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Join Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation, Ocean Doctor and The Baum Foundation on an exciting People to People exploratory journey as we explore the history, culture and sustainable practices of Cuba through meeting with researchers, university officials, organizations and with the local people to learn and discuss Cuba’s ecological and environmental issues. Discover elegant, exuberant Havana with its friendly citizens, contemporary artists, exceptional architecture, lively music, and colorful outdoor markets. Then visit the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve at Las Terrazas, an ecological planned community focusing on sustainable living and environmentally friendly farming practices. Move through the country to Playa Larga, the largest protected area in the Caribbean. Swing over to Cienfuegos, the French Colonial town with its spacious, sea-misted streets and plazas and colorful architecture. Spend time with doctors, students, artists and musicians as you meet local people who welcome visitors with friendly smiles, laughter and conversation. In this dynamic country you will observe the human spirit’s ability to live, create and thrive despite hardships that are forever felt, as we get to know these strong, resilient people. Experience this “off limits” island during this unique period before it is fully open for US tourism. Travel legally to be with the people of Cuba under a People to People educational license issued to the Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation by OFAC US Department of Treasury.
- Meet with artists in their galleries, home studios, co-ops and street markets in order to view their artwork and discuss their process
- Participate in a talk in Havana presented by a well-known city architect whose colorful presentations lay the context for understanding five centuries in the development of the capital city and its country
- Visit the Acuario Nacional de Cuba (National Aquarium of Cuba) where we will visit with scientists, educators and students to discuss the main issues facing Cuba’s surrounding waters
- Experience Cienfuegos, the French Colonial town known as “The Pearl of the South”
- Spend a day in Las Terrazas, an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and ecological planned community focusing on sustainable living and environmentally friendly farming practices
- Visit local neighbors whom, in order to provide food and safe water, have joined together in an urban community farming co-op
- Savor authentic foods in paladares, unique restaurants in private homes and visit with the local owners
- Visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana (National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana) where your guide will explain the history of Cuba through its art history
- Visit the Organopónico Vivero Alamar, a cooperative urban farm focusing on agricultural production and services. Meet with the founder and his family to discuss their experience and vision
- Experience Playa Larga, home to the Zapata Swamp, the largest protected area in the Caribbean and home to the Zapata Biosphere Reserve
HAVANA is the hub of one of the world’s greatest natural harbors. A showcase of the wealth, power, and sophistication of Cuba from the time of it’s 16th century founding as the greatest port of New Spain. Today, it is a place of beautiful decay and the stirrings of change, along with all the best in Cuban art, music and culture.
Day 1 | Miami/Havana Begin your journey by meeting a Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation representative at the Miami International Airport who will assist you and the other members of your group through check-in. Upon arrival in Cuba, meet your Cuban guide and drive to your hotel. On the way, your guide will show you the historical memorial to José Martí at Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square) and give you a short driving tour to see the general layout of this beautiful city including the Malecón, Havana’s crystalline waterfront. After settling into your hotel, walk to dinner and absorb your first impressions of the tropical air, rhythm and color wafting out of the doorways you pass, laughter and conversation bouncing amongst neighbors easily, meeting local people along the way. Dine on local cuisine at a beautiful paladar. A paladar is a small family-run restaurant licensed to provide meals in a private home. Here, you will taste some of the best food in Cuba as well as experience being in the intimate, warm spaces of local people. Havana Hotel (D)
Day 2 | Havana After breakfast we begin our day with a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past as told to us by an expert architect and city planner. Our knowledgeable Cuban guide will then take us on a walking tour of Havana Vieja (Old Havana) meeting local people along the way, and speaking with local entrepreneurs about their new businesses, and to NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) who oversee sustainability projects such as women’s sewing groups or children’s art classes. Enjoy lunch at a local paladar. After lunch head to the Acuario Nacional de Cuba (National Aquarium of Cuba) where we will visit with scientists, educators and students to discuss the main issues facing Cuba’s surrounding waters. Then enjoy the rest of the afternoon to explore the capital city on your own. Wander the streets to experience the people hanging around the doorways, offering friendly smiles. Dinner is enjoyed on your own at a local restaurant or paladar. Havana Hotel (B/L)
Day 3 | Havana After breakfast head to Organopónico Vivero Alamar, a cooperative urban farm focusing on agricultural production and services. Meet with the founder and his family to discuss their experience and vision. Then visit the Antonio Nuñez Foundation for Man and Nature, who through its urban development program supports green urbanization initiatives. Learn about the community projects they are involved in. Enjoy lunch at a nearby paladar. After lunch head to the Rancho Bolleros Research Center where the Cuban government maintains an agriculture experiment station in the borough of Santiago de las Vegas. Dinner is on your own at a local restaurant or paladar. Havana Hotel (B/L)
Day 4 | Las Terrazas Today we depart Havana after breakfast, driving west towards the coffee growing countryside. We stop at Las Terrazas, an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and ecological planned community focusing on sustainable living and environmentally friendly farming practices. Enjoy a meeting with a Goldman Prize winner for his work organizing heritage seed banks and discuss his work. Discover this green space with a meeting and walking tour of the town by a local historian who will take you to a nearby eco-station and medical clinic. To end your day in Las Terrazas, enjoy a vegetarian dinner prepared at a local eco-friendly restaurant. Las Terrazas Hotel (B/L/D)
Day 5 | Playa Larga Depart for Playa Larga, home to the Zapata Swamp, the largest protected area in the Caribbean and home to the Zapata Biosphere Reserve, where numerous areas are designated for environmental preservation and wildlife sanctuaries. Stop along the way at Caleta Buena, a protected swimming cove to enjoy lunch as well as a refreshing swim in the blue waters. Visit the Korimacao Culture Center, an innovative community development initiative in Playa Larga where they are providing community art, music, and cultural training free of charge to young artists. Dinner at the hotel. Playa Larga Hotel (B/L/D)
Day 6 | Playa Larga This morning experience an early morning tour by rowboat of the river and its surrounding wildlife. Observe the various species in their habitat in this unique swampland. Pay a visit to a crocodile farm as well as an eco-station for discussion of the many diverse features of the Zapata wetlands and the preservation. After lunch together, spend until dinnertime exploring on your own. Dinner at hotel. Playa Larga Hotel (B/L/D)
CIENFUEGOS, Cuba’s La Perla del Sur, the “Pearl of the South” summons travelers from around the world, drawn into its seductive melee of French Colonial spirit and architecture. A relatively young city, Cienfuegos was settled in 1819 by French and Louisianan immigrants and to this day retains much of its former charm, leading to its 2005 declaration as an UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 7 | Cienfuegos After breakfast, leave for Cienfuegos the French Colonial town known as “The Pearl of the South” for its spacious, sea-misted streets and plazas. Throughout its history, ships used the surrounding bay as a refuge during storms in the Caribbean. Upon arrival, lunch at a local paladar residing along the bay front. Set out on a bay cruise with Port Authority officials discussing with them the environmental challenges they face with the industrial development along the bay and the coastal areas. For dinner enjoy an authentic pig roast. Cienfuegos Hotel (B/L/D)
Day 8 | Havana After breakfast depart for your return to Havana. Upon arrival in Havana settle into your historical hotel and then set out on a personal adventure. Spend the afternoon on your own, discovering the spaces and places the local Cuban’s call home. Dinner at the hotel. Cienfuegos Hotel (B/L/D)
Day 9 | Havana Start the day with a visit to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) whose purpose is to control Cuban policy concerning science, technology and environmental issues. Then visit the University of Havana for discussions with researchers and students regarding present marine issues. Enjoy lunch on your own. After lunch either head to the Finca Vigía, Hemmingway’s primary residence from 1939 to 1960 and where he penned much of his classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls” or spend time at Havana’s National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, where a museum guide can teach you about the history of Cuba through its impressive art history. After returning to your hotel, sit down with trip leader Dr. David Guggenheim to recap your experience. End the day with a special farewell dinner with the other travelers overlooking the Alamar river. Havana Hotel. (B/L/D)
Day 10 | Havana/Miami Before your departure home, spend a few hours free for any last minute adventures before we bid Cuba farewell. Transfer to the airport for our flight to Miami, then onward flights home. (B)
NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are in Cuba… to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Restaurants or hotels may change in similar category.
Learn more about this trip at HowCubaWentGreen.com