Art and Culture Across the Straits

Art and Culture Across the Straits

January 19-28, 2019 (10 days)

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 forcoinciding with the death of Fidel Castro.

The Art and Culture Across the Straits delegation will meet with outstanding artists in Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Baracoa and Camaguey. Several of these artists have been guests of the Friendship Association in The U.S. and/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.

The 10-day event will include cultural interactions with artists, musicians, and dance groups from Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey and Baracoa. We will also have time to explore some of Cuba’s most exquisite natural landscapes. Artists are welcome to sketch; photographers are invited to shoot; and all are welcome to enjoy the delightful people, towns and countryside of Eastern Cuba. New culinary experiences will play a prominent role in each day’s activities. You do not have to be an artist to participate in this unique delegation; art and nature enthusiasts are a necessary part of the success of this Crossing.


Sat. Jan 19:

Flight Ft. Lauderdale/Camaguey (Jet Blue).

Departure: 8:04 am, arrival 9:25 am. Our driver, Soby, will meet us at the airport with our comfortable, air-conditioned tour bus. Check in to Hotel Santa Maria or

La Avellaneda. Evening dinner with artists Oscar Lasseria and Nasario Salazar.

Sun. Jan 20:

Visit Oscar’s gallery and the Ceramics Gallery/Museum. Walking tour of historic Camaguey. Lunch with Oscar and Nasario.

Mon. Jan 21:

Early departure for Santiago de Cuba. Long drive with stop for lunch along the way in Bayamo. Depending on arrival time, drive directly to El Morro Fort for sunset view of the bay and city. Check in to Hotel Casa Granda or Hotel Imperial in the heart of historic Santiago de Cuba. Dinner at Ste Pauli restaurant with artists. Visit Cabildo theatre.

Tue. Jan 22:

Morning: Breakfast at hotel. 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. Afternoon: lunch in town. Meet with Santiago artists Carlos Rene Aguilera; naïf artist, Lawrence Zúniga; landscape artist, Eddy Ochoa Guzman; La Casa de la Cerámica with Xiomara Gutierrez; Casa Macaela, the studio of Israel Tamayo, and others. Walk around the historic center of Santiago, and visit the Centro Cultural “Francisco Prat Puig”. Dinner at private restaurant. Optional visit to the Casa de la Trova for traditional Cuban music.

Overnight at the Hotel Casa Granda.

Wed. Jan 23:

Check out and drive to Baracoa. Stop in Guantanamo to meet Jorge Nuñez, president of UNEAC Guantanamo; then lunch at Tortuguillo. Upon arrival in Baracoa, check in to Bed & Breakfasts (These are rooms in private homes, with private baths and air conditioning). Afternoon walk to visit artist studios with art historian Rosendo Romero. We will meet Roel Caboverde, Orlando Piedra, Mildo Matos, Jeho, and Eliades Martinez. Visit the Casa de Cultura, and the Galería de Arte. Stop at the Cacao Museum/Café for coffee break. Dinner at El Guajiro.

Evening free for musical events.

Thur. Jan 24:

Excursion to Yumurí. Visit rural cacao growers and learn about the world’s best cacao. Lunch at Mileidy’s in Yumuri. Bring bathing suits. Dinner at El Castillo. Evening musical event.

Fri. Jan 25: Excursion to the Duaba river with BUREN group of artists and ceramicists.

Lunch on the river. Bring bathing suits. Dinner at La Colonial. Cultural event in the evening.

Sat. Jan 26:

Hike through rural countryside over the Cayoboruo hills to the sea and rural lunch at Playa Cajuajo. Medium difficulty. Only for the fit of heart. Otherwise, morning free. Lunch on your own. Afternoon visit to Archaeological Museum and revisit artists’ studios. Goodbye party with our new friends, catered by Chef Ortiz.

Sun. Jan 27:

Check out and leave for Holguin. Stop along the way to visit Taco Bay.

Overnight at the Caballeriza Hotel. Dinner with leading historians and artists.

Mon. Jan 28:

Check out 7:00 am for Holguin airport. Departure 9:10 am, arrival Ft.

Lauderdale 10:46 am (Jet Blue).

Purpose and goals:

to meet with Cuban artists, dancers and musicians for meaningful cultural interaction; to participate with our Cuban counterparts in multiple cultural events in the eastern part of Cuba, called Oriente. Time will be dedicated to meaningful exchanges with professionals and with local people, and we will discuss strategies for improving communication between our two countries.

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.

Cost: $3,500 (double occupancy. Add $300 for single supplement).

Includes round trip airfare Miami/Camaguey- 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 extra suitcases and overweight; U.S. travel insurance.

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 ($600). 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.

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