Cuba | Arts and Culture









Join Cross Cultural Journeys, ASC and Robert Bush on an unforgettable journey into the Arts and Culture of Cuba.

March 17 - March 26, 2017

The Arts and Science Council is ensuring access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Region.


Daily Itinerary:


Day 1 | Friday, March 17 | Miami / Havana Upon arrival in Cuba, meet your Cuban guide and drive to your hotel. On the way, your guide will show you the historical memorial to José Martí at Plaza de la Revolución and give you a short driving tour to see the general layout of this beautiful city including the Malecón. Lunch at famed El Ajibe, known for their delicious traditional Cuban cuisine, most notably their special chicken recipe. After settling into your accommodation, set out on a short walk to absorb your first impressions of the tropical air, rhythm and color wafting out of the doorways you pass, laughter and conversation bouncing amongst neighbors easily, meeting local people along the way. Dinner will be at a beautiful paladar. A paladar is a small family-run restaurant licensed to provide meals in a private home. Here, you will taste some of the best food in Cuba as well as experience being in the intimate, warm spaces of local people. Havana Accommodation (D)


Day 2 | Saturday, March 18 | Havana After breakfast we begin our day with a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past as told to us by an expert architect and city planner. Our knowledgeable Cuban guide will then take us on a walking tour of Havana Vieja meeting local people along the way, and speaking with local entrepreneurs about their new businesses, and to NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) who oversee sustainability projects. Enjoy lunch at a local paladar. After lunch visit the Ambos Mundos hotel room where Ernest Hemingway lived for seven years and wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls”.Then enjoy the rest of the afternoon to explore the capital city on your own. Wander the streets to experience the people hanging around the doorways, offering friendly smiles. Dinner is enjoyed on your own at a local restaurant or paladar.  Havana Accommodation (B/L)


Day 3 | Sunday, March 19 | Havana / Las Terrazas Today we depart Havana after breakfast, driving west towards the coffee growing countryside. We stop at Las Terrazas, an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and ecological planned community focusing on sustainable living and environmentally friendly farming practices. Enjoy a vegetarian lunch prepared at a local eco-friendly restaurant. Discover this green space with a meeting and walking tour of the town by a local historian. Head back to Havana in the late afternoon. Dinner on your own. Havana Accommodation (B/L)


Day 4 | Monday, March 20 | Havana After breakfast take the local ferry to the island of Regla to visit Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla (Church of Our Lady of Regla) with the Black Madonna, their patron saint. Explore the grounds and talk with the Santeria priestesses, learning about the rich roots of an African tradition still very much alive in Cuba. Enjoy a lunch at a paladar then visit Finca Vigía, Hemingway’s primary residence from 1939 to 1960 for a guided tour and where Hemingway penned much of his classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. In the evening, enjoy dinner on your own with an optional visit to a local dance and music venue. Havana Accommodation (B/L)


Day 5 | Tuesday, March 21 | Havana In the morning, head out to walk through the Colon Cemetery. Founded in 1876, it is nearly the 140 acres in size, and is famous for its elaborately sculpted memorials. There are more than 500 distinct mausoleums, chapels, and family vaults. Lunch on your own. After lunch, we will head to Bellas Artes, showcasing a range of Cuba art from colonial to contemporary times.In the late afternoon, attend a dance performance by Habana Compás with its unique fusion of flamenco and Afro-Cuban dance that is unlike anything else in Cuba. Then you will have the rest of the afternoon free to visit the Revolutionary museum or to explore Havana’s streets and shops. Dinner on your own. Havana Accommodation (B/D)


CIENFUEGOS a seaport city, is located in the southern part of the island 250 miles from Havana. The city was first settled by French immigrants in 1819 and is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Day 6 | Wednesday, March 22 | Cienfuegos After breakfast, leave for Cienfuegos, the French Colonial town known as “The Pearl of the South” for its spacious, sea-misted streets and plazas. Throughout its history, ships used the surrounding bay as a refuge during storms in the Caribbean. Following lunch at a local restaurant enjoy a private performance by a local choir with a reception to meet the performers afterwards. In the late afternoon visit a local graphic arts studio and speak to its artists. This evening, dinner is on your own at a local restaurant or paladar. After dinner you may wish to visit a local jazz club or salsa club. Cienfuegos Accommodation (B/L)


TRINIDAD was founded in 1514 and was the center of the profitable sugar trade in the region at that time. It was, for centuries, the major sugar exporter in the world. Trinidad is located 208 miles from Havana and 50 miles from Cienfuegos.


Day 7 | Thursday, March 23  | Cienfuegos/Trinidad This morning, depart Cienfuegos on a day trip to Trinidad. Upon arrival we will meet with a local historian who will give us a walking tour of the colonial city and the artist studios that fill the streets and make Trinidad so unique. There will be time to explore the cobbled streets on your own and an opportunity to visit the Romantico Museum, an intact, furnished historic residence once owned by a plantation owner.  Lunch on your own at one Trinidad’s charming restaurants on the Plaza Mayor.  Return to Cienfuegos in time for dinner on your own.  Cienfuegos Accommodation (B)


Day 8 | Friday, March 24 | Havana After breakfast, visit the Escuela de Arte Beny Moré, named after the famed Cuban tenor who lead one of the most famous Cuban big bands of the 1950’s. Speak to the highly regarded students who are trained in visual and musical arts despite hardships such as proper materials or new instruments. Then, depart for Havana. Stop for lunch along the route back to the capital city. Upon arrival in Havana, spend the evening at your leisure, sampling one of the many paladars of the city with an optional performance at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba.  Havana Accommodation (B/L)


Day 9 | Saturday, March 25 | Havana Begin your last full day in Cuba with a visit Organoponico Vivero Alamar, a cooperative urban farm focusing on agricultural production and services. Meet with the founder and his family to discuss their experience and vision. After lunch, spend time at the home studio of José Rodríguez Fuster, a Cuban artist specializing in mosaics. En route to our hotel, drive through the Miramar neighborhood where palatial homes of the pre-revolution wealthy residents once lived, now home to numerous embassies and government offices. End your day with a special farewell dinner. After dinner there is an optional visit to La Tropicana or the famed Buena Vista Social Club.  Havana Accommodation (B/L/D)


Day 10 | Sunday, March 26 | Havana / Miami Following breakfast, we bid Cuba farewell as we transfer to the airport for our flight to Miami then onward flights home. (B)




INCLUDED: In country transportation per itinerary; best available accommodations in Havana (double occupancy); full breakfast buffet daily at the hotel plus 7 lunches and 3 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); Cuban English speaking local guide, CCJ Trip Manager; all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; tips for bellman and hotel staff, included meals on itinerary and bottled water on the bus


NOT INCLUDED: International air, Cuban visa, departure tax and medical insurance while in Cuba; meals not on itinerary, 2 lunches and 6 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); alcoholic drinks; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); and Travel Protection.


For more information on the recommended travel protection plans or to enroll, contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 47-0272.

Please advise Travelex that Cross Cultural Journeys is the travel company for this trip.

Upon request for enrollment Travelex will collect the following information for the traveler(s):

    1. Dates of travel
    2. Name of traveler
    3. Date of Birth
    4. Traveler’s phone number, address, city, state, zip
    5. Reason for travel: Educational: People to People
    6. Name of Travel Agency (Cross Cultural Journeys)

Please note: Insurance for this trip may differ from previous insurance purchases and follows a different process given the destination. In addition, this is a process we must follow as regulated by the Office of Foreign Asset Control for any travel to Cuba.

For a summary of plan details on benefits, coverages, limitations and exclusions, please refer to the applicable Description of Coverage. Travel Insurance is underwritten by Transamerica Casualty Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio; NAIC #10952. 1308294

NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are in Cuba; to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Restaurants or hotels may change in similar category.

March 17 - March 26, 2017

Robert Bush is President of the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. With over 35 years of experience in local arts management, he is a nationally known leader in the local arts agency community. In his current role, he is responsible for ensuring ASC’s annual goals and long-term objectives are achieved by setting the strategy and vision for the organization, as well as the tone for an organizational culture that supports goals and strategies. In addition to serving as the chief strategic and executive officer for the organization, Bush serves as the lead representative on behalf of ASC to the broader community, as well as its various constituencies.


Prior to joining ASC, Bush served as president and CEO of the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as Director of Development with the Mint Museum of Art and as Executive Director of the Catawba County Council for the Arts. He is the author of two publications “United Arts Funds: Meeting the Challenge of Increased Private Sector Support for the Arts” and “Workplace Giving Programs for the Arts”.


A past president of the Arts North Carolina, he is a former member of both the Governing and National Policy Boards of Americans for the Arts, and the Boards of Directors of Community Building Initiative, Urban League of Central Carolinas, Indiana Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, Partners in Out-of-School Time, and The NAMES Project (the AIDS Memorial Quilt) where he served as board chair. In 1984, he received the Governor's Award for meritorious service to the citizens of North Carolina from Governor James B. Hunt and in 2011, the Legacy Award from the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. In 2014, Bush received the Salina Roberts Ottum Award from Americans for the Arts for Arts Leadership.

Trip Host

ASC President Robert Bush






A native of Hickory, NC, he holds a B.S. and M.A. in Education Administration and Supervision with a concentration in Community Education from Appalachian State University and is a graduate of Managing the Arts, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bush has served on the faculty of the Master of Arts in Arts Administration program at Goucher College in Baltimore MD and currently serves on the faculty of the Master of Public Administration Program at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte.


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