December 9-22, 2020
(COVID forced dramatic changes: see Nana Royer’s report)
Santiago, Guantanamo, Baracoa
In celebration of the “new normal”, the Friendship Association offers a 10-day extraordinary visit to the eastern part of Cuba, unique in its culture and traditions from the rest of the island. We will explore some of Cuba’s most exquisite natural landscapes, participate in events that will include cultural interactions, and attend performances with artists, musicians, and dance groups. Throughout our stay we will be accompanied by a variety of Cuban friends and colleagues. Our support for the Cuban people includes staying in their homes, sharing the unique Baracoan cuisine with them, and learning about their lives and their country. Art and nature enthusiasts are a necessary part of the success of this singular Crossing.
Cost: Cuba has one of the world’s lowest incidences of Covid 19 due to early, severe restrictions which shut down entirely their budding tourism. Because Cuba has also suffered from chronic shortages caused by the US embargo, once the country reopens, we will offer this delegation at cost. Our purpose is to bring a breath of fresh air and much needed funds to the private sector and to the artists. We will stay in private homes and eat in private restaurants and hopefully purchase art from private artists! Approximately $2000 for lodging, meals, entrance fees, and in country transportation. Does not include air fare, tips, or purchases of art, rum, cigars, etc.
Arrive Santiago de Cuba. Details to follow. Check in to B&Bs (basic rooms in private homes, with private baths and air conditioning).in the heart of historic Santiago de Cuba. Evening dinner at St Pauli restaurant with artist Carlos Rene Aguilera. Optional Jazz Club or Casa de la Trova after dinner.
Early walking tour of historic Santiago: visit Casa Macaela, the studio of Israel Tamayo; the Naïf cooperative “Bayate”; the Centro Cultural “Francisco Prat Puig”; the famous Padre Pico steps; and other places of interest. Lunch at El Madrileño restaurant. Afternoon visit to Carlos Rene’s gallery and the Ceramics Gallery/Museum with Xiomara Gutierrez and other outstanding ceramicists. Then visit Taller Cultural “Luis Diaz Oduardo”. Meet with artists, ceramicists, and graphic artists. Visit San Juan Hill, site where the infamous Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders beat back the Spanish to end the Spanish/Cuban/American War, and finally, a visit to El Morro Fort for sunset view of the bay and city. Dinner at ?. Evening free for music or dancing.
Morning: Breakfast and check out. Visit Jardín de los Helechos, a small fern and orchid garden on the way to Guantanamo (65 km). Lunch at JUanico with Jorge Nuñez, president of UNEAC Guantanamo. Visit Zoològico de Piedra (Stone Zoo), then check in to Hotel Martí in downtown Guantanamo. Evening presentation by modern dance company Danza Libre or Danza Fragmentada.
Check out and drive to Baracoa over the Farola mountain pass. Stop at home of artist Jeho on the way (78 km). Check in to B&Bs. Dinner at Buen Sabor.
Breakfast with your hosts. Morning walking tour of artist studios with art historian Rosendo Romero and architect Jose’ Enrique Floirian. We will meet Eliades Martinez, the artists in the Casa de Cultura, Orlando Piedra, and Mildo Matos. Then stroll down the Malecon to lunch at Marco Polo restaurant. After lunch visit the studio of Roel Caboverde and his son Roelito, then back to town to meet with Joel Rey, director of the Galeria de Arte, where we can view paintings and sculpture from many different artists. Finally, a visit to the Cathedral of the Assumption to view the Cruz de la Parra, created for Baracoa by Christopher Columbus. Evening presentation of our latest book. Dinner at El Guajiro.
Bring bathing suits for early morning hike to waterfalls (Optional. You can join the group later). Then excursion to the Duaba river with BUREN group of artists and ceramicists and other Cuban friends. Pig roast on the river. Evening Afro-Cuban dance performance by Bara Rumba at the Casa de Cultura. Dinner on your own either at home or any of the many restaurants in town.
Excursion to Yumurí river with art historian, Elexis Rubio. Visit Cacao growers and learn about this delicious fruit. Seafood lunch on the sea with Mirleidy. Swimming and easy hike, viewing endemic birds along the way. Evening cocktails at the famous El Castillo Hotel for beautiful sunset. Hotel pool available, too. Dinner on your own.
Excursion to Humboldt National Park. Hike the trails for some, or an easy boat ride around the exquisite Taco Bay. Spot birds, possibly manatees, and a great lunch!
Day off! Many optional excursions available.
Check out and leave for Santiago de Cuba. Overnight at Hotel Melia.
This is a tentative itinerary. Dates are tentative. If COVID 19 is still a problem, we will go at a later date. Much will depend on where and when flights will go in Cuba. We may have to fly through Dominican Republic, Haiti or via Havana. We will see. Please let me know if you are interested in this trip around this time. No deposit now!
Email me with your questions and ideas! Soledad firstname.lastname@example.org