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A small group cultural experience
for 6-18 guests

April 26-30, 2019



Almaz Journeys operates this journey to Cuba under the U.S. Department of Treasury's general licenses for legal travel to Cuba. This special trip will be led by Almaz Journeys founder Joe Sandillo, and joined by our favorite local guides and specialists throughout your stay in Havana. This trip meets all the legal requirements that U.S. travelers maintain a fully daily schedule of cultural activities, and participation in each organized activity is required per the general licenses.

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 due to the unique nature of our itinerary as well as travel in Cuba, this itinerary is subject to change, and certain activities or experiences may be substituted for comparable alternatives.


April 26, 2019

Welcome to Havana!

Upon arrival (flight not included), you will be met by an airport representative who will guide you through customs into the VIP lounge to wait for your luggage to come out. (If you don't see them, as sometimes happens, approach any airport staff and say you are booked in the VIP lounge.) Once you've claimed your luggage, you'll meet your Almaz Journeys representative (holding a sign with your name on it) just outside for your transfer to the Melia Cohiba hotel.

Any journey to Cuba must begin in Havana. Her faded beauty is legendary, but the city is also slowly inching toward its former glory; part of the tourism revenue over the last two decades has gone toward the ongoing revitalization of the historic center, Old Havana. Once fortified against the threat of pirates and colonial rivals, the seductive city has risen from the ashes with the painstaking restoration work of city architect Eusebio Leal, who had to bring some restoration artisans out of retirement to realize his dream and pass their wisdom on to the next generation. Cobblestone streets lead to now immaculately polished Baroque churches, castles and palaces. Plazas have been returned to their former glory, their fountains flowing once more, their facades re-rendered attentively.

You'll have a dedicated check-in on the Level (Club) floor and then some time to freshen up before joining fellow tour participants for a short Welcome Briefing, to meet Almaz Journeys founder Joe Sandillo and your guide and answer any questions you may have.

After this briefing, head out for a Welcome Dinner at one of our favorite privately-owned restaurants (paladars) in the city. Transfer back to the hotel after dinner.


April 27, 2019

Introduction to Havana

After breakfast, we'll walk in the footsteps of Havana’s colonial past as we explore the four key squares of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site, accompanied by an architect well-versed in the gradual restoration of the historic center.

Lunch today will be at another of our favorite paladars.

Then, this afternoon we'll take a look at pre-revolutionary Havana with a visit to a few former mafia haunts including the Habana Riviera, followed by a visit to Hemingway's former home on the outskirts of town.

Late afternoon return to the hotel for some time to freshen up. This evening, we'll have dinner at one the city's oldest and most celebrated paladares, La Guarida, housed in a historic mansion slowly reclaiming its former glory. While here, our guide will also give us some insight into the transformation of homes into private restaurants since the early 1990s.

After dinner, those who still have energy can enjoy some live music in Old Havana before returning to the hotel.


April 28, 2019


A local art curator will join us this morning to begin exploring the Havana Biennial installations in public spaces. From the Linea avenue linking Miramar with Vedado to the malecon and beyond, every Biennial features artists creating fascinating works in the public sphere for all to experience and enjoy. This is a perfect complement to the art we'll see in private spaces during our time in Havana. Please be sure to wear comfortable shoes, lightweight clothing and consider a hat for the sun.

After a stop for lunch at another of our favorite paladars, we'll continue our exploration of the Biennial exhibitions with visits to a few emerging artists' studios and collective workspaces.

Late afternoon return to the hotel.


Participation limited to just 18 guests.


April 29, 2019


This morning, we'll continue our visits to the Havana Biennial installations in public spaces accompanied by a local art curator. Please be sure to wear comfortable shoes, lightweight clothing and consider a hat for the sun.

After lunch, a private curator-led visit to the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, a huge avant-garde exhibition space with a constantly rotating selection of contemporary art. From Thursday to Sunday evenings, the FAC is open and also features several bars and live music performances, but we'll have a special visit during the day before it opens to the public. Late afternoon return to the hotel for time to freshen up.

Tonight, we'll be invited into the home of a Havana art collector and expert, for conversation, cocktails and dinner of course accompanied by live Cuban music - a very special, intimate way to close out our stay in Cuba.


April 30, 2019


After check-out, transfer with English-speaking assistance to the airport. You'll have VIP airport service again today for your departure.

Or don't go home just yet!

Interested in continuing on in Cuba for a few more days? We can easily organize a fully private, custom extension for you such as:

  • More time in Havana to visit Biennial exhibits, top dance company rehearsals, a foodie tour, and more.
  • Overnight stay in Viñales, for a taste of small town life in the lush heart of the tobacco growing region
  • Two-night extension to the colonial gems of Cienfuegos and Trinidad on the southern coast.
  • Combine Viñales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad for the ultimate post-trip extension!

Please contact your Almaz Journeys Cuba expert to learn more about these options and request pricing.




$4,200 per person
based on Double occupancy*

$4,950 per person
based on single occupancy*


  • Level King/Twin rooms at the Melia Cohiba in Havana for four (4) nights. Guests on the Level floors (18-21st) enjoy a separate check-in area, free WiFi, and access to the Level Lounge - breakfast service, as well as complimentary snacks and beverages in the afternoon. Room upgrades at an additional cost.
  • Breakfast daily
  • Lunch days 2-4 (includes water, coffee/tea and one alcoholic drink per person.)
  • Dinner days 1, 2 and 4 (includes water, coffee/tea and two alcoholic drinks per person.)
  • U.S. tour leader accompanying the group for all activities and meals
  • Specialist Cuban English-speaking guides for full program daily
  • Arrival and departure transfers, with VIP airport service and English-speaking assistance during transfers
  • Best available, modern air-conditioned vehicles for all daily activities and transfers, with bottled water. Dinner transfers also included.
  • Entrances for all sights and experiences listed in the program
  • Full exchange program documentation for compliance with U.S. travel regulations


  • Air travel or Cuban tourist card
  • Wine or additional alcoholic beverages beyond those specifically included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for guides and drivers - at your own discretion, but we can provided tipping suggestions for your consideration
  • Medical or travel insurance, though highly recommended. (Mandatory Cuban health insurance is generally included with the purchase of any commercial airline ticket to Havana.)
  • Any other items or services not specifically included in the itinerary
*This small group departure has a required minimum of 6 guests, and a maximum of 18.
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