At the core of the Cuban society - aside from the universally adored music, dance and customary flamboyance - there’s the soul of a Cuban woman. A wholehearted, resilient presence spanning the island with smiles, kind vibrations and that touch of va va voom. Ending an era of oppression, the Cuban woman now holds a key role in society. She works, she raises children, she holds the house; more recently, she’s a budding entrepreneur.
Your nine-day Women in Cuba Tour will shed light into the lives of Cuban women, beginning with decades past leading up to the 1959 Cuban Revolution, to a more modern present day. From the moment you land in Havana, you’ll experience Cuba through the eyes of its women. You’ll learn how following the Revolution, the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) rose to existence into a powerful institution, defining the women’s role in today’s Cuban society.
Together with your Cuban guide, you’ll set out on the discovery road along the Cuban capital to visit organizations addressing women’s issues: maternity homes, schools, healthcare institutions, and more. While doing so, you’ll stroll through Old Havana’s history - past humming cobblestone streets, multihued colonial buildings and buoyant musicians singing with ardor and soul - a daily scene most common in Cuba, and all throughout the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the finale of your Cuban quest approaches, we’ll swap boisterous Havana for a far-flung, peaceful Pinar del Rio, laden with rustling tobacco fields. Here you’ll be introduced into the process of tobacco leaves treatment and selection, to become the world’s most famous cigars.
Upon arrival at José Martí International Airport, there is no time to be wasted. Right after clearing immigration and customs, we’ll hop on a city tour by bus for your first glimpse of Havana. Have your cameras ready, your Cuba memory album starts here!
After hotel check-in, you’ll have the chance to meet your insightCuba tour leader during a program orientation, as well as your local Cuban guide for the week.
What better way to celebrate your long awaited trip to Cuba than by indulging in a plentiful meal at a local restaurant, complete with festive mojitos.
As the evening sets, you’re free to roam on your own. Make your first evening in Havana count! We recommend you head to Old Havana, Cuba’s colonial jewel humming with glorious Caribbean life and color.
Following breakfast at your hotel, we’ll start the day at the Cuban Institute of Friendship of the Peoples, an NGO established following the Cuban Revolution, with primary goal to form ties “of friendship” with other countries, while showing visitors from abroad - the real side of life in Cuba. A brief presentation of AMISTUR Cuba S.A follows, the Institute’s official travel agency and your host in Cuba.
Next, meet with the representatives of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), the central institution created post Revolution addressing pressing women’s issues, such as gender equality. Here, you’ll discuss women’s role in today’s Cuban society.
Lunch today will be at a local restaurant, followed by a visit to the Counseling House for the Women and Families. The topic on review will be the collaboration between the social worker and the FMC, in counseling women and families.
In the late afternoon hours, you’ll find yourself at the José Martí Memorial, an ode to Cuba’s national hero, gracing the expansive Revolution Square.
Should you still run on adrenaline following your return to the hotel, the evening is yours to explore.
After a power breakfast at the hotel, this morning belongs to architecture lovers! A visit to the Museum of the Revolution, an architecturally arresting Cuban monument housed in the former Presidential Palace in Havana Centro, will reveal an equally stunning edifice, both inside and out.
A walking tour of Old Havana follows. Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1982, you’ll marvel at an impressive mix of architectural styles: colonial, baroque, art deco, Moorish, neo-classical and more - each swept by a rainbow of popping colors and intricate details. The tour includes visits to the Arms Square, the Saint Francis of Assisi Square, the Old Square, the Cathedral Square and the Bodeguita del Medio, emblematic to Havana.
Following lunch, we’ll pay a visit to the Department for the Study on Women of the University of Havana, where a dialogue with experts will ensue.
A busy day reveals itself rewarding when turning in for some rest at your hotel. After a relaxed dinner, the day will conclude with a swap of ideas with members of a Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).
Your fourth day in Havana starts with a guided visit to the Literacy Campaign Museum, which accounts the extraordinary efforts of 1961’s literacy campaign – in which over half of the participants were women teachers – in schooling over 700,000 people to read and write in one year. The exceptional initiative raised Cuba’s national literacy rate to an astonishing 96%, making it the second highest literacy rate in the world.
During a walking tour around Ciudad Escolar Libertad - a former military encampment turned school - you’ll meet with students and teachers.
We’ll break for lunch, after which a visit to a maternity home follows, as part of the Maternal/Infant Program of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health. Here, insight into the special care offered to pregnant women with health risk factors will be provided.
We’ll conclude inside the studio-gallery of a Cuban artist, for a slice of Cuban art to end the day.
Return to the hotel, for a free evening at your own disposal. We recommend trying one of the local paladares, Cuba’s privately owned family restaurants. Your Cuban guide and insightCuba tour leader can make expert recommendations.
Today we leave the hustle of Havana for the tranquility of Western country. Direction: Pinar del Rio. A province ripe with tobacco fields, it’s in Viñales Valley, another mesmerizing UNESCO World Heritage site, where nature plays its tricks. The famous mogotes - the valley’s dramatic limestone formations bulging before your eyes – stand as proof for the area’s exalted natural beauty, and surely so, for its touch of peculiarity. Here, the best views of the valley await at Los Jazmines observation point.
For lunch, we head to a local restaurant. Following, it’s cigar o’clock at Despalillo Tobacco Farm! Learn what it takes to produce the world famous Cuban cigars, on an in depth presentation on the treatment, fermentation and selection of the tobacco leaves, once the drying process completed. As an extra bonus, you’ll witness the origin of the most exquisite cigar in the world.
Before sundown, we’ll head back to Havana, for a leisurely evening on your own.
Your last day in Cuba begins with a visit to a scientific research center (or a factory), for a meeting with female workers.
Next, at the National Center for Sex Education, sex education policies in Cuba will be on topic, including measures taken in defense of the LGBT community.
Following lunch, Cuba's favorite pastime takes over - a flow of hip shaking dance moves - to be enjoyed this afternoon as a female dance group performs.
Your sendoff from the island calls for a night of celebrations. Get ready for a farewell dinner, in the company of your new best friends: mojitos, maracas and songs of adios!
After breakfast and check out, bid farewell to Cuba as you board your flight home.