Sophia's Travel/ Jewish Travel Agency proudly presents: Jewish Cuba! In the last half century, while off-limits to American vacationers, Cuba has become a favorite destination for Canadians and Europeans, developing world-class hotels and a tourism infrastructure that meet the needs of international visitors.
A People-To-People Cultural Exchange
Travel Dates: March 2-8 (7 Days)
Small group Tour lead by Sophia Kulich
Cuba, a subject of mystery, fascination and deliberation for decades has been forbidden to American travelers – until recently. We are pleased to offer you an exceptional opportunity to visit Cuba yourself on a remarkable 7-day exploration. On this Jewish Heritage Tour, you will discover Cuba through the resource that has kept the country vibrant through decades of political strife and isolation from the world: The Cuban people. Their joys, challenges and unique world outlook will unfold for you through personal meetings and enjoyment of their arts and culture in this program. Encounter Cuba through intriguing excursions, synagogue visits, exchanges with the Cuban Jewish community and informative interactions. Explore Havana’s timeless streets, architecture and famous landmarks. Savor local cuisine and some of the best paladars. Talk with Jewish Cubans about their way of life where access is unavailable to individual travelers. We will visit the Synagogues and Sephardic Centers and Jewish Cemetery. This program will show you Havana’s unexpected delights and the very real struggles of its people- Jewish and non Jewish alike.
Experience the strength and spirit of older generations through their openness and warmth. Feel the hope of the Cuban youth through their art, music, and dance. Marvel at opulent colonial architecture frozen in time as much as Cuba’s vintage automobiles. We hope that will jump at the chance to see this amazing place.
- Exchange with the Cuban-Jewish Community
- Visit the synagogue ADATH ISRAEL in Old Havana
- Guided tours of Havana's Historic Center, Old Havana
- Several UNESCO World Heritage sites
- Dinner and Hall of Fame tour at the famous Nacional Hotel
- Sephardic Hebrew Center- Old Jewish Quarter of Havana
- Cuban Holocaust exhibit
- Visit to Jewish Raquel Hotel
- 4 Nights in Havana
- 2 Nights in Cienfuegos
- Bay of Pigs
- Visit to colonial town of Trinidad- UNESCO site
- Vintage Car Tour of Modern Havana and the Malecon
- El Morro Castle, Statue of Jesus, U.S. Embassy
- Experience several of Cuba’s top Paladars
- Afro-Cuban Culture- Hammel’s Alley
- Hemingway’s home and finca
DAY 1, Check-in for flight to Havana. Claim Baggage, proceed through customs, meet our private guide and driver.
Our Cuba Jewish Heritage Tour begins with a panoramic tour. We will stop at REVOLUTIONARY SQUARE for some great history and photo ops. The Jose Marti memorial, the square where Castro delivers his speeches, the Ministry of Interior, Library and more
Hotel Check-in: NACIONAL HOTEL
The famous Nacional Hotel showcases old Cuban traditions for luxury and service and suggests that they have not been completely forgotten in the wake of the 1959 Revolution. A face-lift costing $64 million has brought the hotel back to its former glory. Everything-the simple yet tasteful rooms and apartments, elegant dining areas and vibrant swimming pools-has been restored.
Located on a small knoll overlooking the entrance to Havana Bay, this stylish Havana accommodation was originally built in 1929-30 through a joint agreement with the Cuban government and U.S.-based banks. American companies designed and built the Nacional, and as soon as it was completed, tourists from America flooded the hotel's spacious reception areas, dining rooms and gardens. It was "the" place to be in Havana. This hotel was frequented by film legends like Frank Sinatra, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and Ava Gardner - their pictures decorate the walls of the hotel's café bar.
Dinner this evening will be at SAN CRISTOBAL, one of the very best paladars in Havana. President Obama and the First Lady dined at this paladar when they visited Cuba last year.
DAY 2, (B,L,D)Breakfast is served at your hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Morning: guided walking tour of Old Havana, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit to Square of Arms, ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers and surrounded by impressive buildings such as Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, former seat of colonial government; Palacio del Segundo Cabo, the seat of the second authority of the island.
Lunch will be at CAFÉ DE ORIENTE. This paladar is one of the best government-run paladars in Havana. You will be served by waiters in tuxedos, while a baby grand plays in the background. Smoked salmon, filet, and signature dishes will be found on their menu.
After lunch we will see the Old Jewish Quarter of Havana and visit Acosta Street where some of the first Jews settled in Havana in the 1500’s and where the Adath Israel Synagogue is located. We will continue the four squares stopping at the Raquel Hotel for a welcome cocktail - the only Jewish Hotel in Havana. The Hotel Raquel is located close to the oldest Sephardic synagogue in Cuba.
Dinner this evening will be at LA GUARIDA. La Guarida is one of the very best paladars in Havana.
Optional: This evening you may want to enjoy the famous TROPICANA SHOW. We can arrange transportation and good seats for you. Approx cost: $130.00 USD.
DAY 3, (B,L,D)Breakfast is served at your hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
After breakfast we venture to the Orthodox Synagogue: ADATH ISRAEL. Adath Israel has remained intact through the years, its doors have never closed, carrying out the religious services of Shajarit, Minja and Arvit daily, maintaining alive the traditions of our Fathers. We will have one of the synagogues Vice Presidents greet our group and take us on a tour. Our donations will be given on this day to the synagogue. (we will advise with regard to donations) ADATH ISRAEL IS THE ONLY ORTHODOX SYNAGOGUE IN CUBA AND IT IS THE ONLY ONE THAT OFFERS DAILY SERVICES.
We will continue on to the Sephardic Center in Havana and visit Cuba’s first Holocaust Exhibit. This center shines a light on the Cuban Jewish experience of the Holocaust and raises awareness that a small Jewish community makes Cuba its home. “The Holocaust and the Creation of a Living Community” was funded by an anonymous donor and will be permanently housed at Centro Sephardi in Havana.
Lunch will be at HAVANA VIP. Free time after lunch. Dinner this evening will be at ELITE. Elite is a marvelous paladar with inventive dishes from all over the world served in very unique ways. Elite is truly a culinary experience and a must when in Havana.
DAY 4, (B,L,D)Breakfast is served at your hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Our day begins at the FINE ARTS MUSEUM OR MUSEO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES. “Manny” the very best senior curator will give us a personal tour of this Cuba gem. The tour starts on the 3rd floor in the early 1500’s and progresses through until present and modern day exhibits.
Lunch will be at EL DIVINO, located on Havana’s only rare plant farm, LA YOANDRA. This sprawling Mediterranean style villa is a gorgeous setting for a cool afternoon lunch. We will get a tour of the rare plants that have been brought in to Havana, and see how this restaurant supports a senior community center with the profits from their paladar. The home-made coconut ice-cream for desert is worth the trip alone!
After lunch we visit Ernest Hemingway’s Home and Cojimar Village, and Finca Vigia (Hemingway’s Home) Finca Vigia, a hilltop villa 20 kilometers east of Havana, where famed author Ernest Hemingway lived from 1939 to 1960. It is here where the writer completed some of his greatest works, including The Old Man and the Sea, Across the River and into the Trees, and Islands in the Stream.
The villa has been maintained as a museum for the past 49 years. It contains original book and short story manuscripts, letters, over 3000 photographs, Hemingway’s fishing tackle and gun collections, furniture, priceless art collection, and a 9000 volume library that contains rare first editions of his books and those of other famous writers.
Finca Vigía has made both the World Monuments Fund List of 100 Most Endangered sites, and The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Places. Tour around Cojimar fishing village, where Hemingway kept his boat Pilar. The writer is remembered by the town with a small gazebo that encircles a commemorative bust, sculpted from the melted down propellers donated by local fishermen.
Free time before dinner.
What would a trip to Havana be without a step back in time with a vintage car ride? Shiny vintage cars will pick us up at the hotel and take us on a ½ hour tour of modern Havana. Pick your color! Pick your make!
Dinner this evening will be at LA FORESTA. La Foresta is away from the hustle and bustle of Old Havana and located in the quiet ambiance of the suburbs with a gorgeous garden and amazing cuisine. Evening free after dinner. Suggestions: Buena Vista Social Club, the Parisien Show at the Nacional, the Tropicana.
DAY 5, (B,L,D)Breakfast is served at your hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
This morning we have an early departure for the “Pearl of the South”, the magical town of CIENFUEGOS, stopping at the historic BAY OF PIGS on the way to learn about the military invasion by the U.S. in 1961. We will enjoy a local lunch at Playa Giron before arriving in Cienfuegos. Our guide will take us on a city tour of the town and of the Thomas Terry Theater which shares both French and Italian influences. This theater is grand from both the inside and out built in 1887 to honor Venezuelan industrialist Tomas Terry. Please note the gold-leaf mosaics, the Carrara marble and the hand-carved hardwoods.
If available, we will be welcomed by the President of the Jewish Community in Cienfuegos for a informational talk on the Jewish community there. Hotel Check-in at the JAGUA HOTEL
The Hotel Jagua, a full-service hotel in lovely Cienfuegos, has an interesting history: the nearby Moorish Palacio del Valle, dating from the early 20th twentieth century, was sold to a developer in the 1950s who hoped to convert it into a casino with extended hotel facilities. He was close to finishing the Hotel Jagua for this purpose when the Cuban Revolution triumphed on January 1, 1959. The casino-operation was halted and the Hotel Jagua opened as the first hotel in post-revolutionary Cuba.
This hotel exhibits architectural lines and styles typical to the 1950s; from the lobby to the rooms, spaces here are big, open, and bright. The swimming pool overlooking the Bay is a delightful place to relax after visiting elegant Cienfuegos. There are daily activities offered at the hotel, and for night owls there’s a cabaret/disco several nights a week.
The city of Cienfuegos is located on a bay of the same name. At the southern extent of the city lies residential Punta Gorda (once a hideaway for the rich) overlooking the bay. Today, a waterside stroll here reveals beautiful original wooden (beach) houses and at the tip of the point, a lovely gazebo perfect for watching the sunset.
Dinner this evening will be at the beautiful PALACIA DE VILLE. This Spanish-Moorish palace houses a wonderful seafood restaurant with historical exhibitions and a breathtaking roof-top bar.
DAY 6, (B,L,D)Breakfast is served at your hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
After breakfast We will visit the beautiful Nicho Waterfalls. The Waterfalls are located in Parque Nacional Topes de Collantes, Cienfuegos, Cuba and are about an hour and a half drive from Cienfuegos. We will bring our suit and if the weather permits, take a cool swim in the fall and water pools. There will be moderate hiking and walking today on uneven ground- wear comfortable shoes.
El Nicho is located inside the Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes, a forested park that extends across the Sierra Escambray mountain range in central Cuba. This remote setting feels worlds apart from the nearest cities, Trinidad and Cienfuegos. Even so, it’s about only an hour and a half drive from both cities, and serves as an excellent spot to spend the day relaxing in nature.
El Nicho is best known for its large waterfall. The waterfall is attractive and flows throughout the year, even during the dry season. At the bottom of the falls there is a big natural pool where you can swim and splash around. There are several other smaller pools here as well. The water is refreshing, especially on a hot day.
The trail at El Nicho passes through dense forests. As you ascend the trail, be on the lookout for birds and lizards in the trees. The trail eventually goes beyond the waterfalls and ends at a scenic overlook.
After lunch we had to the colonial town of Trinidad which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We tour Playa Mayor, visit the quaint art and pottery shops. If time permits we will also pay a visit to SANTANDER POTTERY STUDIOS.
Dinner in Cienfuegos at a top paladar. This evening back in Cienfuegos is free to listen sip a beverage of your choice and listen to the music that is playing everywhere.
DAY 7, (B) Breakfast is serviced at your hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (B)
Optional (depending on flights timing) : If we get an early enough start, we can stop at JOSE FUSTERS, FUSTERLANDIA before the Havana airport. Fusterlandia is a fantasy land of bold mosaics and a life-sized studio, residence, and community project of Jose Fuster. It is fun, whimsical and quite amazing.
Returning flights. WELCOME HOME!!
Price per person, double occupancy based on minimum 8 people group: USD 3,650
Single Supplement: USD $650
YOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
- 4 Nights accommodations in Havana (Nacional or similar)
- 2 Nights accommodations in Cienfuegos at the Hotel Jagua
- All sightseeing by private air-conditioned motor-coach with English speaking guides
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily – at some of the top paladars in Cuba! Vegetarian and special diets are on request. Sorry we cannot provide kosher meals on this trip.
- Drinks with meals (differs by each restaurant)
- Water on the bus
- Visits to several UNESCO World Heritage sites in Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad
- Visits to Synagogue Adath Israel, Sephardic Center, Acosta Street
- Cuban Holocaust Exhibit
- Ernest Hemingway’s Home and Finca
- Vintage Car ride tour of Modern Havana
- Nacional Hotel, Hall of Fame, La Barraca
- Fine Arts Musueum, Havana
- El Nicho Waterfalls, Nacional Parque Topes
- Playa Mayor city tour in Trinidad
- Medical Insurance while in Cuba
- Tour led by Sophia Kulich
- Fully escorted by Carlson Travel professional
- Major gratuities to your driver, guides and local guides
YOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- Airfare – we would be happy to book it for you. Please advise your getaway.
- Cuban Tourist Visa ($85.00 pp),
- Travel Insurance: cancellation, baggage, delay, evacuation insurance
- Anything else which is not specified in inclusions and specified as Optional: Evening entertainment for example.
- Donations to local Jewish community
Carlson Maritime Travel (CU-2014-307835-1) has been licensed by OFAC to provide travel to, from, and within Cuba for those who are licensed to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba either under a general or specific license. Carlson Maritime is presently OFAC compliant. Each traveler has will be provided with the proper visas, documentation, and authorization to participate in this visit.
RESPONSIBILITIES: Carlson Maritime Travel, Sophia’s Travel and its employees, shareholders, officers, directors, successors, agents, and assigns, neither own nor operate any person or entity which is to, or does, provide goods or services for these trips or tours. Because Carlson Maritime Travel does not maintain any control over the personnel, equipment, or operations of these suppliers, CMT and Sophia’s Travel assumes no responsibility for and cannot be held liable for any personal injury, death, property damage, or other loss, accident, delay, inconvenience, or irregularity which may be occasioned by reason of (1) any wrongful, negligent, willful, or unauthorized acts or omissions on the part of any of the tour suppliers, or other employees of agents, (2) any defect in or failure of any vehicle, equipment, instrument owned, operated or otherwise by any of these suppliers, or (3) any wrongful, willful, or negligent act or omissions on any part of any other party not under the supervision or control of the Operator (4) sickness, weather, strikes, hostilities, wars, terrorist acts, OFAC changes in regulations, regulations changed by either government, the closing of either the U.S. or Cuban Embassy resulting in the inability to obtain visas, acts of nature, local laws or other such causes. All services and accommodations are subject to the laws and regulations of the country in which they are provided. CMT is not responsible for any baggage or personal effects of any individual participating in the trips arranged by CMT and Sophia’s Travel. Individual travelers are responsible for purchasing an optional travel insurance policy.
For reservation and information contact
CARLSON MARITIME TRAVEL
Please mention Sophia’s Travel Group
Cuba Travel Service Provider
623 E. Tarpon Ave. Tarpon Springs, Fl. 34689
Ph: 727.945.1930 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Payment and terms and conditions.
Non-refundable deposit required $500 per person to register.
Once minimum 8 people number will be reached, the tour will be guaranteed.
After that, we advise participants to book airfare.
Please do not buy airfare until we will have tour confirmed with minimum number of people. If no minimum is reached, the tour will be cancelled and deposit returned.
Attached is registration form with visa information and terms and conditions.
Final payment is required by Nov 28, 2017
Since it is a small group and price depends on minimum number of people, deposit and final payment are non-refundable. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.
1. Times are approximate just for guideline
2. Itinerary might be changed slightly due to appointments and opening/closing times.
3. Later we might add on some optional entertainment or more experiences with extra cost
4. American citizen required visa for Cuba. Visa is $85. Valid passport is required with expiration date no less than 6 months of date of travel
5. Is this trip right for you? This trip is designed for adventurous traveler.
All participants must be reasonably fit, and able to walk on cobblestone streets, walk up and down the hills and stairs. Unfortunately, this trip is not suitable for participants in wheelchairs, motorized scooters, walkers or with limited mobility.
Flexibility, a sense of humor, and ability to manage your own baggage, when required, and a willingness to accept local standards of amenities and services are essential components to the enjoyment of this trip.
Some churches enforce strict dress codes. Women may need to have head coverings (scarves) with them, and men and women may need to have their arms and legs modestly covered. Your guides will advise you when this is the case.
2 bottles of water will be provided per person per day for touring.
Every effort has been made to make the information in this schedule accurate. However, trip itineraries are always subject to change. We will do our best to inform you in advance of any changes, but due to the nature of travel in Cuba , this may not always be possible. This tour maintains a focus on cultural interaction and the natural beauty of the island.
Contact us for details.