Tour introduction and overview of activities

Dan RutherfordDan Rutherford

This most popular Cuba tour is inspired by Dan Rutherford, a former 25-year international vice president of a Fortune 100 Company, extensive world traveler, and accomplished Illinois legislator and constitutional officer. His first visit to Cuba was 1999. His Midwest charisma and charm makes for knowing how to put together a fun adventure abroad.

Together with Josh Lanning, a youthful Cuban expert, he helps to navigate an experience of ever changing US-Cuban relations. The Global Relations Cuba Discovery Tour is meticulously structured for the legal people-to-people education and cultural exchange category for US approved Cuba travel.

Josh LanningJosh Lanning

Global Relations Cuba Discovery Tour – well into its multi-year edition – is geared to people who seek to engage with everyday Cubans. It’s for Americans who want to learn about island culture, its people and society. The Tour is an opportunity to visit an exotic foreign country and absorb a culture different than most. It is a tropical paradise.

This highly inclusive Tour is ideal for history buffs, lovers of art, music, culture and architecture. The Tour’s diverse itinerary goes to western Cuba from the metropolis of Havana to the mountain jungles of the Viñales Valley where Cuba’s famed tobacco is grown. The Tour sports comfortable accommodations and tasty Cuban cuisine.

What is the difference between this and other tour opportunities? Email us directly and we will respond: DanRutherford@GlobalRelations.US

Dan, Josh and the Global Relations Travel Club Team warmly invite you to Discover Cuba!

DanJosh

Cuba’s big! Its land mass is 42,426 square miles – about 80 percent the size of Alabama. Cuba is nearly as large as Louisiana, and larger than Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Altogether it’s bigger than Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont combined.

Day 1 – Friday :: Arrival departure city to go to Cuba

  • Individual arrival to U.S. departure city, accommodations arranged and included

Day 2 – Saturday :: Arrival Cuba and Hello Havana

  • Depart to Havana
  • Arrival at Havana’s José Martí International Airport. Collect our bags and go through customs. We will be welcomed at the airport lobby by our Cuba Education Tours guide and our professional coach chauffeur, included
  • Private transfer to our select hotel, included
  • Private check-in with assistance from our guide and a welcome cocktail, included
  • Free time to settle in and get oriented
  • This evening we will enjoy a group welcome dinner at a select restaurant, included
  • Evening walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit the historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. It contains the largest collection of remaining colonial-era architecture. This is a private tour led by our Cuba Education Tours guide, included
  • Cathedral Square, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza on the island. Named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture: the Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana built by the Jesuit order
  • Square of Arms, an ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers, surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
  • Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City
  • Palacio del Segundo Cabo [Palace of the Second Lieutenant] dates from 1770. Today it is home to the Centro para la Interpretación de las Relaciones Culturales Cuba - Europa [Center for the Interpretation of Cultural Relations Cuba-Europe]
  • We will continue on to San Francisco Square, one of the oldest plazas in the historical quarter. The square is named after magnificent Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís dating from the 16th century. The basilica is a striking example of Cuba baroque architecture
  • Then on to Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. Absent are churches and government buildings, and is in contrast surrounded by opulent aristocratic 17th century residences

Day 3 – Sunday :: Hemingway, Organic gardening and Private cooking lesson

  • Breakfast, included
  • Travel to Cojímar, small fishing Village one of Hemingway’s favorite’s places. Visit local gardener where owner shows us how herbs, vegetables and fruits are raised for El Ajiaco Paladar’s use, how compost is produced and water conserved. See how organic gardening in a residential neighborhood produces private income and supplies a local business, included
  • TOUR HIGHLIGHT: Cooking & mojito making lesson at paladar (private restaurant) El Ajiaco followed by lunch, which we helped prepare, included
  • This is a unique experience; in the kitchen, with the chef and staff preparing multiple dishes and then at the bar learning how to properly prepare a Cuban mojito
  • Return to hotel
  • Dinner, not included. This is a perfect evening to explore Cuba’s famed paladares

Day 4 – Monday :: Valley of magnificent mogotes, The richest agriculture land in the nation and Hand rolled cigar factory

  • Breakfast in hotel, included
  • Morning departure to the western agricultural province of Pinar del Río
  • Visit and tour of Francisco Donatién Cigar Factory and see how some of Cuba’s premium cigars are made, by hand, included
  • Drive through Viñales village, a picturesque town in the heart of Cuba's prime tobacco growing region. The town itself sits in the center of a flat valley surrounded by stunning formations known locally as mogotes. They are irregularly shaped steep-sided hills that can rise as high as 985 feet and have bases ranging from just a few hundred yards in diameter to as much as a mile in length. The mogotes were formed by eons of erosion. Many consider this the most beautiful nature spot in Cuba
  • Late lunch at private restaurant Balcón del Valle (Balcony of the Valley, and we will see why when we get there), one of the most spectacular views of the entire trip, included
  • Check into our hotel in the Valley
  • Dinner buffet at hotel at your leisure and a relaxing evening, included

Day 5 – Tuesday :: Viñales activities, Tobacco farming and Meals in country-side paladares

  • Breakfast in hotel, included
  • Optional morning activities: Horseback riding (highly recommended), massage, hiking and guided bird watching, not included; or relax by the swimming pool, included
  • Lunch at Finca Agro-ecológica El Paraíso, included (be sure we get a special drink ‘Anti-Stress’ blended from fresh grown organic herbs). Other than the seafood and beef, all of the food we will enjoy at lunch will have been grown on the site
  • Tour Finca Agro-ecológica El Paraíso, learn about the family that claimed part of a rocky mountain side to grow vegetables and herbs organically, and the outstanding view of the valley, included
  • Visit a privately owned tobacco farm that produces product for the world-renowned Cuban cigar, meet the owners and have a personal demonstration of hand rolling a Habano cigar, included
  • Visit Cave of the Indian, optional
  • Return to hotel
  • ENJOYABLE EVENING AT, SMALL, LOCAL PALADAR: Dinner at private restaurant El Campesino, on the edge of a tobacco field with the mogotes as a backdrop & meet Yuri and Nino, mother and daughter owners, included. Have a personal discussion with Yuri about the evolution in Cuba of private business operations and what it is like for a young mother raising a family in a rural community, included

Day 6 – Wednesday :: Havana return, Revolution, Vintage American cars

  • Breakfast in hotel, included
  • Hotel check out
  • Visit an open air craft market as we depart Vinales, included
  • Lunch will be provided, complimentary, on the coach ride and hosted by GRTC Leaders, Dan Rutherford & Josh Lanning, as to-go sandwiches in order to save time to get to Havana
  • Visit the Museum of the Revolution, included
  • Check into our select hotel in Habana
  • Our group will caravan in Vintage American cars along the Malecon, stop for photos & continue on to dinner at private select restaurant, included
  • Evening is free to explore the sights and sounds of the city

Day 7 – Thursday :: A community transformed by art, Hemingway's home and Last night in Cuba

  • Breakfast in hotel, included
  • Visit the community Project Muraleando, an art center in Havana which was inspired by the children of the community, included. Music, dance, sculpting, painting and other fine arts are all part of the project which transforms children’s lives. Many of them come from low income families or have behavioral problems
  • Lunch at Muraleando, included, after having the opportunity to meet many of the artists
  • Visit Finca La Vigía, home and farm of Ernest Hemingway. This unique National Museum also includes his boat Pilar (in part made famous from his book Old Man and the Sea), the graves of some of his dogs, and the fully furnished home which we will be able to see inside, included
  • Return to hotel
  • Dinner not included. With all the great food we have experienced the past week, this is our last chance to re-visit one of our favorite restaurants or check out a paladar we have heard about. Our Cuban Guide and GRTC Team will be glad to help. Plan ahead, even earlier in the week if you need reservations
  • Evening is free to explore the sights and sounds of the city. It’s our last night in the Republic of Cuba so Enjoy!

Day 8 – Friday :: Havana and Home

  • Breakfast, included
  • Check-out of hotel
  • Transfer to José Martí International Airport for flight home, included
  • Memories of a wonderful visit to the Pearl of the Antilles: Cuba, included!

To receive a more detailed itinerary for a specific Tour, with hotels, please email Dan Rutherford at DanRutherford@GlobalRelations.US or call Josh Lanning at 815-842-2475

Cuba travel is a challenge. Our staff and Cuban partners work super hard to make your tour unfold seamlessly despite Third World conditions on the island. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Flexible travelers understand this is part of their Cuban adventure.
Tour date Cost Comments Availability
Nov 3 to Nov 10, 2017 $ 4399Sold Out
Dec 8 to Dec 15, 2017 $ 4499 $ 3888
Two rooms remain
Book now
Jan 5 to Jan 12, 2018 $ 4499 $ 3988
Filling up fast
Book now
May 11 to May 18, 2018 $ 4215 $ 3815Book now
Sep 14 to Sep 21, 2018 $ 4215 $ 3815Book now
Tour meals at your hotel and at fine restaurants
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  • Teleconference with the tour group and Global Relations Travel Club (GRTC) leadership to go through the itinerary, answer questions and offer suggestions on opportunities not on the schedule
  • A series of briefing e mails, starting weeks before departure, to assist you in preparing for the trip.
  • All taxes. All amounts are quoted in US dollars
  • Hotel in U.S. the night before your departure to Cuba
  • Airport transfers: Transfer from your hotel in departing city to the airport. You are met at the airport in Cuba upon arrival and taken to your hotel. For departure you will be taken back to the airport in Cuba. You need to book your own airfare to and from Cuba
  • Hotels in Cuba as listed in tour itinerary, or similar
  • Welcome cocktail upon arrival
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners as per itinerary
  • All activities, services, speakers, meetings and meals as described in tour itinerary except those noted as “optional” or “not included”
  • Luxury air-conditioned private coach transportation and a full-time professional driver, dedicated to your group
  • An expert Cuban English-speaking guide whose background matches tour content
  • Ongoing support from your Cuban Tour staff and the GRTC Team before, during and after your stay
  • Emergency collect call access to North America while in Cuba
  • Emergency cash advances for tour participants who face complications accessing funds from abroad while in Cuba
  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel in compliance with U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations (OFAC) section, 1 C.F.R. § 515.565(b)
  • Global Relations Travel Club (GRTC) membership: $29 http://www.globalrelations.us/membership.html Membership is a requirement, by Rule, to participate in GRTC tours
  • Airfare is not included, you select your flights
  • Fly into your desired U.S. departure city the first night of the Tour and your lodging is included. The next day fly to Cuba and your transfer at the Cuban airport is included. On the last day of your Tour the transfer to the Cuban airport is included. Flight reservations are the responsibility of the participant. GRTC Team will be of assistance
  • Cuban Visa and departure tax from Cuba will be arranged by your airline, along with mandatory Cuban medical insurance coverage during your island stay. GRTC Team will be of assistance
  • Gratuities for Cuban tour guide, coach/van driver, chambermaids, restaurant staff, porters, etc. of group activates. You will be asked to participate in a ‘gratuity collective’ of $154.89 from which all gratuities for group activities will be paid on your behalf. Details will be sent to you
  • Optional travel interruption and cancellation insurance. See http://globalrelations.ourcuba.com/insurance/