Explore and experience cocktail culture through the history, music, food, drink, and people of Cuba.
Come with us to Havana and experience why it was the cocktail capital of the world in the 1920s. Considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, American travelers soaked up the cosmopolitan culture all through the first half of the twentieth century. Today Havana’s old world charm lives on.
- Explore the famous plazas of Old Havana
- Experience & learn about rum at the Rum Museum
- Listen, dance, & swoon to Cuban music
- Visit Hemingway's house, then create a daiquiri at El Floridita, birthplace of the drink
- Cruise down the famous Malecón in a classic car
- Experience a cabaret show at the legendary Tropicana
- Explore a 16th-century Castle
- Make & taste mojitos where they were first created
- Peruse & shop at the outdoor Mercado San Jose
We'll adventure 3 days to Cienfuegos and explore the French influence in both Cuba and cocktails: to swim and snorkel, drink and dine, and dance the salsa.
The Beauty of Cuba
In Cienfuegos, explore exotic plants at one of the world's best tropical gardens, Jardin Botanico Soledad. We'll explore the nature reserve, Laguna Guanaroca and see a flamboyance of flamingos.
Renée Cebula became intrigued by American cocktail culture as a teenager, when she’d “sneak downstairs to watch Dean Martin.” A trained teacher, Renee launched Raising the Bar so people could learn, create, and taste the history of drinking in America. Her hands-on classes and tours tell the stories of American spirits while mixing classic cocktails. Renee also sells midcentury and vintage barware at events around the Northwest.
Commercial flights from the United States to Havana began December 1st, 2016 and are effectively replacing group charter flights as the standard mode of travel between the two countries. We now ask that our guests book their own travel between the U.S. and Havana. This tour will begin in Havana at approximately 11:00 AM on Day 1. Our meeting point on Day 1 will be Havana's Jose Marti International Airport where your Tour Leader and local guides will meet you to begin your tour.
If you are unable to fly all the way to Havana on Day 1 with an arrival before 11:00 AM, we recommend that you consider a "Day 0" for your tour and choose either of the following:
Travel to Havana on Day 0. With this option, we recommend that you overnight in a casa particular (a private home with rooms for rent) of your choosing and make your way back to the Havana Airport to meet your Tour Leader, guides, and fellow travelers the next morning.
Travel to Miami on Day 0. With this option, we recommend that you overnight in Miami and take a flight to Havana on the morning of Day 1.
We are happy to offer guidance with scheduling your travel to and from Cuba, and our office staff is ready to answer any questions you may have.
Note: Travel in Cuba requires a flexible attitude. Our days are full, and as required by U.S. law, we have a full-time agenda of people-to-people activities. Cuba has it’s own beat and things don’t always run on time. The activities and visits listed are not guaranteed but we endeavor to do our best to provide the content intent of this people–to-people program. Visiting developing countries can be eye-opening and life-changing, and hopefully visiting Cuba is both. Accommodations may not be up to the standards you are used to. Sometimes the hot water or air conditioning doesn’t work. We ask all our guests to appreciate the authenticity of your cultural encounters as well as the people, food, culture, and adventures that are exceptional in their difference. Our local guide, along with your Cuba Unbound Tour Leader promise to do their best to make this a fascinating and educational experience.
Welcome to Cuba! Havana & Habana Vieja
Today you arrive in Havana, Cuba’s most dynamic city. The ride from the airport to Havana will ensure you that you are in a place like no other. We have our first sightseeing and Cuban cuisine at lunch in Old Havana. Stretch your legs with a walking tour of the famous plazas in Habana Vieja. Check into our accommodations at the Hotel Presidente (or similar) and relax. Enjoy your first Cocktail Hour in Cuba with a welcome reception and Cuban cocktail primer followed by dinner at El Cocinera—rooftop dinning to kick-off your first unforgettable dining experience in Havana. Bed is awaiting or you have the option to take part in Cuban nightlife at Havana’s hip Fabrica de Arte Cubano nightclub.
Castle Mystique, a Famous Boat, and Rum Lessons
After breakfast, we explore the sixteenth-century Morro Castle and perspectives of Havana Bay and Harbor. Take in this unique view of the city from across the water. Visit the fishing village of Cojimar where Hemingway kept his boat, Pilar, and the setting of his novel, The Old Man and the Sea. After lunch at Al Ajiaco, we learn about rum at the Rum Museum. We proceed to a hands-on history lesson on daiquiris before dinner and a cabaret show at the famous Tropicana Night Club finishes the day.
Explore Havana’s History, Origins of the Mojito, Dinner and Rum at La Chansonnier
After breakfast, we visit the Museum of the Revolution and learn about Cuban history and culture. On our way to lunch, we’ll walk past buildings in Caribbean pastels of pink, sea green, soft blue and turquoise. Lunch at the birthplace of the mojito, Bodequito del Medio with a hands-on mojito lesson. Then an architectural walking tour of Old Havana (the Bacardi Building). Dinner and rum and/or cigar tasting at Le Chansonnier or similar, and introduction to the French influence and tomorrow’s trip to the south side of the island.
Trip to Zapata National Park, Bay of Pigs History, Swim and Snorkel, Cienfuegos, and Rooftop Dinner
After breakfast, we board a bus and travel while we learn about cocktail history. Our first stop is Playa Larga in Cuba’s Zapata National Park on the Zapata peninsula. See the Bay of Pigs and take in some Cold War intrigue. Dine on fresh seafood for lunch on a terrace overlooking the bay. Enjoy an afternoon of swimming and snorkeling at Punta Perdiz. We’ll arrive in Cienfuegos, the “city of one hundred fires,” and check into our hotel. Rooftop dinner at a local paladar. Relax poolside at the hotel with views of the Caribbean. Optional explorations on your own taking in the colonial style and culture of this remarkable city.
Discover Cienfuegos, Cuban music, Soledad Botanical Gardens, and Dinner by the Sea
After breakfast, enjoy a guided walking tour of Cienfuegos’ old historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See some of the finest examples of Creole architecture. Take in the French flavor of this colonial port and experience Cuba’s rich music tradition with a music performance by local musicians. After lunch, we travel to the one of the world’s top tropical gardens, the Jardin Botanico Soledad, gardens established in 1899 for Harvard University. Enjoy a pre-dinner hands-on cocktail lesson followed by dining at a local paladar.
Explore Guanaroca, a Flamboyance of Flamingos, Beach time, and Salsa Dancing
After breakfast, we travel to the wildlife refuge Laguna Guanaroca. Aboard small row boats, we experience a colony of flamingos in the wild. Enjoy a sea-to-table Cuban lunch at a local seaside restaurant and then we return to town. Tonight, we salsa dance! Dance lessons – watch or participate – and enjoy dinner on our last evening in Cienfuegos.
Depart for Havana, Hemingway House, Mercado San Jose Shopping, Malecon Cruise, Final Dinner
After breakfast, we depart and begin our journey back to Havana with a final cocktail history lesson on the motor coach. On the way, we explore Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s home in San Francisco de Paula on the outskirts of Havana. Lunch at a local paladar, and then peruse and shop at Mercado San Jose. Our final evening in Cuba begins with a classic car ride along Havana’s famous seaside boulevard, the Malecón. Enjoy Cuban cuisine at one of Havana’s finest paladars (privately-owned restaurant). Spend your last evening in Cuba taking in Cuban jazz, art, and nightlife. Our guide is happy to make recommendations.
Alas, it’s time to say goodbye to Cuba and new friends. After breakfast, check out of hotel, make sure you have some Cuban rum to take home, and remember to switch your Cuban currency back to American currency before you leave. Depart for José Marti International Airport. Adios!