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Hidden Havana! A special Yale cultural program to Cuba

Imagine yourself in Old Havana with an intrepid group of Yalies enjoying rooftop views, meeting with Cuban artists and educators, listening to rumba and salsa, and reflecting on Havana's remarkable history, burgeoning present and fascinating future.

***Departure Date Tentative but will be on or around July 4, 2018. Please email cshephard@insiderexpeditions.com if you have interest in attending**

Immersive History: Learn Cuba’s jigsaw history and anomalous architecture through hidden local gems and World Heritage sites, and learn about Cuba’s passion for preservation from the very leaders whose efforts are maintaining their architectural and natural heritage.

Artist Interactions: Discover Cuba’s sophisticated art traditions during visits with artists in their studios.

Latin Beats: Dance to uniquely Cuban musical styles that often waft through evocatively time- worn passageways, from son to rumba and jazz. Enjoy the complex rhythms of Cuban music, from son to rumba and jazz, and learn about these uniquely Cuban music styles through both performances and dance lessons.

People-to-People Exchanges: Most importantly, spend time with local Cubans who find the U.S. as curious as Americans find Cuba.

This is a program specially designed for Yale. Please note, itineraries are subject to change. This particular tour has been designed with specific events and individuals in mind, whose schedules and availabilities may change. If any activity or person that is advertised is missed or not available, it will be replaced with an activity or person of equal interest and value. While we do our best to adhere to the itinerary, traveling in Cuba requires flexibility, and changes to lodging and activities may occur. Consider it part of the adventure!

Day 1, Thursday—¡Bienvenidos a La Habana!

§ Depart home destinations early this morning to meet in Ft. Lauderdale for your group flight down to Havana, Cuba!

§ Arrive in Havana at José Martí International Airport and meet our private guide, one of the best on the island! Be welcomed with a local rum tasting and Cuban sandwiches, and get ready to learn or practice your Spanish!

§ From the airport, we'll head straight to our casas particulares, local bed and breakfasts reserved for alumni in the heart of the city. Drop off your luggage, have a snack, and settle into your Cuban homes. Meet your Cuban hosts who will serve you tasty breakfasts each morning and discuss life on the island.

§ From here, we'll break into small groups for people-oriented walking tours of Old Havana. Enjoy a private tour around La Habana Vieja, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, highlighting the main historic plazas: the Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco and Plaza Vieja.

§ During your tour of the old town, visit a local graphic arts center, Taller Gráfica, and speak with artists who are creating some of the island's most intriguing new works while preserving traditional printmaking techniques.

§ Enjoy a briefing on life in Cuba with a local anthropologist during a welcome mojito and dinner, while enjoying sunset views of the city from a gorgeous, breezy rooftop.

§ Spend the evening at a premier dance institute and learn casino, Cuban salsa, with local instructors. Practice your new moves over a mojito or two with a group of professionals who love to have a good time.



Day 2, Friday—Art, Cigars, and Hemingway’s Legacy

§ This morning, connect with your casa hosts over a homemade breakfast.

§ Drive to the hilltop village of San Francisco de Paula for a visit to Ernest Hemingway’s Finca

Vigía—the eclectic house where he lived for 20 years—now a museum displaying his library,

manuscripts and personal effects, and meet with those who’ve worked on the plantation for years.

§ We'll take in ocean views and live music at a local cervecería (one of the only local breweries on the island) and be joined by a cigar aficionado to share more about one of the island’s most important exports.

§ Afterwards, peruse Almacenes de Depósito San José, an extensive arts and crafts mercado, and interact with artists and practice your haggling for mementos.

§ This afternoon, we'll test our knowledge at La Corona cigar factory and meet with professional cigar rollers, who will demonstrate the process of making their world-famous exports.

§ Wander a local grocery store with our guide to learn about the country’s traditional “racion” system, making sure to pick up anything you've never tried before.

§ Tonight, dinner is in an old art house, where we’ll learn about the growth of small businesses from a local expert who will join us for dinner and a private discussion.

§ Dance and marvel at Fábrica de Arte Cubano, a power plant recently converted into a warehouse of art and live music, now one of the most popular and eclectic curated art spaces and nightlife spots in Havana.

 

Day 3, Saturday—Museos, Medicine, and the Malecón

§ After filling up on breakfast, visit the Museo de la Revolución, once the presidential palace decorated by the famous Tiffany & Co. of New York, and now a government-owned presentation of the 1959 revolution.

§ Depart to visit Fusterlandia, the private studio of Cuban muralist and ceramist José Fúster, described as the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Discuss the artist’s public art revitalization project and stroll down streets decorated with mosaics, stopping to interact with the locals whose neighborhood has been transformed by the project.

§ Enjoy a private lunch and discussion in the artist’s home.

§ Visit La Pradera, a Cuban wellness center near the Castro compound. Here, we'll meet with local clinicians to learn about the Cuban health care system, exclusively for Yale. You'll also have the opportunity to get a massage from one of the therapists and take a dip in the pool.

§ Return to your casa to prepare for our last evening out in Havana.

§ Feel the thrill of a sunset cruise in an old classic American convertible—painstakingly restored and maintained—down the Malecón, the longest promenade on the island and an emblematic social scene for Cubans.

§ Begin your final night in Cuba with a bang at El Cañonazo, the canon firing ceremony kept from colonial times at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña.

§ Reflect on your journey over a farewell dinner at one of the best restaurants in Old Havana featuring traditional foods, cigars, and—of course—Cuban rum!

For more information visit: http://insiderexpeditions.com/destinations/ and email cshephard@insiderexpeditions.com


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Yale Photographs courtesy of Michael Marsland/Yale University
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