Discover the culture, history, and music of Eastern Cuba as you explore Baracoa, the country’s first settlement and Santiago de Cuba, birthplace of the Cuban Revolution.

Starting at: $6,995 Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Street in Old Havana.  Children in Old Havana.  Credit: Allison Tenn  Baracoa Bay

Havana and Eastern Cuba

Featuring Baracoa and Santiago

10 days from $6,995

Discover the culture, history, and music of Eastern Cuba as you explore Baracoa, the country’s first settlement and Santiago de Cuba, birthplace of the Cuban Revolution.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Can’t wait to visit Cuba?  Check out our Discover Cuba program with several dates over the next year enrolling quickly. 

Explore eastern Cuba on this new program. You’ll travel to the country’s first settlement, Baracoa, which is known for its unique culture, then explore Santiago de Cuba, birthplace of the Cuban Revolution and center of Afro- Cuban culture and traditional Cuban rhythms. Plus in Havana, you’ll meet with architects, professors, journalists, and entrepreneurs to hear their views on the country’s future direction.

Highlights Include

  • Culture: Throughout your program, meet with experts to gain insight into the complexity of the Cuban culture and learn about the unique cultures of Eastern Cuba, including the indigenous Taino.
  • History: See where Europeans first stepped on the island, trace the footsteps of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders at San Juan Hill, and learn of the beginnings of the Cuban Revolution.
  • Music: Explore the roots of Cuban son and learn about its influence on the country. Plus, listen to the evocative sounds of Tumba Francesa, a traditional dance style from resettled Haitian slaves. 

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Arrive in Miami

Arrive in Miami and check into your hotel. This evening, begin your People-to-People program with a welcome reception and dinner. Engage in 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. A Q & A 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. (R,D)

Day 2 — Miami to Havana, Cuba

Depart for Havana this morning. After clearing customs and claiming your luggage, visit Finca Yoandra, a community agricultural farm, or organiponico. Interact with farmers and members of the community and learn about projects designed to connect the community with nature. Then have lunch at Il Divino, a restaurant located on the farm that uses the fresh ingredients grown there. Before checking into your hotel,  meet with a representative from the *U.S. Embassy to discuss the normalization of US-Cuba relations. Gather for a welcome reception, followed by dinner at one of the city’s paladars. (L,D)

*Schedule permitting

Day 3 — Havana

This morning, begin the day with an historical overview of Havana with a prominent architectural historian to discuss the city’s urban layout and architecture as well as the successes and challenges of its preservation efforts. Afterwards, take a walking tour of Habana Vieja to see firsthand the city’s colonial architecture and plazas. After lunch, visit the Felix Varela Cultural Center to learn about how non-state community projects support the society, including the Cuba Emprende Project, a program that trains Cuba’s emerging entrepreneurs. Before dinner, attend a performance by the Angeles de Futuros, a community project that teaches disadvantaged children to overcome their emotional and social anxieties through circus performance training. Afterwards, depart for dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Havana

This morning, visit one of Havana’s cigar factories to learn about the importance of the iconic product. Next, 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. After lunch, visit the University of Havana for a tour of the campus and a discussion on Cuba’s economic reforms. Then, visit Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway’s home for 20 years. With an expert, explore the twelve-acre property and house that contains original furniture, artwork, and personal memorabilia. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. 

Day 5 — Havana to Baracoa

Fly to Baracoa this morning. After lunch, visit Fuerte Matachin, one of the three original forts built to protect the city, and meet the city historian who will accompany the group on a walking tour of Baracoa. Learn about the city’s history as it transformed from a settlement of the indigenous Taino population to the first capital of Spanish Cuba. Afterwards, visit the local Casa de la Cultura, a national program aimed at promoting the arts among the country’s youth, and speak with instructors and performers. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Baracoa

This morning, visit a rural farming community and enjoy a performance of the area’s traditional music and dance. Afterwards, mingle with local community members and participate in a cooking demonstration of Taino-influenced cuisine, followed by lunch. Afterwards, visit a plantation and local farmers will discuss Baracoa’s most important crop, cacao, and the process of turning the seeds of a fruit into chocolate. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Baracoa to Santiago de Cuba

Depart this morning for Santiago de Cuba. En route, stop in the town of Guantanamo and visit the British West Indies Welfare Center to learn of the history of English-speaking Cubans in Eastern Cuba. After lunch overlooking Guantanamo Bay, continue to Santiago. Upon arrival, check into your hotel, followed by dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Santiago de Cuba

This morning, meet with a representative of the City Historian’s Office of Santiago, who will discuss the city’s storied history and its importance in Cuban history. Afterwards, take a walking tour of the historic district to see the city’s diverse architecture and culture. Have lunch on the patio of the Hotel Casa Granda, made famous in Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana. After lunch, visit the Moncada Barracks, the site where Fidel Castro and a small group of rebels launched the first attack of the Cuban Revolution. Now a museum dedicated to the attack, tour the grounds with an expert who will give insight on both the attack and the Revolution. Next, visit San Juan Hill, famous site of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders greatest victory and meet with a local historian to learn about the decisive battle of the Spanish-American War.

Later this evening, learn about La Tumba Francesa, a traditional dance style emerging from resettled Haitian slaves. Afterwards, speak with members of the Afro-Haitian community and learn how they keep their traditions and customs alive. (B,L)

Day 9 — Santiago de Cuba

Begin the morning with a meeting with Carlos Lloga, a cultural studies expert, who will give a presentation on the various religious cultures of Cuba, followed by a Q & A session. Then visit the Teatro Heredia to watch a rehearsal of the Ballet Folklórico de Oriente, one of the first dance troupes to showcase Afro-Cuban dance. Afterwards, speak with the dancers, musicians, and directors to learn more about the group and its history. After lunch, visit Congo de los Hoyos, a community dance project for the neighborhood’s children. Tonight, gather for a farewell reception followed by a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Depart Santiago de Cuba for Miami

Depart for the Antonio Maceo Airport for your flight back to Miami. (B)

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