Cuban Art Scene

Cuban Art Scene

7 Days Tour

Day 1 - HAVANA CITY

[TBD]- Arrive Jose Marti International Airport, clear customs- met by our staff and driver for transfer to Hotel.

Havana’s enchantment is not limited to her timeworn charm or rich and diverse cultural identity - it’s in the light, the sounds, the Caribbean Sea at her feet and most of all, in her people.  

[TBD]- TRANSFER FORM THE HAVANA AIRPORT TO THE HOTEL 

[4:00 pm] - CHECK IN TO HOTEL

[5:00 pm] - WALKING TOUR OF VEDADO

This walking tour highlights the architecture of the Vedado district. The Maine monument and the Malecon, Coppelia park the Havana Libre hotel and the Rampa district.

[7:30 pm] - SAN CRISTOBAL PALADAR

Rated by The Guardian as the number one Paladar in Havana, This paladar, is in a space that is cluttered and eclectic on the bottom floor of an early 20th-century mansion. Piles of old books are stacked atop beautiful old furniture; black and white photos jostle for space with antique record covers and bullfighting posters, while a selection of clocks, religious artefacts and, even a full-size zebra pelt, add to the mix. The food is Cuban-Creole: malanga, yuca, cerdo asado (roast pork), lobster, fresh fish, shrimp and other traditional fare. This is not, however, the bland standard cuisine found in many state restaurants. The dessert menu is expansive: pudding San Cristóbal (eggs, fruit, milk and almonds) is excellent while the fruit tart and rice puddings are pretty passable, as well as the omnipresent flan. The wine list is broad enough and reasonably priced. We will have a chance to speak with the Chef and the owner of the establishment to discuss food and new opportunities in the food industry in Cuba.

[9:30 pm]- NIGHT LIFE ACTIVITIES TBD

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

Day 2 - HAVANA CITY

[7:00 am] - BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL 

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

 

[9:00 am] - OLD HAVANA FOUR PLAZAS 

Tour Old Havana on foot, walking between the four main plazas that comprise Cuba’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start at Plaza de Armas, the site of the oldest Spanish fortress in the Americas, the 1519 locale of the first mass in Cuba, and the massive Baroque seat of government, known as Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. Continue to Plaza de San Francisco de Assis and Plaza Vieja, where we will visit artists galleries and historic buildings and get a sense of the structure of the colonial city. Wind through historic streets spanning 5 centuries of historic architecture and end at Plaza de la Catedral and see the Baroque cathedral.

 

[11:00 am] - WILFREDO LAM CULTURAL CENTER 

Dedicated to and named for the Cuban Surrealist painter known as the Cuban Picasso, this gallery and museum is situated just behind the Catedral de la Habana in the elegant, 18th-century former mansion known as Casa del Obispo Penalver. The center hosts temporary shows with works by contemporary Cuban and South American artists in addition to a permanent exhibit of Lam's lithographs and etchings. Born in 1902, Lam studied in Spain and fought with the Republicans against Franco. He later moved to France, where he met Pablo Picasso, who became his champion and introduced him to Matisse, Braque, Leger, and the poet Andre Breton, among others. He returned to Cuba to support the Revolution, and later returned to Paris, where he died in 1982.

[11:30 am] - TALLER DE GRAFICA  

Stroll to Plaza de La Catedral to visit Havana’s premiere graphics arts workshop. This public center for local artists was established by Pablo Neruda and Che Guevara at the beginning of the Revolution as a place where artists living and visiting Havana can work on printmaking. Over the years they have developed an inventory of prints by unknown artists as well as more celebrated artists. This is an excellent time to purchase art gifts for yourself and others at great prices.

[12:30 pm] - LUNCH AT PALADAR HAVANA 61

Located in one of the oldest colonial areas of Havana, near the beautiful Iglesia del Angel, is a bright and airy, Havana 61. The modern design is in extreme contrast with the six-century old city and offers traditional Cuban cuisine as well as culinary creations of their own. The seafood is the house specialty as well as the originally concocted libations.

[4:00 pm] - DRINKS AT EL FLORIDITA HEMINGWAY’S FAVORITE BAR.

Ernest Hemingway was known to say, “My mojito at La Bodeguita; my daiquiri at Floridita”, the world famous bar and one of Papa’s favorites where it is rumored he invented the “daiquiri” with his regular bartender. The venue opened in 1817 under the name “La Pina de Plata” or The Silver Pineapple in English, and almost 100 years later the name was changed to “El Florida”, but in time became known as “El Floridita”. One the famed Old Havana corner of Obispo and Monserrate, the bar was not only frequented by Hemingway but, was a regular haunt for generations of Cuban and foreign intellectuals and artists including Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos and British novelist, Graham Greene. The Bar, complete with the bronze bust of Hemingway (2003), still preserves much of the atmosphere of the 1940s and 1950s and no trip to Havana would be complete with a visit to this iconic location.

[5:00 pm] - RETURN TO HOTEL TO FRESHEN UP AND RELAX BEFORE DINNER 

[7:30 pm] - DINNER AT CAFE LAURENT 

A collaboration between Havana restaurateurs Lorenzo Enrique Nieto and José Figueroa, Café Laurent is one of the new chic spots in Havana that is located in a rooftop former apartment. Styled in a shabby chic 50s style, the food is excellent.

[9:30 pm] NIGHTLIFE ACTIVITIES TBD. WE RECOMMEND TROPICANA.

Tropicana is a famous cabaret built in 1939 on the former grounds of the estate Villa Mina, on 72nd Street and Railway Line, Marianao, Havana. In 1940 he adopted the current name when the choreographer and director Sergio Orta shows suggested, inspired by the eponymous melody composer and flutist Alfredo Brito, released in the same place. It is also known as "a paradise under the stars" because it was built outdoors in a wooded area taking advantage of the cool of the trees, becoming a completely different from traditional cabaret. For its significance for Cuban culture was declared a National Monument.

The Cabaret Tropicana was honored in 1992 by the American Academy of Restaurant Industry with the coveted Best of the Best Five Star Diamond Award for best cabaret of America; and in 1996 he was selected among the twenty locations where consortia American television ABC and CNN transmitted live worldwide farewell of the twentieth century.

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

Day 3 - HAVANA CITY

[7:00 am] - BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL 

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[10:00 am] - CEMENTERIO DE COLON 

Visit Havana's Cementerio de Colon. Laid out between 1871 and 1886, the cemetery includes more than 500 mausoleums, chapels and family vaults, sculpted in bronze, granite, marble and limestone by leading Cuban and European artists. Learn about the relationship between this cemetery and the Catholic Church in Cuba.

[10:00 am] - ARTIST STUDIO VISIT (BASED ON YOUR PREFERENCES)

[11:00 am] - MUSEO DE ARTES DECORATIVAS / DECORATIVE ART MUSEUM 

Since 1964 this magnificent eclectic-style Havana mansion, once owned by María Luisa Gómez Mena, countess of Revilla Camargo has been home to a collection of over thirty thousand works of art, including Louis XV and XVI period furniture; 17th to 19th-century Chinese decorative arts, Chantilly, Meissen, Sevres, Limoge, Staffordshire, Wedgwood and Faenza porcelains, and numerous clocks, precious metals, paintings, and tapestries.

[12:30 pm] - LUNCH AT PALADAR MEDITERRANEO

Elegance and locally sourced food are the remarkable characteristics of this restaurant, the creation of a Cuban dreamer who lived in Italy for many years and a Sardinian chef, where you can enjoy the most delicious ravioli in Cuba.

[2:45 pm] - FOLKLÓRICO NACIONAL DE CUBA PRIVATE REHEARSAL 

Go behind the scenes and witness this extraordinary ensemble of Afro Cuban folkloric music and dances. After 35 years and 93 international tours you can't find more authentic Afro Cuban performance than this.

[3:45 pm]- ARTISTS STUDIO VISITS (BASED ON YOUR PREFERENCES)

[7:30 pm] - DINNER ON YOU OWN  

Tonight dinner is in a paladar of your choice from a list of the hottest foodie scenes in the City. The tour guide will make the reservations. This is an opportunity to get away from the larger group and dine with a smaller group of friends. You will take a taxi to the meal that we will find for you. The group will have a chance to speak with the Chef and owner of the establishment to discuss food and new opportunities in the food industry in Cuba. The cost of this meal is not included in the trip price.

[9:30 pm]- NIGHT LIFE ACTIVITIES TBD. WE RECOMMEND FABRICA DE ARTE CUBANO (FAC)

Fabrica De Arte is probably Havana’s most exciting art and performance venue. FAC an old oil factory that’s now a thriving arts space in Vedado, one of Havana’s residential districts. The eclectic crowd includes the who’s who of the art and music world mixing it up with young people from all over the city who attend regularly to experience art and music. The cavernous space includes an art and photographic gallery, a dance space, a cinema and a very well-stocked bar. On any given night you can watch a fashion show and a live concert, enjoy a meal, see a film and generally hang out in the most creative scene on the island. It was Mick Jagger’s favorite hangout in Havana and it will probably be yours.

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

Day 4 - HAVANA CITY

[7:00 am] - BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL NACIONAL

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[9:30 am] - DRIVING TOUR OF EL VEDADO AND MIRAMAR AREAS 

Visit Vedado, Plaza and Modern Havana districts. The morning starts with a visit to Plaza de la Revolucion or revolution Square followed by a visit of the Vedado district which highlights the architecture of the area, drive by the maine monument and the Malecon, Coppelia park the Havana Libre hotel and the Rampa district. The group will visit the farmers market, and other places of interest in Havana where they will have the opportunity to interact with the Cuban people.

[11:30 am] MORNING VISIT TO THE REVOLUTION SQUARE 

 One of the most dramatic examples of modern architecture in Havana, if not the world, is the Plaza de la Revolución José Martí. The Plaza is among the largest civic plazas in the world, measuring nearly 24,000 sq. ft., surrounded by modern construction and featuring the enormous obelisk monument to Jose Marti, built on the highest ground in Havana. It is major attraction for visitors of all walks of life, world leaders and dignitaries, including Pope Francis who held mass their recently and Pope John Paul II who visited in 1998. The plaza was constructed prior to 1959 during the government of Fulgencio Batista, but gained popularity afterward as the center of public celebration and demonstration in Cuba. Two of the government buildings in the square, both mid-century modern (1958), are best known for the iron sculptures of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos that cover their facades, both by Cuban artist Enrique Avila. This grand plaza is also home to the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, built in 1979. This plaza is another one of those magical locations in Havana that throw you back in time but simultaneously offer you a great vision and hope for the future.

[12:30 pm] - LUNCH AT EL ALJIBE

The nearly 69-year old secret chicken recipe developed in the 1940s has drawn the likes of Jack Nicholson, Matt Dillon and former President Jimmy Carter. El Aljibe is one of the busiest restaurants in Havana, especially during lunchtime and is run by Sergio Garcia Macias who, with his brother Pepe, opened their first restaurant in 1947. Named Rancho Luna, located in the countryside west of Havana, El Aljibe’s predecessor closed down in the early 1960s. When asked to help revive Rancho Luna in the 1990’s, Sergio agreed to open it under a new name, El Aljibe, and at a new location in the city’s busy Playa neighborhood. Here you will enjoy delicious Cuban creole cuisine in a country-like setting where you simply must have the world-famous chicken.  

[ 2:00 pm]- LUDWIG FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY ART

Set in a classic Havana modernist apartment, this organization was founded by philanthropist and collector Peter Ludwig with the intent of fostering international interest in Cuban art. We will see the work of young emerging Cuban artists.

[3:00 pm] - ARTIST STUDIO VISITS (BASED ON YOUR PREFERENCES) 

[6:30 pm] - RETURN TO THE HOTEL

[7:30 pm]- DINNER AT AN ARTIST STUDIO (TBD BASED ON YOUR PREFERENCES)

[9:30 pm]- NIGHT LIFE ACTIVITIES TBD. WE RECOMMEND LA ZORRA Y EL CUERVO, JAZZ CLUB.

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

Day 5 - HAVANA CITY

[7:00 am] - BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[10:00 am] - ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S FINCA LA VIGIA

Visit Ernest Hemingway's Finca La Vigia, located on a hilltop in the rural village of San Francisco de Paula, just southeast of the City of Havana. The home has recently been the subject of a massive preservation effort by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as the author left it in 1961. At this farm you will be able to see his sport-fishing boat, the Pilar. This place houses the Hemingway Museum. The Finca Vigia estate and the fishing village of Cojimar are considered the most significant locales for those interested in Hemingway's history.

[1:00 pm] - LUNCH AT AJIACO CAFE 

“Papa's” passion for fishing and drinking has left an indelible mark on Caribbean seaside the town of Cojimar, the picturesque fishing village where Hemingway docked his boat, El Pilar, and where some old timers might still remember Hemingway and his guide, Gregorio, whom the “old man” was based on. Café Ajiaco is a Cojimar favorite. The fare is as varied as the drinks, but given that you are so close to the coast it is almost mandatory that you go for some seafood. The choice of fish changes daily with the catch. Enjoy this seaside fishing port village that is almost frozen in time since Hemingway made it his favorite hangout.

[3:00 pm] - ARTIST STUDIO VISIT (BASED ON YOUR PREFERENCES)

[7:30 pm] - DINNER AT 5 SENTIDOS 

This Cuban restaurant offers international cuisine located in Havana in a central corner of Old Havana is an open space with open kitchen for the enjoyment of the 5 Sentidos.

[9:30 pm]- NIGHT LIFE ACTIVITIES TBD

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

Day 6 - HAVANA CITY

MPORTANT NOTE: We will assist you with the final details of any art purchases made through the week, final calls to the artists, shipping, and permits to exit the country with your artwork and more.

[7:00 am] - BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL 

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[10:00 am] - CAPITOLIO ,CENTRAL PARK AND PRADO TOUR

El Prado is one of the most exquisitely designed and splendid major avenues in all of the Americas and home to the quintessential structures that define Havana, ranging from Colonial to Baroque to Neoclassical to Art Deco. Designed in 1772 by French landscape architect Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier, El Prado runs for many blocks from the dramatic fountain, La Fuente de la India, to the iconic Malecon, marking the boundary between Habana Vieja and Centro Habana. El Paseo, a marble promenade lined with a natural canopy of trees, marble benches and bronze lions was recently chosen by the House of Chanel for one of the most dramatic runway shows in the history of fashion. It is home to El Capitolio (1929): El Gran Teatro de La Habana (1918), home to the National Ballet of Cuba; The Bacardi Building (1930), a testament to Art Deco and dozens of other structures immortalized in photography and film for decades. Havana’s Central Park, is home to first statue of Jose Marti in Cuba. The gardens stand out for the 28 magnificent royal palms. Some of Havana most recognizable buildings surround the park. El Prado encompasses all of the mystery and magic, all of the historic and cultural wealth that Havana has offered from the 17th to the 21st century.

[11:30 am] - MUSEO DE BELLAS ARTES CUBAN ART COLLECTION/ BELLAS ARTES MUSEUM

You will visit the Cuban collections in this striking modernist building which was completed in 1953 and exemplifies the combination of sculpture with architecture in Cuban mid-century modernism. The Palace of Fine Arts houses a collection of Cuban visual art that spans 4 centuries.

[12:30 pm] - LUNCH ON YOUR OWN

[2:30 pm] - FREE TIME TO EXPLORE THE CITY WE RECOMMEND THE CRAFT MARKET AND THE THE FOUR PLAZAS 

[6:30 pm] - CLASSIC CARS 

We will be picked up by a fleet of classic American cars and ride through Havana in style to dinner tonight.

[7:30 pm] - DINNER AT LA GUARIDA  

Anyone who has been to La Guarida will find it difficult to disagree that Enrique and Odeisys have managed to create their own magical place. It oodles a cozy atmosphere with soft lights, fine table linen, German silver cutlery, candles, Cuban music and good jazz. The effect is magnified by the entrance from a run-down Central Havana street. The building, originally known as La Mansión Camagüey, shows its former grandeur from the magnificent wooden entrance door through the marble staircase up the two flights of stairs to the restaurant itself. Fidel’s famous explanation of [why he said] Patria o Muerte (country or death) is a photographer’s dream on the way down. For visitors to Havana, La Guarida has become a must experience. This is deservedly so for while it may be busy, expensive and has been discovered before, it retains its intimate (somewhat formal) charm and provides a quality dining experience with sensitivity and professionalism.

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

Day 7 - HAVANA CITY

Check out: Hotel  (TBD)

[7:00 am] - BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL  

You will be met by your guide in the lobby after breakfast to begin the day’s program.

[9:00 am] - CHECK OUT OF HOTEL NACIONAL

[10:00 am] - TRANSFER FROM A HAVANA HOTEL TO THE AIRPORT

HAVANA CITY HAVANA CITY

PROGRAM INCLUDES: 

  • Arrival assistance at Jose Marti Airport (HAV) (only with purchase of air-sold separately)
  • Transfers in and out from the airport to hotel (only with purchase of air-sold separately)
  • Cuban Visa
  • Licensing cost for People to People travelers
  • B&Bs and hotel accommodations 
  • Daily breakfast at the hotels or B&Bs
  • Meals at the best paladars in Cuba
  • Artist Studio visit selection assistance
  • Database with over 200 Cuban artists ( To choose based on art interest)
  • Assistance with the export permitting
  • Dinner in an artist Studio / Home
  • Drinks and exchanges with artists and curators at their studios
  • Visits to museums or organizations
  • Luxury motorcoach and/or van transportation for the whole program
  • Translation by a professional Cuba-based guide
  • Our Cuba Travel Tips publication and other traveler guidance

PROGRAM PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:  

  • Airfare to Cuba (priced separately)
  • Air from Home City to Miami
  • Passports
  • Tips (guide and driver, baggage handlers & restaurant staff)
  • Trip Interruption Insurance
  • All other items not listed in “PROGRAM PRICE INCLUDES”
Please note: This itinerary is subject to change and you will be kept informed of changes and receive a final itinerary.

Experience Cuba