CUBA’S CULINARY ALLURE
Take a step back in time and a step forward in cultural relations as you discover Cuba and its people through its cuisine. Meet the locals and explore the burgeoning Cuban food scene through farm and market visits, cooking with local chefs, and delicious meals at the island’s most renowned private restaurants. Our culinary journey gives you insider access to Cuba during a pivotal moment in history - don’t miss it!
5-Day Cuba Culinary Tour
Havana travel is still possible! Escape on an award-winning Havana tour. This vibrant gem of a city is everything you’ve heard about and more, from stunning architecture to sultry salsa, and colorful markets to classic cars.
On our 5-day tour of Havana, you’ll discover authentic Havana and connect with the locals in a meaningful way. You will be invited inside the kitchen of one of Havana’s finest paladares, learn to salsa with incredibly talented dancers and meet an Afro-Cuban artist whose work evokes the traditions of Santeria. A highlight of our Havana tour is a mouth-watering meal in a local’s home, with a lesson on how to make the perfect daiquiri. You’ll also have an opportunity to explore some of Cuba’s iconic sights, such as Finca Vigia (Hemingway’s house), Havana Vieja, and Revolution Square. Along the way you’ll dine at Havana’s top restaurants and stay in deluxe accommodations.
- Cuban cooking demonstration at a renowned paladar
- Mojito class by master mixologist
- Happy hour and daiquiri class in a local’s home with home-cooked tapas
- Visit an agricultural market, ration store and supermarket for true insights into the daily lives of Cubans
- Visit Hemingway’s home in Cuba
- Dine at Havana’s top private restaurants
- Travel by classic car
DAY 1: Weekend in Havana Tour Begins
¡Bienvenido a la Habana! We will be waiting for you when you step outside the airport to take you to your upscale accommodations. Give yourself a moment to soak it all in first though – you are about to spend the next five days in Havana!
In the afternoon you will check into your accommodations and get settled. Tonight’s welcome dinner is at one of our favorite restaurants in Havana, El Biky. Consistently ranked as one of the top paladares (privately owned restaurants) in Havana, this restaurant offers Cuban and Caribbean favorites for an excellent introduction to the culinary gems of Havana.
Meals included: Dinner
DAY 2: Santeria Art, Mojitos, and Salsa Dancing
This morning it’s time to get to know Havana and the Cuban people. Climb into a vintage car (think ‘57 Chevy) and take in the sweeping ocean views as we drive along the malecon to Havana Vieja. Here we explore two of the four main squares: Plaza de la Catedral, named for the impressive 18th century Catedral de San Cristóbal and Plaza San Francisco de Asis, facing Havana’s harbor.
After our walking tour in Old Havana, we will head to Miramar, an upscale neighborhood whose expansive boulevards are lined with foreign embassies. Miramar is also home to one of Havana’s oldest and most renowned paladers where we will enjoy a delicious lunch, prepared especially for us, in a beautiful garden setting. But first, we will lounge at the paladar’s stunning bar to try our hand at making mojitos with an expert bartender. Don’t forget to ask what his favorite cocktail to make is! Then, bring your drink with you as the executive chef invites you into his kitchen for a brief cooking demonstration to learn the secrets to preparing classic Cuban fare with a modern twist, like paella – Cuban style.
After lunch, we will make our way to Centro Havana and wander through the street art gallery of muralist and painter Salvador Gonzales. Heavily influenced by the traditions of Santeria, an Afro-Caribbean religion, Salvador’s street art uses everything from bathtubs to car parts. As we stroll through the outdoor alley cum art gallery, the curator will happily answer any questions about Santeria or the artist’s interesting work. Keep an eye out for Salvador himself, relaxing around the gallery.
Next up is a salsa class at one of our fabulous dance instructor’s home. Whether or not you choose to dance, visiting Johan’s apartment will be an eye-opening experience. Climbing two stories on a makeshift spiral staircase (the main one is always under repair), you will get a sense of how Cubans’ passion and optimism help them overcome many obstacles. Once upstairs, the dance troupe’s bright smiles, joie de vivre, and endless patience will have you dancing in no time!
This evening, those who are interested in Cuba’s legendary music can attend an optional jazz performance at the Jazz Café in Vedado or a cabaret show at a local hotel. Our guide will be happy to assist you with the details.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 3: Fuster Gallery & Hemingway’s Home
Our weekend in Havana tour continues with a morning visit to the Fuster Gallery, where we will see José Fuster’s vibrant and colorful mosaic sculptures that he has created throughout his home and surrounding neighborhood.
We will then visit Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s house just outside Havana, and where he was inspired to write three of his most famous novels. We continue on to Cojimar, a small fishing village where Hemingway docked his beloved boat, Pilar, and the inspiration for his famous novel, “The Old Man and the Sea”. After a delicious lunch overlooking the water at one of Hemingway’s favorite watering holes, we’ll pass through Revolution Square on our way back into Havana.
Once we arrive back in the city, the late afternoon is yours to explore Old Havana on your own or your guide will bring you back to your casa to relax. You could also continue on to the (touristy, but fun) El Floridita, as Hemingway surely would have, to enjoy another drink!
Later in the evening, those who are interested in Cuba’s legendary music might enjoy a visit to the Casa de la Musica in Miramar or the Buena Vista Social Club show at a local hotel. Our guide will be happy to assist you with the details.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 4: Peruse Farmer’s Market & Happy Hour in a Local’s Home
This morning, we begin with a trip to a mercado agropecuario (produce market) where you’ll see what fruits and vegetables are available to local Cubans and chat with the friendly vendors. Then we’ll head next door to a ration store where you will observe how basic staples are procured in very specific quantities. Next up is a visit to the local supermarket. Cuban supermarkets are different than what you might expect and will give you a stark sense of what is, and is not, available to everyday Cubans.
We then head to Old Havana to wander through the Museum of the City and Plaza de Armas. We will enjoy lunch at the famous La Guarida, renowned for its delectable cuisine and of course, its role in the movie “Fresa y Chocolate”. After a hearty lunch, you will be more than ready to walk around and explore the last of Havana’s four historic squares, Plaza Vieja. Dating back to 1559, most buildings have been lovingly restored to their former glory and now house art galleries, a coffee roastery, and cafes. Be sure not to miss the chocolate café, where you may choose to sip on a cup of hot or cold chocolate and taste their delectable chocolate treats. Feel free to wander around the cafe and check out the historic chocolate molds and artifacts. Afterwards, if you still have room, perhaps try some refreshing coconut ice cream from the ice cream street cart!
The perfect way to cap off your five days in Havana is happy hour at your guide’s home in Centro Havana. Your guide and his family warmly invite you into their home for tasty tapas and cocktails. Your charming host will show you how to make the perfect daiquiri. Then enjoy home-cooked tapas for dinner, great conversation, and more than a few laughs with our hosts before heading back to your casa or out to enjoy your last evening in Havana.
This evening is last of our long weekend in Havana. For those who are interested in Cuba’s legendary music, tonight is another opportunity to enjoy an optional jazz performance or a cabaret show. Our guide will be happy to assist you with the details.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, (Happy Hour) Dinner
Day 5: Weekend in Havana Tour Ends
Alas, your weekend in Havana is over and it is time to head home. Your guide and driver will take you to the airport in time for your flight. Be prepared, good-byes may be tough, because at this point, they are far more than just your guide and driver – they are your friends from Havana!
Meals included: Breakfast
Please note: Please also be aware that Cuba is an adventurous destination where things do not always go as planned. We urge you to bring a flexible attitude and a sense of humor. The above itinerary reflects our best planning, but there may be times when we have to substitute different activities and accommodations on our Cuba food tour. That is la aventura Cubana – the Cuban adventure!
Note: This itinerary and package inclusions might be changed in time, subject to availability.