An exclusive Bryn Mawr departure

Join us for this opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich local culture and rhythms of daily life in Cuba. Our program has been designed to unravel the richness of Cuban culture and allow the group to meet professionals from all walks of contemporary Cuban life while exploring local landmarks that are significant to Cuba’s heritage. Begin in Santiago, the second largest city in Cuba. The rich racial mixture in this city has produced some of the most exciting music, art and architecture in the Caribbean. Drive west to Camaguey, which during the 19th century was the frontier of the insurrectionists in the Ten Years War. Continue west to Cienfuegos, a city with beautiful architecture, nestled between lush mountains and rich agricultural lands. From here enjoy a day trip to Trinidad and then our adventure concludes exploring Havana which harbors magnificent Spanish colonial architecture—a treasure trove of churches, palaces, citadels and mansions wedged along narrow streets or looming over palm-fringed plazas. Our trip will be filled with people to people meetings, made even more special by our Bryn Mawr faculty leader.

Date Information

Friday, January 9, 2015 - Monday, January 19, 2015
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Friday, January 9 U.S. TO SANTIAGO

Arrive in Santiago and visit the Morro Castle, built in 1640 to ward off pirate attacks.  Enjoy lunch at a restaurant set atop the cliff s with fabulous views along the coast. After lunch, enjoy an orientation tour of the city including a visit to the Moncada Barracks, the place Fidel Castro and 79 soldiers stormed in 1953. Continue on to the Cementario Santa Ifi genia where many notable figures are buried, including José Martí. After checking into the hotel, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception followed by dinner. L,D.

Saturday, January 10 SANTIAGO

Explore Santiago, the second largest city in Cuba, whose population has the highest percentage of African heritage. Begin the tour at the Museo de Arte Colonial, which is said to be the oldest house in Cuba. Continue on to enjoy a tour through the Carnival Museum which is in one of the oldest houses Calle Heredia. The museum displays old costumes, black-and-white photographs, huge papier-mâché masks, and hand-painted and embroidered mamarachos.

A few minutes away is the Plaza Dolores, perhaps Santiago’s most charming square, surrounded by quaint colonial buildings. After enjoying lunch at Café Matamoros, located on the Plaza Dolores, stop at the Colegio Delores where Fidel Castro was educated as a youth. This afternoon drive to the Basilica del Cobre Cuba’s only basilica. It is known for its offerings and as the shrine to La Virgen de la Caridad to whom miraculous powers are ascribed.

End the day at the Caney Rum Factory which was built in 1868 by the Bacardi family. While it is not possible to tour the factory, it is possible to sample some of the rums. Before dinner this evening, enjoy a wonderful musical/ dance performance. B,L,D.

Sunday, January 11 CAMAGUEY

Drive to Camaguey, stopping en route at Bayamo, a city of horse drawn carriages with a rich five-century old history. After lunch, continue on to Camaguey. Founded in 1514, it is one of Diego Velazquez’s seven cities. After checking into your hotel, enjoy a private Salsa class before dinner. B,L,D.

Monday, January 12 CAMAGUEY

Today enjoy a walking tour of the large colonial core of the city which is now a national monument. Visit a number of buildings including the Casa Natal de Ignacio Agramonte, the birthplace of the patriotic hero. Now a museum, the house still preserves the original furniture. From here drive to Rancho King. In 1952, the Kleberg family, owners of Texan King Ranch, bought the land in Cuba. In 1959, when the Cuban government seized the property, there were more than 38,000 acres of land, 8,000 heads of cattle and the farm was valued at $5 million dollars. Surprisingly, the ranch has been kept intact and now offers an opportunity to glimpse into the holdings that the US had in this area, as well as see how the land is being used today. Enjoy a special rodeo where you can see the skills of local horsemen. Vicente, manager of the land, will then accompany the group on a short walk to the village of Cafetal where there will be an opportunity to visit the Pablo Miguel Napoles elementary school. Continue on to visit a traditional home and learn more about the fruits and trees grown in the area.

After a roast pig lunch return to Camaguey to enjoy drinks at the home of one of Cuba’s most creative and prodigious contemporary painters, Joel Jover and his wife Ileana Sánchez. Their magnificent home is itself a piece of art and there will be time to admire the home as well as some of the artists’ work. Enjoy dinner at the newly opened 1800 Restaurant, a private restaurant making full use of the liberalization of the laws governing private business. Meet with owner Edel Izquierdo to learn more about his business. B,L,D.

Tuesday, January 13 CIENFUEGOS

This morning, visit the main theater, which is home to the Ballet of Camaguey, the most respected Cuban dance group after the Ballet Nacional. After the visit, drive to Trinidad, stopping en route at Ciego de Avila, the most modern of Cuba’s provincial capitals. Afternoon arrival in Cienfuegos.  Before dinner, enjoy an opportunity to listen to and meet with members of a local choir. B,L,D. .

Wednesday, January 14 CIENFUEGOS

Drive to Trinidad and spend the day exploring this city, the crown jewel of Cuba’s colonial cities. Stop in at Trinidad’s Library where the group will meet with library staff and discuss the subject of intellectual freedom, a passionately debated issue. After enjoying lunch at a private restaurant, explore the Valle de Los Ingenios, a living museum of the sugar industry. End the day at the home of Julio and Rosa Muñoz. Their beautiful home is a traditional Trinidad house and we will get a chance to meet with the family. Julio, a horse whisperer, will also have one of his horses for the group to meet. Enjoy dinner at a private restaurant. B, L,D

Thursday, January 15 HAVANA

Morning drive to Havana, stopping en route at the Bay of Pigs where, in 1962, about 1,300 heavily armed CIA-trained Cuban exiles came ashore fully equipped to provoke a counterrevolution to topple the Castro regime. Enjoy lunch nearby before visiting Ernest Hemingway’s home which has been lovingly preserved by the Cuban government. After lunch, stop at the historic Nacional Hotel for a drink. Its remaining splendor and history serve as a tangible reminder to Cuba’s past times. Before dinner this evening, check into the Saratoga where junior suites have been reserved for the group. B,L,D.


Friday, January 16 HAVANA

This morning, enjoy a carefully crafted walking tour of Old Havana. Havana has the reputation of being the most splendid and finest example of a Spanish colonial city in the Americas. Begin with a private viewing of the newly created model of Old Havana, which serves as an excellent introduction to the layout of the city. Continue on to the Plaza Vieja, a stunningly beautiful old square surrounded by mansions, and then to the Centro Nacional de Conservacion y Museologia. Enjoy lunch in a restaurant with local music.

This afternoon, enjoy a city orientation tour by bus which will be led by architectural historian. The tour will include an inside visit to the wonderful Riviera Hotel, which when it opened in 1958, was considered a marvel of modern design. Drive along La Rampa to the Parque Copelia, a large, lush park that is an entire block. Follow Calle L south and arrive at the wide steps which lead to the porticoed, columned façade beyond which lies the University of Havana. Stop at the 7 y 60 studio to meet with artist Maria Cienfuegos and have the opportunity to view her art. Before dinner at Café de Oriente this evening, meet with poet, Nancy Morejon, whose themes are centered on women and the Afro-Cuban experience. B,L,D.

Saturday, January 17 HAVANA

Morning round-table discussion with economist Ricardo Torres on the “Changing Forces of Cuba’s Economic Structure.” After the lecture, walk to the new Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes: Arte Cubano (Cuban Collection). The tour this morning will be accompanied by Lucila Fernandez, a contemporary art curator.

After lunch at a local restaurant, visit a community project called Artecorte run by Gilberto Valladares (Papito) who is with the help of the city is restoring the neighborhood.Attend an evening reception at the Ludwig Foundation, an organization committed to the promotion of art in Cuba. Enjoy dinner at leisure. B,L.

Sunday, January 18 HAVANA

Enjoy on panel discussion on “US/Cuban Relations” with 2-3 people to present including Professor Raúl Rodríguez from the University of Havana.

Visit the Presidential Palace, now a museum, which illustrates the history of the Cuban political development before enjoying lunch at the home and studio of artist José Fuster who has turned his entire neighborhood into one enormous piece of mosaic art. End the afternoon at the studio of Havana Compás where we have arranged a private performance of this dance/ musical group.  Enjoy a farewell dinner at La Guarida. This well-known restaurant served as the setting for the main apartment in the film Fresa y Chocolate. B,L,D.

Monday, January 19 HAVANA TO U.S.

Return flight directly from Havana to Miami. B.

Thursday, June 26, 2014
Cost and Inclusions: 

Cost and program Inclusions

Land Cost & Air from Miami to Cuba . . . . . .. . $5,320
Single Supplement . . . . . .. . $980

Program Inclusions
  • Airfare on a round-trip charter flight from Miami to Santiago returning from Havana to Miami
  • Accommodation as listed in the itinerary based on double occupancy.
  • All meals as listed in the program. One drink is included with lunch, and one with dinner
  • Wine at the welcome and farewell dinners
  • Bottled water on the bus
  • Sightseeing and excursions as listed
  • Transportation in a deluxe motor-coach with air-conditioning
  • Services of a local Cuban guide
  • Services of a Distant Horizons escort
  • A Cuban visa which will be issued by Distant Horizons
  • All gratuities
  • Mandatory health insurance and evacuation required by the Cuban Government. This provides $25,000 worth of medical coverage and $7,000 worth of medical transportation
Program Exclusions
  • Airfare to Miami
  • Fee for a checked-piece of luggage from Miami to Havana which is currently $20
  • Excess luggage charges which are strictly enforced in Miami.
  • Departure tax of 25 CUCs (approx. $30) in Havana to be paid in cash on departure
  • Any items not listed