- Meals included
- Piñar del Rio
- Tour guides
7 Days / 6 Nights
Havana – Pinar del Rio
Join cultural anthropologist Lázaro Pérez-Moré on a culinary journey like no other. Discover the tales of Cuban cuisine and the forgotten flavors of an island unavailable to US Citizens for more than five decades. Be among the first to experience the evolution of Cuban gastronomy from the hands of the most innovative chefs on the island. While traditional food continues to be a staple on Cuban tables, new chefs are bringing innovative techniques that make the best use of Cuba’s plentiful array of native ingredients. Local chefs are challenging the conventional notions of fine dining and including farm to table ingredients in their Nuevo Cubano cuisine.
Our People-to-People culinary encounter includes visits to the most acclaimed restaurants in the magical city of Havana to engage in discussions with the chefs and scholars who provide insights into the origins and evolution of the fast-changing Cuban culinary scene. Travel with us to organic farms in nearby Las Terrazas, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, where we meet local farmers who are establishing green initiatives. And immerse yourself in our interactive cooking classes and demonstrations comprised of delectable degustation menus as well as fine Cuban rum pairings.
Cuba’s Pinar del Rio Province is one of the Caribbean’s most pristine jewels. A highlight of Culinary Cuba is a lush picnic in one of the world’s largest orchid farms set to the sounds of traditional Cuban country music. By the time your plane departs from the Island, you will leave with a wealth of knowledge into the diverse and sometimes surprising secrets of Cuba’s sophisticated flavors.
- One night in 4-Star Miami Hotel including breakfast and airport transfer
- Exclusive welcome reception and pre-tour overview
- Airport meet & greet and private luxury ground transfers In Cuba
- Superior accommodations and all meals in Cuba
- U.S. Department of the Treasury license and TOCA Trips letter of authorization
- Group size not to exceed twenty-four (24) guests
- Travel health insurance
- Refreshments including fresh juices, snacks and waters while touring
- TOCA Trips exclusive programming and custom designed cultural encounters
- Expert logistical staff, tour guides and cultural docents
- All entrance fees to scheduled activities and events
- Flight package (cost additional) including: round-trip charter air from Miami to Havana, Cuban visa, priority check-in at Miami International Airport, and baggage fee for first checked luggage
- TOCA Trips staff on-call 24 hours
- Gratuities for luggage handling, restaurant services and programmed activities
NOTE: All tours based on minimum group enrollment. Final tour itinerary distributed two (2) weeks prior to travel and subject to change. Extensions and customized itineraries available upon request.
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Day 1: Miami
Your journey begins in Miami where you and your fellow travelers join us for a cocktail reception and pre-tour overview.
Day 2: Miami - Havana
Guests are transported to Miami International Airport following breakfast and escorted to their charter flight check-in to Havana. Once guests have cleared Cuban immigration and customs, they are greeted by our Havana-based tour staff. Our first sojourn will lead us to Africa House for a degustation of Orisha-inspired dishes and a presentation of Afro-Cuban dances. Our encounter includes interactive dance instruction following lunch. For dinner, we visit the paladar Ivan Justo in Old Havana, where guests are greeted by the sounds of danzón and a cultural anthropologist shares his insights into the rich history of Cuban cuisine.
Day 3: Havana
We’ll start our day with a private architectural tour of Old Havana led by a member of the City Historian’s Office to explore the progress of the significant restoration of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch is hosted at Cafe de los Artistas, owned by one of Cuba’s leading cinematic families, which has become a meeting point for artists, filmmakers and intellectuals. When night falls, we’ll visit a historic hacienda in the outskirts of Havana for a cooking class, where guest learn how to prepare classic Cuban dishes while our chefs prepare a sumptuous traditional roast pig menu with all the trimmings. Freshly rolled cigar and fine rum pairings provide the perfect after-glow.
Day 4: Havana - Las Terrazas – Havana
Las Terrazas is Cuba’s first sustainable community and a lush biosphere dotted by lakes, rivers and waterfalls which showcase Cuba’s plentiful fauna and flora. Our People-to-People encounter at Las Terrazas begins with our arrival to a coffee plantation serving more than one hundred varieties of indigenous beans. The historic plantation maintains its colonial charm as well as some of the machinery dating from the XVII Century. Local growers from the collective elucidate guests on the history of coffee and its cultural and economic impact on Cuba’s colonial period. A trio of traditional musicians will enliven the presentation with Cuban folk music. Lunch will be served at Casa del Campesino, and we’ll have a free afternoon in the Nature Reserve to enjoy the Park’s attractions, including hiking and foraging for herbs and mushrooms, horseback riding and a dip in the waterfall or river. Back from Las Terrazas, we’ll be treated to a French-inspired feast prepared by our host chef.
Day 5: Havana
We begin our day with a tour of Metropolitan Havana, a site not often found on travel brochures. This area boasts impressive manor houses, mansions, award-winning modernist structures, and a spectacular collection of Art Deco buildings. The morning tour ends at Cafe Laurent for a Cuban gourmet experience overlooking the city’s skyline and the world famous Malecon. To complete our day of modernist nostalgia, we’ll dine at Havana’s fabled Cabaret Tropicana (1939), and enjoy the iconic show made famous by the likes of Josephine Baker, Nat King Cole, Bola de Nieve, Omara Portuondo, Buena Vista Social Club, and countless music and film stars.
Day 6: Havana
The morning begins with our instructor guided body activation session on the beach, which concentrates on areas of the body and thought process that are blocked. With carefully designed exercises to release chocked energy as more space is created for circulation and movement, practitioners are able to gain greater flexibility, release tension, and find true and enduring physical potential. This is a fabulous way to establish bonds with our local hosts who will join the sessions before taking us to our last cooking class at one of Havana’s culinary institutes, where guests learn the essential techniques of Cuban cuisine and share some of their recipes with their Cuban hosts. We’ll continue the day with a visit to Old Havana to experience first-hand the work of Cuban artisans and visual artists in the different city squares. Our farewell dinner will take place at Paladar La Guarida, the set of the 1994 Academy Award nominated film Fresa y Chocolate, where we will enjoy a spectacular 8-course degustation menu followed by a conversation with our hosts at the cigar lounge or the rooftop bar.
Day 7: Havana - Miami
Our final morning finds us at Plaza Vieja, Havana’s oldest square, for a curator led visit to art galleries, breweries and local food hot spots. From Plaza Vieja, guests are transported to the airport for their return trip to Miami.