RUTAHSA GOES TO CUBA-- Hola, Fidel!
For the first time in it's 15-year history of Latin American travels, Rutahsa
Adventures is headed for the Antilles with a 10-day cultural education trip to
the Island of Cuba. The formal title of this excursion is "Cuba and the United
States: The Road to Mutual Respect", and the purpose of the trip is to gain an
understanding of Cuban history from the colonial era, through the period of US
dominance and Castro's Revolution, leading to today's Cuban/American reality.
To do this we'll cross almost the full length of the island, from Havana to
Santiago de Cuba, seeing much of Cuba and meeting many Cubans. While learning
of Cuba's history, societal achievements and shortcomings, we will get to know
Cubans from various levels of Cuban society-- and they us-- with the aim of
enhancing understanding and mutual respect between Cubans and Americans. The
educational focus of the trip means a somewhat more highly structured trip than
Rutahsa's usual offerings, and we will have more formal interchanges with local
experts than on an ordinary travel adventure, but rest assured, amidst all this
cultural/educational activity we'll have a heckova good time, too!
The itinerary has been designed by Rutahsa Adventures especially for Rutahsa's
travelers, in close consultation with representatives of Global Exchange, the
license-holding organization that will handle organization of the trip
services and provide the trip guide. Global Exchange has an excellent record
of facilitating successful educational excursions to Cuba for universities,
church groups, and many other organizations. We will be in good hands!
TRIP DATES: SEPT. 28th through OCT.7th, 2001
Day 1: Friday Sept. 28th Fly US to Havana (either via Miami or
Cancún); arrive José Martí International airport; check
in at hotel; evening snack, then assemble for Orientation Meeting. If time
permits the group will be given an Overview of the Current Situation in Cuba.
(If time is short, this overview will be postponed to day 2.)
Day 2: Saturday, Sept. 29th 9 AM: Visit the impressive Maqueta de
la Ciudad (a scale model of Havana), to learn about the historical
development of the capital, infrastructural problems and current efforts at
restoration of historic districts.
10:30 AM: Begin city tour of Habana Vieja (Old Havana) to get a feel
for the colonial city. Visit the Plaza de Armas, Palacio de las
Capitanes Generales, Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Museo de Arte
Colonial, Calle Empedrado, and the Convento de Santa Clara.
1:00 PM: Lunch at La Mina restaurant near the artisans' market and Cathedral
2:30 PM: City tour of Havana continued: Habana Moderna. Visit the
Capitolio (modeled after the US capitol), Plaza de la
Revolución, University of Havana, and the Museo de los Autos
(featuring old US cars).
8:00 PM: Visit to El Morro Castle and then on to the Forteleza for the
canonazoa, or cannon-firing ceremony at the end of the day.
Day 3: Sunday, Sept. 30th 9:00 AM: Visit the Museum of the Revolution
and the Granma Memorial to learn about the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
1:00 PM Lunch at La Bodeguita del Medio.
2:30 PM: See cigar production first hand and learn about this world-famous
9:00 PM: Enjoy Cuban traditional music genres and learn some dances with Dulce
María at her Old Havana Rooftop. This is an interactive evening!
Day 4: Monday, Oct. 1st 6 AM: Early flight departure for historic
Santiago de Cuba.
Tour the city of Santiago upon arrival: San Juan Hill (of Teddy
Roosevelt-Rough Rider fame), Parque Céspedes, El Morro
fortress, and other sites.
1:00 PM: Lunch
2:00 PM: Visit to Casa del Caribe, our host institution in Santiago.
Meet with a Cuban anthropologist to discuss culture and national identity in
El Oriente and in Cuba in general.
3:30 PM: City tour continues, including the Moncada Barracks and the
José Martí Mausoleum.
8:30 PM: Optional cultural evening: Enjoy the Casa de la Trova, a
great place to soak up traditional Cuban live son performances.
Day 5: Tuesday Oct. 2nd 9:00 AM: Visit to local school. Next leave for
Afternoon: Peek at US military base at Guantánamo from an observation
point. Meet with a Cuban veteran, if time permits. Return to Santiago de
Evening: Home visit with Cubans to discuss daily life in Cuba today.
Day 6: Wednesday, Oct. 3rd Early morning: Leave for city of Santa
Clara, heading west back across the island toward Havana. This leg of our
jouney will probably be by train.
Afternoon: City tour of Santa Clara, including the Ché Memorial, the
Tren Blindado (armored train from the revolution), a visit to a local
hospital and interview with a family doctor.
8:00 PM: Lecture on Cuban history and US/Cuban relations by a Cuban historian.
Day 7: Thursday, Oct. 4th 9:00 AM: Leave for Matanzas, traveling via
Cárdenas and the Carretera Central, but probably traveling by
Afternoon: Arrive Matanzas. Check into hotel in the famous beach resort of
Varadero; enjoy the clear, warm and sparkling Caribbean Sea!
9:00 PM: Cultural activity, TBA. OR: Intercultural exchange with a CDR
(Committee for the Defense of the Revolution).
Day 8, Friday, Oct. 5th Morning: Leave Matanzas heading west to return
to Havana on the famous "Hershey Train". Visit the Central Camilo sugar
Afternoon: Visit the Literacy Museum in Havana.
8:00 PM: Visit to the Casa de Africa, a museum dedicated to Cuba's
relations with Africa, the influence of slavery in Cuba, and the
Santería religion. After touring the museum, enjoy a show of
folkloric music and dance performed by the museum's conjunto.
Day 9, Saturday, Oct. 6th 8:00 AM Leave on day trip to the beautiful
province of Pinar del Río. Sights include the unusual mogotes
(abrupt and scenic karst hills) and the Cueva de los Indios. We will
visit an agricultural cooperative, to get a glimpse of rural life in Cuba. If
time permits, a visit to a community development and reforestation project in
Las Terrazas will also be included.
7:00 PM: "Re-entry" and evaluation meeting with your trip leader.
9:00 PM: Final night's cultural activity, TBA.
Day 10, Sunday, Oct. 7th Morning: Visit to the Cemetery of
Colón, OR, free morning to walk along the Malecón, to visit the
artisans; fair, photograph old cars, or to pursue your own special interests.
Afternoon: Fly out for the U.S.
NOTE: The above itinerary may evolve somewhat according to factors such as
available train services as the trip dates approach, or may be modified during
the trip according to local conditions. Rutahsa Adventures and Global Exchange
will endeavor to provide the itinerary as published, but reserve the right to
make changes as necessary for the benefit of the group.
The land cost (in Cuba) for this excursion is $1905 p/p, based on a minimum of
10 travelers, in double accommodations in 3-star hotels. Single accommodations
are available for an additional $250.
Trip price reductions will be made if the group size reaches 12 or more:
- For 12 travelers: $1870 p/p
- For 14 travelers: $1840 p/p
- For 16 travelers: $1815 p/p
- For 18 travelers: $1800 p/p
- For 20 travelers: $1785 p/p
Group size will be capped at 20.
The trip price includes the following:
The trip price does NOT include the following:
- Acquisition of the necessary license for educational travel to Cuba for
the Rutahsa Group.
- Lodging in double room accommodations in 3-star hotels.
- Breakfast and dinner each day (served buffet style, in the hotels).
- Ground transportation in air-conditioned, chartered bus, by train, and
other transfers as appropriate.
- Airfare from Havana to Santiago de Cuba.
- Confirmation of all events specified in the program, plus entry fees and
- Admissions and fees to museums, parks, monuments and other scheduled
- Full time Global Exchange trip leader to accompany the group from Havana
throughout the trip.
- Bilingual local guides.
- Luggage transfer (at owner's risk throughout). Baggage allowance is two
checked bags each with linear dimensions totalling no more than 55" (L x W x
H), and weighing no more than 44 lbs. each. A single peice of hand luggage is
allowed, and is the responsibility of the traveler.
- Preparatory reading materials.
- Air fare to Cuba. for travelers flying through Mexico, a round trip
air-package from Cancún on Aerocaribe can be arranged for $230.
- Cost of cultural activites denoted OPTIONAL in the program (e.g., Day 4,
Casa de la Trova).
- Expenses of purely personal nature.
- Room service charges.
- Transportation of luggage in excess of the stated weight allowance.
- Conveyance fees used for private purposes.
- Gratuities to bellboys and waiters.
- Cuban, Mexican and/or US airport taxes (US airport departure tax of $50,
Cuban air departure tax was $20 USD as of 12/2000; Mexican air deparlture
taxes run $17 - $34 depending on arrival and departure schedules).
- Travel insurance. Both Rutahsa Adventures and Global Exchange recommend the
purchase of travel insurance.
- Gratuities for the guides and drivers. $20-30 per traveler recommended.
- Daily lunches, which will be eaten at restaurants convenient to programmed
A $200 deposit will be required to reserve a space on this excursion.
Trip reservations should be made as early as possible, and must be made before
To make your reservation or to enquire about any aspect of this trip, e-mail
Rutahsa Adventures at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or write us at: Rutahsa Adventures, 299 Allen Hollow Rd., Cookeville, TN 38501
Or phone us: (931) 526-1390