Inside Cuba at the Reveloution Square --America visiting Cuba Again
Posted By: Robert Moore on July 05, 2012 |
This program is operated by our member partner Chamber Explorations – The licensed entity.
Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce...
Chamber Explorations (The Chamber's member partner) - has been issued a specific license by The Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which authorizes registered guests of our programs to visit Cuba legally. There are no applications to complete, and your travel with us is fully authorized. Prior to departure, you will receive a copy of our Specific License and a Letter of Authorization which legalizes your travel to Cuba.
OUR PEOPLE TO PEOPLE PROGRAM INCLUDED FEATURES:
• Round trip Airfare from Los Angeles (LAX)
• Cuban Travel Visa
• Cuban Health Insurance
• 8 Nights First Class Hotel Accommodations
• 21 Meals (8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners)
• Admissions & Interactions, as per Itinerary
• Full Time Professional Cuban Bilingual Host / Tour Guide
• Hotel & Airport Transfers and Baggage Handling
• Transportation by deluxe air conditioned motorcoach
Day 1: Depart LAX on your flight to Cuba (D) Overnight: Havana
Upon arrival at Jose Marti International Airport in Cuba, meet your Cuban host and full time experienced bilingual tour guide. Check into your hotel for a three night stay. Enjoy a welcome cocktail upon arrival and receive a short briefing from our Cuban leader. Dinner is included this evening.
Day 2: Havana (B,L) Overnight: Havana
The day begins with a guided orientation tour of Cuba’s capital city. We’ll explore the Cathedral de la Havana, built in baroque style in 1748, and learn about its preservation and continuous restoration. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier described the building as “music turned to stone,” words that still ring true today. We’ll stop for a group photo at the Plaza de la Revolucion, the Greek Orthodox Church and the Scale Model of the city of Havana. Lunch will be included at the Havana Harbor Side Terrace, El Templete Restaurant. From there, we’ll visit the Museo Fine Arts and explore the beautiful Museo de la Revelucion that displays documents and artifacts telling the country’s history. The museum is housed in the former presidential palace which was home to Cuba’s leaders from the 1920s until 1959. The building offers beautiful architecture as well as an interior that was designed by Tiffany’s of New York.The final visit of our tour will be to La Marketa de Havana in Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a collective association of small craftmen, where we’ll meet local merchants and artists. The evening is at leisure.
Day 3: Havana - Terrazas Region of Vinales - Havana (B,L,D) Overnight: Havana
Travel to Las Terrazas region of Vinales. The western province of Pinar del Rio is known for its stunning scenery, a landscape of prehistoric flat-top mountains or “mogotes,” tobacco plantations, caves and rivers. We’ll Visit Las Terrazas, a small cooperative village established in the 1960s to be self-sufficient. We’ll tour Rancho Curujey to learn about its self-sustained successes in reforestation, historic preservation, and environmental balance. We’ll see local artists and craft workers in their homes and studios and walk the ruins of a French Coffee Plantation built in 1801. From there we’ll travel by boat to the Prehistoric Painted Caves with a stop for lunch en route to the Cathedral Church in Vinales. Later in the day we’ll visit the San Lazaro Church in El Rincon, named after San Lazaro, the Saint of the poor. Thousands of Cubans make the pilgrimage every year on Dec. 17, some trekking barefoot or dragging stones behind them. Dinner tonight is at the famous Patio Restaurant El Aijibe.
Day 4: Havana - Trinidad (B,L,D) Overnight: Trinidad
Following breakfast we’ll leave Havana behind and travel to Trinidad. Along the way we’ll drive through the beautiful province of Cienfuegos, Cuba’s “Pearl of the South”. We’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant Cienfuegos, founded in 1819 by French settlers and currently one of Cuba’s newest cities, offers harmonious architecture and urban planning. We’ll begin our tour with a panoramic view of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site followed by a visit to the lush Botanical Garden. Next we’ll go to Jagua Castle, the fortress of Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de Jagua, completed in 1745.
It is a fine example of the military architecture of 18th century Cuba. This afternoon we’ll continue our journey to Trinidad and check into the all-Inclusive Hotel Brisas Trinidad del Mar for a two night stay. After a welcome cocktail party and dinner, we’ll have time to dust off our dancing shoes and salsa with the locals.
Day 5: Trinidad (B, L, D) Overnight: Trinidad
Today, we’ll have a walking tour of Trinidad de Cuba, one of the country’s oldest cities in the West Indies founded by the Spaniards in 1514. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was established on orders of the conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar,(comma needed) who traveled to Cuba with Columbus in 1493. After lunch at the La Palacio del Villa Restaurant, we’ll visit the Plaza Mayor, Museum of Architecture, Museum of the Romantic Era, and other important sites. We go to a sugar plantation and view the Sugar Mill Valley, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here sugar barons constructed their opulent countryside mansions and huge refineries. Trinidad is also well-known for its pottery. We’ll meet a family of potters, who have been passing on the tradition for generations, visit their studio and enjoy a pottery demonstration. Dinner is included this evening.
Day 6: Trinidad - Playa Giron - Havana (B, L) Overnight: Havana
After checking out of our hotel, we’ll drive back to Havana, stopping at the town of Playa Giron. This coastal region was the site of the historical 1961 clash between the CIA-trained Cuban exiles and rebel forces, the event that defined U.S. Cuban relations for decades. We’ll tour the Bay of Pigs Museum that tells the story of the invasion and the infamous battle. We’ll many historical artifacts, including a Sea Fury fighter aircraft, photos, and maps which outline each step of the failed plan. Today, we’ll also visit a local school/daycare. We arrive in Havana for a three-night stay with dinner is on our own this evening.
Day 7: Havana - Hemingway Farm - Cojimar (B,L,D) Overnight: Havana
Today we’ll enter the world of Ernest Hemingway with a visit to Finca La Vigia or Lookout Farm, home to Hemingway between 1939 and 1960. This property was the backdrop for seven novels including the Nobel Prize in 1954. Many of Hemingway’s personal belongings remain intact. One can walk the grounds and climb the stairs for the panoramic view from his study and view his yacht Pilar, in which he patrolled for Nazis in the Caribbean waters and featured in his novel Islands in the Stream. We’ll visit the picturesque Cojimar fishing village, setting for Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Old Man and the Sea. We’ll enjoy lovely views of the emerald sea as we lunch at Las Terrazas Restaurant. From here we’ll venture into the Guanabacoa Region, an area known for religious diversity and Santeria. This village has some of the finest colonial churches where locals worship both Catholic and Santerian saints. We’ll visit the Museo de Guanabacoa of Santeria Orishas and see exhibits about this Afro-Cuban religious culture. The Partagas Cigar Factory is our next stop. One of the oldest cigar brands in the world, it was established in Havana in 1845. We’ll have a chance to interact with the factory workers and learn about the history and process of cigar production. Dinner tonight is at the Café del Oriente Restaurant in Old Havana, one of the finest dining establishments in all of Cuba.
Day 8: Havana - (B,L,D) Overnight: Havana
Our focus this morning will be Callejon de Hamel, a street in central Havana where cultural rescue and expansion has been expressed through the artist Salvadore Gonzalez. His murals and sculptures have taken over entire buildings and fascades. We’ll meet with local artists to learn more about this art form. We’ll then go on to the Colon Cemetery, founded in 1876 and famous for its elaborate sculptures. After stopping for lunch, we’ll explore Morro Castle, an impressive fortress built in 1589 to protect the mouth of the Havana Harbor. Our final stop will be the Cuban Literacy Museum, where we’ll learn about a national effort to educate rural farmers and families. Our Farewell Dinner this evening takes place on the patio of the La Barraca Restaurant, where we’ll enjoy traditional Cuban cuisine and lively music.
Day 9: Havana - USA (B)
Following breakfast at the hotel, we’ll transfer to the airport for our return flights.
Please note: Though rare, it may be necessary to substitute hotels and adjust itineraries due to local conditio
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