Cuba’s relative isolation as a travel destination is one of the many reasons the island nation is today the most interesting place in the world to travel, yet that same isolation means accessing Cuba’s many wonders is best experienced with a capable tour operator.
Havana – and its surrounding places of cultural and artistic interest – is the focal point for travelers seeking architecture, art, Hemingway, rum, cigars and meaningful interactions with the locals.
Friendly Planet’s new small group tour to Cuba, Authentic Havana, offers just the right balance of personal touch, worry-free itineraries filled with unique cultural encounters, and free time to make your own discoveries. You’ll stay four nights at a privately owned, colonial style hotel (casa particular), that has been lovingly restored and furnished according to the standards required by Havana’s historic preservation regulations.
The hotel is in Central Havana, a short walk to Old Havana and the famous Malecon (sea wall). It offers a much more authentic and intimate experience than the traditional government-run hotels. Peggy Goldman, the owner of Friendly Planet Travel, traveled down to Havana and personally selected this property for her tours.
And that’s just where you’ll start your day. Friendly Planet’s experienced, local, English speaking guides lead you through an itinerary carefully curated to offer authentic interactions with the Cuban people. Here is some of what you’ll experience:
- Explore Old Havana’s architectural treasure trove with a specialist from the Office of the City Historian
- Learn how Cuban masters hand-roll cigars at a famous Cigar Factory
- Visit the fascinating Afro-Cuban neighborhood of Regla
- Tour a co-op community garden in Alamar
- Sit in on a dance rehearsal at one of Havana’s dance schools
- Meet young, up and coming Cuban artists in a private studio
- Tour the Rum Museum to trace the history of Cuba’s national drink (and try some!)
- Walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s home in Cuba that has been preserved as a museum through the cooperation of U.S. and Cuban governments.
All of Friendly Planet’s Cuba tours adhere to U.S. rules and restrictions for travel to Cuba. To ensure a personal and more intimate experience, no more than 24 travelers are allowed on each tour.
Here’s what is included in the $2,299 price ($1,999 if you book by November 22, 2016):
- Non-stop round trip flights from Miami to Havana
- U.S. Treasury Department, OFAC License Certification and Authorization Letter
- Cuba Entrance Visa & Departure Tax
- All land transportation, transfers & porterage in Cuba
- 1st night Crowne Plaza Miami Airport Hotel with Pre-tour introductory briefing
- 4 nights accommodations in Cuba at a centrally-located & tastefully renovated hotel
- 11 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners
- Comprehensive educational exchange program, including entrance fees
- Friendly Planet Tour Manager
- Professional, English-speaking local guide, who will facilitate the educational exchanges with Cubans
- Health insurance in Cuba (mandatory)