“We all had a wonderful time in all respects. Our guide and driver were fantastic and made us feel right at home from the start. It's feeling very odd not to be out braving the heat on cobblestone steps this morning and not starting cocktail hour at lunch just doesn't seem right anymore, but I managed. Thank you so much for all your suggestions, organization and connections-they all paid off and it truly was an important moment in time for us to be there right now. I can't wait to go back. “- Lisa Pasquinelli 2014


"I would like you and others to know that it was an awesome journey, as well as an excellent reflection on Rotary and the ideals of service above self. I want to re-emphasize that I think this project and trip were both excellent Rotary events, and express my gratitude and appreciation for all of your fine efforts. And also a thanks to Nina and Felix for their time and efforts to make this an awesome journey.” -Jerry Granger 


“There were great things about all the cities we visited. It was wonderful. Both of them (the guides) were wonderful! Don't get others! Keep these guys... Using the Soviet truck was truly an amazing adventure, and the vocational school, and artist’s house in Havana, and on and on…” -Jane Hall

Enjoyed the varied itinerary and opportunity to appreciate the strength of these people who have developed their own culture in spite of a difficult history. A beautiful island which is remarkably clean. The itinerary was superb and well thought out, including lots of variety and opportunity to meet with Cuban people, enjoy their amazing culture and appreciate their pride in what they have accomplished. Loved everything presented to us. Loved all the Paladares. Our driver, Victor was professional and helpful. Our guide, Abel, was knowledgeable and open about all aspects of his Cuba. He had an amazing command of the English language and had a great sense of humor. Our afternoon in the mountains of El Nicho was the best. Wasn’t a true ‘tourist’ place and hope they will protect and control it so it remains pristine. The Ballet School and the School for Restoration were wonderful. Also the agencies for cultural exchange were special. Everywhere we turned, something new…Go to see a beautiful, clean island whose people have endured so much. They have developed an undiluted culture, all their own, of music, art and dance. Cuba is not what you think it might be. You will fall in love with the lovely people and unique culture of this beautiful island. You leave it hoping that recent events with the U.S. will not change their unique character, while knowing it probably will.” - Deanna Osborne


“What a great tour! The schedule was packed but that was the only way we could see the most in the time we had. Not sure what I expected but I did not see poverty there any worse than Mexico. In fact maybe better since residents get education, medical, and a ration. Cuba is a Country that everyone should experience. Definitely made some new friends both in Cuba and at home.”- Mike Langford


“Great. Well organized (tour). The guide Abel was really great. He should have his own tour company. He must have been bored out of his mind having gone to the same places over and over, but he never betrayed the fact. In my opinion, a Herculean feat. Victor, the bus driver, was equally wonderful. They both reflected the best of Cuban people. Go. Just go. It’s off the beaten path and worth every penny.” - Kent and Liam


“Cuba is an absolutely fascinating destination which is changing by the moment. If you think you want to visit, now is the time!” - Peter Bonney


“Very good, just scratched the surface, and wetted the appetite to do more travel there.” -Alison Dobson-Bonney 


​​Journey from Santiago to Havana


(Itinerary for 2016 h20 Open doors expedition)



Day 1 

-Meet in Miami Airport & Fly to Santiago de Cuba!

-Lunch at “Setos” Restaurant in Santiago

-City tour of Santiago de Cuba

-Visit La Escuela Vocacional de Arte 

“José María Heredia”
-Visit beautiful Caridad de Cobre Church: Cuba's Patron Saint 
-Check into "LAS AMERICAS" Hotel
-Evening free for dinner and music
 



Day 2

-Breakfast and bus to Bayamo, City Tour:

-Visit to the Birthplace of Carlos Manuel de Cespedes 
-Lunch & City Tour, Manzanillo
-Visit local Crocodile Farm: (Criadero de Cocodrilos)

-followed by visit to Museo Historico la Demajagua 

-Continue Pilon & check into Marea Del Portillo Hotel

-Take a dip in the ocean!
-Dinner included at Hotel. (All-inclusive)
-On your own dinner option at lovely Paladar Ferlin in the village of Marea del Portillo or Paladar la Orchidea, Pilon


 ​
Day 3 

-Early Breakfast at Hotel, head to rural village of Corcovado
-Hike to Nuevo Mundo for purification system install & group work-day
-H20 Purification system install
-Break for Lunch
-Continue work (Group will divide into three sub-groups) & participate in projects and get-to-know-you w/ local youth & Cuban cooking lesson 
-Distribute donations to community
-Community welcome dinner, traditional cuban country cooking, drinks and a performance by local musicians 



Day 4 

-Depart Hotel Marea for airport in Holguin.
-Lunch on the road
-Depart Holguin
-Arrive in Havana Jose Marti International Airport
-Check into Hotel in Havana

-Free afternoon 
-Evening free for dinner and music  (w/recommendations for restaurants and great Havana nightclubs)



Day 5 


-Breakfast at hotel
-walking tour of Old Havana & four of the five historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere, Museo de Artesanía at Castillo de la Real Fuerza, San Francisco Square, Plaza Vieja, 
-Welcome lunch at El Chanchullero REstaurant, in Alamar
-Visit the Technical School "Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos" to meet students and teachers that work in the restoration of Old Havana
-Visit Romeo y Julieta Cigar Factory & Havana Club Rum Museum
-Evening free for Dinner & Music



​Day 6 


-Breakfast at Hotel
-Visit Community Arts Project: "Fusterlandia"
-Visit Finca Marta Organic Farm, farm tour followed by delicious farm-to-table lunch and conversation with Dr. Fernando Funes
-Return to Hotel for free time: Guide will be available for small group outings
-Cocktail GALA at Hotel Nacional for an evening of friendship and exchange between Cuban and American business people
- evening Free for Dinner & Music



Day 7

-Breakfast at Hotel, travel to  Pinar Del Rio
-Hike through the beautiful Vinales Valley to visit caves, and local tobacco farms
-Farm-to-table lunch at Paraiso Organic Farm: Learn about sustainable tobacco farming and drying practices
-Optional farewell dinner at la Fontana Restaurant, Performance by Compas Music & Dance Troupe


 
Day 8 

-Breakfast at Hotel in Havana
-FLy Home with a full heart, and ...
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Plan your next Visit!











Site Updated  February  3, 2016

Heart and Soul of Cuba Travel Adventures!



Home to almost 12 million people, Cuba is the largest Island in the Caribbean!  It is a unique, diverse, and endlessly fascinating country. The Cuban people are world-famous for their warmth, hospitality, resiliency, and humor. We encourage our travelers to foster a sense of adventure and spontaneity as these are helpful qualities to possess while traveling in Cuba! Your journey can and will take unpredictable turns. These changes can be due to weather, availability, and myriad other factors, often beyond our control. We do our best to plan according to the interests and desires of our participants, but flexibility is KEY! We have seen that the sweetest experiences and connections sometimes arise from unexpected changes in travel plans if travelers are able to let go, and surrender to the experience!



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