Discover Cuba with Colleen Alsberg

October 24, 2018 to October 31, 2018

A once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits on this Cuba travel program! This special people-to-people program allows Americans and Cubans to share meaningful interactions while enjoying the rich history and culture of this amazing country.  Join Colleen Alsberg on this exceptional trip!

 

 

 

Depart from Milwaukee to Miami, Florida. Upon arrival in Miami you’ll be transferred to your hotel by airport hotel shuttle. This evening an informational briefing will be held at the hotel about tomorrow’s charter flight to Havana and the start of your people to people experience in Cuba. The evening is at leisure

Hotel: Miami Marriott Hotel (or similar)

This morning transfer to the Miami Airport and check in for your short flight to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival at the Jose Marti International Airport and clearing customs, meet your local bilingual Cuban guide outside the baggage terminal. Your drive from the airport orients you with Cuba’s enigmatic capital city, whose nearly 500-year Old Havana is home to the largest collections of Spanish-Colonial architecture in the Americas. Make a photo stop and learn more about the Plaza de la Revolucion, the center of Cuban political life and Havana’s largest plaza where huge rallies are held. Your Cuban guide speaks below the grandiose portraits of national heroes Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, and gives you time to reflect on the fact that you’re standing where millions of Cubans have stood while listening to speeches of Fidel Castro.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Havana before departing Havana on a scenic drive that takes you past rural landscapes, small towns to the beautiful turquoise Caribbean Sea. Stop at the Bacunayagua Bridge overlook for photos. Check into your all-inclusive resort located directly on a pristine white sand beach offering beautiful views of the Caribbean and Varadero Peninsula. Enjoy a welcome drink before unpacking and exploring the resort. Dinner is included this evening.

Hotel: Melia Varadero Resort
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

This morning following breakfast we head to the town of Matanzas, founded in 1693 and known as the “Athens of Cuba”. Enjoy a brief tour of the town square and see the Sauto Theater (a national monument of Cuba), the San Carlos Cathedral and more. Next tour the prinstine Pharmaceutical Museum founded in 1892 and closed in 1964 where time stands still. See hand painted French porcelain vases, more than 500,000 original medical recipe formulas, antique bottles and jars, other ancient pharmaceutical items on display.

Next visit a book making shop (Ediciones Vigia) to see books being handmade and learn about this craft. Also meet and interact with a local Cuban artist and sculptor in his studio and art gallery. Visit the Matanzas School of Art and Music, a high school for talented children from different provinces throughout Cuba. Take an opportunity to talk with and interact with the teachers and students to learn about their work and aspirations. Next travel back to Varadero and stop to visit an arts & crafts market with an opportunity purchase art and items and to meet and interact with local artists and craft workers. Dinner is included this evening at the resort.

Hotel: Melia Vardero Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast this morning we travel to Havana. Religion has always played an important role in Cuban society that continues today, enjoy a walking tour with a local historian of the fascinating Colon Cemetery founded in 1876 and named for Christopher Columbus. The cemetery is noted for its many elaborate sculpted memorials and contains more than 500 major mausoleums, chapels and family vaults and is considered by many to be the most ornate necropolis in the world and is the final resting place for noted Cubans including artists, writers, musicians and ballplayers. Next enjoy a performance by the amazing Habana Compas Dance Group. Interact with the students and teachers to learn more about the Cuban dance culture. Today visit the famous Nacional Hotel, once Havana’s flagship hotel that hosted celebrities and world leaders during its heyday, such as Winston Churchill and Frank Sinatra to name a few.

Enjoy a tour of this historic property housing pictures and nostalgia from a bygone era. Meet a former famous professional Cuban baseball player and join in a discussion regarding the history and love of this game in Cuba and the U.S. Check into your hotel for a four-night stay. Enjoy dinner this evening at a local paladar (privately owned restaurant) with an opportunity to talk with the owners about the challenges of running a private business in Cuba.

Hotel: Four Points Sheraton Havana (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning enjoy a guided walking tour of pedestrian only Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the beautiful Cathedral de la Havana, built in baroque style in 1748 and learn about its preservation and continuous restoration. Visit the Marqueta Vieja Havana Museum that houses the scale model of the City of Havana and to meet with an expert on the city’s architecture and restoration efforts. Begin with a presentation and lecture from a local architect who discusses Havana’s unique architecture, the current challenges of restoring the city’s historic buildings and the future of the city’s restoration effort.

Next, enjoy a fascinating tour of the Havana Club Rum Museum to learn about the history and process of making Cuban Rum. Following the tour, we will have a private discussion about rum and an opportunity to sample the differences. Following lunch in Old Havana we visit the famous Museum of the Revolution that displays documents and artifacts, weapons and planes from the revolution. See artifacts & learn more about the Bay of Pigs, the 1961 historic clash between the CIA trained Cuban exiles & rebel forces, the event that defined US-Cuba relations for decades. The museum is housed in the former Presidential Palace, which was the home to Cuba’s leaders from the 1920s until 1959.

Next head to the charming fishing village of Jaimanitas to visit the community project and incredible Home and Work Shop of world famous artist, painter and ceramicist Jose Fuster, often called the “Picasso of Cuba”. He has adorned a neighborhood with colorful ornate murals and domes. Here we spend time with the Fuster family and staff to discuss the influence of the artist’s work, lives and community. Dinner is on your own this evening allowing you to experience the restaurants, cuisine and jazz clubs of Havana. Perhaps even take in the world famous Tropicana Cabaret Show on your own. An evening of music and history at this famous nightclub show that presents song-and-dance performances reminiscent of 1950s Cuba.

Hotel: Four Points Sheraton Havana (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today we travel out of Havana and into the rural Cuban countryside to the Vinales Valley located in the western most mountainous range in Cuba and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This region, the western province of Pinar del Rio is known for its stunning scenery, a landscape of prehistoric looking flat-top mountains or “mogotes”, tobacco plantations, caves and rivers. Next, visit a traditional Tobacco Farm and Farmhouse to meet with the farmer to learn about tobacco cultivation, the drying process and experience a cigar rolling demonstration inside the drying hut. Enjoy a visit inside his farmhouse, meeting and interacting with his family while enjoying some Cuban coffee. A great opportunity to witness up close, how Cuban families live in a rural setting. Next enjoy lunch at the beautiful Finca Paraiso Paladar (organic farm) offering incredible views of the Vinales Valley and an opportunity to meet the Cuban family that owns this paladar. and home. Later stop at the Los Jasmines viewpoint on the way back to Havana for incredible panoramic views of the Vinales Valley and an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular scenery and take photos of this beautiful and unique region. Return to Havana with the evening free to relax or explore on your own.

Hotel: Four Points Sheraton Havana (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Begin your day with a fascinating guided visit with a local cigar expert to the La Corona Cigar Factory. See first hand and learn about the history and the process of Cuba cigars being hand rolled. This factory rolls such brands as Hoya de Monterrey and Cuaba & Punch. Next enter the world of Ernest Hemingway with a visit to Hemingway’s Farm, Finca La Vigia (meaning ‘lookout house’). This beautiful property hosts the house where the Nobel Prize winner lived with his wife Martha for 21 years. View the perfectly preserved home where many of the Hemingway personal belongings remain intact. View his yacht on display, the Pilar in which he used to patrol for Nazis in the Caribbean waters and featured in his novel “Islands in the Stream”.

A photo stop is made at the Morro Castle, built in 1589, to protect the mouth of the Havana Harbor. “Morro” in Spanish means a rock which is very visible from the sea and therefore serves as a navigational landmark. Perched on the headland on the opposite side of the harbor from Old Havana it can be viewed from miles around as it dominates the port entrance. Next visit the San Jose Craft Market and Art Center or similar to meet and interact with the local artists to discuss and learn of the importance of their art in Cuban culture. Learn from the artists who share their experiences of pursuing the arts with limited access to materials and funding.

Before dinner, meet with the local U.S. Old Style Car Club owners. This is a chance to interact and talk with the owners and learn why Havana’s streets are filled with vintage American automobiles and understand what it takes to keep them on the road. Enjoy a drive through the streets of Havana in a vintage American car to your Farewell Dinner at a local paladar (a privately owned restaurant). After dinner you have an opportunity to meet and discuss with the owners how this private enterprise works in Cuba.

Hotel: Four Points Sheraton Havana (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for our return flight home to Miami and then onto your flight to Milwaukee

Meal: Breakfast


Air-Inclusive Package

  • Round-trip air from Milwaukee to Miami, including current air taxes and fees

Included Highlights

  • Round-trip air from Miami to Cuba including the Cuban departure tax
  • Round-trip airport/hotel transfers in Miami and Havana
  • Deluxe Air-conditioned touring motorcoach for transportation and sightseeing
  • Gratuities for Hotel Porters, Wait Staff at included Meals, Step on Guides and All People to People Visits & Interactions
  • Cuba visa fee, Cuban Health Insurance
  • Professional Bilingual Cuban Guide
  • Professional tour manager Rose Gray from Fox World Travel *
  • Customized informative travel documents

 

Sightseeing and Tour Highlights

  • Matanzas School of Art & Music
  • Pharmaceutical Museum
  • Museum of the Revolution
  • Old Havana Walking Tour (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Home & Studio of Artist Jose Fuster
  • Walking Tour of the Colon Cemetery
  • Havana Club Rum Museum Tour
  • Hemingway’s Farm – Finca La Vigia
  • Habana Compas Dance Group Performance
  • Old Style Classic Car Club Discussion
  • Former Cuban Baseball Player Discussion
  • Pinar Del Rio & Vinales Valley (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Cigar Factory Visit & Tour
  • Tobacco Farm & Farmhouse Visit

Hotel Accommodations for Seven Nights in First-Class Hotels

  • One night at Miami Airport Marriott Hotel
  • Two nights at Melia Varadero All-Inclusive Resort
  • Four nights at Four Points Sheraton Havana Hotel

Hotel service charges, taxes and luggage handling also included. Hotel baggage handling for one bag per person. Hotels are subject to change.

Meals

  • Sixteen meals including six breakfasts, six lunches, and four dinners including a farewell dinner in Havana

Not Included: Gratuities for airport porters, Cuban Tour Director, US Tour Director and Cuban Motorcoach Driver, airline baggage fees, meals (other than those included in the package), trip insurance, and any items of a personal nature.

* Minimum group required for the Fox World Travel tour manager to participate. In the unlikely event the minimum number is not reached, the tour will still include a professional local guide in the destination.

Land Only Package

Tour only
Arrange your own air to Miami
Based on double occupancy

Air Inclusive Package

Airfare From Milwaukee
Based on double occupancy

Single Occupancy Surcharge: $900

Deposit: $700 per person
Final Payment: Due no later than July 20, 2018

*Above prices are per person based on double or single occupancy.  Economy class flights are included in the air-inclusive pricing. All taxes and fees of $64.84 are included and subject to change. 

About Your Host, Colleen Alsberg

Colleen began her career with Fox World Travel in 1995. After escorting her first tour, a motorcoach group to Canada, she fell in love with the job and hasn’t stopped since.  In her 20+ years of being a tour manager, her travels have taken her throughout the Americas & Europe.  She has met wonderful people and shared a multitude of experiences with them in destinations like Alaska, Hawaii, Italy, Ireland, France, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean & Mexico and so many more!

Her personal travels have extended throughout the world including Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Scandinavia, Russia, South America, the South Pacific and the Middle East.  Her travel list is never-ending!  She’s been truly blessed and hopes to continue exploring new destinations throughout our amazing world!

Early Booking Discount: Book and deposit by June 1, 2018 and receive a $100 discount per person

All passenger discounts are subject to change. 

Round-trip Airfare from Milwaukee

Departure flight from Milwaukee (October 24)

Depart from Mitchell Airport on October 24, 2018 at 7:45 a.m. on American 5563 and arrive at Charlotte Douglas International Airport at 10:50 a.m.

Flight from Charlotte to Miami (October 24)

Depart from Charlotte Douglas International Airport on October 24, 2018 at 11:39 a.m. on American 403 and arrive at Miami International Airport at 1:45 p.m.

Flight to/from Miami to Cuba

Charter air

Flight from Miami to Charlotte (October 31)

Depart from Miami International Airport on October 31, 2018 at 5:15 p.m. on American 798 and arrive at Charlotte Douglas International Airport at 7:21 p.m.

Flight from Charlotte to Milwaukee (October 31)

Depart from Charlotte Douglas International Airport on October 31, 2018 at 10:10 p.m. on unannounced American flight and arrive at Mitchell Airport at 11:15 p.m.

 

Note: Tickets will be non-refundable once issued. Changes will be subject to a fee plus any fare difference.  Additional restrictions may apply. Flight schedules are subject to change. Fox World Travel has no control over flight or equipment changes, seat assignments, delays or cancellations. A minimum of 10 passengers is needed for the group air.

  • VISA INFORMATION: The Fox World Travel Group Department will supply the Visa Forms to the traveler at time of reservation. Due to the special requirements to visit Cuba, participants will be required to complete visa application and travel reservation forms and sign an affidavit confirming that they are traveling under a people-to-people license and are aware of the travel rules. Participants are also required to send a copy of their passport photo page. These items must be sent to Fox World Travel.
  • This program may require walking on cobblestone streets and uneven pathways, climbing stairs, and participating in a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.
  • Charter flight baggage fees can only be paid in cash at the airport in Miami. At time of this tip creation, Havana bag fees were $25 per pound (up to 50lbs. for checked bags) and there currently is no bag fees from Havana to Miami. (subject to change)
  • In Cuba, activities that have been scheduled far in advance can sometimes become unavailable for a number of different reasons. The purpose of the trip is to have meaningful interactions with the locals and if the planned people-to-people educational exchange isn’t available, rest assured that another that will be just as enriching will be substituted.
  • We recommend budgeting a minimum of $140 U.S. per person for gratuities (OR $160 CUC local Cuban currency total per person). We highly recommend $60 US per person for the Cuban Tour Guide,  $40 US per person for the US Tour Manager & $40 US per person for the driver.
  • Single Occupancy rooms are limited and on request. Children under 8 years of age not allowed on this program.
  • A valid U.S. passport is required for this program and is the responsibility of each passenger. Passports should be valid for a minimum of six (6) months beyond the travel dates.
  • You have the option of taking the land only price which means you book your own airfare.  Do not book airline tickets until you have been given confirmation from Fox World Travel that the tour will operate. A minimum number of guests is needed to operate this tour.

Optional Insurance: Cancellation and travel protection is strongly recommended. Fox World Travel offers several plans with Travel Guard Insurance. Details and rates can be obtained from your travel consultant.

Cancellation Penalties:

  • From the time of booking to July 20, 2018 – Initial deposit of $700 per person
  • July 21 to August 24, 2018 – 70% package price + applicable airline fees
  • August 25, 2018 to date of departure – No refund
Airline tickets are non-refundable once ticketed.

To talk to a travel specialist or book your trip, please call 1-888-369-8785 or request more information online.