7 Breakfast, 6 lunches, 5 dinners including a welcome dinner in Varadero and a farewell dinner in Havana
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Day 1 Arrive in Varadero, Cuba
Arrive in Varadero, Cuba and transfer to your hotel. Tonight, meet your Cosmos Group Leader and Cuban National Tour Director for a 7 pm welcome dinner. This is a good time to meet fellow program participants, get your questions answered, and prepare for your time in fascinating Cuba.
Day 2 Varadero. Excursion to Matanzas
This morning, visit Matanzas, known as the “Athens of Cuba” for the many renowned artists and intellectuals it has produced. Visit TRIOLET PHARMACY, which dates back to 1879 and is preserved in its entirety. Then, interact with workers at EDICIONES VIGIA, a print and binding shop, and learn about the traditional craft that is still done by hand. Before returning to your hotel, stop at CASA DUPONT, built in 1926 by American millionaire Irénée du Pont. See the lavish grounds, and admire the detailed architecture of this former mansion, nicknamed “Xanadu” by its owner. Enjoy an interactive DANCE LESSON before dinner tonight.
Day 3 Varadero–Havana
This morning, travel to Havana, the bustling capital of Cuba and your home for the next two nights. Start your time in Havana with a visit to FINCA VIGIA, Ernest Hemingway’s beloved home. Hemingway lived in Cuba for 30 years and is well respected by the Cuban people. Also see his fishing boat, El Pilar, used to patrol for German U-boats during WWII. Next, visit a local ORGANIC FARM, where you’ll join a discussion with the workers. Enjoy lunch at the farm’s paladar (a special, privately owned restaurant). Over dessert, discuss with the owner and staff their farm-to-table process and the free enterprise system in Cuba. Then, visit a DAYCARE CENTER to interact with the children and the nuns who run the program. The children may even delight you with a song or two. Tonight, enjoy dinner at El Aljibe Restaurant, famous for its open-air ambiance and special slow-roasted chicken.
Day 4 Havana
Start the day with a panoramic tour around Havana that includes REVOLUTION SQUARE, the University of Havana, the Capitol Building, and Prado. Next, join your Cuban Tour Director for a guided walk in OLD HAVANA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discuss the different types of architecture found throughout the city, the progress of restoration projects, and how they receive their supplies and funding. Afterward, interact with the young members of EN BUSCA DEL SOL (In Search of the Sun), a community project founded by a local artist. We’ll end the day with a stop at the SAN JOSÉ MARKET to meet local artists and see the wares sold at this area market. This evening is free to explore Havana on your own. You may wish to visit the famous Tropicana Nightclub, see a baseball game (seasonal), visit some of Hemingway’s old haunts, or explore the charming cobblestone streets of Old Havana.
Day 5 Havana–Las Terrazas–Viñales
Today we travel to the western end of the island to the province of Pinar del Río. With some of the country’s most beautiful scenery, you’ll see lush emerald-green tobacco fields and dramatic limestone formations, called mogotes, which are the height of skyscrapers and tower over the Viñales Valley floor. Visit LAS TERRAZAS’ BIOSPHERE RESERVE, where you’ll enjoy a guided NATURE WALK to learn about and discuss some of the unique flora and fauna found in this region of Cuba. Visit a local SCHOOL and interact with the children who call this part of the world home. Upon arrival in Viñales, your Tour Director will take you on a walk through the handsome square and along the wide main street lined with turn-of-the-century cottages with red-tiled roofs. Spend the next two nights at a Casa Particular (a privately owned bed & breakfast). Here is a unique opportunity to interact with a local family and immerse yourself in the Cuban culture.
Day 6 Viñales. Excursion to Pinar Del Río
This morning, we travel to Pinar del Río and visit a local COMMUNITY ART PROJECT to discuss their program that helps children with Down syndrome. Return to Viñales and meet a local farmer and his family at a TOBACCO FARM. Learn about the process of growing, drying, and rolling tobacco. You can even try rolling a cigar yourself! Take some time to get acquainted with the owner and his family over coffee. Lunch will be served at a local ORGANIC FARM, where you will have the opportunity to chat with the staff and owners. Afterward, visit a TOBACCO-STRIPPING HOUSE to learn more about the importance of tobacco, both culturally and commercially for Cuba. This evening is at leisure to explore the charming village of Viñales.
Day 7 Viñales–Havana
Return to bustling Havana and visit artist JOSÉ FUSTER’S STUDIO, cleverly nicknamed the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Here, you’ll discover a surreal world—like nothing you have seen before. Interact with members of the neighborhood to discuss the project’s impact on the surrounding area. This afternoon’s highlight includes a workshop at the ANGELES DEL FUTURO Community Project, where you’ll meet young children learning acrobatics and circus skills. You’ll be amazed at their talents and impressed with the skills they have mastered at such a young age—definitely a trip highlight! Before dinner this evening, meet members of the local Old Styler Car Club. Hear why Havana’s streets are filled with vintage American automobiles, and converse about how these cars are obtained and what it takes to keep them running. Ride in an OLD STYLER CAR to your farewell dinner, the perfect ending to your time in Cuba.
Day 8 Havana
Your programs ends after breakfast with guests departing on individual schedules. Airport transfers are provided.