Cuba’s most famous cities, Havana and Trinidad, stir visions of brightly painted Colonial buildings, pounding mambo rhythms and barrios that bustle well into the night.
With U.S. travel to Cuba long forbidden until recently, these images may seem hazy, like paintings unfinished. Alongside Insight Cuba, you are finally able to complete the picture.
Your eight-day Classic Cuba Tour begins in the boisterous harbor city of Havana and ends in the artistic enclave of Trinidad, with a stop in Cienfuegos, a jewel of a city known as “the pearl of the South,” along the way. At each destination, a generous Cuban spirit unfolds as the locals open their hearts and shed light on their colorful and often complex way of life.
As your first morning in Havana breaks, set out with your Cuban guide through the historic corridors of Old Havana. The UNESCO heritage area is spangled with 16th and 17th century buildings and cobblestone squares animated by the impromptu blare of trombones and lilt of guitars. Meet with experts regarding Cuba’s economy and burgeoning cottage industries. Linger in the company of musicians. This is true city rhythm. It’s the beat of life as the Cubans themselves know it.
To truly understand the social currents swimming beneath the surface, Insight Cuba takes you to places the typical traveler would never see. Visit Havana’s Literacy Museum and chat with the director about how the island’s youth have mobilized to teach the rural population how to read. Visit La Case del Niño y la Niña, a neighborhood learning center for young Cubans interested in afterschool academics. Meet with the patients, residents and doctors at the local polyclinic in Vedado to learn about socialized medicine and healthcare.
Next, make your way to Playa Larga to discuss music education with the students and teachers at the Korimacao Community Project for underprivileged youth. In Cienfuegos, a city known for its parks and palm-lined boulevards, meet with young children from Coro del Cienfuegos, a local children’s chorus and visit a family ceramic workshop.
As you journey on to Trinidad, outlying sugar cane fields give way to an urban playground juxtaposed by modest red-tiled residences and rambling Colonial mansions and museums. Here, you can expect heavy doses of culture and history. Talk with local residents about the influence of African traditions and religion on society and culture and meet the professional singers, dancers and musicians of Ballet Folklórico de Trinidad, who regale you with the history of Afro-Cuban folkloric dance.
- First-class accommodations
- Full schedule of guided people-to-people activities
- All meals while in Cuba
- U.S. Treasury Department License and Letter of Authorization
- Insight Cuba Tour Leader
- Cuban Guide
- Small group size of no more than 24 guests
- All entrance fees to scheduled activities and events
- All in-country ground transportation, and airport transfers
- Guaranteed flights from Miami to Cuba and priority handling (flight cost is additional)
- Travel health insurance, emergency medical evacuation, and trip cancellation coverage (up to $1,000)
- Insight Cuba Travel Guidebook
- 24 hour emergency customer service hotline
*A significant portion of your in-country programming is customized for each group to maximize your cultural experience. Many of the places we visit are not tourist destinations and are thus not always available. Therefore, this program should be considered as a sample only – please keep in mind that your particular tour may vary. Final itineraries are sent to guests one to two weeks prior to departure.
Day 1: Miami / Havana
Welcome to Havana! After clearing immigrations and customs, your Cuban host accompanies you to your hotel in the heart of the country’s capital. Get your feet wet with an afternoon program orientation. Later that evening, celebrate your arrival with a welcome dinner at the hotel. (L*, D) *For morning arrivals.
Day 2: Havana
Meet with a local historian and discuss the state of architecture in Havana and restoration efforts throughout the city. Spark a conversation with the patients, staff and director at the Grandparents Home in Old Havana, and learn about the impact of private businesses on Cuba’s economy at a local paladar. After lunch, meet with members of the congregation of a local Synagogue to discuss the history of Judaism in Cuba and the history of religious freedoms in the U.S. Wrap up the day with the teachers and students from La Casa del Niño y la Niña, a neighborhood learning facility in Central Havana for kids in troubled neighborhoods. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Havana
Today you’ll sit down with the director of the Literacy Museum in Havana to hear about Cuba’s literacy campaign and how the island’s youth have mobilized across the country to teach rural inhabitants how to read. Before leaving you’ll have the chance to get to know some of the school children on campus. Next, meet the founder of a world-famous Spanish Ballet Company, who will discuss the history of her company and dance education in Cuba. Top off the day with a visit to La Colmenita, a children’s performance group, where you can chat with both students and the director about upcoming performances, and the balance of studies and family life. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Havana
This morning we meet with the patients, residents and doctors at the local polyclinic in Vedado to learn about socialized medicine and healthcare. After a visit with the students at Angela Landa Primary School and a lecture at an art museum or studio, the day unfolds in the home of a local artist, where topics of conversation may include freedom of expression, the role of art in popular culture and the role of national and international organizations in supporting the arts. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Havana / Playa Larga / Cienfuegos
Today begins in Playa Larga, with a visit to the Korimacao Community Project for underprivileged youth in Palpite; here we will discuss music education with students, teachers and the creator of the project. After lunch, we depart for Cienfuegos where we will meet with Cuban artists at "Art in your hands," a cooperative artist center, before we arrive in Trinidad. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Trinidad
In Trinidad we’ll kick off the day at the Museum of Architecture talking about the significant of preserving city architecture and the process leading up to UNESCO Preservation designation. Next it’s on to the Santander’s Family Ceramic Workshop to learn about the history of ceramics in the area and how this art form has become a viable revenue generator for the region. This afternoon we’ll meet the singers, dancers and musicians of the Ballet Folklórico de Trinidad to discuss the history of Afro-Cuban folkloric rhythms and movement. We’ll top off the day with a visit with doctors, nurses and patients at a polyclinic or doctor’s home to discuss socialized medicine and how residents in surrounding communities receive healthcare. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Trinidad / Havana
This morning we’ll head to the community of Palmira to learn about the influence of African traditions and religion on Cuban society and culture. Next we’ll meet the Cuban children and artistic director from the Coro del Cienfuegos, a local chorus in Cienfuegos that’s received worldwide acclaim. After lunch we’ll return to Havana to sit down with Cuban business owners and a Cuban economist at a local paladar to learn about the impact of private businesses on Cuba’s economy and the role of small business in the U.S. Afterwards, we’ll have dinner with the paladar owner and his family at their restaurant. (B, L, D*) * Dinner at Paladar
Day 8: Havana / Miami
After breakfast, bid farewell to Cuba as you board your flight home. (B)