Timeworn, but magnificent. Dilapidated, but dignified. Fun, yet maddeningly frustrating. Cuba is a country of indefinable magic.
Writer Brendan Sainsbury, when talking about Cuba said, “Cuba is like a prince in a poor man’s coat: behind the sometimes shabby facades, gold dust lingers.” Existing through en economic embargo that has lasted more than half a century, Cuba’s colonial cities haven’t changed much since pirates roamed the Caribbean. The atmosphere and architecture is particularly stirring in places like Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad where grandiose squares and cobbled streets tell of opulence and intrigue.
Join Explore Amazing Places and cruise the ocean front Malecon of Havana in a 57 Chevy. Experience history as we stay in the the Hotel Nacional, where ousted president Gerardo Machado took refuge during the Sergeants’ Revolt of 1933. Be welcomed into gorgeous Casa Privadas, “Private Homes” of Cuban artists in the colonial city of Trinidad where you’ll also be able to enjoy the warm white sands of Playa Ancon. Your Explore Amazing Places experience of Cuba will be second to none.
About the Artist
I am married to a cotton farmer from west Texas and have spent many hours working on the farm along with my husband and 2 children.
Growing up, I never had art in school but have always been creating something. I have drawn as long as I can remember. I teach watercolor, sketching and collage. I believe there is beauty in everything,you just have to look.
I have been painting in watercolor since about 1990. Along with the watercolors, I do lots of drawing, sketching, collages and now I have started doing oil paintings. I love bright colors, and western art is my favorite subject, even though I don't do a lot of it. Watercolor is my favorite medium but the torn paper collages run a close race!
I love to teach and share what God has blessed me with. My philosophy is, “it’s only paint and paper ,not a matter of life or death so just enjoy the process and all the beauty around us.”
Cost: $2,990 per person Single Supplement: $310
Our Travel Itinerary
January 10th - 19th
Friday, January 10th
Fly to Havana and after clearing customs, please exit the terminal. Be sure to have a dollar or two handy if you need help getting your luggage to your classic convertible. You will be met and taken to the beautiful Hotel Nacional De Cuba in Vedado, an upscale area of the city poised along Havana’s beautiful Malecon, where we will spend the night.
Because travelers will be arriving at all different hours, dinner will be on your own tonight. The hotel has several restaurant options, as well as room service.
Saturday, January 11th
We’ll enjoy a wonderful breakfast at the hotel before heading out on a driving tour of Havana.
A fleet of classic American convertibles will arrive at the hotel to whisk us away on an incredible tour of old and new Havana. We’ll enjoy sites such as the Plaza De Revolution and the Iglesia Del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus before cruising down the seaside Malecon. We’ll be sure to stop and take pictures and breathe in the inspiration of colonial buildings, Spanish forts alongside the modern homage to Cuba’s Socialist Revolution. Our driving tour will end in Old Havana where we’ll enjoy a brief walking tour of the old heart of the city.
Following our walking tour, we’ll enjoy lunch at a location in Old Havana. Then it’s time for some instruction with Suzy Powell. We’ll take time to sketch on the cobblestone streets of Old Havana near the Cathedral De Havana, one of the oldest churches on the island. Following this instruction time, we’ll return to the Hotel Nacional.
We’ll enjoy an excellent menu of local food cooked on charcoal and served in clay pots at the Creole restaurant, La Barraca. (B,L,D)
Sunday, January 12th
This morning we’ll take time to enjoy more instruction with Suzy Powell. We’ll once again venture to a quiet and picturesque area of Old Havana where Spanish Colonial ruins and 57’ Chevy’s comingle in a beautiful juxtaposition along Havana’s famed seaside Malecon.
Following the workshop, we’ll enjoy lunch together at a nearby cafe.
This afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to learn something new. We’ll enjoy a private lesson on the history of the Cuban cigar. This will be a hands on experience with an opportunity to roll your own cigar. In addition to creating cigars, we’ll also learn how to make the perfect Cuban mojito. Our afternoon will be spent enjoying a crisp, minty mojito and, if it’s up your alley, a custom made Cuban cigar. Spend a few hours being introduced to your inner Cuban.
This evening, we’ll stay late for dinner to enjoy a taste of the classic Cuba, a la 1930’s, Cabaret Parisien at the Hotel Nacional offers a great Show "Cubano, Cubano”. (B,L,D)
Monday, January 13th
For those who stayed up late, we’ll have a later start. Breakfast will be served between 8:00 and 9:30 at the Hotel Nacional.
Today we’ll enjoy some time with Suzy for more instruction. We will be carrying our sketchbook travel palette and pen, and camera. We will be sketching every chance we get. City scapes. People. Color! CARS!! Whatever excites you. Following our workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to dine at a location of your choosing.
This afternoon we’ll take time to explore the Museo De La Revolution in Old Havana. We’ll see first hand the Gramma, the actual boat that brought Castro and his army from Mexico to Cuba. We’ll learn about the history of the Cuban Revolution and understand more the plight of Cuba and its people.
Dinner tonight will be at a restaurant in Old Havana where we’ll enjoy live music and authentic cuisine. (B,D)
Tuesday, January 14th
Havana & Trinidad
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then collect your bags. You’ll need to have them to the lobby by 8:30 in order to check out and board the bus for Trinidad.
We have a 4 hour drive through the Cuban countryside this morning. You’ll see countless farms and open roads as we find our way to the city of Cienfuegos and our ultimate destination, Trinidad. Trinidad, being a small city, has very few hotels that can accommodate groups of 15 or more people. That gives us the opportunity to enjoy staying at casa paticulares, (private homes) near the city center. We’ll break into smaller groups and check into our prospective houses. Lunch will be waiting when we arrive.
We’ll take some time to get to know this beautiful and historic city. We’ll traverse the cobblestone streets, hear music from almost every corner and see countless art shops. We’ll explore museums and learn about the history of Trinidad from it’s early roots to the roll it played during the revolution.
Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner at the personal estate of a famed Cuban painter, where you’ll be treated to a meal prepared by a private chef. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, January 15th
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast prepared by your hosts.
Are you ready for an adventure? This morning we’ll delve into Trinidad’s past as we board an antique train, led by a modern locomotive as it rumbles out into the Agabama Valley, better known as the UNESCO protected Valley of the Sugar Mills. The train pulls up at the Hacienda Iznaga and its slave-watching tower which, today, offers views of the undulating hills. After lunch in the old plantation hacienda, explore the hidden ruins of the saccharine revolution. The interior of the Hacienda Guáimaro features the exotic faded frescoes of Italian artist Daniele Dal’Aglio, while the remains of the San Isidro de los Destiladeros mill are framed by the boughs of a huge flame tree. We’ll have time to enjoy more instruction from Suzy Powell as we explore this historical locale
When we return, we’ll enjoy dinner together at a steak house in Trinidad. Upon arrival at your casa privada, be sure to let your hosts know what time you’d like to have breakfast in the morning. (B,L,D)
Thursday, January 16th
Trinidad & Ancón
Once again, you’ll enjoy a private breakfast prepared by the hosts of your casa paticular.
Following breakfast, we’ll enjoy a time of instruction with Suzy. We’ll set up near the bell tower of Trinidad to capture colonial architecture and the leathered faces of Cuba’s Guajiros, (farmers)
Following lunch, we’ll meet at a predetermined location to load our bus and head to Playa Ancón. A mere 15 minutes from Trinidad, Playa Ancón is a ribbon of white sand beach on Sancti Spiritus’ iridescent Caribbean shoreline. Many consider it to be the finest arc of sand on Cuba’s south shore. Our time on the beach should be an extension of your leisurely morning. You’ll be able to enjoy the sand beneath your feet and the warm, renewing waters of the Caribbean. Sip on a mojito and let your stresses float away.
We’ll gather at the San Jose Restaurante for dinner. Prepare to enjoy an incredible meal at one of our favorite Trinidad locations. (B,D)
Friday, January 17th
Breakfast will be served by your hosts.
Today we will take time to enjoy some private instruction from Suzy. Once again, bring your sketchbook, travel palette, pen, and camera. Following our workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy lunch at one of Trinidad’s many local establishments of your choosing.
The afternoon is reserved for your enjoyment. Stroll the many artists shops of Trinidad or peruse the halls of the Bell Tower Museum. Spend time in Central Park and listen to the many musicians who entertain the city’s travelers.
Gather together at Casa Cofradia
Dinner tonight will be a meal prepared by Lia and Pachi Ruiz of Casa Cofradia. In addition to the amazing food, we’ll enjoy a private concert and partake in the classical sounds of Trinidad. (B,D)
Saturday, January 18th
Trinidad & Havana
After a sumptuous breakfast you’ll need to gather your belongings and say your farewells to your hosts. We’ll hop aboard our bus and begin the journey back to Havana. Once again we’ll be checking in to the Hotel Nacional De Cuba. Upon check in, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a bite to eat at the Film Corner on the hotels main floor. Following lunch, feel free to explore the hotel grounds, or grab a cab to your favorite shop in Old Havana. This is your last day in the big city…make it count.
Tonight you’re in for a treat. We’ll dine at the luxurious hotel restaurant, Comedor de Aguiar where you’ll enjoy the best of national and international cuisine and a varied wine list. This will be our opportunity to celebrate the amazing time we’ve had exploring Cuba together. (B,D)
Sunday, January 19th
Individual departures for return flights home. (B)
*Before you register, please read Explore Amazing Places Terms and Conditions
Included in your Tour: 10 days, 9 nights at a unique luxury hotel as well as classic private homes ▪ Meals per itinerary, including tips ▪ Hotel Baggage handling and driver gratuities ▪ Deluxe motor coaches ▪ Excursions/entrance fees per itinerary
NOT Included: ▪ Airfare from your hometown to Havana, Cuba ▪ Airport baggage handling tips ▪ Alcohol or personal room charges ▪ Guide tip (when we provide a guide we recommend $3 - $5 per person) ▪ Travel Visa
Explore Amazing Places Tour: $2990 per person Double Occupancy
Single Supplement: $310 per person
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