Tuesday February 12 – Wednesday February 27, 2019:

16 days with option of returning on day 11

José Martí a Caballo

José Martí a Caballo

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 Across the Straits in Pursuit of Historical Archaeological Sites, Colonial Architecture and Contemporary Art delegation will visit outstanding archaeological sites and/or museums in Havana, Soroa, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Holguin, Banes, and Baracoa. This 16-day adventure will include cultural interactions with renowned Cuban archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, and artists. We will also have time to explore some of Cuba’s most exquisite natural landscapes and enjoy the delightful people, towns, architecture, and countryside of Cuba. New culinary experiences will play a prominent role in each day’s activities. Enthusiaism and flexibility are a necessary part of the success of this Crossing.

Yocahu Bagua Maorocoti

Yocahu Bagua Maorocoti


Day 1.

Tues Feb 12: Fly to Havana from Orlando (Jet Blue, 7:42 am Arr. 9:10 am). Meet with Cuban archaeologist Roger Arrazcaeta for briefing and cultural interaction. Drive directly to Angerona coffee plantation ruins. Overnight at Hotel Moka in Las Terazas. Dinner at Romero vegetarian restaurant.

Angerona Coffee Plantation (ruins)

Angerona Coffee Plantation (ruins)

Day 2.

Wed Feb 13: Check out. Visit taino cave sites of Las Charcas: Cueva de los Muertos, Cueva de los Platanos, and Cueva del Aguacate). Continue on to Havana and check in to hotel or B&Bs. Dinner at La Espada.

Day 3.

Thur Feb 14: Early morning guided walking tour of Old Havana plazas. Visit Casa de Juana Carvajal Museum (Tacón #12) and Castillo de la Real Fuerza (Naval History and Marine Archaeology Museum). Lunch at La Espada. Afternoon: Visit Montané Anthropological Museum at the University of Havana. Dinner at Havana Blues.

Day 4.

Fri Feb 15: Visit National Museum of Cuban art. Optional visit to Museum of the Revolution. Lunch at Lamparilla 361. Afternoon free for shopping or strolling around town. Dinner at Cinco Esquinas.

Day 5.

Sat Feb 16: Travel to Matanzas. Visit San Agustin Coffee Plantation ruins) in Ceiba Mocha. Late lunch at La Dionisia ruins. Overnight at Hotel Verdasco. Dinner at hotel.

Day 6.

Sun Feb 17: Visit the Provincial Museum of Matanzas, the Pharmaceutical Museum and the Sauto Theatre. Dinner at San Severino. Overnight at Hotel Verdasco.

Day 7.

Mon Feb 18: Check out, visit Castillo San Severino to follow the exhibit of the historical slave route. Then possible visit to archaeological cave sites: Cueva La Cachimba; de la Pluma; Jaguey; La Curva; and de los Perdomos o del Agua. Light lunch on the way to Trinidad (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Overnight in Trinidad B&Bs. Dinner at restuarante San José.

Day 8.

Tue Feb 19: Walking tour of Historic Trinidad and handcraft market. Light lunch, then drive to San Isidro and Manaca Iznaga sugar plantation ruins. Overnight in Trinidad. Dinner at the Ceiba.

Day 9.

Wed Feb 20: Early departure for drive to Camagüey. Visit El Centenario cave system and archaeological site Esmeralda. Meet with and visit the galleries of artists Oscar Lasseria and Nasario Salazar. Check-in to Hotel Santa Maria. Dinner at Melange’ and evening guided walk around the historic center.

Day 10.

Thur Feb 21: Early check out and travel to Holguin. Meet with archaeologists and historians in Holguin for cultural exchange. Visit the Provincial Museum of History La Periquera in Holguin (calle Freixes 190). Overnight in Holguin in B&Bs or Hotel Encanto Caballeriza.

 Day 11.

Fri Feb 22: Visit Chorro de Maita Taino burial site and the Indocubano Baní Archaeological Museum in Banes (Important Taino artifacts). Lunch at Las Delicias. Dinner on the way back to Holguin at Los Lindones Restaurante.

Day 12.

Sat Feb 23: Early check out and travel to Baracoa via MoaBrief stop at Bahia de Taco. For three days we will study the influence of the taino people on the art, literature and customs in Baracoa, and visit archaeological sites. Check in to B&Bs.



Lunch at Marco Polo followed by guided walk around the town with Enrique Floirián, architect, and Rosendo Romero, art historian, to meet with artists and visit their studios and to learn about the eclectic architecture and art of Baracoa. Check in to B&Bs. Evening free for cultural events. Dinner at El Guajiro.

Day 13.

Sun. Feb 24: Excursion to Yumurí, visit historic site of banana exports with Elexis Rubio, historian. Lunch at the sea with Mileidy. Visit caves and newly discovered archaeological sites along the way with Roberto Orduñez, archaeologist. Final night in Baracoa, goodbye dinner at Chef Ortiz with friends.

Day 14.

Mon. Feb 25: Morning visit to “El Paraiso” Cave Musuem then travel to Santiago de Cuba. Stop for lunch at Tortuguilla on the way. Visit San Pedro de la Roca del Morro fort. Check in to Encanto Imperial Hotel. Rooftop cocktails at Casa Granda followed by dinner at St. Pauli and walk around the main square, Parque Cespedes. Optional Casa de la Trova for Salsa music and dancing.


Tues. Feb 26: Early check out and visit to San Juan Hill, site of the historic battle with Teddy Roosevelt against the SpanishContinue on to Holguin for our last night in Cuba.

Day 16.

Wed Feb 27:  Depart Holguin for Ft. Lauderdale. Jet Blue departure 9:10 am, arrives 10:46 am. Give yourself plenty of time for connecting flights.

 Purpose and goals:

… to meet with Cuban archaeologists, architects, artists, and historians for meaningful cultural interaction; to participate with our Cuban counterparts in multiple cultural events. Time will be dedicated to meaningful exchanges with professionals and with local people; we will discuss strategies for improving communication between our two countries and for developing new, exciting projects together.

Please note, this is an intensive itinerary with a strong focus on meaningful interaction with our Cuban counterparts. 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.


$3,500 (double occupancy. Add $300 for single supplement if available). Includes round trip airfare Orlando/Havana/Holguin/Ft. Lauderdale, 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 your extra suitcases and overweight; U.S. travel insurance.


Schedule of payments (deadline for applying is October 30, 2018)

  • $500 non-refundable deposit due with application
  • $1,500 due November 30, 2018
  • $1,500 due December 20, 2018 ($1,800 single occupancy if available) ($1,000 for 10 day option).

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 to TEN participants (not including guides). 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.

The Application Form and the Release from Liability can be found by clicking the links below. Download the two files; complete them on your computer, print, sign, and send to the Friendship Association with your $500 non-refundable deposit; color copy of your passport photograph; and signature pages. 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 pre-pay.

You will need to download these forms to complete them:

Also, it’s important that you read these two pages:

Email me with your comments, ideas, and questions!


Cuban Pygmy Owl

Cuban Pygmy Owl

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