The Artistic Beat of Cuba









MEET THE WRITERS, ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS OF HAVANA! In every culture writers and artists are the people with their finger on the pulse of the culture they live in, and the unique focus of our week is to meet Cuban writers and artists who can give us an inside perspective on the fast-changing climate of Cuban life today. They will also tell us their personal experience of being an artist working under the constraints of the Cuban regime. We will hear lectures by a leading academic on the literary and artistic scene; we shall tour old Havana’s architectural splendors, we shall visit Hemingway’s house, and of course, since this is Cuba, our evenings will be filled with plenty of music and dance. Each afternoon we will have a short writing session. Roger will offer a writing prompt to encourage you to explore your experience in your own words, and we will share our responses together as a group. Non-writers are welcome! the emphasis is not so much on good writing as on capturing the essence of your own experiences. Our week will be a profoundly nourishing feast for all of the senses, for the mind, and especially the heart. Experience this “off limits” island during this unique period, before it is fully open for US tourism. This journey is open to both writers and none writers are encouraged to join as well.

January 15 - 22, 2017

$4,995 (Double Occupancy)

Single Supplement $600.00

Airfare included




Roger Housden is the author of twenty-three books on poetry, art, and travel as pilgrimage. His work includes the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life series. He uses writing as a teaching tool for personal exploration and reflection, and runs regular courses in the Bay Area. His work has been featured frequently in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Oprah Magazine. Full details of his courses and work are at



Day 1 | Sunday, January 15 | Miami / Havana Meet a Cross Cultural Journeys representative at the Miami International Airport who will assist you and the other members of your group through check-in. Upon arrival in Havana, you will meet your Cuban guide and drive to your Accommodation in Havana. On the way, your guide will show you the historical memorial to José Martí at Plaza de la Revolución, Revolution Square, and give you a short driving tour to see the general layout of this beautiful city including the Malecón, Havana’s famous waterfront. After checking into your accommodation, walk to dinner and absorb your first impressions of the tropical air, rhythm and color wafting out of the doorways as you pass — laughter and conversation bouncing among neighbors, easily meeting local people along the way. Dine this evening at a local paladar featuring traditional Cuban food and music. Havana Accommodation   (D)


Day 2 | Monday, January 16 | Havana Begin your first full day in Cuba with a talk on the history of the city’s fascinating past as told by an expert architect and city planner, venturing out into the streets on a walking tour of Habana Vieja (Old Havana) meeting local people along the way, speaking with local entrepreneurs about their new businesses and to NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) who oversee sustainability projects. Enjoy lunch in Old Havana. Then enjoy a talk with on Cuban literature and art by an expert from the University of Havana. Enjoy a free evening to sample one of the many paladars and restaurants, patron a local café and take part in the various nightlife activities Cuba has to offer. Havana Accommodation (B)


Day 3 | Tuesday, January 17 | Havana Havana After breakfast, begin your day with a visit from a Cuban artist and author at one of the top organizations for Cuban art and culture. Enjoy time for open discussion and questions. After lunch of your own, 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. Enjoy coffee with a local family and talk with the Santeria priestesses, learning about the rich roots of an African tradition very much alive in Cuba. Return to the accommodation in the afternoon for some leisure time for writing, exploring, or relaxing. Dinner included, then enjoy a performance at the National Ballet. 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 4 | Wednesday, January 18 | Trinidad After breakfast, we depart for Cienfuegos, the beloved city of Cuba they call “The Pearl of the South” for its spacious, sea-misted streets and plazas. It is a relaxed city and the only one in Cuba colonized by the French. We make a short stop for a visit to a local theater, lunch and a performance by the Cienfuegos choir. Then, we will continue to Trinidad. Check-in to your accommodation. There is time for an optional writing circle and reflections. Dinner in Trinidad. Trinidad Accommodation (B/L/D)


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 5 | Thursday, January 19 | Trinidad After enjoying breakfast, 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. Then visit the Romantico Museum, an intact, furnished historic residence once owned by a plantation owner. Lunch is on your own and in the afternoon, there will be time to explore the cobbled streets, visit a pottery studio or a cigar-making workshop. Dinner is on your own. This evening you may want to visit the Casa de la Trova for an evening of music. Trinidad Accommodation (B)


Day 6 | Friday, January 20 | Havana After breakfast we drive back to Havana. On the way we visit the Valley of the Sugar Mills, with plantations set amidst fertile, fallow swaths of countryside once productive with sugar cane. The valley has many historic sugar plantations, which are a reminder of the importance of sugar to the Cuban economy over the centuries. We explore the La Torre Manacas Iznaga, a 148-foot high tower built by Alejo Iznaga Borrell in 1816, erected as a watchtower to oversee the slaves working in the fields. Slaves from Africa were essential in the operation of sugar plantations, as well as servants in the palatial homes of the owners. Today, due to the lack of investment in the industry, Cuba imports 60% of the sugar it consumes. Lunch en route to Havana. Upon arrival, we visit Finca Vigía, Ernest 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”. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening for free time and dinner. Gather together for a night out together at the La Casa de la Trova. Havana Accommodation (B/L)


Day 7 | Saturday, January 21 | Havana This morning visit with local artists at Callejón de Hamel. Then attend a dance performance by Habana Compás with its unique fusion of flamenco and Afro-Cuban dance that is unique to anything else in Cuba. Lunch is at a local paladar. This afternoon visit the Museo de la Revolución (Museum of the Revolution) housed in what was once the Presidential Palace of all former Cuban presidents from Marion Garcia Menocal to Bulgencio Batista. Then visit Havana’s National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, where a museum guide will share the history of Cuba through its impressive art history. Gather together in the early evening for a farewell dinner and then an outing to the Fabrica de Arte Cubana. Havana Accommodation (B/L/D)


Day 8 | Sunday, January 22 | Havana / Miami Following breakfast, we bid Cuba farewell as we transfer to the airport for our flight to Miami then onward flights home. (B)


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.


INCLUDED: International charter air Miami/Havana/Miami; Cuban visa; departure tax; medical insurance while in Cuba; in country transportation per itinerary; best available hotel in Havana (double occupancy); full breakfast buffet daily at the hotel plus 4 lunches and 4 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); Cuban English speaking local guide; CCJ trip manager; guest speakers; all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; tips for bellman and included meals on itinerary; bottled water on the bus.


NOT INCLUDED: Meals not on itinerary, 3 lunch and 3 dinners (B/L/D per itinerary); alcoholic drinks; excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); travel cancellation and evacuation insurance (strongly recommended, info will be sent upon registration).


January 15 - 22, 2017

$4,995 (Double Occupancy)*

Single Supplement $600.00


* If commercial airline service from the US to Cuba is available prior to this trip, travelers will be responsible for making their own international flight arrangements. You will receive a $575 credit on the trip price.



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