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

Special Pre-Tour Night!
*Miami pre-night hotel stay with private reception and panel discussion is included in price!

Preliminary Enrollment
Preliminary reservations can be made by calling 1-855-330-1542 during our normal business hours. You may also submit your interest via the Ask A Question link above.

2015 Overview
Travel to Cuba with Smithsonian Journeys and take part in an immersive People-to-People experience. During our specially designed eight-day program, you’ll learn about this enigmatic island nation’s fascinating culture through first-hand contact with Cuban artists, musicians, students, teachers, environmentalists, and others who are eager to exchange views with you on Cuban contemporary life. Explore Old Havana and charming Trinidad, both World Heritage sites, and learn about preservation efforts from Cubans who are passionate about their architectural history. Meet artists and writers and experience Ernest Hemingway’s legacy as well as authentic Cuban rumba rhythms. You’ll meet with Afro-Cuban spiritual leaders as well as traditional farmers. Plus, unique to our program! You'll attend a special panel discussion with a diverse group of experts, which takes place in Miami prior to your departure for Cuba. A Smithsonian Expert then accompanies you throughout your program.

This People-to-People Cultural Exchange is permitted by a license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Don't forget to check out our photo slide show to glimpse the excitement of this special program!
  • View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at top of page!
  • Many thanks to Eric Dong for sharing his outstanding photos, reflecting the fascinating experience found on the Smithsonian's November 2012 immersive People-to-People program in Cuba.

    Day 1 — Miami, U.S.

    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 study leader joins with two other Cuba experts to share insights into the Cuban economy, political structure, and culture. A lively question and answer session concludes each 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)

    Day 2 — U.S., Havana, Cuba
    Depart Miami this morning on a charter flight to Havana. Take a short orientation bus tour of the city, including Revolutionary Square and Morro Castle. After lunch at a local restaurant, explore the National Museum of Fine Arts, with an expert, before transferring to our hotel. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception, introductory talk by your study leader, and dinner. (L,R,D)

    Day 3 — Havana
    Enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana (a World Heritage site) with an architectural expert and discover the four main plazas of the 18th-century grid. Visit the restoration workshops and converse with artisans as you learn how the skills necessary to restore Old Havana are taught. Visit an organipónico (urban organic garden) and speak with farmers about the importance of expanding Cuba’s agricultural sector. (B,L,D)

    Day 4 — Havana
    This morning, meet with a representative from the U.S. Interests Section to learn of the role they play in Cuba. Then discover Ernest Hemingway’s La Finca Vigía, the hilltop estate where he lived and worked for over twenty years, now kept as a museum containing original furniture, artwork, and personal memorabilia that was collected by the author. Meet with a curator to discuss the author’s enduring legacy in Cuba. Afterwards, meet with local and international artists and learn of how Cuban society influences their work. (B,L)

    Day 5 — Havana, Cienfuegos
    Today, head to 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. Continue 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 musical performance and interchange with the performers afterwards. 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. 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,D)

    Day 7 - Cienfuegos and 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. This afternoon, return to Havana and en route, stop at the Bay of Pigs and visit the nearby Playa Giron Museum. After returning to Havana, check into your hotel. Tonight, celebrate your journey at a farewell dinner. (B,L, D)

    Day 8 — Depart for the U.S.
    Transfer to the airport today for your return charter flight to Miami. (B)

    Note: Due to the nature of travel in Cuba, our itinerary is subject to change. An updated schedule will be sent prior to departure but participants will need to be highly flexible and willing to accept modifications to the program.