- Visit a rural school and feast on roasted pig at an artist's family home
- Visit a silkscreening workshop
- Explore Latin America's largest cave
- Hike to your heart's content in Viñales Valley
- Learn the rhythms of Cuban percussion with a master drummer
|Day 1||Welcome to Havana||Havana|
|Day 2||Exploring Havana||Havana|
|Day 5||Las Terrazas||Havana|
Day 1: Welcome to Havana
Fly into Havana before noon and hit the road for an inspiring afternoon of visiting the private homes of incredible local artists. Make your way first to Jose Fuster at his enchantingly creative home in Jaimanitas, just west of Havana. Then travel back toward Havana to the home of Beatriz, who uses recycled iron, metal, and rich glazes in her colorful ceramic statues, tiles, and wall designs.
Back in Havana later that afternoon, check into your private B&B and head to the historic, luxe landmark Hotel National for a welcome mojito on the terrace and orientation talk from your expert guide. Grab dinner at a nearby paladar - one of a new wave of privately-owned restaurants in Havana that have drastically changed the local dining experience. Paladars are becoming known for their excellent service and increasingly upscale take on Cuban home cooking.
Day 2: Exploring Havana
Start your second day in colorful Havana with a discussion on US/Cuban relations with a Cuban professor of international relations from the University of Havana, followed by a walking tour of Old Havana where you'll meet some of the new entrepreneurs of Cuba. Stop at a traditional silkscreening workshop and one of the most exciting, up-and-coming graphic designer studios in the city.
Grab lunch at another unique paladar before making your way to a successful community art and music project in Marianao, an off-the-beaten-track neighborhood infrequently visited by tourists. The program's art and music workshops for children are held in temples where the local Afro-Cuban religion is practiced. Once you've soaked it all in, the rest of the afternoon is yours to explore. Popular attractions in Havana include the Malecón boardwalk, Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro, and Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana. For something more unusual, check out Fusterlandia - a neighborhood that has been reclaimed by dreamy art installations.
Day 3: Soroa
After breakfast, make your way out of Havana to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Soroa where you’ll visit a rural school located in the hills of Artemisa province. Learn about the educational system and interact with the teachers and students before having a traditional roast pig lunch in the home of a local artist. Before you leave, hike to a pretty waterfall for a refreshing dip. Then continue on to Viñales.
Day 4: Viñales
Today's adventures begin with a visit to a tobacco farm where you'll learn about the rich tradition of tobacco cultivation in this region. From there, don helmets and headlamps and make your way to Santo Tomas Cave - the largest cave in Latin America - for a little guided spelunking. After lunch, zip-lines and sunset mountain bike or horseback rides round out the day before dinner at your comfy B&B.
Day 5: Las Terrazas
On your last full day in Cuba, head back toward Havana, stopping to visit an ecotourism rural development project known as Las Terrazas on the way. Tour the development, enjoy a short hike to a beautiful lookout point, and then savor a traditional countryside lunch before continuing on to Havana. Once in Havana, work on your rhythm with a drumming class highlighting various Cuban instruments. Then join your group for a farewell dinner and some live Cuban music at a local venue.
Day 6: Departure
Time to bid Cuba a fond farewell and board your flight home! If you've got a later flight, spend some more time exploring Havana. Cooking classes, food tours, and salsa lessons are all easy to come by, as are museums and architectural attractions.