4:30 pm ~ Return to our Accommodations for Leisure Time. Relax, explore on your own, connect to WiFi, recharge your batteries, and take a siesta.
6:30 pm ~ Cocktails on the Lawn of the Hotel Nacional. Opened in 1930, the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba is perched high on a hill, towering over Havana’s scenic malecón seawall. It’s home to Art Deco, Mozarb (Spanish-Christian), Hispano-Moresque, neoclassical and neocolonial architecture, making it one of the most eclectic hotels in all of Cuba. In 1946 the hotel served as the venue for a major Mafia gathering, which was later depicted in The Godfather Part II. Nat King Cole, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Frank Sinatra and Eva Gardner all stayed here while more recently, the hotel has been visited by stars like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jodie Foster and Paris Hilton. It is well-located in the center of the modern Vedado neighborhood and just a short walk to Coppelia ice cream park, La Rampa, 23 y L, and the Malecón. We’ll have a drink on the famous lawn.
7:30 pm ~ Dinner at Paladar Ivan Chef Justo. The style of this restaurant is thoroughly Cuban-Mediterranean, located on the second and third floors of a building that is over 200 years old. The food is nothing short of spectacular. We’ll walk to and from the hotel which is only two blocks from the restaurant.
10:00 pm ~ Buena Vista Social Club Style Concert at La Taberna. After dinner we’ll see a traditional “son” band perform the classics from the famous Buena Vista Social Club in Old Havana.
DAY 3: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 | COMMUNITY PROJECTS
8:30 am ~ Breakfast at our Accommodations. We will eat breakfast at the hotel every morning. The buffet opens as early as 7:00 am and closes at 10:00 am daily.
10:00 am ~ Visit Murealeando. Visit an inspiring community project in the Lawton community where artists reclaimed a giant 100-year-old water tank that had become a garbage dump and transformed it and the surrounding neighborhood into a mural painting and cultural center and school where children to senior citizens come play, take classes, perform, get married, celebrate their quinceañera, sell artwork, and engage in other activities.
12:30 pm ~ Lunch at Arte Corte. We’ll continue on to the Plazuela del Santo Angel, an area experiencing significant renovation of the houses and emerging entrepreneurship. This new energy is fostered in part by the work of the famous barber “Papito.” With support of the City Historian’s Office, Papito’s cultural project employs hundreds of Cubans and has brought together barbers, hairdressers, models, artists and historians to teach, organize exhibitions, shows and art festivals including Barber’s and Hairdresser’s Day, a celebration that converts Old Havana’s Plaza Vieja into a huge outdoor salon. Arte Corte doubles as a fashion school and the setting for a hairstyle show that exhibits creative and fantasy coiffures inspired by emblematic sites and monuments of the city. Arte Corte was a destination of Obama’s historic visit to Havana in 2016. We will get a tour of the project and a chance to meet and talk with Papito (Gilberto Valladeres). We’ll also have lunch at their restaurant El Figaro.
2:30 pm ~ Return to our Accommodations for Leisure Time. Time to relax, explore on your own, connect to WiFi, recharge your batteries, and take a siesta.
5:30 pm ~ Concert of Félix Chappottín y sus Estrellas at El Jalengüe de Areito. Visit a small music venue nestled in the Centro Habana neighborhood that has afternoon concerts featuring some of Havana’s best bands. It’s located inside of Cuba’s most legendary recording studio, EGREM Areito, where most of their best-selling records were made, including the Buena Vista Social Club. We'll have the privilege of seeing one of Cuba's most legendary son bands of all time perform in a small and intimate setting.
Felix Chappottin y sus Estrellas at EGREM Studios
8:00 pm ~ Dinner at San Cristobal Paladar. Located in a cluttered and eclectic bottom floor home of an early 20th century mansion in Centro Habana, The Guardian rated this as the number one paladar in Havana.
9:30 pm ~ Havana Night Activity. After dinner we can attend a music or dance performance, to be determined depending on what is happening in the city that night. Such activities could include jazz concerts, salsa clubs, Tropicana, and other attractions of Havana’s non-stop nightlife (optional – transportation and entry cost not included).
DAY 4: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19 | EAST HAVANA
7:00 – 8:30 am ~ Breakfast at the Hotel. We will eat breakfast at the hotel every morning. The buffet opens as early as 7:00 am and closes at 10:00 am daily.
10:00 am ~ Havana Museums. Take the morning to visit one or two of three recommended museums located within two blocks of our hotel. The Museo de Bellas Artes Colección Cubana features a collection of Cuban paintings and sculptures from the early Colonial period through the year 2000. The Museo de la Revolución is located in Batista’s former Presidential Palace and tells the story of the Revolution from its own perspective. The newly remodeled Capitolio is once again a working Capitol as the new home of the National Assembly and museum with beautiful interiors. Guided tours will be provided at all museums.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
11:30 am ~ Lunch and Salsa Dance Class at Playas del Este. We’ll visit Playas del Este, 30 minutes east of Havana for an afternoon of lunch on the beach, ecology, and salsa classes for those who are interested.
5:00 pm ~ Return to our Accommodations for Leisure Time. Time to relax, explore on your own, connect to WiFi, recharge your batteries, and take a siesta.
8:00 pm ~ Cocktails and Tapas at El Del Frente. Have dinner at the hippest and tastiest new restaurant in Havana. El Del Frente is in Habana Vieja and makes food and drinks that will rival any popular restaurant in Los Angeles.
10:00 pm ~ Late Night Recommendation: Music at the Roof of the Hotel Inglaterra. For those of you who like late night music, we’ll walk to a very relaxed rooftop nightclub, which is just down the street from our hotel (optional--entry not included).
DAY 5: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20 | WEST HAVANA
8:30 am ~ Breakfast at our Accommodations. We will eat breakfast at the hotel every morning. The buffet opens as early as 7:00 am and closes at 10:00 am daily. We will depart at 9:30 sharp.
10:00 am ~ Fusterlandia. See the ceramicist who has transformed his entire neighborhood into a Gaudi or Brancusiesque wonderland of sculptures, mosaics, and murals. Fuster’s home and neighborhood gallery has become internationally renowned for community projects where neighbors volunteer their houses to become part of a sprawling masterpiece known as “Fusterlandia.”
11:30 am ~ Farm Tour, Lunch, and Discussion about Sustainable Agriculture and Food in Cuba at Finca Marta. This small experimental agro-ecological farm 15 miles southeast of Havana aims to demonstrate that farms focused on biodiversity and intensive management can thrive in a rapidly changing economy by producing high quality products without the need for transgenic crops, mechanization, or state-run distribution. Founded in 2012 by the renowned Cuban agronomist Dr. Fernando Funes-Monzote, La Finca Marta serves many of Havana’s restaurants, schools, and nursing homes. It pays its workers on total sales rather than a predetermined salary. Recent political reforms like legalizing direct sales and the emergence of private food and transportation cooperatives are allowing new models of privatized agriculture and culinary development. We'll enjoy a farm-to-table lunch and then a tour of the farm led by Dr. Monzote.