Tour introduction and overview of activities

  • Experience the Tropicana dance show
  • Visit humanitarian projects in Havana
  • Relax on Havana’s eastern beaches
  • Cruise in 1950s American classic cars
  • Ride in bicycle taxis and coconut cabs
  • Visit Ernest Hemingway’s house
  • Cuban cooking lesson by master chefs
  • Curated history and art museum visits
  • Afrocuban and community projects
  • Tour Old Havana World Heritage sites

Havana extravaganza is the trip thousands of Americans have picked to witness authentic Cuba. It’s our most popular and affordable tour.

You will stay in the New Iberostar Hotel Riviera. The notorious Riviera was opened in 1957 as an opulent Las Vegas-style casino by American mobster Meyer Lansky. In recent decades the Riviera fell into disrepair and ill repute. Today Iberostar is returning the Riviera to its former glory as a symbol of 1950s modernism and comfort.

Wow factors. Hear music on the streets and feel it at the gala Tropicana floor show. Taste unique delicacies of Cuban cuisine. Swim in the warm, clean waters of Caribbean Sea. Discover heart-warming humanitarian projects in Old Havana. Ogle fantastic architecture and art. Behold kind effusive Cubans eager to connect with Americans.

Habana mi amor. On this tour, you’ll see and do a little bit of everything. It provides an up-close slice of Cuba life and culture. Geared to explorers, adventurers and sojourners seeking new encounters, and insights on humanity. It’s the ideal way for first-time visitors to learn about island society, or for returning guests who can’t get enough of Cuba.

Cuba’s big! Its land mass is 42,426 square miles – about 80 percent the size of Alabama. Cuba is nearly as large as Louisiana, and larger than Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Altogether it’s bigger than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont combined.

Day 1 • Saturday • Hello Havana!

  • Arrival at Havana’s José Martí International Airport.
  • Collect your luggage and proceed through Cuban customs to the arrivals lobby.
  • Consider purchasing Cuban Convertible Pesos at the airport exchange bureau (CADECA), or later at your hotel.
  • Our airport concierge or your tour guide will arrange tour bus or private taxi transfers from the airport to the New Iberostar Hotel Riviera located in El Vedado, the heart of Havana’s cultural district. Every room has a panoramic view of Havana and the sea, and five hours of high-speed internet access.
  • Check-in to your hotel. Enjoy a welcome cocktail, then settle in and freshen up.
  • Dinner is served at your hotel’s restaurant.
  • Evening entertainment options: Groove to live jazz, relax in a lounge, or revel in a hot dance show at the New Riviera.

Day 2 • Sunday • Romancing historic Havana

  • The New Riviera serves delicious breakfasts prepared by Havana’s best chefs.
  • Vedado sightseeing: Visit Plaza de la Revolución. Awe at the giant image of Ché Guevara and the towering monument to José Martí, Cuba’s national hero. Then onto the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba frequented by world leaders and superstars. At points in between you’ll savor the architecture of one of the oldest and most stunning cities in the New World.
  • Bicycle made for you. Now on to Parque Central the location of Cuba’s national capitol building. It’s a scale model of the U.S. Capitol, only taller. We’ll enlist a cortège of bicycle taxis, and navigate the Old Havana's narrow streets that exude charm and vitality.
  • Followed by a guided walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll explore four landmark plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. Together they contain the most extensive collection of remaining Spanish colonial-era architecture in the world. We’ll wander Cathedral Square, Square of Arms, San Francisco Square, and Plaza Vieja.
  • Welcome lunch is held at the private restaurant Mojito-Mojito. Ideally situated in Plaza Vieja, its friendly atmosphere, and delicious food makes it rank high on TripAdvisor. The restaurant's slogan: "A single mojito is not enough".
  • Now we visit Casablanca, a quaint village to the north of Havana accessible by ferry. The hamlet was established in 1762 by shipbuilders and carpenters who serviced Spanish galleons and merchant vessels. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the giant marble sculpture "Christ of Havana," and the National Weather Observatory. Its panoramic view across the bay to metropolitan Havana is mesmerizing. Fortunately, Eusebio Leal, president of the Office of the Historian of Havana, is restoring Casablanca to its deserved past glory.
  • We'll visit the magnificent statue Christ of Havana [Cristo de La Habana] once in Casablanca. Cuban sculptor Jilma Madera won a 1953 design contest organized by the wife of dictator Fulgencio Batista. Jilma Madera sculpted her work in Italy and shipped the marble pieces to Havana. It is carved from 67 blocks of white Carrara (each blessed by Pope Pius XII), stands 74 feet tall from its base, and weighs 320 tons. It's the largest statue created by a female artist.
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up.
  • Joyride. We’re off to dinner in a cavalcade of Cuban coconut cabs. Cocotaxis are a delightful crazy vehicle with a body shaped like a coconut set atop a motorcycle frame. Get ready for an exciting ride along the Malecón to your restaurant in Old Havana.
  • Welcome dinner. Hello to paladar Iván Chef Justo. Set in an ancient house in Old Havana, built in 1766, you can expect spectacular innovative food. It’s a light and airy place where it always seems to feel like springtime. The service is excellent, professional, attentive and quick. It gets top reviews in all social media.
  • Paradise under the stars. We’re off to the Tropicana experience. It’s a glimpse of pre-revolution Cuba, where Carmen Miranda, Josephine Baker, Nat King Cole and others entertained the wealthy with Latin dance numbers performed by women with 10-pound headdresses. It’s a stunning pageant filled with music, crazy dance numbers, a few contortionists and acrobats, and showgirls decked out in fabulous costumes. Many say the Tropicana is more inviting and earthy than glitzy Las Vegas productions.

Day 3 • Monday • Ernest Hemingway, Cuban cooking

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Foodie’s delight. Imagine how thrilled your friends will be when you return home and prepare authentic Cuban food and mojitos for them. This morning we’ll learn from the renowned Cuban chefs at El Ajiaco Paladar the secrets of preparing tasty Cuban dishes and drinks.
  • Lunch under the palms. El Ajiaco is considered one of the best private eateries in Havana and ranks high on TripAdvisor lists. Hands down it’s a Cuban dining highlight. Ajiaco is noted for fantastic service, atmosphere and scrumptilicious traditional Cuba cuisine. Organic vegetables and spices are supplied by nearby family gardens, lending to each dish a delightfully fresh aromatic flavor you’ll always remember.
  • Brief visit to the village of Cojímar, a small fishing community of east Havana. Here local fishers cast bronze bust of Hemingway from old anchors, props and tools. Inscription reads, “In loving memory of the people of Cojímar to the immortal author of Old Man and the Sea.” A plaque below the bust notes, “Sculpted with the contributions of the Fishermen Cooperative of Cojímar.”
  • Hemingway’s haunt. We’re off to visit Finca Vigía [Lookout Farm] where North America’s literary titan Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years penning building blocks of English literature. Claimed by both the United States and Cuba as their son, it was Hemingway himself who declared the island his true home. Hemingway’s house has been preserved just as it was when he lived there. You’ll see his personal effects, thousands of books and photographs, as well as animal trophies bagged on his frequent African safaris.
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. It’s an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 4 • Tuesday • Beach and National Capitol Building

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • We'll visit Cuba's National Capitol Building, a Latin American architectural treasure. Its size and appearance are similar to Washington's Capitol Building, but the Pantheon in Paris inspired its opulent neoclassical form and art nouveau flourishes. Cuban architects Raúl Otero and Eugenio Rayneri Piedra designed the colossus in 1925, and construction began in 1926 by the U.S. firm Purdy and Henderson. Completed in 1929, it served as the seat of Congress until 1959 when Fidel and fellow rebels chose less bourgeois digs to conduct revolutionary affairs. From 1959 until 2018 the edifice housed the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Over ensuing decades, the Capitolio fell into critical disrepair. In 2010, Eusebio Leal, president of the Office of the Historian began a mammoth and meticulous restoration project. Today the Capitol resumes its role as the legislative center, housing Cuba's National Assembly. Restoration will be complete in November 2019 to mark the 500th birthday of the city of Havana. Chocked full of grand statuary and breathtaking ornamental details, Cuba's Capitol is a "can't miss" visit.
  • What would a trip to Cuba be without a view of the sea? We’re off to Havana’s eastern beaches known as Playas del Este. We’ll visit two notable white sand shores: Santa María del Mar and Guanabo. Just 30 minutes from the capital, en route we’ll gaze incredible tropical vistas of sea and countryside. First stop is Santa María del Mar and time to relax on 14 miles of palm-lined seashore of the Caribbean Sea. Later we’ll tour the small resort town of Guanabo founded in 1800. These littoral spots are loved by Cubans and foreign guests. Don’t forget your swimsuit, towels and beach gear.
  • Lunch is not included. At the beach there are numerous food vendors. While in Guanabo we’ll schedule a stop at a local paladar [private restaurant].
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. It’s an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 5 • Wednesday • Havana’s big heart and great art

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Charity act. We’re off to visit Convento de Nuestra Señora de Belén [Convent of Our Lady of Belén], a humanitarian healthcare and community service project in Old Havana. Construction of the massive Convent was begun in 1712. It was expanded and remodeled several times over the centuries. Finally abandoned in 1925, it fell into grave disrepair. In 1991 restoration began and continues today with fantastic results. The Office of the Historian (our Cuban sponsor), public health authorities and the Order of the Sisters of Charity jointly manage Belén Convent. It is home to fifty elderly people, and provides physiotherapy and ophthalmological services to many more seniors in the community. It hosts a day care and primary school. Other activities include exercise classes, board games, cognitive rehabilitation, films, crafts workshops, and “love among the elderly” workshops.
  • Good hair day. Arte Corte [Art Cut]: It’s a barbershop, it’s an art project, it’s a haircut museum, it’s a community center, park, and barber academy. Arte Corte is a little bit of everything. Stylist-proprietor-curator Gilberto Valladares, also known as Papito, runs this quaint spot in Old Havana, where visitors can have their hair cut or receive some other beauty treatment, all the while surrounded by objects, artifacts, and memorabilia that tell the story of hair care through the ages. It’s known as Callejón de los Peluqueros [Hairdresser’s Alley].
  • While in Hairdresser’s Alley, we’ll break bread at El Fígaro, affectionately named after the central character in the “The Barber of Seville.” It’s much kudoed in social media for atmosphere, gracious staff, Cuban music, delicious cocktails, and great food and desserts. Chef Alex Luco descends from a line of famed Cuban cooks. El Fígaro is part of the Arte Corte [Art Cut] community project that has received UNESCO World Heritage recognition. Its motto is “comida sin pelos” (food without hairs). Smile.
  • Art attack. Examine Cuba’s greatest visual masterpieces spanning three centuries at Havana’s museum of modern art – Palacio de Bellas Artes. Sections are devoted to landscape, religious subjects and narrative scenes of Cuban life over 300 years. Together the exhibits account for the richness of the island’s Spanish, French, Chinese, African and Aboriginal cultural roots. Notable works include those of René Portocarrero and Wilfredo Lam. You’ll meet and chat with museum staff and perhaps local artists.
  • Return to your hotel and freshen up.
  • Dinner not included in tour cost. It’s an occasion to sample Havana’s stellar private eateries and taste the diversity of the island’s distinctive cuisines. We’ll provide suggestions for restaurants most popular with Cubans and our travelers.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 6 • Thursday • Heavenly Havana and its people

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Now that you’ve become familiar with Havana, today is an opportunity to explore the many sights that piqued your interest independently. It’s an occasion to discover on your own, with tourmates, or your new Cuba friends. Your tour guide supplies lunch spot suggestions.
  • 1950s time travel. Think cocktails, Frank Sinatra, popsicles, sox hops, Hula Hoops, the twist, road trips, bikinis, I Love Lucy, Elvis Presley, and pink Cadillacs. One in ten cars in Havana were manufactured before 1959. And they’re all American: Chevrolet, Ford, Buick, Mercury, Dodge, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac. We’ll cruise the romantic Malecón in these lovingly maintained classics.
  • Special farewell dinner at the private restaurant Los Naranjos. Located in the heart of Vedado in an expansive 1930s mansion, its Chef Ernesto specializes in fusion style dishes combining Cuban, Italian and Spanish influences. Los Naranjos’ ambiance is fun and light, its food wonderful, authentic and fresh, and staff upbeat and attentive. It’s a favorite among TripAdvisor diners.
  • Time to explore Havana’s vibrant nightlife, and make new Cuban friends. We’ll keep you posted on evening entertainment options.

Day 7 • Friday • Adios Havana. Extend your stay?

  • Greet the day with tasty breakfast served at your hotel.
  • Check-out of your Havana hotel.
  • Transfer to Havana’s José Martí International Airport for flights home.
  • We’ll miss you and hope you will return soon. In Cuba we say: A true friend remembers the song in your heart when you have forgotten the lyrics.
  • Wait! Want to extend your stay in Cuba? We’re here to help. Just ask us.
Cuba travel is a challenge. Our staff and Cuban partners work super hard to make your tour unfold seamlessly despite Third World conditions on the island. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Flexible travelers understand this is part of their Cuban adventure.

Tour cost based on double room occupancy (sharing a double room during tour). Cost of a single room for duration of tour is $350.

Tour date Cost Comments Availability
Dec 15 to Dec 21, 2018
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$ 2349Sold Out
Dec 29 to Jan 4, 2019
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$ 2499Sold Out
Jan 12 to Jan 18, 2019
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$ 2349 $ 1999
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Jan 26 to Feb 1, 2019
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$ 2349Sold Out
Feb 9 to Feb 15, 2019
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$ 2349 $ 2199
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Feb 23 to Mar 1, 2019
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$ 2349 $ 2099
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Mar 9 to Mar 15, 2019
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$ 2349 $ 2199
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Mar 23 to Mar 29, 2019
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$ 2349 $ 2199
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Apr 6 to Apr 12, 2019
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Apr 20 to Apr 26, 2019
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May 4 to May 10, 2019
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$ 2199 $ 1949
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May 18 to May 24, 2019
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Jun 1 to Jun 7, 2019
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Jun 15 to Jun 21, 2019
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Jun 29 to Jul 5, 2019
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Jul 13 to Jul 19, 2019
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Jul 27 to Aug 2, 2019
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Aug 10 to Aug 16, 2019
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Aug 24 to Aug 30, 2019
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Sep 7 to Sep 13, 2019
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Sep 21 to Sep 27, 2019
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Oct 5 to Oct 11, 2019
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Oct 19 to Oct 25, 2019
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Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
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Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
  • Small group size, usually fewer than twelve guests
  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel in compliance with US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations (OFAC)
  • Havana airport and hotel transfers on tour start and end days
  • Quality Cuban hotels
  • An expert English speaking guide and tour leader throughout the program
  • Modern air-conditioned bus and professional chauffeur
  • Bottled water on bus
  • All activities, entrance fees, services, speakers and meetings in tour itinerary
  • Flexible monthly tour payment options
  • Emergency telephone and internet access to America from Cuba
  • Cash advances for participants facing money problems while in Cuba
  • Participants become Club Cubano alumni and receive future tour discounts
  • Ongoing support from our US and Cuban staff before, during and after travel