December 2-11, 2019



Reserve early! Delegation is limited to ten people.


In celebration of normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, the Friendship Association created a new program series: Across the Straits.  Musicians Across the Straits was our first, amazingly successful event.  Artists Across the Straits was our next adventure with our nearest neighbors to the south. It was memorable for coinciding with the death of Fidel Castro.

The Art and Culture Across the Straits delegation will meet and interact with artists, musicians, and writers. Several of these people have been guests of the Friendship Association in The U.S. and participated in conferences or have exhibited at the Nuance Galleries in Tampa, Florida, The New School in Tampa and The Studio at Gulf and Pine on Anna Maria Island, Florida.

This 10-day across-the-country tour will include cultural interactions and performances by artists, musicians, and dance groups from Havana, Trinidad, Camaguey, Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, and Baracoa. We will also have time to explore some of Cuba’s most exquisite natural landscapes with our Cuban friends. Our support for the Cuban people includes staying in their homes, sharing meals with them, and learning about their lives and their country.  Art and nature enthusiasts are a necessary part of the success of this unique Crossing.


Day 1:

Monday Dec. 2: Jet Blue flight #503, Orlando/Havana. 7:40 am.  Check into B&Bs in Old Havana.  Walking tour of Old Havana with independent guide Ruben Javier.

Dinner at private restaurant Cinco Esquinas.

Day 2:

Tuesday Dec 3: Visit with artist Kamyl Bullaudy and National Museum of Cuban Art. Afternoon watch rehearsal of Rosario Cardenas Dance company. Visit the Proyecto Cultural Muraleando community project.

Dinner with prominent photographer Julio Larramendi and/or other notable independent professionals. Late evening visit to La Zorra y el Cuervo club for Latin jazz.

Day 3:

Wednesday Dec. 4: Drive to Trinidad. Visit this UNESCO World Heritage site with a local guide, then a field trip to the ruins of Manaca Iznaga sugar plantation. Dinner and music on the steps of the historic center of town. Overnight in Trinidad at B&Bs.

Day 4:

Thursday  Dec 5: Check out and drive to Camaguey (UNESCO World Heritage Site) for lunch with internationally known artist Oscar Lasseria and visit his gallery. Visit Museum of Ceramics. Take a bicitaxi ride around the historic center of Camaguey and visit other well-known artists’ studios. Overnight at Hotel Santa Maria.

Day 5:

Friday Dec 6: If you are coming for the “short” trip only to the eastern part of Cuba. Flight Miami/Santiago de Cuba (American Airlines). Departure: 2:20 pm, arrival 4:05 pm. We will meet you at the airport with our comfortable, air-conditioned tour bus. Check in to B&Bs in the heart of historic Santiago de Cuba.

Evening dinner with artists Carlos Rene Aguilera and Jorge Luis Pouyu.

Jazz and jamming in the evening or Casa de la Trova for Salsa dancing.

Day 6:

Saturday Dec 7: Early walking tour of historic Santiago: visit Casa Macaela, the studio of Israel Tamayo; the Naïf cooperative “Bayate”; the Centro Cultural “Francisco Prat Puig”; the famous Padre Pico steps; and other places of interest.

Lunch at El Madrileño restaurant. Afternoon visit to Carlos Rene’s gallery and the Ceramics Gallery/Museum with Xiomara Gutierrez and other outstanding ceramicists.

Visit Taller Cultural “Luis Diaz Oduardo”. Meet with artists, ceramicists, and graphic artists. Visit San Juan Hill, site where the infamous Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders beat back the Spanish to end the Spanish/Cuban/American War.

If time permits, visit to El Morro Fort for sunset view of the bay and city.

Dinner at St. Pauli restaurant. Evening free.

Day 7:

Sunday Dec 8: Morning:  Breakfast and check out. Visit Jardín de los Helechos, a small fern and orchid garden on the way to Guantanamo. Light lunch and meet Jorge Nuñez, president of UNEAC Guantanamo.

Check in to Hotel Martí.

Visit Palacio Salcines for current art exhibit.

Dinner, followed by an evening dance performance with Danza Libre or other modern dance group at UNEAC.

Day 8:

Monday Dec 9: Check out and visit Zoològico de Piedra (Stone Zoo), then lunch at Tortuguillo.

Stop at home of artist Jeho on the way to Baracoa.

Check in to Bed & Breakfasts (These are basic rooms in private homes, with private baths and air conditioning).

Late afternoon walk to visit artist studios with art historian Rosendo Romero. We will meet Orlando Piedra, Mildo Matos, and Eliades Martinez.

Visit the Casa de Cultura, and the Galería de Arte. Stop at the Cacao Museum/Café for coffee break.

Dinner at Hatabey (Mildo’s). Shared poetry reading (bring your favorite poem(s) and viewing of documentary Cuba’s Lost Jewels.

Day 9:

Tuesday Dec 10: Morning walk to visit Roel Caboverde and Noa. Excursion to the Duaba river with BUREN group of artists and ceramicists.

Lunch on the river.

Dinner at Marco Polo. Music/dance performance at Casa de Cultura in the evening.

Day 10:

Wednesday Dec 11: Check out early and visit the artists’ village where Pouyu lives in Verraco.

Lunch along the way (Siboney).

We will be at the airport by 3 pm. for American Airlines flight 1138 departs 5:05 pm. Arrival Miami 6:50 pm.


To meet with Cuban artists, dancers and musicians for meaningful cultural interaction;  to share our poetry with Cuban poets in a “velada poetica”, and to present the film “Cuba’s Lost Jewels”. We will participate in multiple cultural events in Havana and in the eastern part of Cuba, called Oriente. Time will be dedicated to learning about Cuba’s extraordinary landscape and the work being done in conservation through meaningful exchanges with professionals and with local people, and we will discuss strategies for improving the lives of our Cuban friends.

Please note, this is an intensive itinerary with a strong focus on support for Cuban civil society through their artistic performances. The Friendship Association is obligated to keep accurate records of delegations for eventual review by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To assist in that report, you are asked to keep a log of formal and informal interaction with our Cuban counterparts.


  • Option 1: $3,400
  • Option 2: $2,800

Quote is for double occupancy accommodations. Add $500 for single supplement.  Includes round trip airfare Miami/Santiago/Miami); Cuban visas; exit tax; membership in the Friendship Association; all transportation within Cuba; full medical insurance in Cuba; all hotels and bed and breakfasts (3 & 4 star); all meals eaten together in Cuba, unless specified; all entrances fees; American bilingual tour guide and professional, local Cuban guides. Since people’s drinking habits vary greatly, to be fair, each person is responsible for their own drinks, except bottled water.

Not included: transportation to and from your hometown, to and from U.S. airport; overnight stays at the U.S. hotel en route to and from Cuba; personal tips such as housekeepers, porters, and driver; all drinks except bottled water; fees for suitcases and overweight; U.S. travel insurance.

NOTE: $500 discount for two returning delegates who share a room.


Schedule of payments.

  • $500 non-refundable deposit due with application (deadline Sept. 1)
  • $1,500 due October 1.
  • $1,400 due November 1. (Or $1,900 for single occupancy if available)

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of the postmark. If you cancel before one month from departure, you will receive a refund of 50% of the payment you have made so far (excluding the non-refundable deposit ($500). If you cancel within a month prior to departure you will lose your entire amount. Leaving an expedition in progress, for any reason whatsoever, will not result in a refund, and no refunds can be made for any unused portions of an expedition. We reserve the right to cancel any trip for good-faith concerns with respect to the safety, health, or welfare of the participants, or for major political shifts from either or both governments. If an expedition is canceled prior to departure, you will receive a full refund except for your deposit. If you are not accepted for the delegation, your money will be returned in full. We cannot be responsible for missed connections to and from the U.S. Airport departure point or for hotels in the U.S. because of missed connections or any other reason.

The delegation is limited in number. Please feel free to share your comments or questions. You will receive final names of airports, hotels, and emergency contact numbers when they are known.

Please advise me by email when you have mailed your application, check, color copy of your passport and release from liability.  If you want to pay by credit card you can use our PayPal account, but please add 3% to each payment.  You may pay ahead of schedule.

Please visit Application to Participate in a Friendship Association Delegation and the Release from Liability.  You must download the two files; complete them on your computer, print, sign, and send them to the Friendship Association with your $500 non-refundable deposit, color copy of your passport (photograph and signature pages).

Note: You will need to download these forms to fill them out.

Also, it’s important that you read Sensitivity Issues and FAQ.

Email me with your questions!



José Martí a Caballo

José Martí a Caballo

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