Currently, nearly 30,000 foreign students study medicine in Cuba. Of these, nearly 10,000 from 29 countries are enrolled in
the Latin American Medical School program (including students the United States), in which graduates commit
to returning to medically underserved communities to practice for various lengths of time.
Cuba's development of maternity homes has contributes greatly
to the improvement of infant health. The maternity homes, staffed with an around-the-clock nurse,
houses expectant mothers with high risk pregnancies. There are approximately 209 maternity homes throughout Cuba,
one per each municipality.
The Ernesto Guevara Cardio Hospital organizes the Cardio Medicine Congress, an event that draws key medical professionals related to cardiology from doctors to nurses to policymakers to discuss Cardiovascular diseases, from genes to complications and treatment.
Every night a cannon shoot rumbles at 9pm so called
"El Cañonazo de las 9", a custom, kept from colonial times, signaling the closure of the city wall doors. Night after night
hundreds of people attend to this tradition of Havana.
In the mid-1980s, Cuba created a system of neighborhood doctors’ clinics. One doctor is responsible for a catchment area of a couple of city blocks. They get to know their patients well. If somebody has a problem, they can see the doctor in the clinic that day.
Guided walking tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trinidad
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. Your Healthcare Cuba Tour Starts Today!
Arrival 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 5-Star Melia Cohiba Hotel
or 4-Star Iberostar Riviera Hotel
located at the cultural center of Havana City
Group check-in. Breakfast is complimentary from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Day 2. Cuba's Healthcare Educational System
Morning: visit to Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina
– ELAM (Latin American School of Medicine). Established in 1999 and finance by the generosity of people of Cuba, ELAM is the largest medical school in the world with a current enrollment of over 10,000 students from over 29 countries.
All its students are from outside Cuba and mainly come from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. The school also accepts disadvantaged students from the United States. Tuition, accommodation and board are free, and a small stipend is provided to students.
Lunch at La Mina restaurant
Afternoon: visit to a Maternity Home
. Since Cuba places special emphasis on maternity and infant care, expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies or other special needs can stay at a maternity home where an on-duty nurse lives and is available 24-hours. The most common reasons for going to a maternity home are the need for additional nutritional supplements, the risk of carrying a low-weight baby and carrying twins.
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, Palacio del Segundo Cabo, the seat of the second authority of the island, Castillo de la Real Fuerza (the second oldest fortress built by the Spaniards in the West Indies), and others.
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.
Visit to the Cathedral Square
, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza of Cuba, named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture: the Cathedral of Havana built by the Jesuit order.
Free time in the famous handicraft market
of Old Havana where you can purchase all sorts of crafts and souvenirs by local artisans.
Evening: 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! (optional, not included)
Day 3. Cuba’s Premier Cardio Hospital
Morning: departure to Santa Clara
, capital city of the Cuban province of Villa Clara. It is located in the most central region of the province and almost in the most central region of the country.
Santa Clara was the site of the last battle of the Cuban Revolution in late 1958, led by Ernesto Che Guevara. Guevara's column first captured the garrison at Fomento. Then, using a bulldozer, Guevara's soldiers destroyed railroad tracks and derailed a train full of troops and supplies sent by Batista. After taking the city of Santa Clara, Batista fled Cuba less than 12 hours later.
Visit to Cardio Hospital
, Ernesto Che Guevara. Named after argentine physician and revolutionary guerrilla, Cuban official, diplomat and national hero, this hospital is Cuba’s premier cardio centre. Meet with doctors and tour the facility.
Lunch at Los Caneyes hotel
Afternoon: visit to the Villa Clara Medical Institute
. The Institute trains doctors from Cuba and all over the world. They regularly host elective students from Canada, but few so far from the UK.
Visit to Ernesto Che Guevara Square of Revolution
, where the remains of Che and 16 of his men killed in action in 1967 in Bolivia rest in peace. This is a memorial complex featuring a large square, used for parades and large rallies, a monument now emblematic of Santa Clara, and a mausoleum crypt with an exhibit displaying artefacts, photos and memorabilia of Che, an extensive view of his life and work.
Visit to the Armoured Train Battle Monument
, the site where guerrilla forces commanded by Che Guevara defeated reinforcements sent in an armoured train (tren blindado) by Batista's army in 1958. The monument site includes original armoured boxcars with displays of photos, armaments and artefacts inside, and a bulldozer used by the rebels to derail the train.
Continue on bus transfer to Cienfuegos City
. Check in at Jagua Hotel
. Dinner at hotel.
Evening is free to enjoy hotel amenities, and the lively streets of Cienfuegos' Punta Gorda neighbourhood. How about live Cuban popular music at Casa de la Música
– a great opportunity to dance with Cubans and your tour companions.
Day 4. Cuba's Healthcare System
Morning: visit to a community clinic
and a family doctor’s office
. We’ll talk about localized health problems and learn about preventive care.
In the mid-1980s, Cuba created a system of neighborhood doctors’ clinics. One doctor is responsible for a catchment area of
a couple of city blocks. They get to know their patients well. If somebody has a problem, they can see the doctor in the clinic that day.
Cuba’s health system is notable for achieving developed country health outcomes despite a developing country economy. We’ll meet with representatives from the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) for a briefing on the island’s healthcare system. The Ministry oversees all programs and their implementation. This is a great opportunity for questions and answers.
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
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.
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.
Return to hotel.
Day 5. Healthcare in Cuba's Countryside
Today we journey on to the historic city of Trinidad
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: the Santanders
Free time to wander the streets of historical centre or enjoy the beach.
Return to Cienfuegos city.
Evening is free to enjoy the hotel amenities, and the lively streets of Cienfuegos. 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 6. National Center for Sexual Education
Morning: early departure to Havana City.
Lunch at El Aljibe restaurant
over arrival (optional)
Afternoon: visit to CENESEX
(Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual / National Center for Sexual Education) for a meeting with Dra. Ada C. Alfonso.
This organization and its founder Mariela Castro Espín campaign for equality and dignity for lesbians, gays, transsexuals and transgendered people. In particular CENESEX leads in the areas of HIV/AIDS awareness and support services, and gender and sexuality counseling.
Check in at the Melia Cohiba Hotel
or Iberostar Habana Riviera Hotel
Evening: attend one of the most traditional and popular ceremonies in Cuba, the Shooting of the Cannon of 9 O'Clock
at the Fortress of San Carlos de La Cabana.
Day 7. Personal Exploration
Free day to explore the city on your own.
Day 8. Sunday 20 October 2019.
Early morning departure to Havana City International Airport for departure