Cuban Culture & Exploration
A week in Cuba gets you into the nuances and rhythms of this island. There's so much to see and experience, and we pack this week full of varying perspectives.
We start the week just like our weekend trip with music, culture, great food and late nights in Havana. We then take off into the countryside for a totally different take on Cuba, a more simple approach and a change of pace. We come back to Havana for more nuanced gatherings and conversations with our community. You'll leave with a rich understanding of the parts at play and a love for the diversity and rhythms of this magical culture.
November 15 - 22, 2019 (havana’s 500th Anniversary)
December 27, 2019 - January 3, 2020
February 14 - 21, 2020
April 3 - April 10, 2020
Because our trips cater to the cultural calendar of Havana, specifics of our itineraries shift from trip to trip.
Day 1 / FRIDAY
You arrive into Jose Marti Airport. One of our divers will be waiting for you and will take you to Vedado, the creative neighborhood of Havana where you will be living. You will say hello to one of our team members, get settled in your casa that will be your home for a week and spend some time getting to know the area on your own with a map and tips from us. In the evening we gather for the first time as a group. We begin each trip on the porch of our Turquoise House to get to know one another over rum and Cuban records. Dinner is just a couple of blocks away at a rooftop restaurant. After dinner we let you loose into an incredible art space next door filled with music, art and dance.
DAY 2 / SATURDAY
We make our way in the morning to the other side of Vedado to our favorite art gallery. This space is an incredible way to begin to grasp the depth of work and ideas present in Cuban art. It also shines a beautiful light on the intensity and power of Cuban culture. We then make our way towards Havana Vieja and get dropped at a fabulous salsa school so that we can begin to get the unique Cuban rhythm into your system. With a full morning behind us, we lunch on the rooftop of an amazing design centric paladar. We then head out on foot to see a bit of Old Havana and to visit the studio of one of our artist friends. You have the rest of the afternoon to wander with one of our custom maps or take a siesta back at your casa. In the evening we head out to see big band salsa (and practice your dance moves!) before having dinner at one of Havana’s more exquisite restaurants run by a Spanish chef. As always, we will have details on where to see the best late night music, if you are keen to explore more.
DAY 3 / SUNDAY
We spend the morning having two studio visits with emerging artists before heading to a relaxing waterside beach club. There is no sand, but the water is perfect and protected from the waves, so always swimmable. We enjoy a relaxed tapas lunch and spend the afternoon taking in some sun, swimming and taking it easy. We either see an early theatre performance or stop into the Hotel National for a drink over looking the ocean and a talk about the historical significance of this impressive hotel. We then walk to dinner at an exquisite paladar run by friends of ours who feel more like family. Late night music recommendations are not far away at a great Latin Jazz club.
DAY 4 / MONDAY
In the morning you pack a small bag to be away from your Havana home for one night, and we take a two and a half hour drive to Viñales. Viñales is a beautiful town deep in the mountains of tobacco country. The energy is so very different outside of Havana, and it’s an important shift to understanding Cuba. We have a long lunch at a local farm that grows all of its own food. You get some time to settle into your Viñales home before he day is spent taking in the town and lush national park, majestic cliffs, and different way of life. We have lunch overlooking the valley and explore the park on foot or horseback. Dinner is at a favorite spot of ours in this lovely chilled-out town. If you are not too tired, you can dance late into the night on the town square or explore the dim streets and relaxed energy.
DAY 5 / TUESDAY
We say goodbye to Viñales in the morning and head back to Havana. We have a relaxed lunch near your casa trading stories and perspectives on the last few days. The early afternoon you spend exploring on your own with our custom maps, and we all meet back together in the late afternoon at the Turquoise House for a private concert by the band of our co-founder Norberto. It is a great time to get to know musicians who are working in Cuba and get an intimate look into the workings of the creative practice in Cuba. We then head to an artist’s home/studio for dinner surrounded by art and colorful conversation. Tuesday is a slow night for music in Havana, but if you are eager to see more, we always have a tip for you.
DAY 6 / WEDNESDAY
We start the day jumping into restored 50s convertibles to see more of the city you are getting to know so well. We visit an exhibition at one of the galleries we know and love before having a light lunch at a famous paladar (that also happens to have to have our favorite mojitos). We have our own room at this place (that feels like home to us), so we have some space to really dig into the historical context and talk about all that happened here over the past 500 years. After lunch we head to a large art and printing collective filled with friends of ours. Spend the rest of the afternoon lingering at the art collective or find a nice place to have coffee in the shade. In the early evening we head to a tiny spot in the Miramar neighborhood of Havana that is filled with our community who will be thrilled to meet the group before having dinner at one of the very first private restaurants. It is hard to pick favorite spots, but this one is a contender! Late night music recommendations will take your into the heart of local Latin Jazz, a very Cuban place that has incredible people watching!
DAY 7 / THURSDAY
We spend the morning with an art collector before having lunch at a hip new cafe that is part of the wave on new restaurants in Havana that have a more contemporary spin. You get the afternoon to really head out on your own. Take our map full of recommendations to explore or go back to buy art you have been thinking about or go stock up on rum and cigars. Many of our travelers just like to wander the streets of Havana Vieja with an ice cream cone and a camera. We have cocktails with a professor who grew up in Havana in the 40s and who is full of stories and perspective. We then head for a final dinner together at one of Havana’s oldest and best restaurants. We swap stories and lessons and thoughts about the trip. If you want to dance your way through your last night in Havana, the arts club you visited on your first night is open again. It is so big and full of energy that many like to return. It’s only a two or three block walk home.
DAY 8 / FRIDAy
Enjoy a last relaxed breakfast at your casa reflecting back on all you have seen. If you have a later flight, plan to explore areas we did not see or go back to places you loved. A taxi will be waiting for you at your casa three hours before your flight to take you back to Jose Marti Airport.