Exploring Havana Past and Present
- 4 nights in deluxe private casa or hotel accommodations in Havana.
- Private airport transfers with VIP service.
- English-speaking private guides & driver for all included cultural activities.
- Advance itinerary customization and restaurant reservations, as well as 24/7 in-country support.
LEGAL TRAVEL TO CUBA
Almaz Journeys operates private journeys to Cuba in compliance with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s general licenses for Cuba travel. Our custom journeys include the required full daily schedule of cultural exchanges, while still being tailored to your interests and giving you some flexibility. We use our favorite private sector guides, and you will generally dine only in our favorite privately-owned restaurants (paladares) – all to ensure you’re supporting Cuba’s burgeoning private sector as much as possible. Throughout your stay, you will meet many Cubans from different professions, ages, and experiences in order to witness in-depth this period of profound change in Cuba and promote greater understanding between the U.S. and Cuba. Please note that this is not a tour, and under the general licenses you are required to participate in all activities on your schedule.
Throughout your stay, you will meet many Cubans from different professions, ages, and experiences in order to witness in-depth this period of profound change in Cuba and promote greater understanding between the U.S. and Cuba. Please note that this is not a tour, and under the general licenses you are required to participate in all activities on your schedule.
Welcome to Havana!
Upon arrival this afternoon (flight not included), your local Almaz Journeys representative will meet you outside for your private arrival transfer to your accommodations - either a casa particular or a choice of upscale full-service hotels.
Any trip to Cuba must begin with the majestic faded glory of Havana. Located on the northern coast of Cuba just 105 miles from the U.S., Havana was founded in the 16th century by the Spanish and quickly became a jewel in its New World holdings as a strategic trading stop between Spain and its colonies. The large number of Spanish colonial buildings in Old Havana are just one reason it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Meet your guide to continue exploring Havana. You’ll then walk in the footsteps of the city's colonial past as you explore the four key squares of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As you walk around, you'll stop into one of the privately-owned shops or businesses to learn a bit about entrepreneurship in Cuba. (For the Premium experience, you'll be joined this morning by an architect who is well-versed in the restoration work done to date as well as the ongoing challenges in preserving Havana's architectural heritage.)
Tonight, you'll have a dinner reservation at one of our favorite privately-owned restaurants (paladares).
This morning, meet with our local anthropologist guide to delve into the historical significance of the sugar plantations. Sugar led to incredible wealth for Cuba but is a dark mark in history when it comes to the treatment and living conditions for the slaves and their families that worked on the plantations. You'll also learn about the emancipation movement which eventually led to the abolition of slavery. This important aspect of Cuban history is dark but hugely critical to an understanding of Cuba today, as are the lasting influences of slaves in creating Afro-Cuban culture, music and religion which are central to the nation's identity.
You'll have a lunch reservation at one of our favorite privately-owned restaurants (paladar).
Regla (in Guanabacoa) is a short ferry ride, but a world away from the touristic Havana Vieja from where the boat departs. Here you can explore the world of the Afro-Cuban religion, Santeria. Learn about rituals and the importance of this African rooted faith in the former fishing village. You'll also visit the Church where the Black Madonna or "La Virgen de Regla" resides – the patron saint of Havana, protector of fishermen and African goddess of the sea.
You'll have a dinner reservation at one of our favorite privately-owned restaurants (paladar). After dinner, you'll be able to enjoy local, live music.
Mafia & Hemingway
Spend this morning exploring mafia history and visiting the old mafia haunts with a specialist guide, who will also connect the legacy of that period to life in Cuba today.
Lunch reservation at one of our favorite privately-owned restaurants (paladar).
After lunch (not included), you’ll explore Hemingway’s Havana. Gertrude Stein once commented that Hemingway had a good nose for finding good places to live and eat, and his villa outside Havana proves her point quite well.
Hemingway’s house is perched on a hill, with a terrific view of Havana in the distance and surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, so it's no wonder that quite a few celebrities made their way here in the 1940s and 1950s. The house you find today is perfectly intact, just as the famed author left it in 1960 with his personal effects, his favorite fishing boat, and lots more. Your visit will be led by a local Hemingway historian and expert, who will show you around the grounds and engage in an exchange about the long history of links between American and Cuban writers and artists.
After the visit while heading back to Havana, you’ll want to stop at the picturesque Cojimar fishing village, the inspiration for Hemingway’s novel “The Old Man and the Sea” – so much so that he later dedicated his Nobel Prize to the village’s fisherman.
Dinner reservation at one of our favorite privately-owned restaurants (paladar).
Revolution & Art
This morning you'll focus on Havana's revolutionary history with a start at the Revolution Museum which was once the Presidential Palace of past Cuban presidents. You'll also get to visit a 'bodega', or ration shop, to see the local conditions for buying food in Cuba today and discuss the impact of the Revolution with your guide.
Lunch reservation at one of our favorite, privately-owned restaurants (paladar).
To get a taste for Cuba's thriving arts scene, you'll have the opportunity this afternoon to visit 2 galleries or artist home studios accompanies by one of our art curators. In private galleries, you're able to see a variety of works from multiple artists and because they're privately curated the work tends to be more edgy as they're not subject to any filters by the Ministry of Culture. Or, if you'd prefer direct contact with artists, visit a few studios of independent, emerging Cuban artists. This is a great chance to interact directly with artists, learn about their inspiration and motivation, and hear their viewpoints on Cuba and its current geopolitical situation. Every exploration is tailored to you, so please specify if you have any requests as to painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, etc.)
Dinner reservation at one of our favorite, privately-owned restaurants (paladar).After dinner, get a taste of current Cuban culture by visiting Fabrica de Arte Cubano.
Until Next Time!
Depart with your driver and guide to the airport for your journey onward. You’ll again have VIP airport service today.
PRIVATE JOURNEY PRICING
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