TOURS & WORKSHOPS | Cuba Travel & Trips

TOURS & WORKSHOPS

Salsa and Rumba dance workshop & lessons, a very entertaining way to learn about the two most popular styles of Cuban dance. Music plays a large part in the lives of most Cubans, and Cuban music has influenced many musical styles around the world. Subjects discussed include “coros de clave, coros de guaguanco,” and instruments such as the “chekere, guiro, cajones,” and “guagua.” The unique sound of Cuban music is a development of the mixture of musical styles from Spain, Africa, and the Middle East. A professional demonstration of both Salsa and Rumba follow the presentation, and guests will then receive personalized dance instructions. This is always held in a small group setting of less than twelve participants, and is very enjoyable way to learn about the roots of Cuba’s music. (4 hours)

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Santeria workshop, this workshop covers the basics of the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria, and includes such topics as the syncretism of Catholicism and African religions, and the role and significance of drums in the religion. The religion is a syncretism of African religions and Catholicism, and is currently practiced by a large percentage of the island’s population. This workshop covers the main deities of the religion, their origin myths, the colors and vestments associated with them, and their roles in human life. A visit to the Casa de Africa is included, and there you will see African musical instruments, artifacts, and a room dedicated to the “orishas,” the Yoruba deities. Guests are usually amazed after attending this workshop that the multicolored wristbands and necklaces worn by many Cubans are associated with the religion. (3 hours)

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Museum of the Cuban Revolution Tour, the Museum of the Revolution is housed in the former Presidential Palace of Cuba. It is located in Old Havana across from the Museo Nacional de BellasArtes, which exhibits works by Cuban artists. Civilian and military artifacts are on display in the Museum, as are brief written descriptions of the events that led to the overthrow of the Batista regime in 1959. Artifacts from the armed struggle are amongst items on display, and they range from bloody shirts and pistols, to the motor yacht “Granma,” which ferried Fidel Castro and the members of the 26 of July Movement to Cuba from Mexico in 1956. Military vehicles that were used during the fighting in the late 1950’s are on display outside of the Museum, and they range from tank and jeeps, to airplanes and tractors that were turned into armored fighting vehicles. (2 hours)

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Music Matinee, live performance featuring some of Cuba’s most popular musical groups at La Casa de la Musica, this is the group’s opportunity to practice dance moves with Cubans in one of the best dance clubs in Havana. This event includes admittance, and bottle service at a table at Havana’s most popular dance clubs. Unlike the nighttime presentations, the matinee shows at La Casa de la Musica feature an overwhelmingly Cuban crowd, with few tourists in attendance. Popular musical groups featured include; Azucar Negra, Charanga Habanera, Havana de Primera, Maykel Blanco, Pupy y los que Son Son, Van Van, Yoruba Andabo, and more. (4 hours)

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Museo de Bellas Artes Tour, this is a tour of both the national and international branches of the Cuban National Arts Museums, which are on exhibit in two separate buildings. One building, which houses international artworks, is located in what was before the revolution of 1959 the Centro Asturiano of Cuba, the gathering place for the society of Spaniards from the province of Asturias who had emigrated to Cuba. The national branch is housed in a modern looking building, and houses the Coleccion Cubana, while the other museum is known as the Coleccion de Arte Univeral. The Coleccion Cubana is housed in a modern looking building across from the Museum of the Revolution, the beautiful building was built before 1959 in a modernistic style, and features works by Victor Manuel Garcia, Wilfredo Lam, Rene Portocarrero, Zaida del Rio, and many, many more. This branch displays works which are rarely seen outside of Cuba, of artists which in many cases are little known. (4 hours)

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Cigar and Rum experience, this is a walking tour that traverses Old Havana, with visits to the Rum Museum, and the Cigar Museum, and stops at a cigar factory and warehouse. The Rum Museum illustrates the history of the sugar industry in Cuba, and includes a replica of a colonial era rum distillery, and a presentation of the culture and tradition of Cuban rum production. The Rum Museum displays contemporary Cuban painter’s works, so you just may see the early works of Cuba’s next Wilfredo Lam. The “Habano” Museum illustrates the history of tobacco cultivation, and cigar making on in Cuba. Guests will have an opportunity to sample both fine Cuban rums and cigars during this event. Depending on schedule you may see a demonstration by a master cigar roller. (3 hours)

The mansion was built from 1772 to 1780, when it belonged to Don José Fajardo Covarrubias and Doña Josefa Montalvo, a powerful family of Havana's social elite.

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“RESOLVIENDO” workshop, through this workshop we attempt to give our guests a peek into the life of a regular Cuban citizen. You will see an actual “tarjeta de abastecimiento,” which roughly translates to provisions card. These are the small notebooks that every Cuban citizen is given at birth, and which entitles them to five chicken eggs, a quarter chicken, coffee, cooking oil, and other items every month. The provision card also entitles its’ bearer to purchase select items that are deemed to be necessities at discounted prices. You will visit what is known in Cuba as an agricultural market, “agro” and is basically the produce section of a supermarket, where most people buy their fresh produce. You will visit a bread distribution point, where bread is distributed through the provision card at discounted prices. Depending on schedule and other factors you may also visit a grocery store, meat market, and other markets where meats are sold. This workshop will show visitors some of the daily rituals most Cubans deal with, it will be presented by your guide, and sometimes we have invited guests who are experts in certain areas of the food distribution chain in Cuba. The history of the provisions card will also be covered. (4 hours)

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Visit to “La Lavanderia,” the studio and workshop of Cuban painter and sculptor Rafael Perez Alonso. You will have the opportunity to explore this most unique workplace in the Havana suburb of Miramar, and meet the artist. (2 hours)
www.cubafinearts.com
www.cubartecontemporaneo.com

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Valle de Vinales Tour, the tour of the Valley of Vinales is one of the most unique experiences on the island of Cuba. The rock formations that the valley is famous for are only found here, and in southern China. The UNESCO World Heritage site is best seen on horseback, and you will have the choice of either taking a walking tour, a cycling tour, or on horseback. During your day at Vinales you will visit the Mirador de losJazmines, la Cueva del Indio (Indian’s cave), you will tour a working tobacco farm. You will have time to explore the quaint town of Vinales, and enjoy a personalized tour of the valley that is oriented towards your individual groups wishes. The views along the various routes that traverse the valley are spectacular, and everyone enjoys it in their own way. Lunch at a local restaurant included in this tour. The tour usually ends with a stop at the Sierra de los Organos mural which illustrates the evolution of life in the valley. (8-12 hours)

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Bay of Pigs Experience, this includes a short discussion of the events leading up to the invasion of the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, and a visit to the invasion museum. This event will allow guests to visit the area where the Bay of Pigs invasion occurred in 1961, and the surrounding area. A visit to the invasion museum is also included, and depending upon the schedule a short presentation by an actual witness to or combatant in the event will be given. A must for any American visiting the island! (3 hours)

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Driving Tour of the Zapata Swamp. This tour allows guests to see one of Cuba’s most pristine natural habitats, and its largest swamp which is home to the Cuban Crocodile. Depending on schedule the Tour will include a visit to a crocodile farm, a major flamingo breeding area, and some of Cuba’s most pristine coastal habitat. (3 hours)
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Topes de Collantes Tour, this tour offers a mountaintop view of Trinidad and incredible views of the Caribbean Sea, and includes visits to the Coffee Museum, a walk through some of the areas’ coffee plantations, and if the schedule allows a stop at the Museum of the Fight Against Bandits. This activity also includes a fairly rigorous two-mile hike. Groups may choose to bathe in the natural springs located in the area, so please bring a bathing suit! Lunch will take place during this activity. (5 hours)

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Cuban History Workshop, covering Cuba’s colonial history from the early 19th Century through the 1959 revolution. Workshop with lecture that covers Cuban history broadly from colonial times to the 1959 revolution, and emphasis on U.S./Cuba relations. (3 hours)

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Cuban Revolution 101 Workshop, covers the history of Cuba since the revolution of 1959 to the present day, and includes a visit to the Ernesto “Che” Guevara memorial and museum. This workshop features a presentation that briefly describes the history of Cuba after the revolution of 1959, and is followed by a guided visit to the museum dedicated to “Che” Guevara in Santa Clara. (3 hours)

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Cuba flora and fauna Workshop, learn about Cuba’s wildlife, with special emphasis placed upon the sea life around Matanzas, and issues associated with invasive marine species such as the lion fish. This event may include a snorkeling encounter to view coastal marine sea life. (3-4 hours)

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Organic farm encounter, visit with a local farmer in the city of Cardenas, and receive detailed descriptions of the type of organic farming currently being practiced in many parts of Cuba, 4 hours. This event features a visit to a typical Cuban farm that exemplifies the typical small scale farming being practiced across the island. Session is given by the actual owner of the farm, and is followed by a Q&A, and may include a tasting of locally sourced honey and fruits. (3 hours).

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