April 2-10, 2016
Explore the past, present and prospects of an island nation at the precipice of change, as it enters a new era of relations with the United States and faces the passing of leadership entrenched since the 1959 revolution. The trip begins in Miami, and includes expert briefings on art and architecture, history and healthcare, Afro-Cuban religion and Jewish life. We’ll meet and dine with Jews in the capital and countryside — and, of course, visit the essential places to see, hear, taste and fully experience Cuban culture.
We design our trips to be intimate and interactive, as well as comfortable, enlightening and memorable. You’ll experience first-rate accommodations and dining, and you’ll be guided by experts who know the local culture and its global context.
Contact us for more information.
Saturday, April 2
Arrive in Miami
Welcome reception; overnight at Crowne Plaza, Miami
Sunday, April 3
Miami — Havana
Transfer to airport, lunch on your own there. Fly to Cuba (approx. one hour flight time). After clearing customs, meet our guide and driver; tour Plaza de la Revolucion and the home and studio of artist Jose Rodriguez Fuster. Check in to Melia Cohiba Hotel. Relax and exchange money before going to Nacional Hotel for a talk on history, architecture and the current situation by a noted Cuban architect. Dine on the patio of the Hotel Nacional with Cuban Taglit Birthright participants . Breakfast,Dinner included
Monday, April 4
La Habana Vieja
Tour a cigar factory and Old Havana, where we’ll have lunch. Visit the main synagogue, Casa de la Communidad Hebrea de Cuba (El Patronato) and meet with Patronato president and the Jewish representative on the state’s Committee of Religions. Visit Patronato Pharmacy, which serves the Jewish community but will provide medicine to any Cuban with a prescription, and the craft market. Dine at one of the best private restaurants in Havana. B,L,D
Tuesday, April 5
Havana — Cienfuegos
Travel to Cienfuegos, “the Pearl of the South,” in Central Cuba. It was founded by French plantation owners from Louisiana not wishing to live under American rule. Meet with the small Jewish community at the home of one of its members, and visit an art gallery run by five young artists, one of whom is the son of the leader of the local Jewish community. Check in to the Hotel Jagua, hear a choral performance, and dine at Palacio del Valle, the former home of a wealthy Spanish slave trader and sugar merchant who built it in the style of his beloved Alhambra. B,L,D
Wednesday, April 6
Cienfuegos & Trinidad
Tour Jardin Botanico de Cienfuegos, created in 1901 by American sugar baron Edwin Atkins, later managed by Harvard University. Take a gentle, hour-long guided walk among trees from around the world with special emphasis on those native to Cuba. Travel to Trinidad de Cuba, one of the finest colonial towns in all the Americas. Founded in 1514 by Diego Velazquez as the fourth of the seven original villas (towns), it prospered as a sugar town until the international market collapsed in the 1860s and the town drifted into obscurity. Visit a state pregnancy clinic to learn about the Cuban healthcare system, then explore on your own for lunch at one of the many new paladares (private restaurants) and souvenirs in the great craft market. Dinner buffet back at our hotel in Cienfuegos. B,D
Thursday, April 7
Cienfuegos — Havana
Tour of Hemingway’s home, La Finca Vigia, just as he left it. He said of Cuba that “it is the best place on earth to write.” He wrote many of his most famous works here including “The Old Man and the Sea.” Stop in Guanabacoa, outside Havana, to visit the Jewish cemetery with the first Holocaust Memorial built in the Western Hemisphere. After lunch, we’ll return to the Melia Cohiba in Havana, and our guide will help you plan dinner and evening activities. B,L
Friday, April 8
Visit the Sephardic Center and talk with its president, Mayra Levy. Attend a rehearsal of one of Cuba’s best modern dance companies, followed by Q&A with its director and dancers. (They’ll ask you questions, too.) Tour the Bellas Artes with its curator, a member of the Jewish Community of Havana, to discuss the history of Cuba through its art. Celebrate Shabbat at El Patronato and dine with the community. B,L,D
Saturday, April 9
Cross the bay to learn about Afro-Cuban religion, with an expert lecture accompanied by music and dancing by practitioners of this most popular faith in Cuba. Time to relax and explore on your own, before our farewell dinner. Option to attend an evening performance at the National Theater for an additional fee. B,D
Sunday, April 10
Havana — Miami
After breakfast and check out at the Melia Cohiba, tour the Museum of the Revolution, and make a few other interesting stops before our midafternoon flight to Miami.B
* Program and hotels are subject to change
- Trip is open to donors of $1,000 or more, per person, to the Forward in calendar year 2015. Donations are tax-deductible in the United States and minimum commitment may be fulfilled by Dec. 31.
- Trip price is $4,695 per person, based on double occupancy; $950 single supplement, subject to extremely limited availability. Transportation to Miami is not included; the program begins and ends in Miami.
- Trip price includes $100 to be pooled for tzedakah contributions by our group to the synagogues and Jewish communities we visit.
- Cuban medical insurance is also included. Hospitals and clinics for tourists are located throughout the country, and our hotels have first aid stations with nurses to provide immediate care for minor illnesses or injuries. The included insurance covers 100% of medical expenses in the hotel or at a clinic, if necessary, up to $25,000, plus repatriation or transportation due to illness, accident or death, up to $7,000. Treatment for pre-existing conditions is not included, however you may seek reimbursement under your domestic health policy.
- A $600 deposit is required to hold your place on the trip; the balance is payable in equal installments, due no later than Jan. 22 and Feb. 19, 2016.
- Cancellation after Dec. 18, 2015, will result in forfeiture of your deposit, after Jan. 22, 2016, will result in forfeiture of 1/2 of the trip price, and after Feb. 19, 2016, will result in forfeiture of the full trip price.
- Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance within 14 days of placing your deposit. You may use the carrier of your choice, or Allianz Global Assistance, whose “basic” policy is adequate; call (800) 284-8300 and mention ACCAM number F027117.
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your projected arrival date in Cuba, and you must provide complete and accurate information for us to obtain a Cuban visa on your behalf.
- Included meals (8 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 9 dinners) offer a choice of main courses, beverages, dessert and coffee; the meals are not kosher, but no pork will be served, and fish or pasta options will be available. With prior notice, we can accommodate most dietary requests.
- Additional terms and conditions apply.
Travel arrangements by World Passage Ltd.