Cuba Cultural Discovery | Mountain Travel Sobek

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Cuba Cultural Discovery

Trip Length 8 days

From $5,195

  • Meet the people of Cuba on this fascinating insider tour of a rapidly changing country
  • Visit the UNESCO Heritage Sites of Old Havana and Las Terrazas, and explore Hemingway’s retreat at Finca Vigía
  • Dine on fresh farm-to-table meals and enjoy authentic Cuban fare in paladar restaurants of local entrepreneurs
  • Exchange ideas with local Cubans at less-visited gems, such as the fragrant tobacco fields of Viñales or the studios of emerging artisits

Though just 94 miles from the tip of Florida, Cuba has long been an enigma. But now, the mysteries of this island nation are yours to unravel—and this is the time to visit! Our special People-to-People license lets you journey into a changing Cuba, from the iconic streets of Old Havana to its less-traveled heartland. Accompanied by our expert Cuban guide, you’ll meet locals from all walks of life: artists and musicians, farmers and cigar makers, economists and historians. You’ll learn about Cuba’s cooperatives, from the urban gardens of Alamar to the groundbreaking eco-community of Las Terrazas, and see how aging barrios have been transformed by public art at “Fusterlandia.” And you’ll visit some of the best-loved corners of Cuba, including Havana’s sun-drenched oceanfront Malecón, Hemingway’s retreat at Finca Vigía, and the fragrant tobacco fields of Viñales. To top it off, we’ll dine with locals in authentic home restaurants, known as paladares, where the tastiest Cuban fare can be found. This trip is the best kind of person-to-person experience—an opportunity to learn about the many layers of the country’s rich culture and history, and get a first-hand view of emerging Cuba from those who know it best.

Why Travel to Cuba with MTS?

We have been operating our Cuba program for five years and have taken hundreds of guests into the country. This itinerary is operated under general license authorized by the U.S. Department of Treasury's OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) which allows U.S. citizens to legally travel to Cuba when they are part of a People-to-People Cultural Exchange itinerary. While diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba are easing, the rules for travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens remain in effect. Our role at MTS is to navigate the continuing complexities involved in traveling to Cuba by arranging the following:

  • Travel visa
  • Travel affidavit
  • Accommodations
  • Local guides
  • Insider experiences

At MTS we strive to make every Cuba experience special, while also ensuring that guests are aware of the realities of travel within the country. For example, the best accommodations in Cuba might not be equal to the standard experienced on other group trips and the itinerary not as flexible. We also recommend that travelers expect the unexpected along the way!

Day 1: Arrive in Miami

Welcome to Miami, the gateway to Cuba! This trip begins with a meeting and orientation at 6:30pm in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Miami International Airport Hotel, where you’ll meet your MTS representative and fellow travelers. The evening is free to enjoy a meal of your choice at a nearby Cuban restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

Please note that the order of days may change on this itinerary, but the activities covered will be the same.

  • Accommodation:Miami Crowne Plaza or similar

Day 2: Fly to Cuba and Sightsee in Havana

Plan on a morning check-in at Miami International Airport, where we’ll board our short flight directly to Havana. Upon landing, meet your English-speaking Cuban guide at José Martí International Airport, and begin your introduction to Cuba with a visit to Revolution Square. Enjoy your first meal at a popular paladar, a privately-owned restaurant. In the afternoon, take a walking tour of Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Stroll along the cobblestone streets of this 500-year-old city and visit important sites and squares, including the Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Catedral. Meander the outdoor book market, a cross-cultural treasure trove of books, posters, and antiques. Make a transaction with a Cuban vendor, and converse with the locals about popular Cuban and American culture and literature. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight at a popular Havana paladar.

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 3: Head to the Alamar District & Finca Vigía

Visit a cigar factory and learn about the history of Cuban cigars. Have an informative question and answer session with a factory worker. Drive to the Alamar district, a barrio on the outskirts of Havana, and meet one of the founders of the organic community gardens there to learn the importance of the gardens for the community. Later, stroll the quiet streets of Cojímar, a quaint fishing village that served as the setting for the novel The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at an open-air paladar. Visit Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban retreat, Finca Vigía—now a national museum. Return to Havana in the late afternoon. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 4: Enjoy Havana's Arts and History

After breakfast, visit Colón Cemetery, where many of Havana’s notables have been buried since 1872. Visit the beautiful home workshop and private studio of a famed Cuban sculpture artist. After lunch, visit La Lavanderia, a gallery dedicated to visual artists using the techniques of famed Cuban artist Rafael Perez. End the day with a visit to a community music project dedicated to training youngsters in the traditions of Cuban music. At each visit, engage in informal question and answer discussions with the artists and musicians. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 5: Learn about Cuban Fine Arts and the Revolution

After breakfast, tour the National Museum of Fine Arts, with its fascinating Cuban collection and discuss Cuban fine arts with the museum’s docent. Walk to the nearby Museum of the Revolution and see many artifacts including the ship Granma on which Fidel Castro sailed with his cohorts from Mexico to stage their revolution. After lunch, take an optional visit to the artisan’s market located on Havana’s Malecón or return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Gather for dinner at a popular paladar and before saying farewell to Havana.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 6: Visit Las Terrazas & Charming Viñales

Explore the community of Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve world-renowned for its culture of cooperative living and sustainability. Visit a clinic to learn how medical services are handled in rural Cuba, and stop at Café María to discuss coffee culture in Cuba. For lunch, enjoy an authentic Cuban meal prepared and served outdoors at a local farmhouse. Afterward, take an optional swim in the San Juan River, a locals’ watering-hole. End the afternoon in the charming town of Viñales and enjoy dinner at a local paladar.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rancho San Vicente

Day 7: Go Deep into the Valley of Viñales

See how tobacco, cassava, and taro are grown in the Valley of Viñales. This lush, serene area is known for its old-world tobacco fields and fascinating boulder-like hills that surround the valley floor. Learn how local live and work during an informal question-and-answer session with a farming family. Visit a state-run ration store to learn about the supply and distribution of goods in Cuba, and enjoy a delicious farm-to-table lunch at a farmhouse. Explore the valley’s remarkable terrain during an afternoon walk. Gather for a farewell dinner at a paladar in Viñales.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rancho San Vicente

Day 8: Return to Miami

After breakfast at your Viñales hotel, transfer to Havana’s José Martí International Airport for your flight back to Miami.

  • Breakfast

Oct 20 - 27, 2018

Jan 19 - 26, 2019

Apr 07 - 14, 2019

pricing

2018/19 Pricing
$5,195 per person, double occupancy
$550 single supplement
$395 internal airfare: Miami-Havana, roundtrip (subject to change)
$85 Cuba Visa

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Hotel Capri — Havana

Located in Central Havana, Hotel Capri is a comfortable accommodation with friendly staff and beautiful views of the city and sea. Travelers consistently give this hotel great reviews for its prime location in the vibrant capital in addition to its gorgeous rooftop pool, restaurant, bar, fitness center, and spa. The hotel serves a delicious breakfast buffet every morning, in addition to its restaurant serving a fine selection of international cuisine. Built in 1957, this hotel has hosted guests for half a century, and the staff at Hotel Capri look forward to providing you comfortable accommodations with classic Cuban flair during your journey through Cuba.

Hotel Rancho San Vicente — San Vicente Valley

Individual cabins scattered amidst the green foliage of the Cuban San Vicente Valley makes Hotel Rancho San Vicente feel as if it is a part of the forest nature. Relax with a dip in either of the two pools and order some poolside cocktails. The hotel is also located within walking distance of some caves, where you can watch bats leave for feeding at dusk or take a boat trip.

Miami Crowne Plaza or similar — Miami, Florida

Located conveniently next to Miami International Airport, the Crowne Plaza offers a variety of amenities to allow for a seamless transition to Cuba. Whether you're hungry for a delicious meal, or want to relax outside on a warm Miami night, this hotel has all the bases covered. Crowne Plaza boasts a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, lounge, and business center. The combination of convenience, comfort, and top-notch service make this a wonderful place to recharge on the eve of a new experience.

"The Cuban experience was amazing...it was like stepping back in time. Our guide did a wonderful job making sure we saw as much as possible and experienced Cuban life." Jayne Hare

"We saw more, did more, and learned more about living in Cuba with the superb MTS local guide. She went beyond the itinerary to enhance the history and culture of this country in transition. Havana's frozen-in-time colonial architecture may be peeling and decaying, but it is a city free of franchises, enlivened with a new generation of entrepreneurs and private restaurants." Jan Jessup

"A marvelous experience that puts you in touch with the Cuban people and culture. The trip far exceeded our expectations." Michael Miller

"The local guide in Cuba had an incredible depth of knowledge on the culture, history, politics and economics of her country. Her frank and open discussions were more informative than I expected." Lee Kleinman

"I have always shied away from group travel but this experience was so great that I would seriously consider group travel (a small group) again!" Diane Meyer

"I have taken many trips with MTS and have enjoyed each trip." Diane Ausonio

"When visiting a sensitive destination like Cuba our two guides made the trip so informative, relaxing and entertaining." John Haskell

"The support and assistance from MTS for the trips we have taken have been uniformly outstanding. The flexibility, consideration of needs and overall organization makes MTS a bargain by any calculation. Every aspect of the tours have been so well planned with careful attention to detail to make the experience superb." Myer Rosenthal              

"Mountain Travel Sobek provide an excellent experience in visiting Cuba." James Sponagle

"We have used Mountain Travel Sobek for our trips to Antarctica and Cuba. They are outstanding and we will use them again." Carol Gullstad

 

  • Meet the people of Cuba on this fascinating insider tour of a rapidly changing country
  • Visit the UNESCO Heritage Sites of Old Havana and Las Terrazas, and explore Hemingway’s retreat at Finca Vigía
  • Dine on fresh farm-to-table meals and enjoy authentic Cuban fare in paladar restaurants of local entrepreneurs
  • Exchange ideas with local Cubans at less-visited gems, such as the fragrant tobacco fields of Viñales or the studios of emerging artisits

Though just 94 miles from the tip of Florida, Cuba has long been an enigma. But now, the mysteries of this island nation are yours to unravel—and this is the time to visit! Our special People-to-People license lets you journey into a changing Cuba, from the iconic streets of Old Havana to its less-traveled heartland. Accompanied by our expert Cuban guide, you’ll meet locals from all walks of life: artists and musicians, farmers and cigar makers, economists and historians. You’ll learn about Cuba’s cooperatives, from the urban gardens of Alamar to the groundbreaking eco-community of Las Terrazas, and see how aging barrios have been transformed by public art at “Fusterlandia.” And you’ll visit some of the best-loved corners of Cuba, including Havana’s sun-drenched oceanfront Malecón, Hemingway’s retreat at Finca Vigía, and the fragrant tobacco fields of Viñales. To top it off, we’ll dine with locals in authentic home restaurants, known as paladares, where the tastiest Cuban fare can be found. This trip is the best kind of person-to-person experience—an opportunity to learn about the many layers of the country’s rich culture and history, and get a first-hand view of emerging Cuba from those who know it best.

Why Travel to Cuba with MTS?

We have been operating our Cuba program for five years and have taken hundreds of guests into the country. This itinerary is operated under general license authorized by the U.S. Department of Treasury's OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) which allows U.S. citizens to legally travel to Cuba when they are part of a People-to-People Cultural Exchange itinerary. While diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba are easing, the rules for travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens remain in effect. Our role at MTS is to navigate the continuing complexities involved in traveling to Cuba by arranging the following:

  • Travel visa
  • Travel affidavit
  • Accommodations
  • Local guides
  • Insider experiences

At MTS we strive to make every Cuba experience special, while also ensuring that guests are aware of the realities of travel within the country. For example, the best accommodations in Cuba might not be equal to the standard experienced on other group trips and the itinerary not as flexible. We also recommend that travelers expect the unexpected along the way!

reviews

"The Cuban experience was amazing...it was like stepping back in time. Our guide did a wonderful job making sure we saw as much as possible and experienced Cuban life." Jayne Hare

"We saw more, did more, and learned more about living in Cuba with the superb MTS local guide. She went beyond the itinerary to enhance the history and culture of this country in transition. Havana's frozen-in-time colonial architecture may be peeling and decaying, but it is a city free of franchises, enlivened with a new generation of entrepreneurs and private restaurants." Jan Jessup

"A marvelous experience that puts you in touch with the Cuban people and culture. The trip far exceeded our expectations." Michael Miller

"The local guide in Cuba had an incredible depth of knowledge on the culture, history, politics and economics of her country. Her frank and open discussions were more informative than I expected." Lee Kleinman

"I have always shied away from group travel but this experience was so great that I would seriously consider group travel (a small group) again!" Diane Meyer

"I have taken many trips with MTS and have enjoyed each trip." Diane Ausonio

"When visiting a sensitive destination like Cuba our two guides made the trip so informative, relaxing and entertaining." John Haskell

"The support and assistance from MTS for the trips we have taken have been uniformly outstanding. The flexibility, consideration of needs and overall organization makes MTS a bargain by any calculation. Every aspect of the tours have been so well planned with careful attention to detail to make the experience superb." Myer Rosenthal              

"Mountain Travel Sobek provide an excellent experience in visiting Cuba." James Sponagle

"We have used Mountain Travel Sobek for our trips to Antarctica and Cuba. They are outstanding and we will use them again." Carol Gullstad

 

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Miami

Welcome to Miami, the gateway to Cuba! This trip begins with a meeting and orientation at 6:30pm in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Miami International Airport Hotel, where you’ll meet your MTS representative and fellow travelers. The evening is free to enjoy a meal of your choice at a nearby Cuban restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

Please note that the order of days may change on this itinerary, but the activities covered will be the same.

  • Accommodation:Miami Crowne Plaza or similar

Day 2: Fly to Cuba and Sightsee in Havana

Plan on a morning check-in at Miami International Airport, where we’ll board our short flight directly to Havana. Upon landing, meet your English-speaking Cuban guide at José Martí International Airport, and begin your introduction to Cuba with a visit to Revolution Square. Enjoy your first meal at a popular paladar, a privately-owned restaurant. In the afternoon, take a walking tour of Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Stroll along the cobblestone streets of this 500-year-old city and visit important sites and squares, including the Plaza de Armas and Plaza de la Catedral. Meander the outdoor book market, a cross-cultural treasure trove of books, posters, and antiques. Make a transaction with a Cuban vendor, and converse with the locals about popular Cuban and American culture and literature. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight at a popular Havana paladar.

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 3: Head to the Alamar District & Finca Vigía

Visit a cigar factory and learn about the history of Cuban cigars. Have an informative question and answer session with a factory worker. Drive to the Alamar district, a barrio on the outskirts of Havana, and meet one of the founders of the organic community gardens there to learn the importance of the gardens for the community. Later, stroll the quiet streets of Cojímar, a quaint fishing village that served as the setting for the novel The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at an open-air paladar. Visit Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban retreat, Finca Vigía—now a national museum. Return to Havana in the late afternoon. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 4: Enjoy Havana's Arts and History

After breakfast, visit Colón Cemetery, where many of Havana’s notables have been buried since 1872. Visit the beautiful home workshop and private studio of a famed Cuban sculpture artist. After lunch, visit La Lavanderia, a gallery dedicated to visual artists using the techniques of famed Cuban artist Rafael Perez. End the day with a visit to a community music project dedicated to training youngsters in the traditions of Cuban music. At each visit, engage in informal question and answer discussions with the artists and musicians. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 5: Learn about Cuban Fine Arts and the Revolution

After breakfast, tour the National Museum of Fine Arts, with its fascinating Cuban collection and discuss Cuban fine arts with the museum’s docent. Walk to the nearby Museum of the Revolution and see many artifacts including the ship Granma on which Fidel Castro sailed with his cohorts from Mexico to stage their revolution. After lunch, take an optional visit to the artisan’s market located on Havana’s Malecón or return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Gather for dinner at a popular paladar and before saying farewell to Havana.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Capri

Day 6: Visit Las Terrazas & Charming Viñales

Explore the community of Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve world-renowned for its culture of cooperative living and sustainability. Visit a clinic to learn how medical services are handled in rural Cuba, and stop at Café María to discuss coffee culture in Cuba. For lunch, enjoy an authentic Cuban meal prepared and served outdoors at a local farmhouse. Afterward, take an optional swim in the San Juan River, a locals’ watering-hole. End the afternoon in the charming town of Viñales and enjoy dinner at a local paladar.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rancho San Vicente

Day 7: Go Deep into the Valley of Viñales

See how tobacco, cassava, and taro are grown in the Valley of Viñales. This lush, serene area is known for its old-world tobacco fields and fascinating boulder-like hills that surround the valley floor. Learn how local live and work during an informal question-and-answer session with a farming family. Visit a state-run ration store to learn about the supply and distribution of goods in Cuba, and enjoy a delicious farm-to-table lunch at a farmhouse. Explore the valley’s remarkable terrain during an afternoon walk. Gather for a farewell dinner at a paladar in Viñales.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rancho San Vicente

Day 8: Return to Miami

After breakfast at your Viñales hotel, transfer to Havana’s José Martí International Airport for your flight back to Miami.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Hotel Capri — Havana

Located in Central Havana, Hotel Capri is a comfortable accommodation with friendly staff and beautiful views of the city and sea. Travelers consistently give this hotel great reviews for its prime location in the vibrant capital in addition to its gorgeous rooftop pool, restaurant, bar, fitness center, and spa. The hotel serves a delicious breakfast buffet every morning, in addition to its restaurant serving a fine selection of international cuisine. Built in 1957, this hotel has hosted guests for half a century, and the staff at Hotel Capri look forward to providing you comfortable accommodations with classic Cuban flair during your journey through Cuba.

Hotel Rancho San Vicente — San Vicente Valley

Individual cabins scattered amidst the green foliage of the Cuban San Vicente Valley makes Hotel Rancho San Vicente feel as if it is a part of the forest nature. Relax with a dip in either of the two pools and order some poolside cocktails. The hotel is also located within walking distance of some caves, where you can watch bats leave for feeding at dusk or take a boat trip.

Miami Crowne Plaza or similar — Miami, Florida

Located conveniently next to Miami International Airport, the Crowne Plaza offers a variety of amenities to allow for a seamless transition to Cuba. Whether you're hungry for a delicious meal, or want to relax outside on a warm Miami night, this hotel has all the bases covered. Crowne Plaza boasts a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, lounge, and business center. The combination of convenience, comfort, and top-notch service make this a wonderful place to recharge on the eve of a new experience.

Dates and Pricing

Oct 20 - 27, 2018

Jan 19 - 26, 2019

Apr 07 - 14, 2019

pricing

2018/19 Pricing
$5,195 per person, double occupancy
$550 single supplement
$395 internal airfare: Miami-Havana, roundtrip (subject to change)
$85 Cuba Visa

Activity Level Easy
Trip Length 8 days

From $5,195

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