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An amazing Trip to Cuba!

Art, Culture, History & Fun

Specially prepared for Andrews Group Travel

Escorted by Carol Andrews


April 08 – 15, 2016



This trip will be conducted under a General License –    Humanitarian (section 515.575)
FRIDAY, APRIL 08 – HAVANA                             

Depart Miami on CTS Charters (operated by Sun Country Airlines) flight # 8830, leaving at 8:30am and arriving Havana Jose Marti airport at 9:35am. Please be at the counter no later than 3 hours prior to the flight departure. (Flying times are subject to change). Upon arrival in Havana, you will be met by Ya’lla Tours USA’s Cuban representative to begin your tour.



Drive through the once fashionable residential area of Miramar, which retains its pre-revolution air of exclusivity. The beautiful houses are now used for embassies, commercial offices, and tourist development.

Drive through the Revolution Square, the administrative and political center of Cuba.

Continue to your hotel for check-in and overnight.

Stay in a nice 4 star hotel

Dinner tonight is on your own; ask your Ya’lla Tours guide to recommend a paladar, a privately owned restaurant.

SATURDAY, APRIL 09 – HAVANA                       (B,L,D)

Take a walking tour around the historic center of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Visit Plaza de San Francisco de Asis and the 16th-century Convento de San Francisco de Asis, one of the finest buildings from the colonial period. The basilica and the monastery of San Francisco de Asis (Saint Francis of Assisi) were built in Havana at the end of sixteenth century (1580–91) as the home of the Franciscan community, and were altered in the baroque style in 1730. The church was used for worship by the English during the year they ruled Havana. When it returned to Spanish rule, they chose not to use it as a church. It is now used for concerts. Attached to the Basilica is a bell tower (138-ft). Originally a statue of St. Francis of Assisi stood on the top of the bell tower but it was destroyed by a cyclone in 1846.cojimar

See the 16th-century Plaza Vieja, another of Havana’s historic squares, and its surrounding art galleries.

See the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales at Plaza de Armas, where the city was originated. Built in 1776, this stately palace remains as a testament to Cuba’s importance as Spain’s principal port of the Americas during the 18th century.

Visit Plaza de la Cathedral, where the most prominent building is the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception, seat of Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, the Cardinal Archbishop of Havana, Cuba. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Christopher (San Cristóbal) and is also known as Cathedral of Saint Christopher.

Visit the Arms Square gallery, where there are a few galleries together, featuring some of Cuba most prominent artists: Artists: Fabelo, Pedro Angel Martinez, Zaida del Rio, Pedro Pablo Oliva, Rancaño and more.

Lunch will be served at the Cafe Oriente restaurant in Old Havana.


Visit the famous El Floridita Bar, birth place of the Daiquiri cocktail and one of Hemingway’s favorite Havana bars. In 1953, “Esquire” magazine called it one the world’s seven best bars. Since that time El Floridita has been frequented by distinguished visitors to Havana, ranging from artists to official guests of the government. Besides Ernest Hemingway, El Floridita’s customers include: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Gene Tunney, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gary Cooper, Tennessee Williams, Charles Scribner, Spencer Tracey, Rocky Marciano, Ava Gardner, Samuel Eliot Morison, Buck Lanham, and Herbert Matthews.

Stop for pictures outside El Capitolio Nacional (Capitol building). Built in 1929 as the Senate and House of Representatives, the colossal building is recognizable by its dome, which dominates the city’s skyline. Inside stands the third largest indoor statue in the world, La Estatua de la República. Today the Capitolio is home to the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (the National Museum of Natural History), with the largest natural history collection in the country. (The building is currently under renovation and may not allow visitors inside.)

End the visit to Old Havana at the outdoor handicraft market.

Then on to Callejón de Hammel (Hammel’s Alley), a community project promoting Afro-Cuban art, music, and culture. Meet with several artists for a personal look at the thriving arts scene.


End the day with a visit to Christopher Columbus Cemetery with the lavish tombs of wealthy Cubans from before the revolution.

Dinner tonight will be at the Rio Mar, one of the best privately-run, home restaurants.

The dining room is in a terrace on the water with amazing views of the Miramar neighborhood. Transfers to the restaurant will be done in vintage cars.

Top off the day with a wonderful show at the Buena Vista Social Club.

Return to the hotel for overnight. 

SUNDAY, APRIL 10 – HAVANA                            (B,L)

Depart Havana and drive to Matanzas for a visit to San Severino Castle, where the Museum of Slavery is located. This is one of the largest Spanish fortresses in the Americas, built more than three centuries ago to protect the territory’s trade and the area east of Havana against attack by corsairs and pirates. Up until 1978, when it was declared a national monument, it served as a prison. Since then, it has housed the Slave Route Museum. More than 1.3 million slaves were brought to Cuba from different regions of Africa.

Continue Cuba’s largest beach resort, Varadero, and have lunch at the DuPont Estate, built by the well-known DuPont family in the late 1940’s, when the US – Cuba relationship was at its peak.

Return to Havana for overnight.



Visit the Convento de Belen, a world-renowned community center and social services facility that serves Havana’s poorest neighborhoods, with special focus on the elderly and disabled children. The vitality, hope and cooperative spirit of Convento de Belen is truly inspirational and visitors come away deeply touched and eager to support this work. You will have the opportunity to make contributions here.

Visit La Corona Cigar Factory to see the cigar making process.

Continue to the Havana Club Museum of Rum and journey back to the origins of Cuba’s most famous beverage. From freshly cut stalks of sugar cane to a refurbished distillery and ageing cellars, the museum offers a real-time experience of the rum-making process, as well as a taste of true Cuban culture. An upstairs gallery features an authentic mule-driven cane mill used in the earliest ingenious (sugar refineries). A historically accurate model of a steam locomotive reminds us that Cuba was the first country in Latin America to use a railway for the transport of sugar cane. The next door leads to a much larger model, the achievement of a master Cuban craftsman. This masterpiece captures the essence of the great sugar refineries and rum distilleries, whose immense chimneys rise as landmarks over the Cuban countryside. At the end of the visit you will have a tasting of the famous Cuban rum.

Then on to Callejón de Hammel (Hammel’s Alley), a community project promoting Afro-Cuban art, music, and culture. Meet with several artists for a personal look at the thriving arts scene.

Continue to El Divino Paladar in the countryside, a nice place to see Cuba’s vegetation and farms.

Return to Havana and continue to the Centro Hebreo Sefaradi de Cuba. Meet with Dr. Levy, the head of the community and hear about the congregation, their programs and challenges and visit their Holocaust Remembrance Hall.


Lecture at the hotel:


Dr. Carlos Alzugaray Treto from CESEU (Centro de Estudios sobre Estados Unidos) will present an overview of US-Cuban relations. Dr. Alzugaray is a former Cuban diplomat who serves today as the Coordinator of International Strategic Studies.

Dinner tonight is on your own; ask your Ya’lla Tours guide to recommend a paladar

TUESDAY, APRIL 12 – HAVANA              (B,L,D)

Drive to the entrance of Havana Bay and the largest fortress in the Americas: San Carlos de la Cabaña, built between 1763 and 1774 under the command of Spanish military engineer Don Silvestre Abarca. Carlos III, King of Spain at the time, requested a spyglass and exclaimed: “The Cabaña, such a valuable work, should be spotted from Madrid.”

The fortress was used as a military base and a prison for more than two hundred years and Che Guevara made it his headquarters for some months during the Cuban revolution. Today it holds the most important ancient weapon collection of the country.

Continue in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway. The lovely Finca Vigia was Hemingway’s home in Cuba for two decades. He bought the house in 1939 and it was opened as a museum in 1964. It contains more than 22,000 original items that belonged to Hemingway, including records, books, paintings, personal documents, photographs, and hunting weapons. Peering inside the house through large windows and strolling around the peaceful grounds, visitors get a good feel for the daily life of the great writer.

Visit the fishing village of Cojimar, which inspired Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea (the 1954 Nobel Prize winner).


Then, we’ll have a cooking lesson and lunch at Ajiaco Paladar, a newly opened, private restaurant with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

Return to Havana for a visit Arte Corte, a hair salon and museum of hairdressing artifacts founded by Gilberto Valladares, known as Papito, the most recognized hair stylist in Cuba. Papito’s cultural project has brought together barbers, hairdressers, models, artists and historians who seek to preserve and disseminate the history of hairdressing in Cuba. Arte Corte started at the Valladares house and expanded its influence, with the support of the Office of the City Historian, to found a school of barbering and hairdressing free for youth of the area. Since Arte Corte was able to work with the government to close off the street from car traffic, more businesses have set up shop in the neighborhood. The group has formed a cooperative to help other businesses get a start, improve the facilities for senior citizens and beautify the neighborhood.


Our Havana farewell dinner will be at the Café Laurent Paladar, one of the best privately-run, home restaurants. The dining room is in a penthouse with amazing views of the Vedado neighborhood.




Depart to the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron), about a 2-hour drive. A force of U.S.-backed, anti-Castro Cuban exiles attempted to overthrow the Castro regime here in the Battle of the Bay of Pigs. Visit the Museum of Playa Giron.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion, known in Latin America as La Batalla de Girón, was an unsuccessful military invasion of Cuba by the paramilitary group Brigade 2506 in April 1961. A counter-revolutionary militia trained and funded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Brigade 2506, fronted the armed wing of the Democratic Revolutionary Front (DRF) and intended to overthrow the revolutionary leftist government of President Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

Launched from Guatemala, the invading force was defeated within three days by the Cuban armed forces under the command of Prime Minister Fidel Castro. Fourteen hundred paramilitaries, divided into five infantry battalions and one paratrooper battalion set out from Guatemala to Cuba by boat on April 13. On April 15, eight CIA-supplied B-26 bombers attacked Cuban air fields before returning to the U.S., and on the night of April 16, the main invasion landed at Playa Girón beach in the Bay of Pigs. Initially overwhelming a local revolutionary militia, the Cuban Army’s counter-offensive was then led by Captain José Ramón Fernández, before Castro decided to take personal control of the operation. On April 20, the invaders finally surrendered, with the majority of troops being publicly interrogated and then sent back to the U.S.

The failed invasion strengthened the position of Castro’s administration, which proceeded to openly proclaim their intention to adopt socialism and strengthen ties with the Soviet Union, leading to the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The invasion was a major embarrassment for U.S. foreign policy, with Kennedy ordering a number of internal investigations. Across much of Latin America, it was celebrated as evidence of the fallibility of U.S. imperialism.


Then drive 1 hour to the city of Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 1819 as the Colony Fernandina de Jagua. The first inhabitants came not only from Spain, but also from a number of French colonies, as well as Bordeaux, Louisiana, Philadelphia and Guárico. This formal foundation followed a series of earlier attempts in this region, where the economy was based on cattle raising and cultivation of tobacco. From the 18th century, there was wax production, as well as timber and sugar. In the 1830s, the colony grew based on sugar production and the favorable geographical location. The settlement was recognized with the category of “Villa” as a confirmation of its urban aspect and was authorized to trade in domestic and foreign fields. In 1840, there were already registered companies in the town and the growth continued in the following decades. In the 1860s, it was the third city of the country. By 1914, American investors owned the most important sugar mills in the province. Trade developed mainly with the United States, the principal market for Cienfuegos. During the Cuban Revolution the city saw an uprising against Fulgencio Batista and was bombed on September 5, 1957.

With the new administrative division of 1976, the city of Cienfuegos became the capital of the province with the same name, increasing its development further. The local administration remained concentrated in the downtown area. As a whole, this area has retained its historic fabric.


Visit the city’s foundation, José Martí Park, where the most representative buildings include the Government Palace (City Hall, current office of the Provincial Assembly of the Popular Power), San Lorenzo School, Bishopric, Ferrer Palace, the Terry Theater, Cathedral de la Purisma Concepción, the former Lyceum building and some residential buildings.

Lunch will be at the Villa Lagarto Paladar.

After lunch, visit the Palacio Del Valle restaurant, known for its synthesis of architectural styles. Drive along the 16-block Paseo del Prado promenade, one of the longest in Cuba.

Then, travel about 1½ hours on to Trinidad for overnight.


Our hotel, IBEROSTAR GRAND TRINIDAD, is a 5-star boutique hotel located in the center of Trinidad. The hotel is housed in a beautiful building which has been completely renovated blending beautiful elements of the local architecture and the standards of modern comfort. Grand Trinidad has 40 rooms (36 standard rooms and 4 junior suites) and is for adults only (15 and over). The hotel offers an elegant atmosphere and a wide range of facilities to its visitors. Ideal for those interested getting acquainted with the Villa’s outstanding architectural, historical and cultural values.



Dinner will be at the Maliban Paladar, the best paladar in Trinidad!

Return to the hotel for overnight


THURSDAY, APRIL 14 TRINIDAD                    (B,L)

Spend the morning on a walking tour of Trinidad, a living-museum of Spanish colonialism. The whole city, with its fine palaces, cobbled streets and red-tiled roofs, is a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trinidad’s prosperity rested on the sugar industry. The city was a cultural center with theaters, schools of language, music, dance and a wide variety of artisans, including gold and silversmiths. Lavish public and private buildings filled the city. During the second half of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution and increased sugar beet production in Europe led to the decline of Trinidad’s slavery-based economy. Construction ceased and the city remained frozen in time. Much of the architecture is Neoclassical and Baroque, with a Moorish flavor, reflecting the town’s heritage of conquistadors. Visit the Plaza Mayor in the center of town. Around the plaza are the Museo Romantico and the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad. The Cathedral is the largest church in Cuba and renowned for its acoustics. This is a place to leave donations. Explore the Museo Romantico, which houses a collection of Romantic-style porcelain, glass, paintings and ornate furniture. The museum is located in a colonial mansion with beautiful views over the square from the upper balconies. The adventurous are invited to climb up to the Antiguo Convento de San Francisco de Asis. The tower and church are all that remain of the original convent.


Have lunch at one of the city’s best paladars, sol Ananda.

After lunch, visit the Valle de los Ingenios, or Valley of the Sugar Mills, a series of three interconnected valleys about 7.5 miles outside of Trinidad. The three valleys, San Luis, Santa Rosa and Meyer, were a center for sugar production from the late 18th century until the late 19th century. At the peak of the industry in Cuba there were over fifty cane sugar mills in operation in the three valleys with over 30,000 slaves working in the mills and the sugar cane plantations that surrounded them.

Sugar production was an important industry for Cuba from the earliest settlement by the Spanish, who introduced sugar cane to the island in 1512, and trade in the commodity enriched Trinidad and the surrounding areas. The island became the world’s foremost producer of sugar during the late 18th and 19th centuries, when sugar production was the main industry.

In 1988, Valle de los Ingenios and neighboring Trinidad were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Although most of the sugar mills are in ruins, intact structures endure at some sites, including Guachinango, where the plantation house remains. Visit the plantation of Manaca Iznaga, where the owner’s house, a tower and some barracones (the original slave quarters) still stand. Although the barracones are now used as housing, they are in poor repair. The owner’s house has been converted into a restaurant. See the magnificent view from the Iznaga Tower. The 147 ft. tower was constructed sometime in 1816 by the owner, Alejo Maria Iznaga y Borrell. The bell that formerly hung on top of the tower announced the beginning and the end of the work day for the slaves, as well as the times for prayers to the Holy Virgin in the morning, midday and afternoon. It was also used to sound an alarm in case of fire or slave escape.

Return to the hotel for overnight

Dinner tonight is on your own; ask your Ya’lla Tours guide to recommend a paladar or restaurant.

After dinner, we suggest you enjoy one of these famous music venues:

– La Casa De La Musica de Trinidad – where locals and foreigners gather after dark to listen to Cuban music. When it gets “hot” the outdoor arena fills with people dancing to the irresistible beat, an unforgettable experience for any visitor!

– La Cancháchara – famous for its eponymous house cocktail made from rum, honey, lemon and water. Local musicians regularly drop by for off-the-cuff jam sessions and it’s not unusual for the Cancháchara-inebriated crowd to break into spontaneous dancing.

Palenque de los Congos Reales – where traditional music groups play and the Folkloric Ballet of Trinidad and the Cuba-Haiti Dance Company perform. This is the main place for African and Haitian roots music and dance.



FRIDAY, APRIL 15 –                                    (B,L)

Drive about 3 hours to the city of Santa Clara to visit the Ernesto (Che) Guevara Mausoleum. The Argentinean Che Guevara was one of the commanders who fought with Fidel Castro in the war against the dictatorship of Batista in the 1950s. He died in Bolivia in 1967 while leading that country’s revolution. His remains were recovered in 1998 and buried in this memorial in Santa Clara Revolution Square.

Visit the Armored Train Battle Monument, the site where guerrilla forces commanded by Che Guevara defeated reinforcements sent in an armored train (tren blindado) by Batista’s army in 1958. The monument site includes original armored boxcars with displays of photos, armaments and artifacts inside, and a bulldozer used by the rebels to derail the train.

Lunch will be served at Los Caneyes.

Then, transfer to Cienfuegos airport for your CTS Charters flight # 8811 (operated by Sun Country Airlines), leaving at 8:30pm and arriving Miami at 9:30pm. (Flight times are not final and are subject to approval and change). 


Price per person in a Double room: $3,995

Price per person in a Single room: $4,595


Cost for the Charter flights MIA-HAV// CFG – MIA: $650 (not final)                                                      



  • 6 nights of accommodations with buffet breakfast daily.
  • 6 lunches and 3 dinners as per the itinerary.
  • Drink package during lunches and dinners as follows: 1 glass of:
    • Mojito and/or
    • Wine (Chilean or Spanish) and/or
    • Mineral Water
  • 2 bottles of mineral water per person per touring day.
  • All transfers in Cuba.
  • 7 days of touring in a private air-conditioned vehicle, with licensed, English-speaking guide.
  • All entrance fees as per the itinerary.
  • Hotel service fees and taxes.
  • Ya’lla Tours USA information kit and travel bag.
  • Tips for guide and driver and at hotels.
  • Tips to bellmen.
  • Cuban departure taxes.
  • Cuban Tourist Card.



  • Baggage fees (will be enclosed with your charter tickets).
  • Meals and drinks other than those specified above on the itinerary.
  • Tips during lunches and dinners – suggested 5CUCs per traveler, per meal.
  • Travel insurance ($319 per traveler in a double room, $349 in a single room), highly recommended.



  • Air schedules are subject to change at any time.
  • You must have a passport to enter Cuba (valid at least 6 months past your scheduled return date).
  • An $800 per person deposit is required upon booking.
  • The deposit is refundable up to 120 days prior to departure, less a $200 per person administrative fee.
  • Final payment is due on January 5, 2015, 120 days prior to departure.
  • Ya’lla Tours USA reserves the right to change the hotels to others of similar quality

Click here to download registration form.


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