Join Edye and Mickey McCown on an amazing pilgrimage to Cuba. You will visit exciting Havana, The Theological Seminary where Episcopal priests are trained, gorgeous beaches, the home of Ernest Hemingway, and so much more. The group will also be delivering school supplies and clothing to people in need. This is a not to be missed tour of a lifetime!
DAY 1, Sunday, May 12, 2019– We depart from Jacksonville, FL via Miami on American Airlines for our flight to Havana, Cuba. We meet our guide, board our waiting motor coach and enjoy a panoramic tour through Revolution Square, El Vedado, and Colon Cemetery before arriving at our hotel. This evening, we will be driven to dinner in Classic American Cars at the Rio Mar Restaurant, which is named for its location and the place where the Rio Almendares River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. We overnight at the Parque Central Hotel, Havana. D
DAY 2, Monday – After breakfast, we travel to Matanzas, a city known as the Cuban Athens because of its deep cultural presence, located just 60 miles to the east of Havana. We visit San Severino Fortress at the entrance of Matanzas, built by the Spanish in 1735 as part of Cuba’s defensive ring, a National Heritage site since 1978 and now a museum, in the UNESCO program named the Slave’s Route. We visit the Theological Seminary where Episcopal Clergy are trained. This is a colorful place embedded in nature, spirituality and surrounded by one of the most impressive views of the city and Yumurí River Valley. We enjoy lunch at the cozy Mallorca Restaurant before visiting Limonar, a small town 15 miles away from Matanzas. Limonar is the hometown of Javier Sotomayor, the greatest high jump athlete of all times. He is a two time Olympic Champion and holds the current and longest standing record in the history of men’s high jump, a jump of 8 feet ¼ inch set in 1993. We overnight at the Hotel Bella Vista, Matanzas. BL
DAY 3, Tuesday– We depart for Cienfuegos, considered by many to be the most beautiful and well-planned city of Cuba with straight streets and gorgeous French styled neoclassic palaces and houses. We enjoy lunch at Villa Lagarto Restaurant. Afterward, we tour the urban center of the city also known as the Southern Pearl including its Prado, Boulevard and José Martí Central Square. We visit Punta Gorda and enjoy the wonderful Palacio de Valle, Casa Verde, and Club Cienfuegos. We overnight at the Jagua Hotel by Melia, Cienfuegos. BL
DAY 4, Wednesday – Our journey continues to Trinidad, the colonial Jewel of Cuba preserving most of its original charm with a different pace compared to bigger cities on the island. Trinidad seems to be anchored in time. We have lunch at the Plaza Mayor Square before our walking tour. We enjoy the views of the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, the House of the Sanchez Iznaga, and the Palace of the Count Brunet, known as the Romantic Museum with over a dozen rooms originally furnished and decorated. We visit the Santander Pottery Studio and Yudith Vidal Art Studio and interact with the artists. We visit Valle de Los Ingenios, the valley that provided the wealth displayed in Trinidad from the sugarcane plantations. We visit the Tower Manaca Iznaga, built in 1816, to enjoy the view over this wonderful valley, which is named after the industries it hosted. We learn about the sugar industry in the 19th century. We enjoy the local sugarcane train for an unforgettable experience in the central Cuba countryside. We overnight at the Jagua Hotel, Cienfuegos. BL
DAY 5, Thursday – We return to Trinidad to visit Playa Ancón and enjoy some free time at the most beautiful Caribbean Beach in Southern Cuba. This afternoon, we return to Havana. We overnight at the Parque Central Hotel, Havana. BL
DAY 6, Friday– After breakfast, we enjoy a walking tour through Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Founded by the Spanish in 1519, it became a stopping point for the treasure laden Spanish Galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. The city was built in baroque and neoclassic style. We see the Gran Teatro de La Habana and the former Centro Gallego de La Habana, built in 1906 to serve as a social center for Galician immigrants to Havana and now home to the National Ballet of Cuba. We admire the Capitolio Nacional, Havana’s most ambitious and grandiose building, constructed after the post-WWI sugar boom. It is similar to the Capitol building in Washington, DC, but modeled after the Pantheon in Paris. We continue our walk through Paseo del Prado (Paseo de Martí) up to Trocadero Street to the Museum of Revolution, the former Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario Garcia Menocal to Fulgencio Batista. We visit the National Museum of Fine Arts, hosting the largest Cuban art collection in the world including some of the greatest works by Wifredo Lam. We continue on to the Cathedral of Havana, the greatest monument to the style developed in Cuba during the 18th century, which became known as Cuban Baroque. We tour the houses of Marques de Aguas Claras (now a state-run restaurant), Conde Bayona’s (now a Colonial Art Museum), Marques de Arcos’ (now a museum), and Conde Lombillo’s (now a museum). After lunch at Doña Eutimia, we see the Taller Experimental de la Gráfica and Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center. Pending confirmation, we meet with The Rt. Rev. Griselda Delgado Del Carpio, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba. The rest of the day we are free to discover Havana on our own. We overnight at the Parque Central Hotel, Havana. BL
DAY 7, Saturday–This morning, we visit Finca Vigía, the Cuban home of Ernest Hemingway, an emotive place carefully kept by historians the way Papa left it. We continue on to Cojímar, a small fishing village east of Havana, the place that inspired the Nobel awarded novel The Old Man and the Sea. We enjoy lunch at Las Terrazas Restaurant and try a Papa styled mojito over the waters of the Gulfstream while learning about Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and the Bay of Pigs. We continue to Obispo Street for a theme tour including unforgettable Hemingway references: the world-famous Bodeguita del Medio; Johnson Drugstore; Hotel Ambos Mundos; La Moderna Poesía bookstore; El Floridita, the cradle of the Daiquiri and some other world famous Cuban cocktails. A life-sized Hemingway sculpture stands at the bar here. We visit Sloppy Joe’s Bar, a recently restored classic bar which is considered by specialists to be a living monument to the fifties. Just next to this bar, we find Memorias Bazar, an antique store that is full of surprises. We have some free time to shop at the San José Art Market while learning about local craftsmanship. This evening, we enjoy our “farewell to Cuba” dinner at La Guarida Restaurant, a place not to miss when in Havana. It is a model of local entrepreneurship and a symbol for Cuban art lovers since the building was the scenery for the most famous Cuban film Strawberry and Chocolate by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. After dinner, those who would like to enjoy the more vibrant nightlife in Cuba may visit Fábrica de Arte (to be paid for on the spot and transportation is not included), one of the most exciting experiences in the city, an incredible opportunity to meet young people and artists. We overnight at the Parque Central Hotel, Havana. BLD
DAY 8, Sunday, May 19, 2019– After breakfast, we attend morning services at the Episcopal Cathedral of Cuba. We enjoy lunch on our own, and then we return to the Havana Airport where we board our American Airlines flight back to Jacksonville via Miami. B
Price is based on double occupancy:
21-22 pilgrims $2999*
Single supplement: $499
*Price includes airline taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Any change will be reflected on your final invoice. Optional activities and sites visited during your free time are not included in the cost of the pilgrimage and are to be paid for at the time of your visit.
A non-refundable deposit of $300.00 per person due with application and a copy of passport