Trip Highlights

  • July 23, 2014
Hotel Jagua and Meliã Cohiba Hotel
Our headquarters for the Havana leg of our trip will be the five-star Meliã Cohiba Hotel on Havana’s historic Malecón. Meliã Cohiba is one of the finest hotels in the Caribbean. After a busy day in Havana, Meliã Cohiba is the place to relax, have a cold drink, check your email with available Wi-Fi, look at the sea, or take a stroll along the Malecón at sunset and be inspired by Havana coming to life after dark. In Cienfuegos, our group will stay at the Hotel Jagua on Cienfuegos Bay. With its magnificent location in the well-known residential area of Punta Gorda, the Jagua is considered one of Cuba’s most famous hotels. Its comfortable rooms are characterized by the spaciousness of the 50’s and offer beautiful panoramic views, which showcase the nature and wildlife of the Caribbean.

Classical Music & Dance
In Cuba, the classical arts are revered by every walk of life. During our trip, patrons will experience performances by such renowned groups as: Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional; Ballet Nacional de Cuba; Ballet español de Cuba; Ballet Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba; Camerata Romeu; Cantores de Cienfuegos; Orquesta de Cámara de la Habana; and more. Events will include opportunities to attend rehearsals as well as performances, mingle with the performers as well as sharing a meal. These People-to-People experiences will be truly awe-inspiring.
Classical Music & Dance
Traditional Cuban Music
Traditional music and its evolution over the centuries is at the heart of the Cuban soul and mystique. The history of music in Cuba is the story of its people; from slavery, political upheaval, revolt and a joyful celebration of Cuban life. As part of our Cultural Exploration, noted Cuban musician and University of Cienfuegos Professor Giraldo Pérez will teach the origin of Cuban music and dance. Cuban jazz begins here.
Cuban jazz musician singer Omara Portuondo Peláez performs at Buena Vista Social Club for Rhythm and Views discovery tour
Benny Moré School & Instituto Superior de Arte
Cuba is committed to arts education and training from primary school to the university level. To see firsthand how artists and musicians are cultivated, we will visit Escuela de Arte Benny Moré and Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) where you will experience Cuba’s arts education system with private performances by school orchestras, chamber ensembles and dance classes. You will also visit visual arts studios at these schools. In addition to the performances, you will have the opportunity to communicate with the students and their teachers in a round table discussion that will enlighten you on Cuba’s robust arts education.

Cuban Jazz & Nightlife
Cuba has some of the finest young jazz musicians in the world. The Afro-Cuban tradition has evolved into a robust jazz scene that has a solid foundation in the classical music training musicians receive at the prestigious music schools throughout the country. In Havana, jazz thrives. Our patrons are not only immersed into Havana’s jazz nightlife, but will be treated to private, one-on-one concerts from the best and brightest of Cuba’s jazz elite. This unique exposure to one the world’s most active jazz scenes is a Cuba Rhythm and Views exclusive.
Cuban Jazz & Nightlife
Architecture and Historic Preservation
Some of the most exquisite historic buildings in the Caribbean are in Cuba. Despite the 57 years of embargo, Cuba has managed to preserve and restore some of its most important heritage structures, neighborhoods and monuments. Using tourist dollars and financial incentives, much of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is gradually being rehabilitated to its former beauty. A noted Cuban architect or urban planner will provide our patrons with an insight into what it takes to gradually restore one of the world’s great cities, one building at a time.
Architecture and Historic Preservation
Visual Arts
As part of our People-to-People exchanges, our patrons will visit leading Cuban artists’ studios and homes. They will discuss their work and their artistic visions. Among the many artists patrons will meet are: Vladimir Rodríguez, Santiago Hermes Martínez, Kadir López, Villaluilla, and many more. These personal encounters will help you understand life in Cuba before the Revolution as well as today.
Visual Arts
Cuba Cuisine and Paladares
The growing movement of private restaurants, or paladares, in people’s homes is flourishing in Havana. This movement is at the vanguard of economic change in Cuba. The best dining in Cuba is in paladares along the backstreets and alleyways of Old and New Havana. The restaurants are being reviewed internationally and Havanaphiles are slowly finding their way to these wonderful free-enterprise culinary destinations. Most of our meals will be in paladares. And, for the meals not included, you will be given the names and locations of Havana’s best private restaurants, all within a ten-minute cab ride from the Meliã Cohiba.
Cuba Cuisine and Paladares
Other People-to-People Activities
Meet with a former Foreign Ministry official for a talk about US/Cuba relations. This is usually with either Carlos Alzugaray, Cuba’s former Ambassador to the European Union; or Camilo García Lopéz-Trigo, a former member of Cuba’s delegation to the United Nations. Both are now professors at University of Havana International Relations School and are experts in US studies. Visit a daycare center run by The Sisters of the Love of God, visit a classroom in session, learn about the remarkable work the sisters do for single mothers.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary *

Date Activities Hotel, Location, Meals
Day 1 Meet in lobby of Miami International Airport Hotel; fly to Varadero; welcome lunch at Xanadu (former DuPont mansion); explore countryside as we drive to Cienfuegos; check-in Hotel Jagua/welcome reception; dinner on your own; optional dancing at Café Terry Melia Hotel Jagua; Welcome lunch, dinner on your own
Day 2 Visit Escuela de Arte Benny Moré, attend private concerts, tour of school including visit to visual arts studio; workshop on origin of Cuban music and dance presented by professor Giraldo Pérez; meet local artist and visit their studios. Special performance at Teatro Terry by a major Cuban performer followed by private Meet the Artist reception and optional dancing at Café Terry. Melia Hotel Jagua; breakfast at hotel; lunch, dinner on your own
Day 3 Hotel check-out; bus to Havana; lunch; roundtable with Cuba’s former Ambassador to the European Union, Carlos Alzugaray, about US/Cuba relations; Fortaleza San Carlos Canonazo Ceremony; optional: Jazz Café or La Zorro y el Cuervo Melia Hotel; breakfast at hotel; lunch, dinner on your own
Day 4 Round table discussion and private art show with the faculty and students of Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA); private venue with Havana Chamber Orchestra; Ballet Nacional de Cuba at Gran Teatro; optional: La Zorro y el Cuervo or Casa de la Música Melia Hotel; breakfast at hotel; lunch, dinner on your own
Day 5 Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional at Teatro Nacional; meet the musicians; visit artist studios; optional: Jazz Café or La Zorro y el Cuervo Melia Hotel; breakfast at hotel; dinner included; lunch on your own
Day 6 Visit Sisters of the Love of God and learn about the remarkable work the sisters perform with Cuba’s at-risk families; visit the school for Ballet Lizt Alfonso; attend Master Class and tour of Instituto Superior de Arte; optional: Jazz Café or La Zorro y el Cuervo Melia Hotel; breakfast at hotel; farewell dinner included; lunch on your own
Day 7 Walking tour of Old Havana; visit Ballet espanol de Cuba studio for private concert and roundtable discussion with corps de ballet; Private concert with Aldo López Gavilán quartet; optional: Jazz Café or La Zorro y el Cuervo Melia Hotel; breakfast at hotel; lunch included; diner on your own
Day 8 Hotel checkout; return to Miami

*Important Note on the Itinerary
This is a sample to give you an idea of the types of activities, the performers you will be meeting and hearing, and the schedule for the trip. Itinerary is subject to change.