Cuba with KOH!This fall, travel with celebrated Gage atelier instructor Mark Kang-O’Higgins to this once forbidden island, and experience the rich diversity, breathtaking natural beauty and stunning artistry of a land steeped in history and conflict.
One of the most culturally rich destinations in the Caribbean, modern Cuba features numerous museums, art galleries, theaters and art schools. Cuban art, like Cuban cuisine, celebrates a cosmopolitan influence of diverse cultures blended over the past five centuries of the island’s history.
Your tour includes round-trip airfare from Miami to Havana; one night in the posh Crowne Plaza Hotel Miami, and six nights at the 5-Star Hotel Parque Central in Havana in Havana, plus daily breakfasts, a full-time escort from Cuba Cultural Travel, as well as a local English-speaking guide. In addition, tour participants receive Cuban insurance (health and evacuation), and a Cuban Tourist Visa. Check out the TOUR ITINERARY for complete details.
Your Journey Begins…
Saturday, November 8
Participants fly independently to Miami and congregate at a Miami Hotel located near the airport. Hotel details will be announced at a later date. Accommodations for the night in Miami are included in the cost of the trip.
Sunday, November 9
Meet in lobby of the hotel for our bus transfer to airport. Upon arriving in Havana, a representative will welcome the group and accompany us to lunch and then on to the Hotel Parque Central in Havana Vieja.
On the way into Havana we visit the Plaza de la Revolucion, one of Havana’s most active public squares. Our bus tour of Havana continues from Miramar along the Malecon to El Morro where we make a quick stop to see the Havana skyline and harbor.
Tour of the Vedado Neighborhood visiting the most iconic buildings of Havana’s modernist movement, and stopping at the Habana Libre hotel, the Coppelia Ice Cream parlor, the Pabellon Cuba, the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and the Riviera hotel.
Meet in the lobby and walk across the street to Centro Asturianos for our lecture on Cuban Music at Bar Asturias, featuring Prof. Alberto Faya who has been working as a musician, professor and researcher within the Cuban musical world for over 20 years.
We are joined by a quartet of extraordinary young musicians who will take us on a journey thru the history of Cuba. Bar Asturias is located just a few steps from the hotel and complimentary beverages will be served. Welcome dinner at the American Room in Centro Asturianos.
Monday, November 10
Visit the Museum of Cuban Art, where we are greeted by art historian Nelson Herrera. The museum is dedicated exclusively to Cuban Art from the earliest days of colonialism to the latest generation of Cuban artists.
Artist Studio Visits: Wilay Mendez & Antonio Jimenez.
Learn about the rich architectural heritage of Havana. Walk along the Paseo de Marti (el Prado), a tree lined pedestrian promenade leading to the sea. This area includes the home of Cuba’s former president Jose Miguel Gomez and the lavish Palacio de los Matrimonios. Architect and University of Havana Professor Maria Elena Martin will join us and share her expertise.
Lunch at Paladar Mercaderes. This private restaurant in Havana Vieja is receiving rave reviews for is excellent food, service and ambience.
Visit the Taller de Grafica Experimental, Havana’s printmaking and lithographic workshop. It is a studio, a school and most of all, an art institution that preserves and develops the sophisticated art of print making with relative freedom of spirit and form. We are welcomed by artist Yamilis Brito and several fellow printmakers that belong to the guild. The artists will display their works and be available for personal exchanges. Yamilis will facilitate a question and answer segment with the artists.
Walk through Plaza Vieja, followed by dinner at Paladar Le Chansonnier, one of the most progressive and stylish restaurants in Havana.
Tuesday, November 11
Attend a private dance performance of the Compania Irene Rodriguez, including a welcome from Irene Rodriguez, considered by many to be the finest flamenco dancer in Cuba. Irene will introduce the dancers, describe the history of her career and formation of her dance company, and discuss the cultivation of artistic talent in Cuba, opportunities and challenges of being a professional dancer, and the arts more generally in Cuba.
Artist studio visit with Ibrahim Miranda, a young Cuban artist who has gained international attention for his prints and paintings. He frequently bases his work on maps of Cuba, emphasizing qualities of water and isolation and suggesting states of metamorphosis and change.
Lunch at the whimsical fishing village of Jaimanitas, home of artist Jose Fuster, who has made a major contribution to rebuilding and decorating the neighborhood. Jaimanitas is now a unique work of public art where Fuster and his neighbors have decorated over 80 houses with colorful ornate murals and domes.
Plus, experience the beautiful home of collector and art dealer, Milagros Borges, who has made a name for herself by supporting young artists for many years. We expect to have a handful attend our meeting to discuss their work and careers.
Wednesday, November 12
Guest Lecture with Prof. Carlos Alzugaray, the former Cuban Ambassador to the European Union and former Director of the Institute of Foreign Relations. Professor Alzugaray will give a lecture on the history of Cuban-American relations from the Monroe Doctrine to the Cuban revolution of 1959.
Bus tour of Modern Architecture in Western Havana with architect Pedro Vazquez Rodriguez, followed by a tour through the Christopher Colon Cemetery, an elaborate necropolis covering nearly 8% of the City of Havana, and containing an endless sea of poignant memorials, architectural jewels and human interest stories.
Lunch at the the iconic Hotel Nacional de Cuba overlooking the Straits of Florida and the Malecón.
Artist studio visit to Yoan Capote, a rising international star who recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale. His work deals principally with interactions between individuals and objects, often merging human organs with inanimate objects, rearranging the human body and reinventing the purpose of everyday life.
Visit Callejon de Hamel where we are met by our host and guide Elias Aseff, a Cuban scholar who will explain the role of African religion and culture in Cuba and the importance of Santeria in everyday life. We are invited into the home of a Babalao (Yoruba Priestess), who will receive the group and explain the religious deities and elaborate alters in her home.
Dinner at the Casa Miglis, whose eclectic Scandinavian menu is set in a classical Swedish environment with a Cuban touch.
Thursday November 13
Meet in the lobby and board our bus for aday trip to Viñales Valley. Considered by many to be the most beautiful place in Cuba, the Viñales Valley National Monument is famous for being the premier tobacco growing area in the world.
We visit the home of artist Ramón Vázquez León, who graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in Havana. Ramon creates fantastic worlds full of allusions with his bright colors.
On our return to Havana we visit small country town where a remarkable man named Mario Pelegrin has created a charming community project dedicated to local children. In this tranquil setting, a collection of rustic cabins provide a home for amateur art programs, giving local kids the opportunity to have fun while learning new skills.
Friday, November 14
Lecture by Juan Alejandro Triana, a faculty member of the Department of Economics at the Instituto Politechnico Jose Echevarria. Juan will also lead a walking tour of Old Havana to illustrate the reforms, including visits to state ration stores and new private businesses. He will explain the changing policies of privately owned businesses, and how they differ from similar programs in other countries.
Farewell dinner at Paladar San Cristobal, where the food is refined and balanced (enjoy dishes like gazpacho, tender lobster, crème carmel) and the nostalgic atmosphere is unforgettable, adorned in a unique style of art nouveau.
Following dinner we enjoy a private performance at the Hotel Capri rooftop from TradiSon, playing traditional Cuban songs reminiscent of the Buena Vista Social Club.
Saturday, November 15
Check out of the hotel and depart for the airport. Flight departs Havana for Miami. Clear customs and connect with flights home.
Please Note: This is a “Working” Itinerary. There may be some changes, additions and/or subtractions to the Final Itinerary. All venues and artist’s studios are subject to final confirmations. Be assured that any changes made will be done to enhance the total program, and to promote a smooth operation of the tour.