Tour introduction and overview of activities

8 days and 7 nights on a ‘People to People’ experience in Cuba organized by Global Relations Travel Club (GRTC), adhering to all U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control Rules & Regulations. A Cuba expedition focused on people-to-people education, nature and cultural exchanges. The program is geared to naturalists, and lovers of the arts, history and architecture. The tour has a very diverse itinerary and features comfortable accommodations and tasty Cuban cuisine.

Cuba’s big! Its land mass is 42,426 square miles – about 80 percent the size of Alabama. Cuba is nearly as large as Louisiana, and larger than Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Altogether it’s bigger than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont combined.

Day 1 – Wednesday :: Arrival Cuba, hello pearl of the antilles

  • Depart to Havana from your U.S. departure city
  • Arrival at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport. Collect your bags and go through customs. You will be welcomed at the airport lobby by your private guide and your professional chauffeur, included
  • Private transfer to the internationally famous Hotel Nacional, included
  • Private check-in with assistance from your guide and welcome cocktail at the Hotel Nacional; relaxing time to stroll the garden, walk the sites depicted in the Godfather Part II movie, enjoy a mojito or have a rest on the veranda where some of the world’s most interesting personalities’ have taken a break while the winds from the Straits of Florida breeze by, included
  • Free time to settle in and get oriented to you iconic hotel
  • This evening you will enjoy dinner at an acclaimed private restaurant, Los Mercaderes in Old Havana, included
  • After dinner, your guide will keep you posted on local entertainment options

Day 2 – Thursday :: Exploring Old Havana and cigar making in Havana

  • Breakfast, included
  • Morning walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit the historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. It contains the largest collection of remaining colonial-era architecture. This is a private tour led by our Cuba Education Tours guide, included
  • Cathedral Square, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza on the island. Named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture: the Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana built by the Jesuit order
  • Square of Arms, an ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers, surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
  • Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City
  • Palacio del Segundo Cabo [Palace of the Second Lieutenant] dates from 1770. Today it houses the Instituto Cubano del Libro [Cuban Book Institute] and the Galería Raúl Martínez (famed poster artist)
  • We will continue on to San Francisco Square, one of the oldest plazas in the historical quarter. The square is named after magnificent Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís dating from the 16th century. The basilica is a striking example of Cuba baroque architecture
  • Then on to Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. Absent are churches and government buildings, and is in contrast surrounded by opulent aristocratic 17th century residences
  • Visit La Casa del Habano, Hotel Conde de Villanueva. If you’ve never seen a peacock outside a cigar shop, you’ve never been to the Casa del Habano at the Hotel Conde de Villanueva. This small, charming and soulful cigar store is up a narrow flight of stairs off the courtyard of the boutique hotel
  • Lunch at harbor side El Templete restaurant overlooking the Bay of Havana, included
  • Visit Museum of Rum, included. Learn of Cuba’s sugar cane production, slave involvement and the various types of Havana Club, with a sampling at the end
  • Visit Havana’s famed arts and crafts mall Centro Antiguos Almacenes de Deposito San Jose, optional
  • Return to hotel
  • Dinner at private the boutique paladar Decameron, included
  • Options Tropicana, Jazz Clubs, Buena Vista Social Club and other

Day 3 – Friday :: Museum of the Revolution and Museum of Fine Arts and Havana

  • Breakfast, included
  • Visit the Museum of the Revolution, included, housed in the palace of former dictator Fulgencio Batista
  • Lunch at the original Sloppy Joes, included
  • Visit the National Museum of Fine Arts, included
  • Return to hotel
  • Dinner not included, open evening to enjoy the Paladres of Havana
  • Options Tropicana, Jazz Clubs, Buena Vista Social Club, and other

Day 4 – Saturday :: Hemingway, organic gardening and vintage cars

  • Breakfast in hotel, included
  • Travel to Cojímar, small fishing Village one of Hemingway’s favorite’s places ad where he would keep his boat Pilar. Enjoy a tour of the small town with your Cuban Guide
  • Visit local gardener where owner shows us how herbs and fruit are raised for El Ajiaco paladar’s use, learn about three types of mint, see avocado, banana, coffee a special pepper used in cooking the traditional ajiaco soup
  • TOUR HIGHLIGHT: Cooking & mojito making lesson at paladar (private restaurant) El Ajiaco followed by lunch, which you helped prepare, included. Excellent food with outstanding service
  • This is a unique experience; in the kitchen, with the chef and staff preparing multiple dishes and then at the bar learning how to properly prepare a Cuban mojito - - - all before the paladar opens to the public
  • Visit Finca La Vigía (home and farm of Ernest Hemingway). This special National Museum also includes his boat Pilar (in part made famous from his book Old Man and the Sea), the graves of some of his dogs and the fully furnished home which you will be able to see inside, included
  • Return to hotel
  • Your group will caravan in Vintage American cars along the Malecon, and stop at a small park for photos & continue on through the ‘ancient’ forest to dinner at the paladar, private restaurant, La Guarida, included
  • Dinner at an internationally famous private restaurant La Guarida, included. (Location for filming the highly acclaimed film “Strawberry and Chocolate”, the only Cuban film to be nominated for an Academy Awards.) Repeatedly rated as the #1 restaurant in Havana by Trip Advisor
  • Options for nightlife: Tropicana, Jazz Clubs, Buena Vista Social Club

Day 5 – Sunday :: Community project, arrive Varadero resort

  • Breakfast in hotel, included
  • Travel to Varadero and enjoy some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches
  • In route you will stop for a brief city tour in the city of Matanzas and lunch at Amelia del Mar, a small private paladar, included
  • Check into all-inclusive Melia Varadero Resort, included
  • Dinner at resort, included

Day 6 – Monday :: Varadero activies and dinner in opulent mansion on water front

  • Breakfast at resort, included
  • Morning activities
  • Lunch at resort, included
  • Afternoon activities
  • Dinner at the Xanadú Mansion, located on the San Bernardino crags and overlooking the Atlantic. The beachfront DuPont Mansion was designed in 1927. The property was owned and developed by the DuPont family, founded by French American millionaire Irenee Dupont de Nemours in 1876

Day 7 – Tuesday :: Varadero activies, last night in Cuba

  • Breakfast at resort, included
  • Activities in Varadero
  • Lunch at Resort, included
  • Afternoon activities
  • Dinner at Resort, included

Day 8 – Wednesday :: Varadero and home

  • Breakfast, included
  • Check-out of resort
  • Transfer to Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport in Varadero for flight home, included
  • Memories of a wonderful visit to the Pearl of the Antilles: Cuba, included!
Cuba travel is a challenge. Our staff and Cuban partners work super hard to make your tour unfold seamlessly despite Third World conditions on the island. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Flexible travelers understand this is part of their Cuban adventure.
Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
  • Teleconference with the tour group and Global Relations Travel Club (GRTC) leadership to go through the itinerary, answer questions and offer suggestions on opportunities not on the schedule
  • A series of briefing emails, starting weeks before departure, to assist you in preparing for the trip. This will include a packing list and other practical suggestions
  • All taxes. All amounts are quoted in US dollars
  • Airport transfers: You are met at the airport in Cuba upon arrival and taken to your hotel. For departure you will be taken back to the airport in Cuba. You need to book your own airfare to and from Cuba
  • Hotels in Cuba as listed in tour itinerary, or similar
  • Welcome cocktail upon arrival
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners as per itinerary
  • All activities, services, speakers, meetings and meals as described in tour itinerary except those noted as “optional” or “not included”
  • Luxury air-conditioned private coach transportation and a full-time professional driver, dedicated to your group
  • An expert Cuban English-speaking guide whose background matches tour content and GRTC Team member from the US escorting the tour
  • Ongoing support from your Cuban Tour staff and the GRTC Team before, during and after your stay
  • Emergency collect call access to the North American staff while in Cuba
  • Emergency cash advances for tour participants who face complications accessing funds from abroad while in Cuba
  • Global Relations Travel Club (GRTC) membership: $29 Membership is a requirement, by Rule, to participate in GRTC tours
  • Transportation TO U.S. departure city going to Cuba
  • Airfare FROM U.S. departure city TO Cuba and back. Cuban Visa and departure tax from Cuba will be included in your airfare to Cuba, along with mandatory official Cuban medical insurance coverage during your island stay
  • Gratuities for Cuban tour guide, coach/van driver, chambermaids, restaurant staff, porters, etc of group activates. You will be asked to participate in a ‘gratuity collective’ of $154.89 in which all gratuities for group activities will be collectively paid on your behalf. Details will be sent to you
  • Optional travel interruption and cancellation insurance. See