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The vibrant culture of Havana, Trinidad, and Cienfuegos

  • 03/08/2020 - 03/14/2020
  • 7 Days
  • Starting price $4,995

Be among the few Americans permitted to travel to Cuba this year! Discover the diverse and vast architectural legacy of Cuba from Havana’s Neoclassical pastel facades along the Malecón, to Soviet modernist developments. Become immersed in the fascinating combination of architectural styles and influences throughout the island including the newly-restored Capitolio Nacional built in the late 1920s; the outstanding architectural achievement of the Cuban Revolution – the Instituto Superior de Arte; and the FOCSA building, once the second largest residential concrete building in the world. Explore the stunning colonial town of Cienfuegos, “Pearl of the South,” considered by UNESCO to be one of the best examples of 19th-century urban planning principles in the Americas. Venture to Trinidad, recognized as the country’s most beautifully preserved city of colonial architecture. Examine the challenges Cuba faces restoring its architectural heritage while keeping its vibrant culture alive in the ever-changing 21st century.

Call now to book! 1.800.293.5725

Max. guests - 25

Architectural highlights

  • Admire the Edificio Bacardí, the Art Deco Havana landmark.
  • Stroll through Trinidad, Cuba’s best-preserved colonial city.
  • Marvel at FOCSA, considered one of the seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering.
  • Explore the “Pearl of the South,” which UNESCO calls one of the best examples of 19th-century urban planning principles in the Americas.
  • Examine the Instituto Superior de Arte, a school with curving rooftops that appear like they’re dancing.
  • Visit the Tomás Terry Theatre, a classic 19th-century performing arts theatre featuring Italian and French design elements.
  • Take in the Edificio Bacardí, the Art Deco Havana landmark.
  • View the Lopez Serrano building, once the tallest building in Cuba.

 

More highlights

  • Visit the Palacio del Valle, a National Heritage Memorial and cultural center in Cienfuegos.
  • Explore the Museum of Colonial Architecture, which chronicles the different design styles of Trinidad.
  • Discuss the future of Havana’s architecture, focusing on the potential impact of foreign direct investment with the renowned architect Miguel Coyula.
  • Drive through Alamar, a maze-like neighborhood of prefabricated Soviet-style architecture.
  • Meet with specialists and professors from the Faculty of Architecture at the CUJAE, considered the “MIT” of Cuba.
  • This trip qualifies for 16 AIA learning units.

 

Accommodations 

  • Hotel Mercure Sevilla (Havana) - Ideally located in Old Havana, just steps away from the Museum of Fine Arts, with stunning views of the Capitolio. Built in 1908, the historic Moorish Revival property features a swimming pool, sun terrace and a fitness center and a fascinating pre-Revolutionary mafia connection. Rooms are modest, and feature air-conditioning, satellite television, telephone, hair dryer, and a safety deposit box.
  • Hotel Jagua (Cienfuegos) - Recently renovated, this classic 1950s modernist property is located in the well-known area of Punta Gorda, overlooking the Cienfuegos Bay and just a few minutes south of the city center. The simple rooms are spacious, comfortable, cool, and bright, with a large sliding-glass door to let in light, white tile floors, and plenty of amenities.

 

Also included

  • Visas
  • Group transfer fees for arrivals and departures
  • 6 nights’ accommodations
  • 13 meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners (with wine and beer) and 1 reception
  • An experienced Tour Director and a multilingual local expert guide in addition to the Architectural Adventures Educational Expert
  • All guided visits and entrance fees for all included visits
  • Air-conditioned coach for excursions
  • Service charges, taxes and gratuities for guides, bus drivers, porters, hotel staff and restaurant staff
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Medical evacuation insurance for all participants and staff

 

What to expect

  • Appropriate for people in good health with overall good mobility
  • Traveler should be comfortable participating in a full day of sightseeing
  • Activities range from light to moderate intensity at an easy pace, but with lengthy walks, sometimes on uneven terrain, and climbing on stairs.

 

Price

  • $4,995 per person, based on double occupancy
  • $575 single supplement
  • A deposit of $500 per person, payable by credit card or check is required to reserve a space
  • Deposits are applied to payment of the total price and the final payment is due by December 9, 2019

 

Not included

Airfare and air departure taxes and fees; airline baggage fees and excess baggage fees; passport fees; meals not specified in the itinerary; food and beverages not part of the included meals; items of a personal nature; gratuities other than specified; travel and trip cancellation insurance; other items not specifically mentioned in the itinerary or as included.

Prices, itinerary, accommodations and experts subject to change.

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Architectural Adventures tours are managed by professional tour operators retained as independent contractors by The American Institute of Architects. To read Architectural Adventures full Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer visit architecturaladventures.org/travel-terms. To read the tour-specific terms and conditions from our tour operator Academic Travel Abroad visit architecturaladventures.org/ata.


 


 

Itinerary

Overview

Begin your journey

Depart your gateway city for Havana. Gather this evening for an informational briefing followed by a welcome dinner at a local paladar, or privately-owned restaurant.

Accommodations: Hotel Mercure Sevilla
Meals: Reception, Dinner
Overview

Havana’s Colonial Past

Learn about Havana’s rich architectural history and the city’s urban layout from a notable City Historian. Visit the Gran Teatro de la Habana, an ornate Baroque theater. Meet some of Cuba’s cuentapropistas (entrepreneurs), who are part of a rapidly expanding private sector. Gain a bird’s-eye perspective of Havana and the Havana Bay at the Scale Model Museum. Marvel at Havana’s 20th-century architectural wonders – the Edificio Bacardí, the Lopez Serrano building, and the Paseo del Prado. See inside the newly-restored, Capitolio Nacional. Built in the late 1920s, learn how it was designed to address Cuba’s tropical weather, such as multiple patios to maximize air circulation. Gather for a talk with your architectural expert before heading out for a group dinner at a local paladar.

Accommodations: Hotel Mercure Sevilla
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overview

Education in Cuba

Explore the Technological University of Havana José Antonio Echeverría, or CUJAE, considered the “MIT” of Cuba. Gain insights on how the architecture program is organized by meeting with specialists and professors from the Faculty of Architecture. Travel along the Calzada de Cerro, a colonnaded road connecting Habana Vieja with El Cerro, a neighborhood which served as a summer retreat for much of Havana’s aristocracy in the 1920s. Enjoy lunch at La Torre, in the famed FOCSA building. At the time of construction in the mid-1950s, it was the second largest residential concrete building in the world. Visit the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) for a guided tour. Built with locally made brick and terracotta tiles, the ISA has beautiful curving rooftops that appear like they’re dancing as they twist and bend into piazzas and courtyards. Commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the 1960s, the school is one of the most outstanding architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution. Walk through the Cementerio de Colón.

Accommodations: Hotel Mercure Sevilla
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overview

Havana, Past and Present

Attend a presentation in the hotel by a renowned architect and urban planner, Miguel Coyula. Discuss the future of Havana’s architecture, focusing on the potential impact of foreign direct investment. Drive through Alamar, a maze-like neighborhood of prefabricated Soviet-style architecture. Discuss how Fidel Castro’s socialist vision was carried out in this housing system, and the decades that led to its current deterioration. Visit the Gaspar Melchor School, a restoration training facility. The mission of the school is to create young specialists to rescue and restore old buildings and monuments in Havana. Drive along the famed Malecón seaside boulevard in classic American cars, followed by a dinner and night of traditional Cuban music.

Accommodations: Hotel Mercure Sevilla
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overview

The Pearl of the South

Depart for the provincial southeast town of Cienfuegos. Visit the Palacio del Valle, a National Heritage Memorial and cultural center. This architectural jewel reflects multiple design styles and is reminiscent of Spanish-Moorish art with influences of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Mudejar arts. Embark on a city walking tour of this colonial city. Stroll down the Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian-only boulevard lined with various stores, to Parque Martí, where some of the city’s most prominent architecture frames this central square. Visit the Tomás Terry Theatre, a classic 19th-century performing arts theatre featuring Italian and French design elements.

Accommodations: Hotel Jagua
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overview

Trinidad’s Sugar Boom

Depart for Trinidad, and drive along the Caribbean coast. Considered to be Cuba’s best-preserved colonial city, Trinidad, founded in 1514 to support the sugar industry, was one of Spain’s most prosperous settlements and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Meet with a City Historian for a guided walking tour of the city’s plazas, pastel-colored buildings, and cobblestone streets while learning about the city’s preservation efforts and challenges. Visit the Museum of Colonial Architecture, which chronicles the different design styles of the city and features exhibits related to the sugar industry boom.

Accommodations: Hotel Jagua
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overview

Depart Cuba

Check-out of the hotel and depart for the provincial capital, Santa Clara in the neighboring province, for your afternoon flight home. A colonial city founded in the 17th Century, Santa Clara is best-known for being the last battleground site of the Cuban Revolution. Visit the impressive Che Guevara Memorial and Mausoleum, which houses the remains of the revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara and twenty-nine of his fellow combatants. After lunch at a local paladar, transfer to the airport for your international flight home.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
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