Feel the entrancing rhythms of Old Havana on our unique people-to-people cultural exchange, where you'll learn about the history, culture, and contemporary issues of this fascinating island nation.

Starting at: $5,895 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Shades of Blue in the Bustling Streets of Havana. Credit: Galli Levy  Santeria procession. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Havana, Cuba Credit: Giancarlo Bisone.  Shop owner. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Street in Old Havana. Credit: Dreamstime  Rumba dancer at Guanabacoa Museum. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Traditional bar. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Painter in his studio, Old Havana. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Fishing along Havana's Malecón. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Students in classroom, Cienfuegos. Credit: Jia Han Dong  One of many musical performances. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Malecón, called "lover's boulevard" by the locals, stretches for four miles along Havana's north coast. Credit: Jia Han Dong

Discover Cuba: Its People and Culture

9-10 days from $5,895

Feel the entrancing rhythms of Old Havana on our unique people-to-people cultural exchange, where you'll learn about the history, culture, and contemporary issues of this fascinating island nation.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

The idea of a ‘people to people cultural exchange’ extended to the dynamics of our group. We were fairly diverse economically, geographically, and politically, yet were able to find common ground at some point during the trip and shared a beautiful communal experience. 

- Brent S.

Discover Cuba was an intensely educational program that opened my eyes to this Caribbean country, its people, and its culture that for so long have been off limits to me. 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

I have been on a lot of very good tours but nothing compares with this Smithsonian experience. 

- Mary-Jeanne M.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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LAST CALL!

Save $250 *per person when you book by July 29, 2016! Use promotion code LASTCALL online or when speaking to our travel specialists to secure these savings.

• Nov. 10, 2016

*Offer valid on new bookings only.

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $300 per person when you book by September 1, 2016!

Overview

With Cuba going through dramatic change, this enigmatic and frozen-in-time nation is a compelling place to visit now. With Smithsonian Journeys, you
 will have a historic opportunity to enjoy the traditional Cuban culture of today. During our specially designed People-to-People program, explore Old Havana, charming Trinidad, and more. You’ll learn through firsthand contact with Cuban artists, musicians, students, teachers, environmentalists, and others who are eager to exchange views with you.

Highlights Include:

  • Preservation: Explore World Heritage sites and learn about preservation efforts from Cubans who are passionate about their architectural heritage.
  • Art Traditions: Discover Cuba’s sophisticated art traditions during visits with artists in their studios.
  • Religion: Learn about the African origins of Cuba’s Santeria religion as you engage with practitioners 
at a local museum.
  • Music: Hear the complex rhythms of Cuban music, from son to rumba and jazz, and learn about these uniquely Cuban music styles.
  • Unique to our program! Attend a special panel discussion with a diverse group of experts, which takes place in Miami prior to your departure for Cuba. 

Please note that our November 10-19, 2016 departure runs on a 10-day schedule. 

Smithsonian Journeys People-to-People programs in Cuba are operated under a general license authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury. 

The idea of a ‘people to people cultural exchange’ extended to the dynamics of our group. We were fairly diverse economically, geographically, and politically, yet were able to find common ground at some point during the trip and shared a beautiful communal experience. 

- Brent S.

Discover Cuba was an intensely educational program that opened my eyes to this Caribbean country, its people, and its culture that for so long have been off limits to me. 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

I have been on a lot of very good tours but nothing compares with this Smithsonian experience. 

- Mary-Jeanne M.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

2016 Itinerary

Day 1 — Miami

Arrive in Miami and check into the Pullman Miami Airport hotel. This evening, begin your People-To-People program in Miami with a welcome reception and lively, thought-provoking panel discussion on the most vital issues facing Cuba today. Your Smithsonian Journeys expert joins two other Cuba experts to share insights into the Cuban economy, political structure, and culture. A lively question and answer session concludes the panel, preparing you for the week ahead. This valuable meeting with a range of Cuba scholars is an exclusive feature of Smithsonian Journeys’ Cuba programs. (D)

Day 2 — Miami to Havana

Depart Miami this morning on a charter flight to Havana. After clearing customs and claiming your luggage, visit Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemmingway’s home for 20 years. With an expert, explore the 12 acre property and house that contains original furniture, artwork and personal memorabilia. Then continue on to lunch at a local restaurant that sources ingredients from their organiponico, or urban garden. After lunch, take an orientation bus tour of the city, including Revolutionary Square and Morro Castle. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception, introductory talk by your Smithsonian Journeys expert, and dinner at one of the city’s paladars, a privately owned restaurant. (L,D)

Day 3 — Havana

Begin the day with an historical overview of the city of Havana with an architectural historian. Hear about the city’s history, urban layout and architecture, as well as the success and challenges of Havana’s preservation efforts before embarking on a walking tour of Habana Vieja to see the city’s Colonial architecture and plazas firsthand. Along the way, meet with artists at a local graphics art workshop. Later, visit a children’s community project utilizing circus performance for social development. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Havana

This morning, meet with a representative from the U.S. Embassy in Havana to learn about the recent developments in normalizing the relationship between the two countries. Next, visit the National Arts Schools. Accompanied by a faculty member, tour the campus learning of its unique architecture and meet with students. After lunch, visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts to explore the museum’s Cuban collection to learn how the country’s history and diverse cultures have influenced its art. (B,L)

*Schedule permitting

Day 5 — Havana to Cienfuegos

Depart for Cienfuegos and after lunch, explore the French-influenced city center of Cienfuegos, a World Heritage site. Walk down the Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian-only boulevard lined with various stores, to Parque Martí. Some of Cienfuegos’ prominent architecture frames this central square. This afternoon, enjoy a performance by the Choir of Cienfuegosa local acapella group that has received international acclaim. After dinner tonight, mingle with local residents at a community block party. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Trinidad

En route to Trinidad, a World Heritage site, stop at the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens, the largest of its kind in Cuba, and learn of their efforts to maintain their rich biodiversity and extraordinary plant life. Afterwards, visit a former sugar mill town and with a historian, tour the town and meet the modern day inhabitants.  Continue to Trinidad and discover its pastel-colored Colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and beautiful plazas. Meet with a representative of the City’s Historian Office to discuss the achievements and the challenges of preserving this 16th-century city. During your exploration of Trinidad, meet with shopkeepers, owners of Casas Particulares, or privately owned Bed and Breakfasts, and other members of the community. (B,L)

Day 7 — Cienfuegos to Havana

This morning, return to Havana and en route, stop at the Bay of Pigs and visit the nearby Playa Giron Museum. Stop in the outskirts of Havana at the community of Guanabacoa to learn of the continent’s influence on Cuba and the Afro-Caribbean religion, Santeria. Enjoy a musical performance dedicated to the various deities of the religion. Take the opportunity to discuss the importance of the arts with the performers. (B,L)

Day 8 — Havana

Begin the morning with a visit to the Felix Varela Cultural Center to hear about the fascinating programs offered to Cuban citizens including the Cuba Emprende Project, a training and advisory center for Havana’s future entrepreneurs. Next, visit the University of Havana and enjoy a guided tour of the historic campus with students and school representatives. After lunch, engage in a Q&A session with a panel of Cuban experts from different fields to discuss such topics as economics, women’s rights and the future outlook of their country. This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Depart for the U.S.

Bid farewell to Cuba and transfer to the Havana Airport today for your return charter flight to Miami. (B)

2017 Itinerary

Day 1 — Miami

Arrive in Miami and check into the Pullman Miami airport hotel. This evening, begin your People-To-People program in Miami with a welcome reception and lively, thought-provoking panel discussion on the most vital issues facing Cuba today. Your Smithsonian Journeys expert joins two other Cuba experts to share insights into the Cuban economy, political structure, and culture. A lively question and answer session concludes the panel, preparing you for the week ahead. This valuable meeting with a range of Cuba scholars is an exclusive feature of Smithsonian Journeys’ Cuba programs. (D)

Day 2 — Miami to Havana

Depart Miami this morning on a charter flight to Havana. After clearing customs and claiming your luggage, visit Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemmingway’s home for 20 years. Then meet with farmers and members of the community at a local organiponico, or urban garden. After lunch, take an orientation bus tour of the city, including Revolutionary Square and Morro Castle. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception, introductory talk by your Smithsonian Journeys expert, and dinner at one of the city’s paladars, a privately owned restaurant. (L,R,D)

Day 3 — Havana

Begin the day with a guided walking tour of Old Havana to view the city’s Colonial architecture and plazas. Visit a restoration training facility to meet workers responsible the rehabilitation of the city’s crumbling buildings. After lunch at a local restaurant, meet with future entrepreneurs and instructors at a training and advisory center. Later, visit a children’s community project utilizing circus performance for social development. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Havana to Cienfuegos

Today, travel to Cienfuegos and after lunch, explore the French-influenced city center of Cienfuegos, a World Heritage site. Walk down the Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian-only boulevard lined with various stores, to Parque Martí. Some of Cienfuegos’ most prominent architecture frames this central square. Then attend a performance by the Choir of Cienfuegos.  After dinner tonight, mingle with local residents at a community block party. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Trinidad

En route to Trinidad, a World Heritage site, and stop at the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens, the largest of its kind in Cuba, and learn of their efforts to maintain their rich biodiversity and extraordinary plant life. Afterwards, visit a former sugar mill town and with a historian, tour the town and meet the modern day inhabitants. Continue to Trinidad and discover its pastel-colored Colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and beautiful plazas. Meet with a representative of the City’s Historian Office to discuss the achievements and the challenges of preserving this 16th-century city. During your exploration of Trinidad, meet with shopkeepers, owners of Casas Particulares, or privately owned Bed and Breakfasts, and other members of the community. (B,L)

Day 6 — Cienfuegos to Havana

This morning, visit a community art project showcasing contemporary Afro-Cuban art. Meet with the director and several artists to learn of their work and how they are spreading contemporary art to small communities. Afterwards, stop at the Bay of Pigs, and visit one of the landing sites of the 1961 invasion. Before continuing to Havana, see the Playa Giron Museum, containing artifacts from the conflict. (B,L)

Day 7 — Havana

This morning, meet with a representative from the *U.S. Embassy to learn about the complexities of the U.S. – Cuban relationship, followed by a visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts to explore the museum’s Cuban collection to learn how the country’s history and diverse cultures have influenced its art. Afterwards, visit the community of Guanabacoa, located just outside of Havana, to meet with community members to learn about the Afro-Caribbean religion of Santeria. (B,L)

*Schedule permitting

Day 8 — Havana

This morning, visit the National Art School for a guided tour of the country’s premier arts program. Then, meet with an economics professor to discuss Cuba’s economic history and ongoing reforms in economic law. After lunch, meet with college students and recent graduates to discuss the hopes and challenges of the next generation. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Depart for the U.S.

Bid farewell to Cuba and transfer to the Havana Airport today for your return charter flight to Miami. (B)

November 10-19, 2016 Itinerary

Day 1 — Miami

Arrive in Miami and check into the Sofitel Miami airport hotel. This evening, begin your People-To-People program in Miami with a welcome reception and lively, thought-provoking panel discussion on the most vital issues facing Cuba today. Your Smithsonian Journeys expert joins two other Cuba experts to share insights into the Cuban economy, political structure, and culture. A lively question and answer session concludes the panel, preparing you for the week ahead. This valuable meeting with a range of Cuba scholars is an exclusive feature of Smithsonian Journeys’ Cuba programs. (D)

Day 2 — Miami to Havana

Depart Miami this morning on a charter flight to Havana. After clearing customs and claiming your luggage, visit Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemmingway’s home for 20 years.  With an expert, explore the 12 acre property and house that contains original furniture, artwork and personal memorabilia.  Then continue on to lunch at a local restaurant that sources ingredients from their organiponico, or urban garden.  After lunch, take an orientation bus tour of the city, including Revolutionary Square and Morro Castle. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception, introductory talk by your Smithsonian Journeys expert, and dinner at one of the city’s paladars, a privately owned restaurant. (L,D)

Day 3 — Havana

Begin the day with an historical overview of the city of Havana with an architectural historian. Hear about the city’s history, urban layout and architecture, as well as the success and challenges of Havana’s preservation efforts before embarking on a walking tour of Habana Vieja to see firsthand the city’s Colonial architecture and plazas.  Along the way, meet with artists at a local graphics art workshop. Later, visit a children’s community project utilizing circus performance for social development (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Havana

This morning, explore Havana’s vibrant neighborhoods outside of Old Havana with a representative from the City Historian’s Office to learn about the history of the residential neighborhoods and see examples of restoration projects.  Next, visit the National Arts Schools. Accompanied by a faculty member, tour the campus learning of its unique architecture and meet with students. After lunch, visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts to explore the museum’s Cuban collection to learn how the country’s history and diverse cultures have influenced its art. (B,L)

Day 5 — Havana to Cienfuegos

This morning, meet with a representative from the *U.S. Embassy in Havana to learn about the recent developments in normalizing the relationship between the two countries, Depart for Cienfuegos and after lunch, explore the French-influenced city center of Cienfuegos (a World Heritage site). Walk down the Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian-only boulevard lined with various stores, to Parque Martí. Some of Cienfuegos’ most prominent architecture frames this central square. This afternoon, enjoy a performance by the Choir of Cienfuegosa local acapella group that has received international acclaim.  After dinner tonight, mingle with local residents at a community block party. (B,L,D)

*Schedule permitting

Day 6 — Trinidad

Depart for Trinidad (a World Heritage site) and discover its pastel-colored Colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and beautiful plazas. Meet with a representative of the City’s Historian Office to discuss the achievements and the challenges of preserving this 16th-century city. During your exploration of Trinidad, meet with shopkeepers, owners of Casas Particulares, or privately owned Bed and Breakfasts, and other members of the community. (B,L)

Day 7 — Cienfuegos

This morning, visit the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens, the largest of its kind in Cuba, and learn of their efforts to maintain their rich biodiversity and extraordinary plant life.  Afterwards, visit a former sugar mill town and with a historian, tour the town and meet the modern day inhabitants.  After lunch, visit Los Elementos, a rural artistic community, an enjoy performances themed around Cuban history and modern day society. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Cienfuegos to Havana

This morning, return to Havana and en route, stop at the Bay of Pigs and visit the nearby Playa Giron Museum. Stop in the outskirts of Havana at the community of Guanabacoa to learn of the continent’s influence on Cuba and the Afro-Caribbean religion, Santeria. Enjoy a musical performance dedicated to the various deities of the religion. Take the opportunity to discuss the importance of the arts with the performers. (B,L)

Day 9 — Havana

Begin the morning, visit the Felix Varela Cultural Center to hear about the fascinating programs offered to Cuban citizens including the Cuba Emprende Project, a training and advisory center for Havana’s future entrepreneurs.   Next, visit the University of Havana.  With students and campus representatives, enjoy a guided tour of the historic campus.  After lunch, engage in a question-and-answer session with a panel of Cuban experts from different fields to discuss such topics as economics, women’s rights and the future outlook of their country.   This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Depart for the U.S.

Bid farewell to Cuba and transfer to the Havana Airport today for your return charter flight to Miami. (B)