Afro-Cuban Essence: A Cultural Voyage in Cuba
Program activities, schedules and personnel may change due to local circumstances.
In such an event, we will alert you as quickly as possible.
Day by Day
The tour coordinator will greet everyone, and we will review the program schedule, emergency procedures and answer questions. After orientation we will set out with our tour coordinator to take a walk and explore the area around the hotel. At a restaurant, we will enjoy a welcome dinner with a delicious set menu.
Breakfast at the hotel. We will depart from the hotel by private bus towards Old Havana where we will meet a local expert who will lead our walking tour around the area discovering the main colonial squares. We will continue visiting the Museum of The Revolution where we will learn the history of Cuba from the early 1960s to the present. In the afternoon a local expert will join us for a presentation on Religion and Santería in Cuba.
Breakfast at the hotel. We will take a private bus to Matanzas, an important town not only for its important literary and musical legacy, but also for being the cradle of several Afro Cuban religions. We will visit the San Severino Castle, a fortress where the Africans slaves disembarked in the XVIII century. Afterwards, we will have a walking tour around Matanzas, discovering the main points like the Vigía square, Sauto Theatre, Ediciones Vigía (unique publishing house founded in 1985) and the Triolet pharmacy, first founded in Latin America.
In the afternoon we will return to Havana.
Breakfast at the hotel. We will depart to Marianao, outside of Havana, a neighborhood known for its Santería tradition and for its social commitment. We will visit and learn about a special social project which promotes the development of the community by creative, solidarity and participatory actions. We will have the opportunity to know about the secret Abakuá society. Afterwards we will enjoy a gastronomic and solidary experience at the same community.
Breakfast at the hotel. We will depart to Viñales Valley, UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we will enter Mogotes (limestone mounds) located on top of tobacco plantations and one of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world. The first stop will be at a tobacco plantation where we will learn about this important and artisanal farming. After this, we will enjoy a delicious set menu at an ecological open-air restaurant, enjoying the magical landscape.
Afterwards, we will tour around the Natural Park visiting the Indigenous caves (their old native homes) and the famous prehistorical mural.
Finally, we will check in at Casas Particulares, private guest houses with all amenities which contribute to the local economy. Afterwards we’ll set out with our tour coordinator to take a walk and explore the area around Viñales.
After an early breakfast at Casa Particular, we will depart to Trinidad, Cuba’s finest colonial town founded in 1514, UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town was built thanks to the success of the sugar industry from the beginning of the XIX century produced near the Ingenio Valley. We will visit downtown discovering its architectural value and explore the History Museum showing the high-class architecture and neoclassical decoration of colonial mansions.
Breakfast at Casa Particular. We will depart to The Ingenio valley, located 5 miles from Trinidad, the place where the Ingenios (sugar factory) settled, becoming the epicenter of the sugar industry in Cuba during the XIX century.
The first stop will be at The Ingenio Valley lookout where you can see a panoramic view of the valley which is now a World Heritage Site. You will learn about Cuba’s sugar industry through the many old sugar cane mills, plantation houses, and barracks. Afterwards, we’ll visit San Isidro de los Destiladeros, probably the last example of the many archaeological sites found in the valley. Finally, we’ll visit Manaca-Iznaga town with its famous Tower and local artisans.
Optional: Climb to the Manaca Iznaga Tower, old vigilance tower used to control slaves where you can also enjoy amazing views.
After lunch, we will visit a local pottery workshop where artisans produce classical pieces that characterize the city of Trinidad.
To finish our stay in this marvelous city, we will assist a live music and dance show at Palenque de los Congos Reales, where the rumba drummers and African rhythms will not leave you indifferent.
Breakfast at Casa Particular. We will depart to Havana. At night, we will go to the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, a colonial fort used to protect the town from pirate invasions in the past. You will be able to witness the cannon blast ceremony that takes place each night at 9 pm repeating the old tradition of the cannon blast which was used to give the sign of the city’s curfew, moment in which the doors of old Havana’s wall would close.
Breakfast at the hotel. We will enjoy the morning learning about one of the main Santería neighborhoods in Havana, Cayo Hueso. An expert guide will show us the picturesque Hamel alley and how the Cuban artist Salvador Gonzáles Escalona describes his Afro-Cuban style as a mix of surrealism, cubism, and abstract art. Afterwards, we will immerse ourselves in the Afro Cuban culinary culture through a fantastic cooking workshop, where we will enjoy a real Cuban Ajiaco.
Breakfast at the hotel. We will take a private bus to Regla, on the other side of the Havana bay. There, we will visit the Regla Sanctuary, a temple where both Catholic and Santería faith are worshipped. Later, we will learn more about Santería at Guanabacoa Museum. Free afternoon to pack, explore or just relax.
Farewell dinner at a restaurant.
Customize your trip according to your interests by adding any of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.