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8-Day Excursion into the

HEART OF CUBA

March 17-24, 2019



INCLUDES

  • 7 night Homestay Lodging in Cuba*
  • English-speaking professional Cuban guide
  • All ground transportation and transfers for daily itinerary on private bus, van and Classic Car
  • Tour includes cities of Havana, Pinar del Rio, Vinales, Playa Giron, Bay of Pigs, Cienfuegos,
    Trinadad
    and Topes de Collantes
  • All entry fees for listed daily itinerary activities (unless otherwise noted)
  • 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 2 Dinners (16 meals!) plus bottle of water for each guest daily
  • Gratuities for Casa Meals and Housekeeping, Tour Guides and Tour Drivers

DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Airfare, Cuban Visa, Trip Insurance, non-included Meals and Entertainment

BOOK NOW! 20-person Maximum

Contact Becky at 800-826-6644 or Becky@travelleaders-cf.com

$2825 per person double, $300 single supplement

$250 deposit per person due on booking; balance due February 10, 2019.

Subject to Change

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*7 night Homestay Lodging in Cuba.
U.S. citizens are not allowed to stay in the Government Run Hotels of Cuba so many residents have converted their homes into Casa Particulars, individual homes much like a Bed and Breakfast. 

There are usually 4 to 6 rooms in a Casa, all with private bathrooms and air conditioning. Our group will most likely use 2 houses, within a block of each other, in close proximity to night life. Not only does this supplement the Casa owner's very meager income, but staying in these homes fulfills the "...for the Cuban People" requirement. They are proud of their homes and will take very good care of you!


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Daily Itinerary

Day 1  //  Sunday, March 17, 2019  //  Havana (L,D)

Subject to change based on flight arrival times.

  • Arrival at Jose Marti Havana International Airport. If possible, all guests should arrive no later than 1:00 pm.
  • Today we will check into our Casas and take a walking tour of Old Havana Four Plazas.
  • A special Welcome Dinner will be provided at El Aljibe, Cuba's most famous chicken restaurant.
  • Return to Casas. Day complete.

 

Day 2  //  Monday, March 18, 2019  //  Havana (B,L)

 

  • 8:00 am, Breakfast with your Hosts.
  • At 9:00 am, board bus to meet with University of Havana Professor Lionel Gonzales and visit Cuba's iconic Hotel Nacional. There, the professor will speak regarding the influence the American Mafia had on the Cuban Revolution and explain a bit about the history of Cuba and where it is today. A welcome Mojito will be included.
  • Travel to Fusterlandia home and neighborhood of Jose Fuster, known as the “Picasso of the Caribbean” for his amazing and world-famous ceramic artistry. Inspired by Spain's Gaudy, his work will amaze and impress. A truly unforgettable experience.
  • Lunch at El Rejoneo, a local "paladar." 
  • After lunch we will visit two very important Cuban military sites: Revolution Square and Revolution Museum. Both are walking tours.

  • We will end the day by watching a performance of Compas Dance. This troupe of young men and women have toured many countries including the USA; a highly-entertaining performance!
  • Return to Casas. Dinner on your own.
  • As a special event, at 8:00 pm the bus will take you to La Cabana, the largest Spanish fort in the new world. There you will view a very special historical event known as the "Canon Ceremony." You won't want to miss it.
  • Return to Casas. Day complete.

 

Day 3  //  Tuesday, March 19, 2019  //  Pinar del Rio/Vinales (B,L)

 

  • 8:00 am, Breakfast served in Casas.
  • At 9:00 am we’ll begin a full-day excursion to the beautiful mountainous province of Pinar del Rio, approximately 180 kms. This westernmost region is known for its amazing valleys, landscapes and mountains.
  • Visit Finca de Tobaco, one of the region’s famous tobacco farms. Learn how this mainstay crop of Cuba is planted, harvested and prepared for shipping to tobacco factories to bring to final product. A personal guided tour by fourth generation owner, Montisino, will highlight this excursion.
  • Visit an authentic cigar factory in Pinar del Rio. See how the leaves are transformed into the final product.
  • Lunch provided at Finca de Organico, the only organic Cuban farm on the island. Includes a tour of the farm.
  • Return to Casas. Day complete. Dinner on your own.

 

Day 4  //  Wednesday, March 20, 2019  //  Havana (B,L)

 

  • 8:00 am, Breakfast served in Casas.
  • At 9:00 am, board the bus to visit and interact with elementary school children and teachers. Learn how Cuban children matriculate through the education process. Discuss with teachers the positive points of American primary education versus the Cuban process. We ask that everyone bring at least one lined notebook and pencils for the kids.
  • Board bus to visit Hemingway's House, a fascinating museum to the great American writer.
  • Lunch provided at El La Torre, perched 33 stories above Havana, provides incredible views of the city.
  • After lunch swing by Casa Son to watch professional Cuba salsa dancers and learn about this popular local dance step. Also, everyone will receive a short one-on-one lesson from one of the dancers. Become a salsa expert!
  • Stop by San Jose Market to purchase Cuban art, clothing and paintings.
  • Return to Casas. Day complete. Dinner on your own.

 

Day 5  //  Thursday, March 21, 2019  //  Havana/Giron/Bay of Pigs/Cienfuegos (B,L)

 

  • 7:30 am, Breakfast served in Casas.
  • At 8:30 am, we check out of Casas and hit the road for a 3-hour journey to the Cienfuegos, a waterfront city on Cuba’s south coast known as the “Pearl of Cuba” for its beauty and pristine condition.
  • Stop along the way to visit Playa Giron for a quick dip in the warm Caribbean Sea. Snorkeling can be arranged for a small cost.
  • Lunch provided at Restaurante Especial, known for its shrimp and lobster meals.
  • After lunch, board the bus to visit the very historic Bay of Pigs Museum.
  • Continue to Cienfuegos to check into Casas and meet our new Hosts.
  • Day complete. Dinner on your own.

 

Day 6  //  Friday, March 22, 2019  //  Cienfuegos/Trinidad (B,L)

 

  • 8:00 am, Breakfast served in Casas.
  • At 9:00 am, board your bus and take a day trip to Trinidad, one of the most historic cities in Cuba.
  • Take a walking tour along the cobblestone streets and explore Cuba's second oldest city.
  • Local Lunch provided.
  • After lunch we leave Trinidad and head out for a hiking expedition to the incredibly scenic and breathtaking destination of Topes de Collantes, replete with mountain rivers and waterfalls. Enjoy swimming in the El Cubano pools and nature hiking. If you wish to swim, bring bathing suit (no additional cost).
  • Return to Cienfuegos Casas. Day complete. Dinner on your own.

 

Day 7  //  Saturday, March 23, 2019  //  Cienfuegos (B,L,D)

 

  • 8:00 am, Breakfast served in Casas.
  • At 9:00 am, take city tour of Cienfuegos, a beautiful UNISCO founded by the French. See the town plaza, the Tomas Terry Theatre and surrounding shops. 

  • Visit the Palacio del Valle, the most famous building in Cienfuegos. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean and city from the top terrazza. Welcome mojito included.
  • Lunch provided at local paladar.
  • Afternoon free to explore Cienfuegos and to interact with the local Cubans.
  • Return to Casas. 
  • Special Farewell Dinner provided at upscale El Prado Restaurante.
  • Return to Cienfuegos Casas. Day complete.

 

Day 8  //  Monday, March 24, 2019  //  Cienfuegos/Havana Airport (B, possible Lunch)

 

  • 8:00 am, Breakfast in Casas. Time subject to change depending on Havana flight times.
  • At 9:00 am, check out of Casas, head to the Jose Marti Havana International Airport for departing flights.

Tour complete.

"How did it go by so fast?"
"I'm not ready to leave yet!"




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Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) New Rules Affecting U.S. Travelers to Cuba
On November 9, 2017, the United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) announced new rules that affect US travelers bound for Cuba. Our shore partner, Experience Cuba Now (ECNOW), based in San Diego, has been taking groups to Cuba for the past eighteen years operating most recently under *OFAC Special License CT- 2014-309388-1.
1. These new rules affect travelers visiting Cuba who have not purchased any one component of their visit prior to November 9, 2017.
2. ECNOW excursions are classified as “Support of the Cuban People Program” (31 CFR 515.574—Support for the Cuban People) since our entire purpose is to show respect and support of the Cuban people through understanding of their history and their culture and by the utilization of the enterprises (restaurants, transportation services, guide services, galleries and shops) that are owned and operated by Cuban individuals and are not on the latest OFAC list of offending enterprises.
3. Please contact your U.S. House of Representative’s office for further guidance.

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