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 Square.

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 Cuban export.

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 Guantánamo.

Afternoon: Peek at US military base at Guantánamo from an observation point. Meet with a Cuban veteran, if time permits. Return to Santiago de Cuba.

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 train.

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 mill.

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: