Feel the entrancing rhythms of Old Havana, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad 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: $6,295 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Havana, Cuba Credit: Giancarlo Bisone.  Shades of Blue in the Bustling Streets of Havana. Credit: Galli Levy  Santeria procession. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Shop owner. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Street in Old Havana.  Rumba dancer at Guanabacoa Museum. Credit: Jia Han Dong  Traditional bar. 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

Featuring Havana, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad

9 days from $6,295

Feel the entrancing rhythms of Old Havana, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad 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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SPECIAL OFFER

Save $500 per person on select departures when you book by December 31, 2016!

Overview

During this popular program, explore Old Havana and its colonial charm, the French influenced provincial city of Cienfuegos, and the town of Trinidad, one of the best-preserved cities in the Caribbean. Enjoy uniquely-Cuban accommodations throughout your travels and learn about Cuban culture through firsthand contact with Cuban artists, musicians, students, teachers, environmentalists, and others who are eager to exchange their views with you on Cuba’s past and present as well as their visions for the future. 

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 the Cuban Santeria religion as you engage with practitioners at a local art museum.
  • Music: Hear the complex rhythms of Cuban music, from son to rumba and jazz, and learn about these uniquely Cuban music styles. 

*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.

2017 Itinerary

Day 1 — Miami

Arrive in Miami and check into the Pullman Miami Hotel. Begin your People-to-People program in Miami with a welcome reception, dinner and a 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. An active question and answer session concludes the panel, preparing you for the week ahead. This valuable meeting with a range of Cuba scholars is a special feature of Smithsonian Journeys’ Cuba programs. (R,D)

Day 2 — Miami to Havana

Depart Miami this morning on a group flight to Havana. After clearing customs and claiming your luggage, meet with farmers and members of the community at a local organiponico (urban garden) and enjoy lunch on the grounds. Then take an orientation coach tour of the Havana, including Revolutionary Square, site of some of Cuba’s largest political rallies, and Morro Castle, a historic fortress that guards the entrance to Havana Bay. 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) Hotel Parque Central OR Meliá Cohiba Hotel.

Day 3 — Havana

Learn about the complexities of the U.S.–Cuban relationship during a morning meeting with a representative from the U.S. Embassy* in Havana. Then embark on a walking tour of Habana Vieja (Old Havana), a designated World Heritage site, to view the city’s beautifully restored colonial architecture and plazas. Visit a restoration training facility to meet workers responsible for the rehabilitation of the city’s crumbling buildings. After lunch, visit a local community project for children utilizing acrobatic performances as a social development tool. (B,L,D) Hotel Parque Central OR Meliá Cohiba Hotel.

*Schedule permitting

Day 4 — Havana to Cienfuegos

Today, travel southeast to the provincial town of Cienfuegos.  After lunch, explore the French-influenced city center of Cienfuegos, a World Heritage site. You’ll walk down the Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian-only boulevard lined with various stores, to Parque Martí, where some of the city’s most prominent architecture frames this central square. Nearby, visit an artists’ cooperative that showcases 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. This afternoon, delight in a performance by the renowned Choir of Cienfuegos. After dinner, mingle with local residents at a community block party. (B,L,D) Hotel La Unión OR Hotel Jagua.

Day 5 — Trinidad

Stopping at the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens, the largest of its kind in Cuba, learn about efforts to maintain the country’s rich biodiversity and extraordinary plant life. Afterwards, visit a former sugar mill town, where you’ll meet a historian and local residents to learn about the importance of Cuba’s once-thriving sugar industry. Continue to lovely Trinidad, another World Heritage site, where you’ll admire its pastel-colored Colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and beautiful plazas. Here you’ll meet with a representative of the City’s Historian Office to discuss the achievements and challenges of preserving this 16th-century city. During your exploration of Trinidad, meet with shopkeepers, owners of Casas Particulares, or privately owned Bed and Breakfast enterprises, and other members of the community. (B,L) Hotel La Unión OR Hotel Jagua.

Day 6 — Cienfuegos to Havana

En route to Havana, stop at the Bay of Pigs and visit one of the landing sites of the 1961 invasion. You’ll also explore the Playa Giron Museum, which contains artifacts from the conflict. In Havana, stop at Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home for 20 years. With an expert, explore the 12-acre property and house that contains original furniture, artwork, and personal memorabilia. Later in the afternoon, travel just outside Havana to the community of Guanabacoa to meet with community members about their Afro-Caribbean religion of Santeria. Plus, enjoy a musical performance dedicated to the various deities of the religion. (B,L,D) Hotel Parque Central OR Meliá Cohiba Hotel.

Day 7 — Havana

Explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Vedado and Miramar with a city historian to learn about their roles in the history of Havana. This afternoon, visit the University of Havana and meet with college students to discuss higher education in Cuba. (B,L) Hotel Parque Central OR Meliá Cohiba Hotel.

Day 8 — Havana

Begin the day with a visit to the Felix Varela Cultural Center to gain a deeper understanding of developmental programs offered to enrich the lives of Cubans, including Cuba Emprende, a training and advisory service for aspiring entrepreneurs. Continue your exploration of the arts at the National Museum of Fine Arts. Here, as you view the museum’s Cuban collection, you’ll learn how the country's history and diverse cultures have influenced its art.  Then engage in a question and answer session with a panel of Cuban experts to explore such topics as economic reform, women's rights, and Cuba's future. This evening, gather for a farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,D) Hotel Parque Central OR Meliá Cohiba Hotel.

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)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)