On January 14th, President Obama announced new categories of legal Cuba educational travel,
they went into effect immediately.
Right now, accredited universities and colleges no longer need to apply for a Specific License for Cuba education tour
by their students, professors, faculty and staff.
By the early 1900s Cuba had a strong educational system, but it was only attended by half of the country's children. Schools were not accessible to the poorest Cubans and this resulted in a low literacy rate for the country compared to the city. Prior to 1959, of the Cubans over the age of 15 years, 22% were found to be illiterate and 60% of the country was found to be semi illiterate because many rural Cubans had a third-grade education or less.
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Cuba Educational Tour VI: From Dec 27, 2013 to Jan 3, 2014
Cuba Educational Travel for Educators, Professors and Teachers!
Travel to Havana City, Cienfuegos & Trinidad
$1,749 (all taxes included)
While the emphasis of this Cuba education tour will be on Cuba's Educational System, this is also a cultural journey. As you explore America’s largest and best preserved Spanish historical cores such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Old Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad Historical Centres, you will enjoy cross cultural/ people-to-people experiences that will remain with you for the rest of your life. You will be fascinated by the Cuban people, the Cuban culture, and the social/political/economic structure of Cuba.
Therefore, this Cuba education tour is also a brilliant way of seeing the real authentic Cuba; such a passionate and patriotic people have transformed this country into a very environmentally friendly place; partly because of the trade embargo, meaning that nearly everything the Cuban population uses is made and produced in Cuba and as a result is sustainable.
Cuba is a relatively poor, developing country with 2% of the Latin American population that somehow manages to produce 11% of its
From Cuba's political system to Cuban history, you will experience Cuban culture first-hand during this Cuba education tour. Veterans of the Revolution, doctors, school teachers, students and farmers all will share their stories and answer all your questions. You will be treated with kindness and warmth the likes of which you will rarely found in other travels. It is truly a life changing experience.
Please, check the day-by-day itinerary below. Welcome Aboard!
Cuba Education Tour Highlights include:
Guided tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Travel to "The Pearl of the South" Cienfuegos.
Guided tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cienfuegos Centre.
Travel to colonial Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Travel to UNESCO World Heritage Site Sugar Mill Valley.
Tour of Instituto Superior de Arte (Cuba's Arts School).
Visit to La Colmenita Children’s Theater Company.
Visit to the provincial School of Painting of Trinidad.
Guided tour of Cuba's Museum of Fine Arts.
Guided tour of Havana's Literacy Museum.
Follow in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway.
Tour Cojimar fishing village, Hemingway's favourite hangout!
Explore Finca La Vigia, where Hemingway lived for over 20 years.
Private visit to Lizt Alfonso Ballet School.
Tour Havana's Scale Model, guided by arch. Miguel Coyula.
Visit the prestigious Cuban art gallery "Maroya".
Explore the famous handicraft market of Old Havana
Notice to US citizens:
This Cuba study tour is licensable for U.S. professors, teachers, and education professionals interested in
conducting professional research on the Cuban education system.
The easing of restrictions on US travel
to Cuba makes it easier for education professionals to get U.S. government licenses for cultural, educational, and people
to people and sports exchanges.
And while the ban on U.S. tourists visiting the island remains in place, as a professional
you can legally join any our summer tours.
No one can say what the future will hold for U.S.-Cuba relations, so it's important to take advantage of the current opportunity.
La Colmenita Children’s Theater Company is a critically acclaimed and world renowned youth troupe.
Goodwill Ambassadors of The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), these bilingual young stars share a vision for peace and harmony through a powerful and emotive cabaret of song and dance.
Enjoy a private performance, and exchange with directors, teachers and children!
We will visit the Lizt Alfonso's Ballet School of Cuba. Lizt Alfonso’s choreographies are dance and music of a kind no one else creates: a seamless fusion of Spanish classical dance, ballet, flamenco and Afro-Cuban dance.
Guided tour of Cuba's National Art Schools. Meet with Cuban art students and professors.
The schools were designed and built by architects Cuban Ricardo Porro and the Italians Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garatti
from 1961 to 1965, in the former affluent neighbourhood of Country Club Park (today known as Cubanacán), specifically on the
grounds of the Havana Country Club golf course.
Tour of Cuba's Literacy Museum in the Liberty City
neighbourhood of Havana. Meeting with museum director Luisa Campos for an introduction on the history of the literacy campaign and
the new literacy campaigns taking place in Venezuela, Bolivia and other regions based on the Cuban Campaign model.
With the possible exceptions of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, Cuba has had no more famous former resident than author Ernest Hemingway. The hard drinking, womanising, American author fell in love with Cuba after visiting it several times. He lived on Cuba from 1940 until 1960, shortly before his death. Known affectionately as "Ernesto" or "Papa", Hemingway is still beloved by the Cuban people.
Enjoy Afrojazz, Cubajazz and Sonjazz at Club La Zorra y El Cuervo,
Havana’s most famous Jazz club. The club features great performances by island bands and soloists!
Tour of Palacio de Valle in Cienfuegos City. This architectural jewel
originated as a home for trader, Celestino Caceres, who later gave it as a wedding present to the Valle family who added to it
(in a Mughal Style with carved floral motifs) a stunning Carrara marble staircase, cupped arches, bulbous domes and delicate
The Sugar Mill Valley is one of the most photographed landscapes in Cuba. The monumental value of the 65 sites that form the valley increases the interest to visit this place, where important vestiges of the island's sugar colonization still survive.
Guided walking tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad’s
Historical Center, a perfect relic of the early days of the Spanish colony with beautifully preserved streets and
buildings with hardly a trace of the 20th century anywhere.
Day 1. Friday 27 December 2013. Hello Cuba
Welcome to Havana City! One of the most fascinating cities in the world!
Your Cuba educational journey has just begun.
You arrive at "Jose Marti" International Airport in Cuba's capital city.
Meet your Authentic Cuba Travel tour guide and bus driver.
Private transfer to your hotel
Presidente located at Havana's entertainment district, Vedado.
Breakfast is complimentary from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Day 2. Saturday 28 December 2013. Exploring Old Havana
Morning: visit to the headquarters of La Colmenita Children’s Theater Company. La Colmenita (the little beehive) emerged from a dream and hobby of Carlos "Tin" Cremata when he was still a student at the Cuban Theatrical Art Institute directing aquatic and judo performances with young people.
The nucleus of La Colmenita was formed from some of these youngsters and children of three, four and five years from the popular television series "Cuando yo sea Grande" that he also directed.
The company, which was given the UNICEF Goodwill ambassador status in 2007, recently toured the United States with performances in Washington, New York and San Francisco. Enjoy a private performance, and exchange with directors, teachers and children!
Lunch in La Mina restaurant where you can enjoy traditional Cuban dishes and live music!
Afternoon: meet with architect Miguel Coyula at the Scale Model of Old Havana. The model serves as an excellent introduction to the layout of the city. It is color-coded by age with the historic buildings painted in crimson, pre-Revolution buildings in yellow and the post-revolutionary buildings in ivory.
Followed by guided walking tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Havana.
Visit to the Cathedral Square, named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture:
the Cathedral of Havana built by the Jesuit order.
The Cathedral's baroque facade is simultaneously intimate and imposing, and one of the two towers is visibly larger,
creating a pleasing asymmetry. As with many churches in the city, the building material of Havana
Cathedral includes coral, cut and hauled from the edge of the sea by slaves. Look carefully and you'll see fossils of marine
flora and fauna in the stone of the cathedral.
Visit to Square of Arms, ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers and surrounded by impressive
buildings such as:
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, the former official residence of the governors (Captains General) of Havana,
Cuba. It is home to the Museum of the City of Havana. It houses exhibitions of art and historical artifacts and many of the
rooms are preserved with their original Colonial decoration.
Palacio del Segundo Cabo. The seat of the second authority of the island. Today it houses important publishing
Castillo de la Real Fuerza. The second oldest fortress built by the Spaniards in the West Indies. The castle was recently renovated
and reopened in June 2008 to hold the impressive maritime museum. Well laid out exhibits chart Spain and Cuba's naval history.
Continue walking tour onto San Francisco Square, named after the Convent of San Francisco,
this square was conceived in 1628, with the objective of supplying water to the ships trading with the metropolis. For many years it also served to stockpile
the goods arriving from the harbor. Chronicles of the time say that the square had a busy commercial life. The people, in humble
carts or afoot, sold and bought a variety of goods. It’s important to know that through this place the Spanish immigrants
arrived to Cuba.
Visit to Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. Notice it doesn't have a church or government building around.
Here we will visit important institutions for visual arts.
Free time in the famous handicraft market of Old Havana, located inside the Almacenes de Depósito
San José, an old warehouse on the harbourside where you can purchase all sorts of crafts and souvenirs by local artisans.
Return to hotel.
Evening: tonight we have a Cuban band playing for us! You'll learn to dance to Salsa, Son, Rumba, and other popular Cuban rhythms
with instruction from bandleaders.
Day 3. Sunday 29 December 2013. Havana
Morning: guided tour of Cuba's National Art Schools. Great opportunity to exchange with the new generation
of Cuban artists. Meet with students and teachers.
The design of the National Art Schools, created by Ricardo Porro, Roberto Gottardi, and Vittorio Garatti, ran counter to the dominant International Style of the time. The three architects saw the International Style as the architecture of capitalism and sought to recreate a new architecture in the image of the Cuban Revolution.
Only two of the schools were completed, the rest being abandoned and awaiting restoration funding recently approved by the Cuban
government. After 40 years, the original team of architects got together again to collaborate in the most important architecture work from
the Cuban Revolution.
Lunch hosted by Jose Fuster, one of the most important Cuban ceramists and painters today.
Afternoon: visit to the Literacy Museum in the Liberty City neighborhood of Havana.
In September 1960, a year after the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, prime minister of the fledgling government, stood before the United Nations assembly in New York and promised to wipe out illiteracy by the end of the following year – of its total seven million population at the time, more than a million adults were illiterate and less than half of all children had access to school.
Morning: visit to Finca Vigia, a hilltop villa 20 kilometers east of Havana, where famed author Ernest Hemingway lived from 1939 to 1960. It is here where the writer completed some of his greatest works, including The Old Man and the Sea, Across the River and into the Trees, and Islands in the Stream.
The villa has been maintained as a museum for the past 49 years. It contains original book and short story manuscripts, letters, over 3000 photographs, Hemingway’s fishing tackle and gun collections, furniture, priceless art collection, and a 9000 volume library that contains rare first editions of his books and those of other famous writers.
Finca Vigía has made both the World Monuments Fund List of 100 Most Endangered sites, and The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Places.
Lunch in Cojimar fishing village.
Tour around Cojimar fishing village, where Hemingway kept his boat Pilar. The writer is remembered by the town with a small gazebo that encircles a commemorative bust, sculpted from the melted down propellers donated by local fishermen.
Afternoon: visit to the Lizt Alfonso Ballet School founded in 1991.
In 2008, this ballet school was also acknowledged as a teaching unit, attached to the Cuba's National School of Art (ENA). For several years, the dancers, led by Lizt herself, have developed an intensive work with the vocational dance workshops and summer courses.
Currently, those workshops teach about 1,300 students and constitute the major reserve for the permanent renewal of the company and make several special presentations throughout the year.
Followed by: visit the Museum of Fine Arts (Cuban Collection) where we see the evolution of Cuba's visual arts over the last 300 years.
The collection accounts for the richness of our Spanish, French, Chinese, African cultural roots.
Day 5. Tuesday 31 December 2013. Havana- Cienfuegos- Trinidad
En route, we will visit Cienfuegos, a city of neoclassical buildings with a European flair. This trip will give
participants the opportunity to analyze and see how the Cuban educational system works in different provinces of the country.
Visit to Palacio de Valle upon arrival. This architectural jewel originated as a home for trader, Celestino Caceres, who later
gave it as a wedding present to the Valle family who added to it (in a Mughal Style with carved floral motifs) a stunning Carrara
marble staircase, cupped arches, bulbous domes and delicate arabesques.
Lunch at Palacio del Valle restaurant.
Afternoon: guided walking tour of Cienfuegos Historical Center.
We will visit neoclassical buildings around Paseo del Prado and the main Square Jose Marti such as:
The Tomas Terry Theatre, completed in 1895 and named after a sugar baron from Venezuela who arrived in Cuba with no money and
made his fortune by buying sick slaves for a low price, to later nurse them back to health and reselling them. This money was
invested in a sugar estate that brought him the wealth to build several outstanding buildings in Cienfuegos, including this
theatre, with materials specially brought over from Europe.
The Casa de la Cultura, home of another wealthy sugar baron, stunning mansion in neoclassical style.
The Cathedral built with the donation of wealthy families like the Lebrancs, the Albis, the Terrys. Inside you find the
reproductions of the 12 Apostles in stained glass imported from Paris. Also the original machinery of the clock tower was built
in France. Still in place and working.
We'll also visit the elegant art gallery Galería de Arte Maroya and review its impressively displayed collection of paintings,
sculptures and antiques.
Now we journey on to the historic city of Trinidad and check in at all-inclusive Costa Sur Beach Resort.
You'll have time for dinner and a swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Evening: participation in the different cultural and political venues taking place in the city around New Years Eve (optional).
Day 6. Wednesday 1 January 2014. Trinidad
Morning: visit to the Academy of Painting “Oscar Fernandez”. Meet with the Principal and teachers to learn about the school curriculum and enrollment criteria. Tour the school and exchange
with students in the different workshops.
Lunch at hotel.
Afternoon: guided walking tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad’s Historical Center, a perfect relic of
the early days of
the Spanish colony with beautifully preserved streets and buildings with hardly a trace of the 20th century anywhere.
Visit to the Architecture Museum (Casa de los Sanchez Iznaga), housing the most representative samples of the city's architectural
development in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Visit to Museo Lucha contra Bandidos, former home of the San Francisco de Asis convent.
Visit to Museo Romantico, overlooking the Trinidad main square. It has an excellent exhibition of romantic style porcelain, glass,
paintings and decorative furniture which belonged to the Conde de Brunet and other Trinidad notorious families.
We will stop at a mirador (lookout) over the Sugar Mill Valley, where the sugar barons used to have their countryside mansions and
mills. This site is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Trinidad is well known for its pottery makers. We meet with a family that has been passing the tradition for generations:
Free time to wander the streets of historical centre or enjoy the beach.
Evening is free to enjoy the beach, hotel amenities, and the lively streets of Trinidad. How about live Cuban popular music on
steps of Casa de la Música – a great opportunity to dance with Cubans and your tour companions.
Day 7. Thursday 2 January 2014. Trinidad- Havana
Morning: visit to a Family Doctor’s Office and Community Clinic.
Family doctor's offices and Community Clinics in Cuba are part of the so called Primary Level of Attention.
This is an opportunity to meet Cuban doctors and nurses and learn more about their health care system and its practices.
You will also receive detailed information about the educational program for training doctors and nurses in Cuba.
Afternoon: transfer back to your hotel in Havana City.
Hello! My name is Jacqui Birchall. I am a retired Surrey (BC)
high school teacher. My students and I travelled to Cuba with this wonderful people. It was an amazing experience for
my students, students who cried as we left Cuba. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about how to organize
your trip and any other questions you may have about Cuba. I have been lucky enough to have spent time teaching in Cuba
and I have travelled extensively throughout the island. I invite you to take your classroom to Cuba with us!