Santeria procession
Santeria procession Photo: Jia Han Dong

Discover Cuba: Its People and Culture

Travel to Cuba with Smithsonian Journeys and take part in an immersive People-to-People experience
Call 855-330-1542 or Ask Us a Question

Discover Cuba: Its People and Culture

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys are designed to engage travelers in Smithsonian’s mission - “the increase and diffusion of knowledge”. Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian's 19 museums, the National Zoo and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Program Cost

  • Pre-program one-night hotel stay included in the cost of the program.
  • Expertise of a Study Leader, Program Manager, and local guides throughout the program.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy).
  • Meals as indicated on the itinerary page, including special welcome and farewell dinners.
  • Pre-departure information, including a reading list.
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary.
  • Service charges and gratuities.
  • All on-program transportation noted in the itinerary, unless otherwise noted.
  • On-Tour Emergency Evacuation Insurance (up to $50,000), Medical Expense coverage (up to $25,000), Dental Expense coverage (up to $500), Travel Medical Assistance and Worldwide Travel Assistance.


What Is Not Included in the Program Cost

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, a-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Room service and valet/laundry service.
  • Expenses incurred by our program operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the program.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Round-trip charter airfare, $525 per person, between Miami and Havana, is additional and must be purchased with your tour.


Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process starting at the bottom of each program page, or call 855-330-1542 to speak with a Reservations Specialist, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a program. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Deposit of $500 per person, per program, payable by check to the program operator or by major credit card is required to reserve a space on a program. Deposits are applied to payment of the program price.

If you are not a Smithsonian member, please add $29 for a one-year membership. Only one membership per household is required.

Please note: Balance due upon invoicing 90 days prior to the program. If payment is not received by 90 days prior to departure, your place cannot be guaranteed on the program.

If purchasing air arrangements, airfare will be billed by the program operator 45 days prior to departure and may be paid by check or credit card.

Late Registration
Any registration received within 90 days of departure is considered a “late registration” and must be subject to special confirmation. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and sent by overnight mail to the program operator before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

For additional information, please call a Reservations Specialist, 855-330-1542, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) or e-mail

A Note About Costs

Program costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your program fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the program(s) of your choice are fully subscribed, you will be placed on a wait list. If you choose to withdraw from the wait list, please notify us.

Please note that we are unable to keep you apprised of your status on the wait list. We will call you only if a space becomes available, but you are welcome to call us at your convenience to inquire about your status at 855-330-1542.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: $500 retained (entire deposit).
  • Final payment due: 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations made less than 90 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the program, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Air Service

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
Over the years, Smithsonian travelers have become more independent, often making their own travel arrangements to meet the group. Therefore, we no longer feature a designated group flight on most programs. However, on most programs, transportation from the arrival airport to the ship/hotel is included in your program cost if you arrive in time to meet the scheduled group transfer. Your first program bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights.

Air Tickets Purchased Independently of the Program
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Programs also can be cancelled due to low enrollments. Neither Smithsonian Institution nor the program operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a program.

Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan, through Travel Guard, with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes emergency evacuation insurance (up to $50,000), medical and dental expense coverage and 24-hr worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Physical and Medical Considerations

Please note that these programs require that participants be in good physical condition: you must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of traveling. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a program, please call us at 855-330-1542.

Some programs have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which are noted on the Special Information link.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian strives to improve program itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itineraries are sent.


Smithsonian chooses hotels based on a combination of their location, service, atmosphere and price. On adventure tours and programs in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. In most cases, hotels have elevators and meeting rooms for Smithsonian lectures. Program prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single travelers, however the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room. When a roommate cannot be found, the single supplement will be charged.


Smithsonian Journeys offers special programs and cruises for families. In general, children should be at least 8 years old to enroll in a family program. All other programs are designed for adults, although some may be suitable for older children. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, and a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Preparing for Your Journey

Prior to departure, you will receive Program Bulletins containing both program specific and general program information to help you prepare for your travel experience.

Bulletin 1 includes such information as:

  • Passport and visa instructions
  • Flight information
  • Weather, clothing, and packing suggestions
  • A suggested reading list
  • General information about the countries you will visit, e.g. the food, customs, medical precautions and currency.

Bulletin 2 includes such information as:

  • Information about your study leader(s) and program staff
  • Baggage tags and name badges
  • Final Itinerary
  • Participant List

Additional Information

Special Travel Arrangements
Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the program. Our program operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.

Participants may be photographed for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution. Photographs may be printed in publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys. Travelers who prefer that their image not be used must advise the program manager at the beginning of the program.

Smoking Policy
For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals.


Read Carefully: Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer
Smithsonian Journeys are managed by professional program operators hired as independent contractors. The use of program operators allows the Smithsonian to offer its members a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The program operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the program operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the program operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of program participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and the program operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the program announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a program, or to require any participant to withdraw from the program at any time, when such action is determined by program staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the group or the individual participant, subject only to the requirement that the recoverable portion of the total amount paid that corresponds to the cost of unused services and accommodations be refunded, if any. Participants are encouraged to purchase airline tickets no sooner than 60 days before the program begins to avoid airline cancellation penalties if a program is canceled or otherwise modified subsequent to the participant’s purchase of those tickets. The Smithsonian Institution and the program operator accept no liability for the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets to the program departure city and return. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.
Dates, schedules, program details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication of the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.


The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this program, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the program brochure(s), and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the program and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the program brochure(s). The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any trip, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of program staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the program, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the program operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this program, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of program staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this program, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this program.

By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.