International Expeditions (IE) has announced it will offer two People-to-People cultural exchange programs in Cuba in 2014.
The new "Classic Art & Music of Havana" and the "Complete Cuba" itineraries will offer free-ranging discussions and local interaction touching on all aspects of Cuban life and culture. While “Complete Cuba” offers a green twist on this once-forbidden island, IE’s new itinerary explores the art and music of Havana and Trinidad.
“Guests on our 2012 and 2013 Cuba journeys loved the unexpected perk of birding with Cuban naturalists and meeting locals in the rarely visited farms and countryside,” said Steve Cox, International Expeditions’ executive director. “But we had many people ask for additional time in Havana and more opportunities to discover the vibrant art scene.”
New for 2014, the “Classic Art & Culture of Havana” tour showcases Cuba’s art and literature. Guests join a variety of experts — preservation architects, musicians and local artists — for nine days of in-depth exploration in Old Havana and Trinidad, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The itinerary includes stops to chat with artists in their studios, surveying Hemingway’s former home and favorite bars, and even taking a turn at the wheel of a traditional potter in Trinidad. Highlighting the itinerary are opportunities to mingle with Cuba’s new generation of entrepreneurs — restaurant owners. These family-run paladars offer chances to not only sample the best cuisine in Havana, but also to discuss the changing face of Cuba’s economy with private business owners. Monthly departures through 2014. Priced from $4,998.
IE’s 10-day “Complete Cuba” tour itinerary surveys cultural “must sees” including Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Bay of Pigs, Viňales and Havana. Throughout the journey, guests interact with local musicians, a youth choir, ballet company and even a chef specializing in locally grown, vegetarian cuisine. But what really sets IE’s people-to-people program apart is the emphasis on engaging with Cuban naturalists, birders, biologists and conservation groups while traveling to Topes de Collantes National Park, Zapata Wetlands, Las Terrazas and several botanical gardens during the course of the trip. Traveling outside of Havana allows guests to spot some of the country’s 28 endemic birds and drop-in on small local festivals and schools. Monthly departures through 2015. Priced from $4,498.
International Expeditions received its licensed renewal from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to provide authorized people-to-people Cuba travel for U.S. citizens through June 2015.