Earlier this year we asked Stitch members to vote on a destination they would like to visit with other Stitch members. After hundreds of votes, a winner was chosen. In May of 2016, Stitch members are going to travel to Cuba!
It’s no surprise that our members chose this incredible country. Recent regulations now make it possible for U.S. citizens to visit and many want to go before it gets too “touristy.” Luckily, Stitch has travel expert Sandy Lipkowitz to help plan the trip of a lifetime. She knows which hotels are acceptable, which are not, which vendors to use, and where to go. Not only that, but she’s planning this trip exclusively for Stitch members (and their friends). That way, members can opt-in to share rooms to save on cost and really get to know one another before, during, and after the trip!
Here is the preliminary itinerary, for all who are interested. We’ll post when there are updates!
“Meet the People of Havana”
8 days 7 nights
May 13-20, 2016
Day 1: Miami
Arrive in Miami at your leisure to check in at your airport overnight hotel.
Day 2: Havana
Board your flight from Miami with VIP service in Miami and in Havana. In Miami you will receive our VIP Meet and greet service through the check in process. Our Welcome VIP Service in Havana will help you through immigration and will help then to locate luggage and get you to your air conditioned bus quickly. The service includes access to the VIP lounge and a welcome cocktail. Board the bus for the ride to Mecure Sevilla La Habana. Depending on flight arrival time, we will check in and leave the luggage with the concierge and continue to Old Havana for lunch at El Templete. After lunch, walk through Old Havana and learn about the recovery, conservation and re-development of the historical centre. During the tour we will stop at the Ambos Mundos hotel and visit the room that Ernest Hemingway kept at this hotel. The rooftop bar beckons a visit for a mojito and an exceptional view of the old city. Continue a short walk away and visit the Floridita bar, home of the famous daiquiri and another of Hemingway’s haunts. Board your bus for the short ride to the hotel. Dinner tonight will be at a private restaurant, called El Litoral, right on the Malecon, (Lunch and dinner.)
Day 3: Havana
After breakfast, depart on the bus for Old Havana and a visit to the Quisicuaba Association to experience a Santeria Cleansing ritual, followed by a visit to the Rum
Museum for a taste of Havana Club Rum, the best known of the Cuban rums, founded in 1934. Another excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the Cuban culture will be the visit to Conde de Villanueva Hotel, just in the historical center of Havana. The hotel is the only one with its own cigar roller and provides very personalized attention to visitors who may learn the process and the history of the Cuban cigar and, finally, taste one if so desire. During you visit you will have a brief explanation of:
· The tobacco´s history, origins, varieties and the importance of the cigar factory
reader in Cuban cigar History
· How a cigar is rolled by the twister master of the house
· How to select a cigar and the lighting ceremony
Those who are willing may have the chance to taste the “Habano” accompanied by an espresso and a glass of rum. The cigar selection includes: Crystal Guantanamera, Romeo y Julieta No.2 and Twister for the Master of the House. After lunch in the area, we continue with a visit to the Retazos Dance Company, a leading edge contemporary dance organization that also offers a school where young Cubans can learn a career in theatre and entertainment. If Retazos Dance Company is unavailable, we will visit the Habana Compas Dance troupe in Marianao. This young company excels in modern and Flamenco dance along with the beating percussion of drums. A visit to La Havana would not be complete without a ride on one of the vintage cars for which the city is so well known worldwide, so late afternoon, enjoy one hour ride going from your hotel, visiting the Malecon and ending at the restaurant Mediterraneo Paladar for dinner. To keep you in the Cuban mood we have scheduled a visit to the Buena Vista Social Club Show at the Habana Café. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner.)
Day 4: Havana
This morning is dedicated to completing your visit and understanding of the people of La Havana so we start by a visit to the Synagogue Bet Shalom (depending on the group’s interest) and discovering modern Havana and its Art Deco before a visit the old Colon Cemetery known for the beauty of its sculptured works. After that we scheduled a visit to an artist’s studio and Fusterlandia considered the Gaudi of Latin America. Lunch at Jose Fuster’s museum-house. In the afternoon visit the Fine Arts National Museum, the home of Cuban Arts where a specialized museum guide will explain the importance of some Cuban artists’ work recognized around the world. This is a unique opportunity to interact and learn
more about one of the most important cultural aspects of Cuba. To end the afternoon mix with Salsa dancers and take a lesson on this Latin dance style that once was so popular in USA. Return to the hotel. This evening enjoy the delicious local cuisine at La Casa Restaurant, before heading to the famous Tropicana Cabaret for your evening entertainment. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Day 5: Havana –Viñales-Soroa-Havana
After breakfast at your hotel, board the bus for a 3 hour trip to the countryside of Pinar del Rio and see the beauty of the Viñales Valley with its limestone mogotes. With a specialized area guide, walk through the valley, visiting the local tobacco plantation owners. A break for lunch at a local organic restaurant before departing Vinales. We will visit the Soroa Orchid Garden, then stop at the Terrazas Community for a Cuban coffee at Maria’s. Return to Havana for dinner at the Elite Private Restaurant (Paladar)., (Breakfast, lunch & dinner).
Day 6: Havana-Matanzas-Varadero-Havana
Enjoy your breakfast and get ready to board the bus for a 90-minute ride to the city of Matanzas and visit the Bellamar Caves, an enormous cavern and a National Monument of Cuba. Walk down about 100 ft. through narrow corridors leading to large caverns to admire the crystal natural formations and have a drink of spring water from the “Fountain of Youth” and “Fountain of Love”. Back on the road, continue for a visit to the Pharmaceutical Museum in Matanzas and a panoramic tour of the city, including a visit of the San Severino Fortress. Then, continue to Varadero for lunch at Mansión Xanadu. Return to Havana to get ready for your dinner at La California Private Restaurant. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Day 7: Havana
On your last full day in Havana, depart for La Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home, now a museum. We’ll then visit the fishing village if Cojimar where Hemingway kept his boat, the Pilar. Lunch will be in the area, then head back to Havana with a stop at the Morro Cabana and El Cristo for some picture taking before heading through the tunnel (under the Havana Bay) and a visit to the San Jose Artisan Shops. Enjoy dinner tonight at El Cocinero at the Fabrica del Arte, the new “in” place in Havana. (Breakfast, lunch 7 dinner)
Day 8: Havana transfer out
Transfer to Havana Airport for your flight back to the USA
Why you should travel with Stitch:
Not only is this trip going to be an incredible custom-tailored journey for our members, but you’re traveling as a part of the Stitch community. That means you’ll get to connect with your fellow travelers before you take off! You can use Stitch to send messages, start a discussion, connect and communicate with all members who are going no matter where they are! You can also coordinate to share a room to save on price. For people who may be single and traveling solo, we want you to feel like you’re going with a group of friends. And you’ll probably leave Cuba with several new travel companions, friends, and maybe more!
Land package price per person based on double: $3800 USD
Land package price per person based on single: $3950 USD
To book, a deposit of $450 is required, of which $200 is nonrefundable. The remaining $250 is subject to the cancellation schedule. Space is limited because of the charter flight to Havana from Miami. Deposits need to made ASAP and no later than January 10th. Space is on a first come first saved basis.
Click here for details about pricing and terms of service.
Click here for details about money in Cuba.
If you want to travel to Cuba with us, please do the following:
- Stitch Members: Click here and select “I’m interested”
- Non-Members: Fill out the form below and submit