An International Travel Education Experience
Join faculty from Educene, staff from Solstice, and our local partners for a learning journey to explore a new country and culture in a structured and academic way. Using the exciting locations of Havana and Viñales, Cuba, you and your fellow travelers will explore the storied past and hopeful future of this tropical paradise.
Cuba offers us a unique view of a world few have been able to see.
Cuba has been ranked by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the world’s most sustainable places due to its high score on the human development index compared to its relatively low economic output and rates of material production and consumption.
How has Cuba managed to protect tropical rainforests and coral reefs, build sustainable food and agriculture systems, and provide universal healthcare and education despite economic sanctions and geopolitical marginalization?
Is this island a model for human development in the future?
How are climate change and the rise of international tourism threatening Cuba’s rich natural and cultural heritage, from mangrove forests and untouched beaches to colonial architecture and historic farm communities?
What can we learn from Cuba? Is Cuba a model of self-reliance? Is the island a shining example of sustainability? What lessons does Cuba have to teach us about living the good life now and in the years ahead?
International Flights: You will book your international flights to and from Havana José Martí International Airport (HAV) on your own. We will request flight information from you and provide airport pick-up and drop-off service, included in the program fee.
Start and End Time: Arrive to the Havana airport by 6:00 PM on Day 1 and depart as needed on Day 8. The program ends at 12:00pm on Day 8.
Visas: US-based airlines distribute Cuban visas to passengers at the US airport upon flight check-in using the OFAC People-to-People compliant itinerary that we will provide to you. A Cuban visa costs 50-100 USD, depending on the airline. You may also be able to purchase the visa online in advance before arriving to the airport.
Weather: See complete climate chart.
Enrollment: Utilize our Enrollment Form to begin your enrollment process.
Day 1 | Havana
Welcome to Cuba! We will greet you at the José Martí International Airport, and begin introducing you to Cuba and your new surroundings during the 30-minute drive into Havana.
After settling into our casa particular bed and breakfasts, we’ll meet with a local planning professional to discuss the city's housing, infrastructure, investment, and restoration programs. We’ll then head to La Makina Gastro Bar, located near the Museum of the Revolution in the heart of Old Havana. La Makina is famed for its exquisite cuisine and charming ambiance.
Day 2 | Havana
Start the day by participating in a discussion on Cuba’s history, economy, reform efforts, and growth outlook with a local expert, followed by visits with small business owners to chat about the private sector in Cuba.
We’ll then head to lunch at Doña Eutimia Paladar, which is famous for its ropa vieja. This cozy paladar made Newsweek Magazine’s top 100 restaurants in the world in 2012, and its location in cathedral square provides the perfect backdrop. After a delicious lunch, embark on a walking tour of Old Havana’s Historic Center, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. Visit Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco, and Plaza de la Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana.
End the day by volunteering with Barrio Habana Project, a nonprofit organization that leads a community sports-arts program in Old Havana. Enjoy free time in the evening to explore Havana on your own.
Day 3 | Havana & Viñales
Today we will meet with a local professor to discuss relations between the United States and Cuba. Following this discussion, depart for an overnight trip to Viñales, considered by many to have the most beautiful landscapes in Cuba.
After checking into your casa particular, meet with local Viñales officials to discuss development issues including food and agriculture systems, the private sector, and foreign direct investment. Continue the discussion with owners of your casas particulares.
Day 4 | Viñales
Enjoy a morning stroll with a local guide through a nearby valley and tobacco field to learn about localized agricultural techniques. Visit the home of a local tobacco farmer, who will teach us about tobacco’s cultivation and production process in Cuba.
At noon, enjoy lunch on the grounds of a local farm, Finca Paraiso Argoecologica. The afternoon is yours to enjoy on your own, with home-cooked dinner available at your casa particular in the evening.
Day 5 | Havana
Return to Havana, and upon arrival enjoy lunch at Mediterraneo Havana. This modern, family-run paladar in the Vedado neighborhood produces much of what it serves at a nearby farm in Guanabacoa, Cuba.
In the afternoon, tour the agricultural market and food ration store to better understand local food production, purchasing power, and consumption. Next, visit a local media publication to discuss Cuba’s distinctive media environment and how locals get their news about the rest of Cuba and the world. Dinner will take place at Tierra, Havana’s newest international dining spot, located inside a container in the Fábrica de Arte Cubano. This venue features live music, art, and dancing.
Day 6 | Havana
Start the day by joining a local historian to tour El Morro Castle, which is part of a system of historic colonial fortifications throughout Cuba. Enjoy a delicious lunch at Paladar Los Mercaderes before visiting a local university to discuss tourism in Cuba and to engage in cultural exchange with local Cuban students. Finish out the afternoon and evening with free time in Havana, and enjoy dinner at your casa particular or on your own.
Day 7 | Havana
Head to the outskirts of Havana to visit Hemingway’s summer home and boat museum or stay in town and visit local art studios, tour a historic auto garage, or simply enjoy a walk amid Havana’s beautiful architecture and parks. Return to the city center for a group lunch along El Malecón. One of Cuba’s most notable landmarks, El Malecón is a broad esplanade, roadway, and seawall that stretches for five miles along Havana’s coast.
In the afternoon, take part in salsa dancing lessons and gain insight into one of the most popular forms on Latin dance. In the evening, enjoy a festive farewell dinner followed by live music—your chance to put your new dance steps into action!
Day 8 | Havana
Our final day in Havana will begin with an optional morning visit to a local weekend market. We’ll then return to the hotel and prepare for departure. Airport drop off is included in your program and will be arranged on an individual basis based on your specific return flight.
Faculty at Educene are designing and developing the educational portions of the trip and will travel with the group. Based on the interests of the individual trip participants, Educene faculty may offer additional custom learning experiences.
Details above are subject to change as needed.
The program fee for the 2019 Cuba sustainability program is 2,950 USD (double occupancy).
500 USD deposit due by September 1, 2018 and final balance due February 1, 2019.
Travel companions and guests welcomed! The program fee for travel companions is also 2,950 USD. Please note that travel companions must be over 21 years of age.
Participants who wish to upgrade to a single occupancy room may do so for an additional 490 USD.
Please wait to purchase your airline ticket to Cuba until Solstice sends additional travel information.
Space is limited! We recommend enrolling early in order to secure your spot.
INCLUDED IN PROGRAM
Cuban and/or American program leaders
All meals, lodging, local travel, and scheduled activity fees
All tips for drivers, local guides, restaurant attendants, etc.
Safe, comfortable, and convenient housing accommodations
24-hour assistance from Solstice's international and local team