Sign Up to Go! Havana & Heartland of Cuba – March 2017

Sign Up to Go!  Havana & The Heartland of Cuba Trip

Dates:  March 10-16, 2017

Costs:  From $3,995*

Special Women’s Only Trip  (Small Group of up to 12 women) 

To Book This Trip, Email or fill out the form below!

Join this small group of up to 12 women to explore the heartland of Cuba and visit some of its lesser-known and beautiful UNESCO-designated traditional towns, nature reserves, and Caribbean islands.

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Take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Old Havana on a guided walking tour and on a bicycle-taxi. Learn to prepare traditional Cuban dishes, and have private visits in artist studios, with a social psychologist, and a presentation from a musicologist who introduces sensuous Latin rhythms that are ubiquitous in the city.

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In the beautiful Viñales Valley a small tobacco farmer shows how to roll the best cigars, and in Viñales National Park and Biosphere Reserve hike on easy trails and cycle down meandering country roads through spectacular landscapes of towering limestone karsts covered in rainforest. Snorkel and paddleboard among Caribbean reefs and white sand beaches in Cayo Jutias, and hear the fascinating story of the Las Terrazas “Green Revolution” project initiated by Castro in 1968 turned nature reserve and eco-community.

Sign Up Today:  Email for details and complete itinerary.



  • Cuban music and dance performance
  • Havana bici-taxi tour through Old Havana
  • Visit a Farmer’s Market
  • Discover a tobacco farm
  • Hike Vinales National Park
  • Boat down underground river
  • Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve


Day 1: Flight to Havana – Fusterlandia!

Check in at the Miami airport for charter flight to Havana; an airport liaison will facilitate the charter flight check-in process. While travel to Cuba has improved, airport procedures can be lengthy and require patience, but this is a classic part of the Cuban experience, a lo Cubano! (“the Cuban way.”) After a short 45-minute flight, you are welcomed on the shores of this Caribbean isle by a local expert guide. Watch for the classic American cars that are everywhere, holdovers from the pre-embargo era of American trade with Cuba.


After lunch you head to the Jaimanitas neighborhood on the outskirts of Havana to visit the home of Jose Fuster, one of the most well-known Cuban artists of the 20th century. His two main inspirations for his work are Gaudi and Picasso, and it only takes one look at his house to see this transformation of his neighborhood into a work of art. You contrast crazy Fusterlandia at an exclusive meeting with a successful ceramist who shares her inspirational work. Check into your hotel before an orientation meeting and welcome dinner at Los Naranjos. Known for its fusion Cuban cuisine, classic glamor architecture and interior design, this intimate paladar is located in the bustling neighborhood of Vedado flanked by mansions of Cuba’s pre-revolution aristocracy. There is always an opportunity after dinner to seek out Afro-Cuban jazz or live salsa music.


Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Hotel Telegrafo

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Old Havana Walking & Bicitaxi Tour – Music and Family in Cuba

What better way to kick off your first full day in Cuba than visiting a local Cuban musicologist who leads a lively discussion and dance demonstration discovering how various rhythms and music permeate Cuban culture and daily life setting the tempo for your adventures ahead.


You take in the sights, sounds, and flavors in the center of Old Havana on foot, and then ride bicycle taxis down narrow alleyways among old colonial homes in residential neighborhoods and to city landmarks of this UNESCO World Heritage City. You stop along the way to taste street foods, perhaps refresh yourselves with fresh cane juice and coconut water, before stopping at a primary school for insights into the educational system in Cuba.

After lunch in a favorite paladar, you stop at Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar, El Floridita, to enjoy a refreshing daiquiri before your private meeting with Daybell Pañella Alvares, a Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Havana. Daybell shares her work on economic class structure in Cuba, specifically how the roles of race and gender in the Cuban perspective of what is defined as success are evolving with rapid socio-economic changes. After free time for independent exploration you meet before dinner to enjoy a drink with a few bilingual Cubans who live in Havana chatting informally about their everyday life. Dinner tonight is at Los Mercaderes, one of the finest paladares in Old Havana serving a fusion of dishes combining Afro-Cuban style with inter-national flavors and flair.


Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Hotel Telegrafo

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cojimar Market and Cooking Lesson – Hemingway’s Finca

Today you discover the culinary renaissance in Cuba whereby local chefs and Cuban households are returning to their traditional roots as menus expand with the infusion if international influences. You head out to Cojimar on the outskirts of the city to experience community life where you meet up with a chef in the local farmer’s market to buy ingredients for a cooking lesson a lo Cubano! (“the Cuban way”). Learn how to make traditional dishes such as ropa vieja and el ajiaco, and of course, how to mix a mojito. It’s a short drive to Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home while he lived in Cuba, allowing time for individual exploration of Old Havana and dinner on your own. You will receive excellent recommendations (and make reservations) to the best paladares in Havana. As the Havana night sets in there are many entertainment options to consider such as the Bertolt Brecht Theater, groove to live Afro-Cuban jazz by the hugely popular international touring house band Interactivo, or to see if local legend Ray Fernandez is playing.

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Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Hotel Telegrafo

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Viñales Valley Cigars and Adventures

Heading westward from the capital, the beautiful province of Piñar Del Rio is the cultural and adventure heartland of Cuba where cowboys roam and the world’s finest cigars are cultivated and hand-crafted. The 2.5-hour drive is an opportunity for your guide to lead an in depth discussion about Cuba’s more complicated issues related to politics, social structure, healthcare, and culture. You stop at a local tobacco farmer’s house to see first-hand why Cuban cigars stand out in the world, walking into the fields and entering a studio where the farmer rolls his own.

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Heading towards the coast you hike in Viñales National Park and World Heritage Site, a stunningly beautiful natural area and cultural landscape of towering karst outcrops crowned by lush tropical forest habitat bordering verdant green farms and multi-ethnic villages of Spanish, Portuguese, French, and West African descendants. At Finca Paraiso Agroecologica (Agro-ecological Paradise Farm) in the Valley of Silence, Wilfredo and his family proudly show you their organic agriculture production and serve up a delicious organic lunch full of flavor and color, including roasted pork and vegetarian dishes, and their anti-stress smoothie of yerba buena, coconut milk, basil, mint, anise and a splash of Cuban rum.

After lunch in the valley you walk around this rural town getting to know the many cuentapropistas (private entrepreneurs) mostly involved in farming and fledgling ecotourism businesses. You can also ride bikes on easy meandering roads through the countryside. This evening is a special opportunity to experience the real Cuba staying in a local casa particular private bed and break-fast. These private bed and breakfasts are a genuine opportunity to get to know local Cuban families and are always a highlight of the trip. Enjoy a homemade dinner at a private home.

Accommodations: Casa Particulares 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Caving and Coastal Adventures in Cayo Jutias

Today you glide in a boat through white limestone and minerals of coppery earth in the Cuevas de los Indios (Indian Cave), a 4 km waterway deep within a mogote where Guanajatabey Indians built their homes. On to Cayo Jutias, an island of the archipelago of Las Coloradas, you reach the fine white sands and clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean and one of the most beautiful beaches near Vinales.

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A resident guide introduces you to the marine habitat full of multitudes of fish and corals with opportunities to snorkel, stand-up paddleboard, or walk the beach. You then sit down to a delicious fresh seafood lunch of grilled lobster and fish before heading back to Viñales for free time or join with locals to partake in a salsa class. Dinner is on your own tonight. This evening is an opportunity to walk to the local Casa de la Cultura (Culture House) where neighborhood musicians gather to share live music and dance.

Accommodations: Casa Particulares 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Las Terrazas Green Revolution – Havana

Making your way back to Havana you stop for a garden tour at an orchid farm with the resident orchid expert, and then continue to the ecotourism rural development project known as Las Terrazas. Started in 1968 as a “Green Revolution” project by Fidel Castro, today it’s a small community of 250 members in the Sierra del Rosario Mountains surrounded by a nature reserve in a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. A local community guide shares the history of the planned community and the challenges and successes it has endured. You also visit the home of one of many well-known artists who live in this beautifully inspiring landscape and learn about the inspiration it provides for creative art. There is also an opportunity to ride a zip-line on a canopy tour through the community.

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Enjoy a traditional Cuban lunch of roasted pork, beans, rice, and sweet potato fries en route to Havana, stopping at an artisanal market to buy last-minute artwork or handicrafts from private artist entrepreneurs. Tonight’s farewell dinner at San Cristobal is one of the best paladares in Havana, then for anyone up for a night in Havana you celebrate your journey with an aperitif and music.

Accommodations: Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Hotel Telegrafo 

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Depart or Extend your Stay

After breakfast visit the Plaza de la Revolution, an important center of Cuban public affairs and an opportunity to reflect on Cuban politics, economy, and the future of Cuba surrounded by government buildings of this historic square. Proceed to the international airport for your flight back to Miami, or ask about additional people-to-people experiences in Havana or other areas of the island.

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Photos Courtesy of:  Joslin Fritz & Global Adventuress


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