Travel to Cuba with Smithsonian Journeys and National Trust and take part in an immersive People-to-People experience. During our specially designed nine-day program, you’ll learn about this enigmatic island nation’s fascinating culture through firsthand contact with Cuban artists, musicians, students, teachers, environmentalists, and others who are eager to exchange views with you on Cuban contemporary life. Explore the World Heritage site of Old Havana, where you’ll learn about the ongoing preservation of the city’s architecture. Meet artists and writers and experience Ernest Hemingway’s legacy as well as authentic Cuban rumba rhythms. You’ll meet with Afro-Cuban spiritual leaders, park rangers at a bio-reserve, and traditional farmers. This People-to-People Cultural Exchange is permitted by a license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
In January of 2011, the Obama administration announced the easing of travel restrictions for cultural and educational groups to once again visit Cuba by restoring the “People to People” travel category. The National Trust for Historic Preservation was among the first cultural institutions to receive a license through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) last year and began offering unparalleled cultural exchanges in Cuba. We hope you can join one of our upcoming departures of Cuba: Its Culture and Its People in 2012 or 2013.
Over 300 National Trust members have traveled to Cuba since November, 2011, to learn about and exchange ideas on architecture, historic preservation, planning and other subjects in the cultural heritage arena. The reviews are in, and our programs have exceeded the expectations of our travelers, with many of them noting that their time in Cuba was “an experience of a lifetime.”
I hope that you will be able to join us and witness for yourself the world-class architecture, music and educational exchange only the National Trust can deliver.
April 6-14, 2013
April 13-21, 2013
Additional travel dates are pending renewal of license.
For more information on this trip please contact National Trust Tours, an affiliate of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
A few thoughts from National Trust Tours:
“I had high expectations and they were exceeded.”
“From touchdown to lift off it was a magical experience.”
“I have wanted to go to Cuba my entire life and this group of leaders, study lecturer and guide & driver made it the experience I had hoped for!”
“National Trust is the only way to travel to Cuba.”
“The interaction with the Cubans on the program was both inspiring and informative.”
Read Ernest Hemingway to prepare for a visit to Finca Vigía, Hemingway’s 12-acre property where the National Trust for Historic Preservation has played a lead role in working with its Cuban counterparts to preserve and restore. The trip will also include a visit to the fishing village of Cojimar which provided the author with inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea.
Day 1 — U.S., Havana, Cuba
Depart Miami this morning on a charter flight to Havana. Take a short orientation bus tour of the city, including Revolutionary Square. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to our hotel. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception, introductory talk by your study leader, and dinner. (L,R,D)
Day 2 — Havana
Enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana with an expert from the Office of the City Historian and discover the four main plazas of the 18th-century grid. Visit the restoration workshops and converse with artisans as you learn how the skills necessary to restore Old Havana are taught. Take a private tour led by museum curators at the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes), which is dedicated exclusively to housing Cuban art collections from the 17th century to the present day. Exchange views on art with curators and conservators who are responsible for this important collection. In the Flores district enjoy a special visit to Casa-Estudio de Fuster, the studio and home of José Fuster, a world-renowned painter and ceramist commonly called the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Discuss contemporary art trends with Fuster and his colleagues. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Havana
This morning, visit the Antonio Nuñez Jimenez Foundation for Nature and Humanity, and learn of their efforts to promote environmental consciousness in Cuba. Then travel to Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Cuba’s most important reforestation project. Land that was once used as coffee plantations is now home to an eco-community. Interact with some of the members of this community, including artists, musicians and craftsmen. After returning to Havana, meet with a representative from the U.S. Interest Section and learn of the role they play in Cuba. Afterwards, enjoy Cuban specialties at a paladar, a privately owned restaurant that Cubans have been able to set up in their homes as one of the first opportunities for private enterprise allowed. Our hosts, the proprietors, will speak with us to discuss the impact these ventures have made in the local communities. (B,L)
Day 4 — Havana, Varadero
Today visit a Cuban NGO and discuss with a representative Cuban history and how his organization services the needs of Cuban society. Continue to Guanabacoa, a town famous for its role in the Afro-Caribbean religion, Santeria. Visit the town’s Museum and Community Center to interact with some of the town’s residents. Continue to Varadero Beach and check into your hotel. After dinner tonight, visit Santa Marta and mingle with local residents at a community block party. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Matanzas
Explore Matanzas’ old town. Begin at the Plaza de la Libertad for a visit the Pharmaceutical Museum, once a 19th-century French-run pharmacy located in an exquisite building. See the original herbs, potions, and a lab complete with copper tools and utensils. Visit Ediciones Vigia, an independent art book publisher which produces limited editions of magnificent handmade books. Speak with administrators about the organization’s mission, tour the workshops, and exchanges views with book artists. Afterward, enjoy a private performance by a local Rumba group accompanied by dancers incorporating elements of Santeria into their show. Take the opportunity to discuss the importance of the arts with the performers. Continue to the “Pearl of the South,” Cienfuegos, and check into your hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 6 – Trinidad
En route to Trinidad, stop at the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens, the largest of its kind in Cuba, and learn of their efforts to maintain their rich biodiversity and extraordinary plant life. Continue to Trinidad and discover its pastel-colored Colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and beautiful plazas. Meet with a representative of the City’s Historian Office to discuss the achievements and the challenges of preserving this 16th-century city. During your exploration of Trinidad, meet with shopkeepers, owners of Casa Particulares, or privately owned Bed and Breakfasts, and other members of the community. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Cienfuegos
Today, visit the Benny Moré Art School. Its students are comprised of some of the most talented children of the province studying music, dance and the visual arts. After a performance, engage with the teachers and students and learn of the school’s role in Cuban arts education. Afterward, explore the French-influenced city center of Cienfuegos. Walk down the Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian-only boulevard lined with various stores, to Parque Martí. Some of Cienfuegos’ most prominent architecture frames this central square. This afternoon, return to Havana and check into your hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — La Finca Vigía and Cojimar
Discover Hemingway’s La Finca Vigía, the hilltop estate where he lived and worked for over twenty years, now kept as a museum containing original furniture, artwork, and personal memorabilia that was collected by the author. Meet with a curator to discuss the author’s enduring legacy in Cuba. Explore the fishing village of Cojimar, the inspiration for Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Walk along the malecón and witness local village life. Tonight, celebrate your journey at a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Depart for the U.S.
Transfer to the airport today for your return charter flight to Miami. (B)
Throughout your program, enjoy lectures and informal commentary with your Smithsonian Expert who will add depth and insight throughout your stay.
Land arrangements: $5,880
Single supplement: $595
Round-trip charter airfare, from $500 per person, subject to change, between Miami and Havana, is additional and must be purchased with your tour.