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Go to Authentic Cuba Travel® at authenticubatours.com
Go to Tours of Authentic Cuba Travel®
Contact Authentic Cuba Travel® at authenticubatours.com
Havana Hotel Packages for the Havana Jazz Festival Tour
Hotels:
This Cuba tour offers the following Cuban hotels:

4-Star Hotel
Habana Riviera

by Iberostar Hotels

5-Star Hotel
Melia Cohiba

by Melia Hotels

4-Star Hotel
Melia Jagua

by Melia Hotels
Destinations:
This Cuba tour travels to the following Cuban destinations:

Old Havana
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Havana City

Cienfuegos
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Cuba

Trinidad
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Cuba

Vinales Valley
UNESCO World Heritage Site in Western Cuba

Zapata
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Central Cuba

Bay of Pigs
Coastal Town in Southern Cuba
USA Cuba Travel Regulations Explained
USA Cuba Tours Explained
The US travel ban on Cuba has been in effect for nearly five decades. Notice that the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") administers Cuba travel restrictions that apply to all US citizens and permanent residents. On January 14th 2011, President Obama announced new categories of legal travel to Cuba and further easing was implemented on January 2015 and on February 2016 in the Federal Register, they went into effect immediately. On 2020, President Trump’s revision of Cuba travel regulations did not eliminate any of the existing categories of Cuba legal travel.
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Cuba Study Tours & Travel to Cuba from USA
US Cuba Study Tours & Travel
Authentic Cuba Travel® offers universities, colleges and schools from US, Canada and all over the world the best study trips to Cuba.

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US Cuba Educational Tours & Travel
Educational Travel to Cuba should be more than sunbathing in beautiful Caribbean beaches while sipping cold tropical drinks.

Spanish
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Jazz
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Ballet
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Sports
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JoJazz Havana Festival

Havana Film Festival

Havana Jazz Festival

havana book fair

habano cigar festival

Cuba's Fire Festival

Cuba's Ballet Festival

Havana Art Biennial Cuba Tour

Cuba Engage, a Support for the Cuban People Experience for Americans


Support for the Cuban People Cuba Tours & Travel Refer a Friend Cuba Tours Legal Travel To Cuba Trinidad City, Cuba Old Havana, Guided Walking Tour Bay of Pigs, Cuba Cienfuegos City, Cuba Vinales Valley, Western Cuba Hotel Riviera de Cuba USA Cuba Travel Accomodations Hemingway Cuba Education Tours

Cuba Engage is an educational trip to Cuba designed for US citizens genuinely interested in traveling to Cuba legally to support the Cuban people.



Supporting the Cuban people by patronizing privately owned restaurants, stores, art galleries and other small businesses; and supporting the work of independent Cuban organizations is the main intend of this Cuba tour.

Travel to Cuba legally in a more affordable way under the General License for Support for the Cuban People Travel for as little as $2,429 (all taxes included!)



Referral Discount: $100


Invite 1 Friend and Pay $2,329 only
Invite 2 Friends and Pay $2,229 only
Invite 3 Friends and Pay $2,129 only
Invite 4 Friends and Pay $2,029 only
Invite 10 Friends and Pay $0
And remember every person you invite
will also receive a $100 discount!


Coming Up Cuba Engage Tours

  • Cuba Engage 10Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Oct 9- Oct 16, 2021Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 11Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Nov 13- Nov 20, 2021Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 12Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Dec 25- Jan 1, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 1Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Jan 15- Jan 22, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 2Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Feb 12- Feb 19, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 3Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Mar 12- Mar 19, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 4Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Apr 9- Apr 16, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 5Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..May 14- May 21, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 6Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Jun 11- Jun 18, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 7Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Jul 2- Jul 9, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 8Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Aug 13- Aug 20, 2022Book Now
  • Cuba Engage 9Havana, Bay of Pigs, Trinidad..Sep 10- Sep 17, 2022Book Now

  • Support for the Cuban People | Cuba Engage Tours

    Cuba is a dichotomy of two worlds. On one hand, there are the few things that Cuba has always been admired for and that’s its black coffee, Havana rum, Cuban mojitos, Cohiba cigars, 1950’s classic American cars, and for its lively culture. On the other hand, Cuba has been ostracized for its staunch political stance that has left it isolated. In a sense, Cuba is that place where one foot relishes in the nostalgia of the past while the other foot steps forward in the promise of change and growth.

    Still, the fascination with Cuba has grown over the past few decades as images of the island’s nostalgic beauty has left much to be admired from afar. Especially from the USA whose decades-long embargo on Cuba has prevented the ordinary American citizens to visit Cuba legally for decades. Ultimately, it’s the opportunity to travel to Cuba and to explore unchartered territory against a backdrop set in the 1950’s that makes the Caribbean island so desirable.

    Cuban culture is vibrant and eclectic from its salsa and rumba music to an emerging arts scene. A stroll down cobbled streets lined with Spanish colonial-style architecture showcases a charming Old Havana city center where remnants of the Cuban colonial past are very noticeable. The autentica Cuba is welcoming and exciting and unique. Between the live jazz scene and a bustling nightlife, Cuba’s culinary treasures, and an adventure into the neighborhoods, you’ll find a proud people whose ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit has kept the country going despite the isolation.

    A visit to Cuba can easily feel like multiple experiences wrapped into one inclusive of a history lesson, an adventure on a road less traveled, and a cultural exchange with a fascinating people. The inviting spirit of the Cubans makes it so easy to get absorbed into the culture if only for a moment. The authentic Cuba is ready with open arms excited to be discovered.

    But…how to travel to Cuba from USA? Is it even legal for Americans to visit Cuba at all? While Cuba tourism for Americans (this is, ordinary tourism as Europeans and Canadians do) is strictly prohibited by the US embargo on Cuba, Cuba travel for US individuals is possible if choosing the right Support for the Cuban People educational trip to Cuba.

    Can American Citizens Join This Tour to Cuba?

    Any US citizen or permanent resident genuinely interested in supporting the Cuban people can travel to Cuba from USA legally. Supporting the Cuban people by patronizing privately owned restaurants, stores, art galleries and other small businesses; and supporting the work of independent Cuban organizations is the main intend of this Cuba tour.

    Even though Cuba tourism is not possible for US citizens, Cuba Engage is a legal option to visit Cuba under the General License for the Support for the Cuban People.

    The Support for the Cuban People General License for US travel to Cuba is created through a do it yourself process rather than by submitting an application and awaiting approval. Fast, free and convenient, a General License for Support for the Cuban People simply requires US individuals to prepare their own documentation in a way that meets all OFAC guidelines.

    Notice: As of June 5 2019, all US travelers traveling to Cuba from USA are required by law to fill out a justification travel form (travel affidavit form) for the U.S. Department of the Treasury- Office of Foreign Assets Control (Cuba Travel Regulations).

    We provide our US travelers with all the required documentation to ensure they are in compliance with 2020 Trump administration’s rules on Cuba travel under the US Cuba Travel category: Support for the Cuban People. US travelers can choose to depart to Cuba from any US port of their choosing.

    Authentic Cuba Travel® has developed the Cuba Engage program in cooperation with Cuban nongovernmental organizations, community projects and individuals that promote independent activity in Cuba. In compliance with current OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) guidelines for the Support for the Cuban People General License (515.574 (a)), our itinerary consists on a full-time schedule of activities that will enhance the contact with the Cuban people, and support civil society and private entrepreneurial activity in Cuba; and that will result in meaningful interactions in between the US travelers and the Cuban people they meet along the way.

    US individual travelers can not engage in financial transactions with Cuban entities which are under the control of, or act for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. We keep our itineraries updated to make sure that American travelers are not directly or indirectly dealing with any of these prohibited entities. For the complete Cuba Restricted List, please visit:

    https://www.state.gov/cuba-sanctions/cuba-restricted-list/list-of-restricted-entities-and-subentities-associated-with-cuba-as-of-april-24-2019/

    US travelers are responsible for maintaining all Cuba travel records for up to 5 years and for showing (if asked) evidence that they have engaged in authorized activities while in Cuba (staying at accommodations not listed in the Restricted List of Cuban entities, eating at privately-owned restaurants, shopping at privately-owned art galleries and stores, ect). Free time in excess or regular tourists' activities are not permitted.

    This responsibility was a burden of the US tour operators running the People-to-People group tours before June 5, 2019. Due to the cancelation of the authorization for People-to-people group travel to Cuba, US citizens can no longer go to Cuba under the auspices of the People-to-people General License issued by US tour operators.

    At Authentic Cuba Travel®, we take care of all details both in North America and in Cuba, including VISA and flight arrangements to Cuba's main destinations via USA ports (Miami, Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, or other) or through third countries like Canada and Mexico. Authorized US travelers can travel through a third country subject to the same restrictions and requirements as those flying directly from USA.

    Read what past travelers say about their experience with us. Click here

    Take A Sneak Peak of Cuban Destinations You Will Visit







    Support for the Cuban People
    Quick Facts & Highlights

    • Support for the Cuban People General License Documentation.
    • Full-Time Schedule of Support for the Cuban People Activities.
    • 5 Nights at Hotel Riviera (E) or Hotel Melia Cohiba (P).
    • 2 Nights at Hotel Jagua in Cienfuegos.
    • 16 Meals at Cuba’s finest privately-owned restaurants: 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, and 3 Dinners Included.
    • Private Transfer-in and Transfer-out.
    • Luxury Air-conditioned Coach Transportation & Professional Driver.
    • All Activities, Speakers, and Meetings as Described in Itinerary.
    • 24/7 Dedicated Cuban English Speaking Expert Guide.
    • Ongoing support from Authentic Cuba Travel®' Staff.
    • Full Tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Full Tour of Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Full Tour of Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Tour of Vinales Valley & Village, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Full Tour of Bay of Pigs, located in UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
    • Exchange with nongovernmental community project Barrio Habana.
    • Exchange with independent community project El Patio de Pelegrin.
    • Exchange with nongovernmental community project Muraleando.
    • Exchange with independent community project Korimakao.
    • Exchange with nongovernmental community project Trazos Libres.
    • Exchange with independent art project Entre Hilos, Alas y Pinceles.
    • Exchange with privately-owned Cuban store Piscolabis Bazar-Cafe.
    • Exchange with Rox 950, a privately-owned Cuban jewelry store.
    • Exchange with Clandestina Store & Studio, Cuba first private store.
    • Tour Tobacco Plantations in Pinar del Rio.
    • Private Visit to Cuba’s Experimental Printing Workshop.
    • Follow the Trail of American Ernest Hemingway in Cuba.
    • Full Tour of Finca La Vigia, Hemingway Residence for 20 Years.

    Notice to USA Cuba Travelers

    U.S. Cuba Legal Travel Support for the Cuban People tours to Cuba for American citizens are educational & humanitarian in nature. It means tourism to Cuba from North America is still very limited by the US Cuba travel regulations.

    In other words, American visitors to Cuba cannot simply book an all inclusive “sun & beach” vacation and relax in the crystal-clear Caribbean waters of Cuba while sipping in mojitos like Canadians and most citizens of the world can.

    Educational, humanitarian and cultural exchanges in between the Cubans and the American visitors must be included in the itineraries.

    Participating and supporting the activities of recognized humanitarian, nongovernmental and independent organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen the Cuban civil society must be a main objective of the trip to Cuba.

    Authentic Cuba Expert's Corner
    Cuba is a paradise in the Caribbean, just 90 miles off Key West. In fact, Cuba is so close that swimmers have made it from coast to coast, even without a shark cage! Yet Cuba is the forbidden fruit for most American travelers due to the US travel restrictions and the frozen diplomatic relations in between the two countries. The discerning travelers are taken off guard when joining our Support for the Cuban People tours to Cuba. They are surprised to find a bubbly atmosphere charged with the smoke of Cuban cigars, the loud music that pours out of the windows of 1950’s vintage cars, the lively salsa dancing in every corner, and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Cuban people. Not what they have anticipated for sure! Absorb it all in a short time by the hand of the USA Cuba travel experts!
    Contact Me
    Havana Hotels, Cuba.
    Support for the Cuban People Cuba travel from USA features overnights at the historic Riviera or Melia Cohiba hotels, located in the Vedado district, the epicenter of Havana’s bustling nightlife and pulsating music scene. Americans traveling to Cuba with Authentic Cuba Travel® find themselves at home in these iconic hotels that have hosted a long list of personalities since the 1930's.
    Rox 950 Jewellery store, a privately-owned Cuban jewelry store, Support for The Cuban People travel As part of our Support for the Cuban People travel, we pay a visit to Rox 950 Jewellery store, a privately-owned Cuban jewelry store run by Cuban self-employed (cuentapropistas), designer and business woman, Rosana Vargas. Supporting Cuban women entrepreneurs like Rosana Vargas is the main objective of our shopping visits. We will engage with our Cuban host Rosana Vargas and her team in a conversation to learn more about the Cuban culture and how she has established her handmade silver jewelry brand in Cuba and in the USA.
    Privately-owned Restaurants, Support for The Cuban People Tours & Travel A new wave of paladares (privately-owned restaurants) has recently swept the Cuban dining scene offering excellent food and charming ambient. We’ll enjoy an array of delicious meals at Cuba’s most stylish paladares during our Support for the Cuban People trips. This is a unique opportunity to establish dialogues with local restaurateurs and learn how they have been able to reconcile the socialist centralized economy with the demands of the free market in the booming private Cuban hospitality industry.
    Barrio Habana Community Project, Support for The Cuban People Tours & Travel During our Support for the Cuban People trip to Cuba, we will engage in authorized Support for the Cuban People activities such as a visit to the community project Barrio Habana in Old Havana. Dedicated to improve the quality of life of the children and elders in the community, this program consists on improving their community in any way possible. From simple street cleanups to the organization of art exhibitions, food drives, street performances as well as workshops with popular Cuba athletes, musicians and other personalities, the organizers aim to engage children and elders in educational, joyful and fulfilling activities.
    Cuban Printmakers at Taller de Grafica The meaningful exchanges in between the US travelers and the Cubans are a central element of our Support for the Cuban People Cuba tours and travel. And meeting with the young, talented artists of Cuba’s Experimental Printing Workshop is a great opportunity to see original prints being created and learn firsthand about the life of Cuban printmakers.
    Privately-owned Cuban shops, Support for The Cuban People Tours & Travel We will pay a visit to Piscolabis Bazar-Café, a privately-owned Cuban bazaar and coffee shop run by self-employed (cuentapropista) Cuban fashion designer Sandra De Huelbes to shop for some exclusive clothing and accessories as well as unique souvenirs and local handicrafts. Shopping in these sorts of stores directly supports the Cuban people and the Cuban families financially while encouraging independent entrepreneurial activities that in turn strengthen civil society in Cuba.
    Vinales Valley, Support for The Cuban People Tours & Travel Support for the Cuban People Cuba tours & travel will introduce USA citizens to local peasants in the Vinales Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, who have been growing the finest tobacco in the world for centuries. In fact, Pinar del Rio’s tobacco accounts for almost 70% of all tobacco produced in the Caribbean island. Ask any Cuban cigar connoisseur and they all agree it is the best quality too.
    El Patio de Pelegrin, Support for The Cuban People Activities Not to be missed during any Cuba travels aimed at Supporting the Cuban People, it is a visit to the outreach community project El Patio de Pelegrin. This humble privately-owned art gallery and pottery workshop in Consolacion del Sur has turned into a powerhouse for the promotion of cultural and artistic projects in this countryside community. This Support for the Cuban People activity will result in a meaningful interaction with the individuals of Cuba's countryside. We will present donations of educational & humanitarian items and ask how we can help promoting their work in the USA.
    Cuba Educational Tour Visit to Bay of Pigs. Traveling to the battlegrounds and landing beaches of the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 is a special addition to our Cuba education tours. We will tour key battle sites, monuments and museum to relive the history of the CIA sponsored invasion that was defeated within 72 hours by the revolutionary forces of the new government.
    Korimakao Ccommunity Project, Support for The Cuban People Activities During our Support for the Cuban People travels to Cuba, we will engage in authorized Support for the Cuban People activities that are organized by independent Cuban individuals and organizations. We will visit Korimakao, a cultural community project founded by popular Cuban actor Manuel Porto in the 1990’s in Playa Larga, a very remote rural county in southern Cuba. Porto wanted to bring theatre, music and dance to the inhabitants of this isolated area. The idea grew into the Korimakao Theatre Troupe & Cultural Project that currently involves local residents and artists.
    Cienfuegos city, Cuba. The Jose Marti Square is the place where the exploration of the old Cienfuegos usually starts in our educational tours to Cuba. With your Authentic Cuba Tours guide bringing back to life the times when the US purchased the region of La Louisiana from Napoleon, an event that prompted several families of French refuges from that territory to find a new home overseas in this area, we will relive the act of foundation of the city in 1819.
    Trazos Libres Community Project, Support for The Cuban People authorized activities We will visit Proyecto Comunitario Trazos Libres (Free Strokes Community Project), founded by contemporary Cuban visual artist, Santiago Hermes in La Gloria neighborhood, in Cienfuegos. Hermes has turned his house into the operational base for a cooperative of local artists whose work center around the preservation and promotion of Cuban artistic traditions through the production of art exhibits, performances and installations about the sugar, cigar and coffee production. During this Support for the Cuban People visit, we will mingle among the artists and enjoy unique handicrafts, murals, photographs, and traditional costumes.
    Authentic Cuba Attraction: The Manaca Iznaga Tower. As a participant of our Support for the Cuban People Cuba tours, Americans will embark on a panoramic bus ride towards the Caribbean city of Trinidad, an authentic destination in Cuba. After traversing the Escambray mountain range and riding along the Caribbean Sea, you will arrive at this city which seems frozen in colonial time. Founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velazquez in 1514, Trinidad and the Sugar Mills Valley were declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
    Entre Hilos, Alas y Pinceles Community Project, Support for The Cuban People authorized activities During our Support for the Cuban People escape to Trinidad, we will engage in authorized Support for the Cuban People activities like a visit to Entre Hilos, Alas y Pinceles (Among Threads, Wings and Brushes), a Trinitarian artistic community project founded by renown painter and visual artist, Yudit Vidal who brought together over 20 very talented women artisans to produce finest linen clothing and embroidery of Trinitarian inspiration. The goal of this project is to provide a way for those craftswomen to financially support themselves and their families. Her painting on their traditional Trinidad stitching on linen produces unique artwork in high demand by locals and foreign visitors alike.
    Hemingway Cuba Travel 2014. Learning about Hemingway’s life in Cuba seems almost like a mandatory task for most US travelers visiting Cuba. Our Cuba tours for Americans follow in the footsteps of the famous American author in Cuba where he lived for over 20 years and where he wrote novels such as The Old Man and The Sea, for which Hemingway received the Nobel Prize in 1954.
    Children Playing in Jaimanitas, Cuba
    At Authentic Cuba Travel®, one of the Cuba travel tips we always give our American travelers is to visit local communities off the Cuba's tourism beaten track to discover the authentic Cuba. Those traveling to Cuba will meet ordinary Cubans whose lives have been positively impacted by the artwork of the Caribbean Picasso, Jose Fuster. We will visit their homes at the seaside village of Jaimanitas, the epicenter of Jose Fuster street art gallery project.
    Cafe Madrigal Cuba US citizens traveling to Cuba with Authentic Cuba Travel® engage in an array of Support for the Cuban People activities of high caliber. Like meeting with popular Cuban songwriter and musician Frank Delgado at the privately-owned Cafe El Madrigal to talk about the nueva trova movement in the Caribbean island and enjoy a musical performance.
    Fire of the Cannon Engaging with ordinary Cubans is the recipe that Cuba Engage Tours follows in the creation of meaningful Support for the Cuban People Cuba tours to achieve maximum exposure in between American citizens visiting Cuba and the Cuban people. And we are going to follow the hundreds of Cubans that meet at La Cabana Fortress every night to attend one of the most authentic ceremonies in Cuba, the Fire of the Cannon.
    Day 1. Your Support for the Cuban People Trip to Cuba Starts Today!
    Our Support for the Cuban People trip to Cuba starts after landing at Havana City international Airport, Jose Marti.

    We will be picked up at the airport by our Authentic Cuba Travel® 24/7 dedicated team: a university graduate bilingual Cuban tour guide and bus driver who will facilitate an array of Support for the Cuban People exchanges with Cubans along the way.

    We will be shown to our modern air-conditioning motor coach and enjoy a short ride to our hotel in the Vedado district, the epicenter of Havana’s bustling nightlife and pulsating music scene.

    We check in to the hotel at either the Riviera Hotel or Melia Cohiba Hotel and unwind for the remainder of the evening in preparation for the start of tomorrow’s fascinating Cuba Engage journey.

    The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast that is available at your leisure from 7am to 10am daily.
    Day 2. Old Havana through the Eyes of Cubans
    Morning: during our Support for the Cuban People trip to Cuba, we will engage in authorized Support for the Cuban People activities such as visits to internationally recognized nongovernmental organizations (Cuban NGOs) whose work promotes independent activity intended to strengthen the civil society in Cuba. This morning, we will visit the community project Barrio Habana in Old Havana. During this visit we will engage with their members to learn more about the role of this Cuban independent organization.

    Dedicated to improve the quality of life of the children and elders in the community, this program consists on improving their community in any way possible. From simple street cleanups to the organization of art exhibitions, food drives, street performances as well as workshops with popular Cuba athletes, musicians and other personalities, the organizers aim to engage children and elders in educational, joyful and fulfilling activities.

    We will meet with project organizers as well as Cuban children, teenagers and the elderly in the community to learn about their mission. This Support for the Cuban People activity will result in a meaningful interaction with the individuals of Cuba. We will present donations of educational & humanitarian items and ask how we can help promoting their message of peace in the USA.

    Next we will pay a visit to the Scale Model of Old Havana where we will meet with Cuban architect Miguel Coyula of the Group for the Comprehensive Development of Havana City.

    Recently featured in CNN's The Wonder List by Bill Weir, Miguel brings a wealth of insight into Havana’s growth over the years and the influence that Spanish colonial, baroque, and art deco periods has had on Cuban architecture. With the impending growth in tourism, Miguel will also provide an insightful overview on the future urbanization and development of Old Havana. Miguel’s presentation at the Scale Model of Old Havana, which is the second largest in the world, will by far give you the most interesting perspective on the city’s growth.

    Then we will go around Old Havana (or Habana Vieja) for 1 hour or so to visit historical sites and attractions that add to Cuba’s remarkable story. Through the eyes of Cuban architects and city planners, we’ll also get a better appreciation for Havana’s growth and development and learn more about the eclectic influence on the local architecture which is clearly evident in the detailed design of Havana’s historical district.

    Our walking tour of Old Havana, starts at the Square of Arms, the site of foundation of the city by the Spaniards at the beginning of the 16th century.

    Flanked by the Fortress of the Royal Fortress, the oldest military castle in Cuba; the Palace of the Captain Generals, and the Palace of the Vice-Governor of the Island, the Square of Arms was the epicenter of Spanish authority, military ruling and governance of the Cuban colony right until the end of the 19th century. Today the magnificent buildings around the square contain important cultural institutions, libraries, and museums such as the Museum of the City and the Museum of Natural Sciences.

    Our guided walking tour will continue to Plaza de San Francisco, the center of the city’s commercial life of the city in colonial times- a role to be played until modern times. In 1909, a commodities market was built here, La Lonja del Comercio (Havana Exchange)- this domed building was fully restored at the turn of the 20th century, and it currently serves as the headquarters of foreign firms with joint ventures in Cuba. Tours to Cuba from USA provide a rude awakening for Americans on the fact that Cuba has been able to establish trade relations with many countries despite the US Embargo in place.

    Your Cuba tour also include a visit to the Old Square. Most of the historic buildings surrounding the square have been fully restored. Today they showcase some of Cuba’s main art galleries and cultural institutions such as the National Photography Gallery, The Center for the Development of Visual Arts, and La Casona Art Gallery that we will visit as part of our Cuba tours and travel experience.

    The Cuba travel experience will end up in the Cathedral Square surrounded by noble colonial buildings such as the Palacio de Los Marqueses de Aguas Claras, Casa Lombillo, Palacio de los Marqueses de Arcos and the Cathedral of Havana, designed by Italian architect Borromini. Dating from the second half of the 18th century, the Cathedral contains a beautiful marble altar and numerous artworks worth visiting.

    Featured Lunch: a new wave of paladares (privately-owned restaurants) has recently swept the Cuban dining scene offering excellent food and charming ambient. Today we’ll enjoy a welcome lunch at the stylish La California, one of Havana's top ten private restaurants.

    This is a unique opportunity to see how Cuban entrepreneurship is reshaping the dilapidated Cuban culinary industry one dish at a time. As part of your lunch and your Support for the Cuban People experience to Cuba, we will establish a dialogue with local restaurateurs to learn how they have been able to reconcile the socialist centralized economy with the demands of the free market in the booming private Cuban hospitality industry.

    Afternoon: just up the southwest corner of Plaza de La Catedral, we find the Experimental Printing Workshop. The meaningful exchange in between the US travelers and the Cubans is quite an unforgettable experience of our Cuba tours and travel. Next we will meet with a cooperative of young artists who work tirelessly, shirtless in an airy, spacious colonial building where we can see original prints being created.

    Next we will pay a visit to Piscolabis Bazar-Café, a privately-owned Cuban bazaar and coffee shop run by self-employed (cuentapropista) Cuban fashion designer Sandra De Huelbes to shop for some exclusive clothing and accessories as well as unique souvenirs and local handicrafts. Shopping in these sorts of stores directly supports the Cuban people and the Cuban families financially while encouraging independent entrepreneurial activities that in turn strengthen civil society in Cuba.

    The array objects for sale are as diverse as the team of Cuban artists that produce them. Supporting these Cuban creators is the main objective of our shopping visits. While sipping on Cuban coffee, we will engage with our Cuban hosts in conversations to learn more about their approach to empower artistic creation inspired by Cuban culture.

    Evening: this evening we will visit the home of a Cuban, Elsa who has managed to create a privately-owned cultural project in the rooftop of an Old Havana dilapidated building. Elsa, the leader of a popular musical band that will play live tonight, will teach our Cuba tour participants to play and to dance to Cuba’s most popular rhythms such as Son and Salsa. This is another great chance for our American visitors to support and to learn firsthand about the daily life of ordinary Cubans.
    Day 3. Engaging with Tobacco Farmers at Vinales, UNESCO World Heritage Site
    Morning: to travel to the authentic Cuba is to take time to visit Cuba's countryside and to explore picturesque, colorful towns and villages. Following breakfast at our hotel, we are off to Pinar del Rio, the most western of Cuba’s provinces, which accounts for almost 70% of all tobacco produced in the Caribbean island.

    Worldwide known for its beautiful landscapes and tobacco plantations, its local rum, and its easy-going good nature people, Pinar del Rio contains some of Cuba’s most wonderful natural attractions such as the Vinales Valley and the Vinales Colonial Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that we will explore today.

    En route to Vinales Valley, we will visit the outreach community project El Patio de Pelegrin, the brainchild of Cuban painter Mario Pelegrin. This humble privately-owned art gallery and pottery workshop in Consolacion del Sur Municipality (Western Cuba) has turned into a powerhouse for the promotion of cultural and artistic projects in this countryside community.

    During this visit we will engage with Mario Pelegrin and his team to learn more about the role of this independent organization in Pinar del Rio. This Support for the Cuban People activity will result in a meaningful interaction with the individuals of Consolacion del Sur, Cuba. We will present donations of educational & humanitarian items and ask how we can help promoting their work in the USA.

    Upon arriving at Vinales town, we will enjoy a delicious traditional countryside lunch at the privately-owned bar-restaurant Paladar Yuri & Nino, El Campesino. Yuri is a young woman entrepreneur who started this small restaurant that has expanded into a large establishment. Yuri and her family work hard to create delicious and plentiful food that comes with a beautiful mountain view.

    Afternoon: recently CNN’s Bill Weir met with Vinales tobacco farmers and talked tobacco, politics and cash on its The Wonder List documentary.

    Now it is our time to go upfront and learn firsthand about the challenges tobacco peasants face in the new reality of Cuba’s changing economy. This is a high caliber Support for the Cuban People encounter in which US visitors will gain invaluable insights. Support for the Cuban People tours for Americans should engage ordinary Cubans in extensive dialogue, not just come here to take pictures of one of the world most beautiful landscapes.

    For Cuban cigar connoisseurs, Cuban cigars are simply the best quality. The secret is hidden in these lands and in the knowledge of these peasants who have been using traditional harvesting techniques for years. Would it all change due to the increasing US tourism boom that many anticipate? Is it actually happening?

    Our tours and travel to Cuba continues with a meeting with the owners of a local “Room for Rent” business. After Cuba’s open up to private enterprise, renting rooms and houses have become one of the most popular activities among Cubans. Even Vinales town, tucked away in Sierra de Los Organos, is not immune to the entrepreneurial fever overtaking Cuba these days. And private accommodation businesses are booming in the village of Vinales.

    Cuba tourism is also drawn to Cueva del Indio, an underground cave that we will visit next. The cave system of the region is among the largest in Cuba; therefore, some cave exploration is worthwhile. The participants in our Cuba tours will go some 400 meters on foot into this cave, once a burial site for Cuba’s native inhabitants, and then take a boat ride through an underground river that emerges at the other side of the mogote.

    Our American visitors will also enjoy free time to explore at their own leisurely pace the Village of Vinales, and the numerous authentic Cuban attractions and activities of the area. To mention some, the privately-owned Vinales botanical garden, the arts and crafts markets; the town’s main square and parish, and other sites. This is also a great time for US citizens to meet Cubans informally and learn more about each other. Cubans are as eager to learn about life in North America as we are about learning the Cuban ways.

    In the late afternoon, we will head back to Havana city.
    Day 4. Bohemian Cuba: Upfront and Personal with Cuban Artists
    Morning: during our Support for the Cuban People trip to Cuba, we will engage in authorized Support for the Cuban People activities such as a visit to the recognized independent community project Muraleando. Founded in 2001 by several Cuban artists and led by Project Co-ordinator Manuel Diaz Baldrich, the Muraleando project arose mainly in response to the community's concern over rising crime rates and a neighbourhood physically deteriorating.

    A small but devoted group of artists came together to volunteer their time and skills to help establish a centre for arts, music, dance and theatre, that it might help to engage the young and old alike in the neighbourhood, in constructive activities, neighbourhood beautification, and community enrichment. We'll spend the balance of the day helping out community members with improvement projects and chores.

    This Support for the Cuban People activity will result in a meaningful interaction with the individuals of the 10 de Octubre Municipality in Havana, Cuba. We will present donations of educational & humanitarian items.

    At Authentic Cuba Travel®, one of the Cuba travel tips we always give our American travelers is to support local communities off the Cuba's tourism beaten track to discover the authentic Cuba. And that’s what we will do next.

    Our US visitors will meet ordinary Cubans whose lives have been positively impacted by the artwork of the Caribbean Picasso- a nickname Cuban artist Jose Fuster is commonly given. We will visit their homes at the seaside village of Jaimanitas, the epicenter of Jose Fuster street art gallery & community project. Here dozens of humble homes are covered in amazing, wildly ceramic murals, and other artworks.

    Complimentary lunch will be hosted by the artist himself in his personal residence and privately-owned studio-art gallery.

    Afternoon: our Cuba travel services include private visit to the privately-owned studios Cuba’s high caliber artists. Those whose artwork is collected and exhibited by the most important European and North American Museums of Contemporary Arts and chic galleries.

    While most Cuban painters, photographers and sculptors sell their art happily at very low prices in the tourist full packed streets, private galleries and markets of Old Havana, the well-established artists avoid these sort of establishments, and exhibit in the most prestigious art galleries and museums in Cuba and abroad only. Usually their art pieces sell for thousands of dollars and a permit of export is usually required to take their art out of the country.

    This afternoon, American travelers to Cuba will visit the privately-owned studios and personal art galleries of some of them such as Alicia Leal, Juan Moreira, Ernesto Benitez, Yamilis Brito and Jacqueline Brito in the middle-upper-class Vedado neighborhood.

    Before heading back to the hotel, we will pay a visit to Rox 950 Jewellery store, a privately-owned Cuban jewelry store run by Cuban self-employed (cuentapropistas), designer and business woman, Rosana Vargas.

    Shopping in these sorts of stores directly supports the Cuban people and the Cuban families financially while encouraging independent entrepreneurial activities that in turn strengthen civil society in Cuba.

    Supporting Cuban women entrepreneurs like Rosana Vargas is the main objective of our shopping visits. We will engage with our Cuban host Rosana Vargas and her team in a conversation to learn more about the Cuban culture and how she has established her handmade silver jewelry brand in Cuba and in the USA.

    Evening: US citizens traveling to Cuba with Authentic Cuba Travel® engage in an array of Support for the Cuban People and cultural exchanges of high caliber. And tonight is no exception. We will meet with popular Cuban songwriter and musician Frank Delgado at Cafe El Madrigal to talk about the nueva trova movement in the Caribbean island and enjoy a musical performance.

    El Madrigal is the brainchild of Cuban filmmaker Rafael Rosales who transformed this 19th century Vedado mansion into a whimsical, bohemian paladar (local term for privately owned restaurant). The life and work of Rosales himself, as a filmmaker for over 20 years, is artistically on display through personal memorabilia, artwork, movie posters, pictures, and photographs. Cocktails and tapas are included in the price of your Cuba travel services tonight. Enjoy!
    Day 5. Reliving USA- Cuban History by Traveling to Bay of Pigs
    Morning: having access to authentic Cuban sites of grand cultural and historical significance away from the beaten path it is a highlight of our Support for the Cuban People tours to Cuba from USA. And over the next two days, our Cuba Engage travels will be traversing picturesque towns, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historical locations along the Caribbean coasts of central Cuba.

    Our Cuba exploration starts today at Peninsula de Zapata and the Bay of Pigs, the site of the botched invasion launched by 1400 Cuban exiles in 1961 under the Kennedy administration. However, the plan was developed during the times of US President Eisenhower when the CIA trained and armed Cuban exiles for an invasion of their homeland with the objectives of overthrown the new government of Fidel Castro and establish a US friendly government.

    On April 17, 1961, the Brigade 2506 (the Cuban-exile invasion force) landed at several beaches along the Bay of Pigs. Over the next 24 hours the Cuban government moved to the region over twenty thousand troops and a number of planes that played a desicive role in sinking escort ships and causing great damage to the air support of the Cuban exiles.

    On April 19, President Kennedy authorized that unmarked American fighter jets help covering the Brigade 2506’s B-26 planes that took off from Nicaragua to support the attack. Yet they were shot down by the Cuban air forces and anti-aircraft artillery, and soon the invasion was defeated. Within 72 hours 1197 invaders were captured and over 200 killed.

    Today we will relive the history of the invasion as we go through the area. Finally we will visit the Museum Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs Museum) that contains artifacts, photos and documentation related to the invasion including a British Sea Fury plane that was used by the Cuban Air Force.

    During our Support for the Cuban People trip to Cuba, we will engage in authorized Support for the Cuban People activities that are organized by independent Cuban individuals and organizations. Next we will visit Korimakao, a cultural community project founded by popular Cuban actor Manuel Porto in the 1990’s in Playa Larga, a very remote rural county in southern Cuba.

    Porto wanted to bring theatre, music and dance to the inhabitants of this isolated area. The idea grew into the Korimakao Theatre Troupe & Cultural Project that currently involves local residents and artists.

    During this visit we will engage with project directors Yander Roche and Hilda Tamayo to learn more about the role of this Cuban based nongovernmental organization in the promotion of culture in rural Cuba.

    This Support for the Cuban People activity will result in a meaningful interaction with the individuals of Cuba. We will enjoy a special performance by Korimakao artists, musicians and dancers and present donations of educational & humanitarian items.

    We will enjoy a delicious seafood lunch at privately-owned restaurant Paladar El Butty. We will meet the owner (akas El Butty) and his family who serve the best seafood in town accompanied by great hospitality!

    Afternoon: after lunch, we will continue our bus ride eastern bound along the Caribbean coast to the city of Cienfuegos, also known as the Pearl of the South. Considered as one on the most important commercial hubs of Cuba today, the city also contains a beautiful historical center that was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of its wealth of 19th Century neoclassical buildings.

    Upon arrival in Cienfuegos city, we will visit Proyecto Comunitario Trazos Libres (Free Strokes Community Project), a cultural community project founded by contemporary Cuban visual artist, Santiago Hermes in La Gloria neighborhood, in Cienfuegos city.

    Hermes has turned his house into the operational base for a cooperative of local artists whose work center around the preservation and promotion of Cuban artistic traditions through the production of art exhibits, performances and installations about the sugar, cigar and coffee production.

    During this Support for the Cuban People visit, we will mingle among the artists and enjoy unique handicrafts, murals, photographs, and traditional costumes. We will learn more about the role of this Cuban based nongovernmental art collective in the promotion of culture in countryside Cuba. This Support for the Cuban People activity will result in a meaningful interaction with the individuals of Cienfuegos, Cuba. We will present donations of educational & humanitarian items.

    Escorted by local city planners and architects from the Office of the City Historian, the local organization in charge of the preservation and restoration of Cienfuegos Historical Center, we will embark on a walking tour of Old Cienfuegos. We will start in Parque Marti, a large square that is centered by a statue of Jose Marti, Cuba’s national hero, and surrounded by Cienfuegos’s most imposing neoclassical buildings such as the Tomas Terry Theatre, the impressive neoclassical Catedral de La Purisima Concepcion, Palacio Ferrer, better known today as Casa de La Cultura.

    Time permitting, we will visit to the privately-owned studios of some of Cienfuegos most important visual artists the likes of Ernesto Rodríguez González and Dilema Baldovi Gutiérrez.

    We now go back to Punta Gorda neighbourhood to check in at the Jagua hotel rising over the vast bay of Cienfuegos that opens to the Caribbean Sea. Dinner is complimentary at our hotel today.
    Day 6. Discovering the Authentic Cuba, Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Morning: after enjoying a complimentary buffet breakfast at our hotel this morning, we will embark on a day trip to one of Cuba’s more authentic destinations, Trinidad and the Sugar Mill Valley both declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

    The 45 minute coastal road trip is as worthy as the destination itself. And we will enjoy the amazing natural scenery of the Escambray Mountains and the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea as we go.

    During our Support for the Cuban People trip to Trinidad, we will engage in authorized Support for the Cuban People activities that are organized by independent Cuban individuals and organizations.

    Upon arrival we will visit Entre Hilos, Alas y Pinceles (Among Threads, Wings and Brushes), a Trinitarian artistic community project founded by renown painter and visual artist, Yudit Vidal. Ms. Vidal has brought together over 20 very talented women artisans to produce finest linen clothing and embroidery of Trinitarian inspiration.

    The goal of this project was to provide a way for those craftswomen to financially support themselves and their families. Her painting on their traditional Trinidad stitching on linen produces unique artwork in high demand by locals and foreign visitors alike.

    During this visit we will exchange with community members and Ms. Vidal, who has been named as "Ambassador for Peace" by the International Circle of Ambassadors for Peace of Switzerland and France. This Support for the Cuban People activity will result in a meaningful interaction with the craftswomen and their families. We will present donations of educational & humanitarian items.

    Escorted by local city planners and architects from the Office of the City Historian, the local organization in charge of the preservation and restoration of Trinidad Historical Centre, we will embark on a walking tour of the old city.

    As we tour Trinidad’s Historical Center today, we will find that behind most colonial palaces of red terracotta tiles, wide porticoes and ample balconies there’s the name and fortune of a sugar cane baron with properties in the nearby Valle de Los Ingenios (Sugar Mill Valley).

    We will visit the Iglesia Parroquial de La Santisima Trinidad, that threasures the venerated Christ of the Veracruz; the Museo de La Lucha contra Bandidos, located in a former 18th century convent of San Francisco de Asis that displays objects related to the war against counter revolutionary military groups that operated in Sierra del Escambray in the early years of the Cuban Revolution; and many other buildings.

    Next, we will board our air-conditioning bus for a short 10 minute ride to the Valle de Los Ingenios (Sugar Mill Valley). By now we know the importance of the valley for the economic development of the city so it is only fair we pay a visit. We will stop at a lookout for a panoramic view of the series of valleys (San Luis, Agabama-Meyer and Santa Rosa) that comprise the Sugar Mill Valley. Many of the mills and estate house remain today (mainly in ruins though).

    We will have a complimentary lunch at privately-owned restaurant, Paladar Solananda (one of Trinidad’s top ten private restaurants) located in a exquisitely refurbished colonial house showcasing European antiques and furniture. We will exchange with the staff and owners over mojitos to learn more about their entrepreneurial dreams in a centralized economy.

    Afternoon: we visit the Casa Templo de Santería Yemayá. This is an opportunity to see a Santeria altar dedicated to Yemayá, Goddess of the Sea, and exchange with religious leaders about Afro-Cuban religion and influences in Cuba today.

    As we walk the streets of Trinidad, we will run literally into dozens of privately-owned studios and art galleries, most of them catering to mass international tourism to Cuba. Yet there are those rare artists who are not driven by commercialism, but by genuine artistic expressions. That’s the case of Iván Basso and Jorge César Sáenz. That's why, we have chosen to devote some time during our Cuba tours to give our tour participants the chance to get to know them better.

    It could be the quality of the region’s clay and the skills of the artisans who have been passing from generation to generation the genuine techniques, but the fact remains that Trinidad’s pottery making is one of Cuba's most authentic traditions. We will visit the privately-owned Workshop of the Santanders, one of those legendary families next.

    Before heading back to Cienfuegos, we will visit the Galerias de Arte Universal (Universal Art Gallery) housed in the former Ortiz Palace where we will find original contemporary art by local artists.

    Return to your hotel in Cienfuegos.

    Dinner is complimentary at our hotel tonight, but we can also take some time on our own to enjoy a local paladar (private restaurants). Paladares are abundant in town today.

    After dinner, we could pay a visit to nearby Casa de La Musica to listen to Cuba’s best salsa bands live and dance with Cubans and tour mates. Our Authentic Cuba Travel® guide will keep us posted on the schedule of evening venues in the city.
    Day 7. Hemingway, an American in Havana
    After a complimentary breakfast at your hotel, we will board our bus and head back to Havana.

    Upon arrival at the city, we will visit one of Hemingway’s favorite communities, Cojimar, a fisherman village founded in the 17th century at the mouth of the Cojimar river. Cojimar was also the harbor where Hemingway kept El Pilar, his famous wooden boat and pretty much the model of the fishing village that serves as the backdrop of The Old Man and The Sea. The American novelist spent countless afternoons in this coastal town drinking with local fishermen like Anselmo Hernandez, the man who inspired him to create Santiago, the main character of his 1954 Nobel Prize novel.

    We will have lunch at another privately-owned restaurant, Paladar Casa Grande serving delicious Cuban food in a charming environment. As part of our lunch and our Support for the Cuban People experience to Cuba, we will establish a dialogue with local restaurateurs and staff to learn how they have been able to reconcile the socialist centralized economy with the demands of the free market in the booming private Cuban hospitality industry.

    After lunch we will go for an exploration of the village. There’s even small plaza named after Hemingway near the Cojimar waterfront which is centered by small gazebo and a bronze bust of the American author.

    Learning about Hemingway’s life in Cuba seems almost like a mandatory task for most Americans visiting Cuba. And this afternoon, US travelers will have the chance to follow the trails of the famous American author in Cuba. We will start with a visit to the lookout farm, Finca La Vigia where Hemingway made his home for over 20 years. Here he wrote 7 of its most famous books such as Islands in The Stream and The Old Man and The Sea. Hemingway was beloved by the humble, ordinary Cuban people he like to spend time with. Hemingway loved the Cuban people back. In 1954 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize, he donated it to the Cubans as a gesture of gratitude.

    Before checking in at our hotel we will pay a visit to Clandestina Store and Studio, the first privately-owned store opened in Cuba in 2015, and run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropistas) Idania del Rio y Leire Fernandez to buy some unique Cuban fashion clothing.

    Shopping in these sorts of stores directly supports the Cuban people and the Cuban families financially while encouraging independent entrepreneurial activities that in turn strengthen civil society in Cuba. Supporting Cuban entrepreneurs like this collective of fashion designers and creators is the main objective of our shopping visits during our Support for the Cuban People tour. While visiting their studio and store, we will engage with our Cuban host in a conversation to learn more about the Cuban culture and their approach to reuse and repurpose clothing to establish their urban fashion brand. Check in at your hotel in Havana

    Evening: following the locals is the approach Cuba Engage Tours follow in the creation of meaningful Support for the Cuban People Cuba tours to achieve maximum exposure of American visitors to the local culture. And tonight we are going to follow the hundreds of Cubans that meet at La Cabana Fortress every night to attend one of the most authentic ceremonies in Cuba, the Fire of the Cannon of 9 O'Clock.
    Day 8. Departure
    After breakfast and check out this morning, we will say good bye to Cuba. Our Authentic Cuba Travel® bus driver and tour guide will escort us back to the Havana City’s international airport for taking flights back to North America. We wish your travel to Cuba to be among your most rewarding travel experiences ever!

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