Experience The Cuban Culture with Friendly Planet Travel’s Six or Nine Day Progams



capital-building-havana_Photo by Nick Grunwald

Cuba is one of 2013’s hottest tourist destinations thanks to the recent renewal of people-to-people licenses for legal travel to Cuba. Friendly Planet Travel is one of the few authorized tour operators and has released new tour dates for its two people-to-people programs, designed to help Americans interact with the people of Cuba through direct, educational exchanges in art, music and culture.

The six-day Discover Havana program takes travelers through some of Havana’s most historical and significant locations and starts at $2,299. Departure dates are from February through October 2013.

Day 1: Arrive in Miami, Florida. Accommodations will be made at the Crowne Plaza Miami Airport.

Day 2: Non-stop flight bound for Havana. Visit the colorful Callejon de Hamel, one of the shortest but most interesting streets in Havana. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the center of Old Havana, followed by a leisurely orientation walk. Accommodations are made at the Hotel Nacional.

Day 3: Visit a primary school and interact with the children in their classrooms. Continue on to the private studio of one of Cuba’s talented independent artists such as Eduardo Roca. In the evening, meet with the owner or general manager of one of Havana’s finest and most interesting new restaurants, El Gijon. Afterwards, enjoy dinner at El Gijon.

Day 4: Drive to Finca Vigia, Hemmingway’s Cuba retreat and visit Cojimar. Then, drive to the district of Alamar on the outskirts of Havana. Meet with some local residents. Afterwards, return to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Day 5: Depart for Las Terrazas in Pinar del Rio Province, known for its scenic beauty and is home to much of Cuba’s tobacco farming. Visit the oldest member of the community, Maria, sole proprietor of the town’s only coffee shop, Café Maria. Visit “Fusterlandia”, the home and surrounding neighborhood of “The Picasso of the Caribbean”, Jose Fuster. Farewell dinner served on the rooftop restaurant of the Ambos Mundos Hotel.

Day 6: Bid farewell to Cuba as you transfer to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

classic-cars-cojimar _photo by Nick Grunwald

The nine-day Colors of Cuba program, priced at $2,999, visits many of the nation’s historic sites including Old Havana, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad. Departure dates are available from March through October 2013.

Day 1: Arrive in Miami with accommodations at the Crowne Plaza Miami Airport.

Day 2: Visit the colorful Callejon de Hamel, one of the shortest but most interesting streets in Havana. Explore the Used Booksellers Market, a cross-cultural treasure trove for readers of every genre.

Day 3: Visit a primary school located in a beautiful historical building which has been carefully renovated by Havana’s Office of the Historian. Continue on to the private studio of one of Cuba’s talented independent artists such as Eduardo Roca, affectionately known as “Choco”.

Day 4: Depart for Las Terrazas in Pinar del Rio Province, known for its scenic beauty and is also home to much of Cuba’s tobacco farming. Visit the art studio of Lester Campa. He’ll share his unique paper recycling process. Visit “Fusterlandia”, the home and surrounding neighborhood of “The Picasso of the Caribbean”, Jose Fuster.

Day 5: Depart from Havana and drive along Cuba’s “autopista” highway. Continue through small towns and villages en route to Cienfuegos. A Cuban guide will explain the system of rationing and the two-currency system. Explore the main square and the Punto Gordo peninsula, then continue the drive along the Caribbean coast to the charming old Spanish colonial town of Trinidad.

Day 6: Visit the Casa del Alfarero, a pottery house that has been managed by the Santander Family for generations. Continue to one of Trinidad’s many bed and breakfasts. From there it is off to Templo de Yemaya, where a Santeria Practitioner along with some of the religion’s devotees explain the basic principles of Santeria.

Day 7: Enjoy a special visit to the Santa Clara Music and Performing Arts School, with dance, theater and music performances by the students.

Day 8: Drive to Finca Vigia, Hemmingway’s Cuba retreat and visit Cojimar. Then drive to the district of Alamar on the outskirts of Havana. Farewell dinner, served in the rooftop restaurant of the Ambos Mundos Hotel.

Day 9: Bid farewell to Cuba and transfer to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

Both packages include round-trip airfare from Miami, via chartered jet; fuel surcharges, airline taxes, and fees; Cuba entrance Visa; letter of authorization; all ground transportation and transfers; accommodations in superior and deluxe hotels; meals; comprehensive sightseeing; English-speaking tour directors; a Friendly Planet escort; and more.

Friendly Planet Travel, www.friendlyplanet.com