Exploring Esoteric Eastern Cuba

Exploring Esoteric Eastern Cuba

December 1-11, 2020 (tentative dates) Santiago, Guantanamo, Baracoa

In celebration of the “new normal”, the Friendship Association offers an 11-day extraordinary visit to the eastern part of Cuba, unique in its culture and traditions from the rest of the island. We will explore some of Cuba’s most exquisite natural landscapes, participate in events that will include cultural interactions, and attend performances with artists, musicians, and dance groups. Throughout our stay we will be accompanied by a variety of Cuban friends and colleagues. Our support for the Cuban people includes staying in their homes, sharing the unique Baracoan cuisine with them, and learning about their lives and their country. Art and nature enthusiasts are a necessary part of the success of this singular Crossing.

Cost: Cuba has one of the world’s lowest incidences of Covid 19 due to early, severe restrictions which shut down entirely their budding tourism. Cuba has also suffered from chronic shortages caused by old and very recent US sanctions. Once the country reopens, we will offer this delegation at cost. Our purpose is to bring a breath of fresh air and much needed support to our conservation projects, the private sector, and to the artists. We will stay in private homes, eat in private restaurants and hopefully purchase art from independent artists! Approximately $2000 for in country lodging, meals, entrance fees, and ground transportation. Does not include air fares, tips, optional excursions, or art purchases.



Day 1: Arrive Havana. Probably from Miami. Details to follow. We will be met by our driver, Soby, and his air-conditioned comfortable bus.  There are ten of us and the bus seats 24, so plenty of room to social distance. We will spend two nights in Old Havana (Unesco World Heritage Site). The first day will be a walk around the town, then meetings with the archaeologist of the city of Havana, who will show us a “new” project. Check in to B&B in Old Havana. Dinner at Cinque Esquinas.

Day 2: Drive to Angerona Open Air Museum for a private presentation of our book La Virtud del silencio with author Reinaldo Barbon, our graphic designer and others involved in this event. Lunch in the country.

Day 3: Leave early for Camaguey (Unesco Work Heritage Site) (6 ½ hours). Lunch on the road.  Check in to digs and take a bici taxi ride around the town. Visit art studio of Oscar Lasseria…  Dinner in town with friends.

Day 4: Leave early for Santiago de Cuba (5+ hours). Drive to El Morro Fort for a view of the bay and the city below. Afternoon visit to artist Carlos Carlos Rene Aguilera’s community project and art gallery, and the Ceramics Gallery and Museum with Xiomara Gutierrez and other outstanding ceramicists. Check in to B&Bs in town. Meet with Ines and Kenia from Flora y Fauna. They will have plans for us the next day. Walk around the town and have dinner at Ste Pauli restaurant. Cocktails on the rooftop of the Hotel Casa Granda before or after dinner. Optional cultural event.

Day 5: We will drive to Bacanao with Cuban biologists working in conservations of endangered species, especially birds.  Learn about their projects and view the murals they are making about the illegal caged bird trade. Spend the day visiting various environmental projects in the country and by the sea.

Day 6: Leave early for Guantanamo. Lunch at Juanico in the rural foothills with Jorge Nuñez, president of UNEAC Guantanamo. Visit Zoològico de Piedra (Stone Zoo). Continue on to Baracoa over the Farola mountain pass. Stop at home of artist Jeho on the way to Baracoa (78 km). Check in to B&Bs (basic rooms in private homes, with private baths and air conditioning). Dinner at Buen Sabor with our host, Elexis Rubio, historian, author, and longtime friend.

Day 7: Breakfast with your hosts. Morning walking tour of the town and artist studios with art historian Rosendo Romero and architect José Enrique Floirian. We will meet artists Eliades Martínez, Orlando Piedra, Mildo Matos, and visit the Casa de Cultura. Then stroll down the Malecón to lunch at Marco Polo restaurant. After lunch visit the studio of Roel Caboverde and his son Roelito, then back to the main square to visit the Cathedral of the Assumption to view the Cruz de la Parra, created for Baracoa by Christopher Columbus. Then meet with Joel Rey, director of the Galería de Arte, where we can view paintings and sculpture from many different artists. Early evening presentation of a small volume of poems Antes del Silencio by emeritus poet Rafael Mosqueda followed by an informal poetry reading together with Cuban writers and poets. Everyone is welcome to participate with their own short poem or a reading from their favorite poet.

Time to wash up before dinner at El Guajiro. Optional music and dancing.

Day 8: Early morning hike to waterfalls (Optional. You can join the group later). Bring your bathing suits. Then excursion to the Duaba river with BUREN group of artists and ceramicists and other Cuban friends. Pig roast on the river.

Evening Afro-Cuban dance performance by Bara Rumba at the Casa de Cultura. Dinner on your own or with friends either at home or one of the many restaurants in town.

Day 9: Excursion to Yumurí river with art historian, Elexis Rubio. Visit Cacao growers and learn about this delicious fruit. Seafood lunch on the sea with Mirleidy. Swimming and easy hike, viewing endemic birds along the way. Sunset cocktails at the famous El Castillo Hotel. Hotel pool available. Dinner, too.

Day 10: Excursion to Humboldt National Park. Hike the trails for some, or an easy boat ride around the exquisite Taco Bay. Spot birds, possibly manatees, and a great lunch! Presentation of our New Humboldt Park 2021 calendar, our new book Secrets of the Park, and our new coloring book El Almiqui (if we finish it in time).

Day 11: Early departure for Trinidad Unesco World Heritage site (592 km).   Overnight in Trinidad

Day 12: Early departure for Havana (287 km) and afternoon departure or overnight in Havana

Day 13: Departure.


This is a tentative itinerary. Dates are tentative. If COVID 19 is still a problem, we will go at a later date. Much will depend on where and when flights will go to Cuba. We may have to fly through Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nassau or via Havana. We will see. Delegation is limited to 10 people.

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