaimanitas, just outside of Havana.
  • Afternoon is free to explore the city in your own
  • Dinner at Mediterraneo Habana private restaurant (included)
  • Evening is free to explore the city

Day 5 – Wednesday :: Cuban society and community projects

  • Breakfast at hotel (included)
  • In Hotel Saratoga, special presentation and dialogue: "Cuban Society Today " by a former professor of Havana University
  • Visit Proyecto El Divino, a model farm with two community projects supported by proceeds from its amazing restaurant. El Divino serves lunch to some 20 local elders who also enjoy a place of entertainment, socialization and recreation. Together for several hours a day from Tuesday to Sunday, they play games and engage with other groups of elders. Another project is a circle of interest called "La Rosa Blanca" that welcomes about 20 community kids aged 8 to 11 years. They take classes on ecology, environment, care and protection of land, and link their studies to Cuban culture and manners: to be men and women of good will in the not too distant future. This incredible Cuban project donates a portion of its meager proceeds to similar projects in Latin American, and holds a certificate of excellence from Trip’s Advisor.
  • Lunch at restaurant El Divino (included in costs)
  • Rest of the afternoon is free
  • Dinner at La Bonita private restaurant.
  • Evening is free.

Day 6 – Thursday :: Organic agriculture and Hemingway

  • Breakfast in hotel (included)
  • Visit Vivero Organopónico Alamar, an urban collective farm
  • Visit Cojimar, small fishing village one of Hemingway’s favorites places in Cuba
  • Lunch at Ajiaco paladar [restaurant] serving farm-fresh organic meals (included)
  • Visit Hemingway’s Finca Vigía museum and glimpse his life in Havana
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up
  • Dinner not included

Day 7 – Friday :: Music and arts

  • Breakfast at hotel. (included)
  • Visit the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana, which exhibits Cuban art collections from the colonial times up to contemporary generations. Its first director and well-known architect, Emilio Heredia, founded it in 1913. After frequent moves it was finally placed on the block once occupied by the old Colon Market. In 1954, a new Palacio of Bellas Artes was opened. The original Palace was recently reconstructed and a second building was taken over for the Museum
  • Visit Callejón de Hamel [Hamel Alley] to see the artwork of famed Afro-Cuban Artist Salvador González
  • Lunch at El Aljibe private restaurant (included)
  • Visit Zorra y el Cuervo (The Fox and the Crow) where top jazz players perform on a daily basis. For sure it’s the place to hear Cuba’s best jazz musicians.
  • Visit Muraleando. Muraleando is an art center in Havana founded by Manuel Diaz Baldrich. The center was inspired by the children of the community. Music, dance, sculpting, painting and other fine arts are all part of the project which transforms children’s lives. Many of them come from low income families or have behavioral problems, art is their outlet.
  • Return to hotel
  • Dinner at Cuba 54 private restaurant (included)

Day 8 – Saturday :: Free day

  • Breakfast at hotel. (included)
  • Lunch not included
  • Dinner at El Atelier. In the heart of Vedado, set in an elegant mansion is one of Havana's best restaurants. Its menu changes daily at chef's discretion and availability of fresh produce. Aside from its selection of to-die-for dishes, and excellent service, the atmosphere is worth the visit if only for a cocktail. El Atelier has been among the city's best eateries for years with Cubans and foreign guests – one of who was Michele Obama and friends in 2016.

Day 9 – Sunday :: Havana and Home

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Check-out of hotel
  • Transfer to José Martí International Airport

While in Cuba, our attentive island team ensures your trip is magical and memorable.
Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
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  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel in compliance with US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations (OFAC) section, 1 C.F.R. § 515.565(b)
  • All taxes. Prices listed are the total amounts you pay. All amounts are quoted in US dollars.
  • Airport transfers: We meet you at José Martí Int’l Airport in Havana and take you to your hotel upon arrival. We return you to José Martí Airport for departure.
  • Hotels as listed in tour itinerary.
  • All breakfasts. Welcome dinner and farewell dinner. Other lunches and dinners as listed in tour itinerary.
  • All activities, services, speakers, meetings and meals as described in tour itinerary except those noted as “optional” or “not included in cost.”
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach transportation and a full-time professional driver.
  • An expert Cuban English-speaking guide and translator whose background matches tour content throughout the program.
  • Ongoing support from Cuba Explorer Tours staff in Cuba and North America before, during and after your stay.
  • Emergency collect call access to our North American staff while in Cuba.
  • Emergency cash advances for our tour participants who face complications accessing funds from aboard while in Cuba.
  • Cost of airfare to and from Cuba
  • Cuban Visitor Visa
  • Gratuities for tour guide, bus driver, chambermaids, restaurant staff, porters. See Cuba tipping guidelines
  • We strongly recommend trip interruption and cancellation insurance. We partner with Allianz Global Assistance for Cuba travel peace of mind