Day 1. Saturday. Arrival
Arrival at "Jose Marti" International Airport in Havana.
Group welcomed by the Authentic Cuba Travel Cuban guide and driver. Transfer to your hotel Park View
, located in Old Havana,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Private group check-in.
Breakfast and dinner are complimentary.
Day 2. Sunday. Havana
Morning: Attend mass at the Cathedral of Havana
, a masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture, built by the Jesuit order in the
Followed by guided walking tour of Old Havana
, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit to Square of Arms
, ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers and surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
was the former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City.
Palacio del Segundo Cabo
. The seat of the second authority of the island. Today it houses important publishing concerns.
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
Lunch in La Mina restaurant
where you can enjoy traditional Cuban dishes and music live!
Continue walking tour onto San Francisco Square
, one of the oldest in the historical quarter.
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
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. Monday. Havana
Morning reflection mass with the elders and friends of the Convent of Our Lady of Belén
Followed by a tour of the Convento de Nuestra Señora de Belén
[Convent of Our Lady of Belén], a community center
in Old Havana housed in an ancient convent. Construction on the Convent was begun in 1712. It was expanded and remodeled
several times over the centuries. Finally abandoned in 1925, it fell into grave disrepair. In 1991, restoration began
and continues with amazing results.
Today the Office of the Historian, local Public Health authorities, and the Order of the Sisters of Charity
manage the Belén Convent. It is home to fifty elderly people and provides physiotherapy and ophthalmological services
to old folks in the community.
The Convent also houses an orphanage, storm shelter, pharmacy, daycare, eye and medical clinic, computer workshop,
museum, art gallery, and services for handicapped and disabled kids. We'll meet with project director Nelson Aguila
and tour this world famous project.
Special opportunity for students to present donations
to the residents and staff of the Convent of Our Lady of Belén.
We'll spend the balance of the day helping out Convent staff and residents with improvement projects and chores.
Dinner at the hotel.
Evening: attend baseball game
at Latinoamericano Stadium, popularly known in Cuba as "The Colossus of Cerro” is home
of Ciudad Habana Industriales. The stadium holds 55,000 people. In 1999, it hosted an exhibition series between
Cuban National Team and the Baltimore Orioles.
Day 4. Tuesday. Havana
Today we'll spend our time volunteering at the Convent of Our Lady of Belén
We'll help out with projects that are priorities for children with special needs and the elderly.
Dinner at the hotel.
Evening: attend one of the most traditional and popular ceremonies in Cuba, The Fire of the Cannon of
9 O’Clock at the Fortress of San Carlos de La Cabana
Day 5. Wednesday. Havana
Morning: visit to the Abel Santamaría School
for visually impaired children. There are 102 students living at the school
and another 70 students attending on a daily basis.
The staff consists of 54 teachers with specialties in psychology, eyesight, and special education. Programs for
the students include basic academic courses and in addition classes in sports, music and culture which assist the
students in integrating into society. Many of the students upon graduation attend higher level schools.
Tour around the school and meet with teachers and students to learn how the children are being prepared to play a full part
Lunch hosted by Jose Fuster
, one of the most important Cuban ceramists and painters today.
Afternoon: visit to the community-based project Cintio Vitier
in Nuevo Vedado neighbourhood. This project offers painting,
papier-mache, drama, music, dance, and other skill development workshops to elementary and secondary students. We’ll meet with
director Pedro Pulido for a presentation on his outreach work in the community of Colon.
Followed by coach tour of the most important sites of Modern Havana
such as the Capitol building, the Grand Theatre, Central Park,
Prado promenade, Sevilla Hotel, Revolution Square, Malecón seawall, Monument to the Battleship Maine, Hotel Nacional, University
of Havana, Cristóbal Colón Cemetery, and the Miramar, Central Havana and Vedado neighbourhoods.
Dinner at the hotel.
Day 6 Thursday. Havana- Las Terrazas- Vinales
Morning departure to Las Terrazas
, in Sierra del Rosario where we start the morning tour of the rural town
at Rancho Curujey
for explanation of the area.
Enjoy the view of the village that lies above the shores of San Juan Lake
and beneath the mountains.
We also visit the home/studios
of local artists
Visit to rural Primary
and Secondary schools
Visit to the ruins of a French Coffee Plantation
built in 1801.
Continue to La Moka
, an ecological hotel with trees growing up through the balconies and ceiling.
Later we can take a swim at San Juan River cascades
. Lunch by the river.
Check-in at Los Jasmines hotel
with breakfast and dinner included.
Day 7. Friday. Vinales
Exploration of Viñales Valley
, containing the most spectacular scenery in Cuba and some of the most interesting and varied
geological formations on the island. The valley is particularly famous for its great freestanding rock formations called mogotes.
Lunch at Cueva del Indio restaurant
After lunch we will visit the Cueva del Indio
, used by the Guanahatabey Amerindians as a burial site in ancient time, and as refuge
from the Spaniards for both Indians and Black slaves alike. We’ll take a short boat ride on the subterranean river running through
Meet with local farmers
that have been passing from generation to generation the secrets of growing the best tobacco in the world.
Visit to Mural de la Prehistoria
, a huge painting on the side of a Mogote.
Explore Viñales Village
at your leisure: its open-air craft market, Parque Marti, town church, and other interesting sites of this
charming colonial hamlet.
Visit Carmen and Caridad Miranda’s botanical and herb garden, called the Viñales Botanical Garden
. The two widows maintain a garden
full of fruits, orchids and medicinal plants.
Day 8. Saturday. Departure
Early morning departure to Havana City International Airport for departure.