Cuba Agriculture Tour
Although only 90 miles off the coast of Florida, Cuba will remind you of a simpler time that is a distant memory to American culture.
• A welcoming, unique culture comprised of friendly people with remarkable ingenuity
• Thriving farm-to-table practices and sustainable agriculture including tobacco, fruits and vegetables.
• Simple accommodations with heartfelt service
• Extraordinary history and landscapes
• The staple of Cuban transportation: an astounding number of US-made classic cars circa, 40s and 50s, and the creativity that has kept them running!
Cuba is one of the safest countries in the world, as everything is monitored tightly. Be prepared for slower service due to restrictions on tourist services, different ways of thinking, other standards of time, and digital connection constraints. As in any trip to a foreign country, be refreshed by the differences and surprised by the resourcefulness of this unique culture. This tour is fully escorted by professionals.
Cuba’s agriculture has suffered since the early 90s. The fall of the Soviet Union and other communist countries led to a shortage of seed, fertilizer and other chemicals. By necessity, the development of organic and sustainable agriculture followed. Today, state run operations continue to be secretive, but one gains a good insight of the operations just by driving past them. The farms visited on this tour are small, privately owned farms that provide food and jobs to local people. It is not uncommon to meet a doctor or engineer running or working on a local farm.
Maximum of 12 travelers per tour, call today to reserve your spot!
Jan 8-15, 2020
Cuba Agriculture Tour Itinerary
Cuba has been closed off to the non-communist world since 1961. In 2016, the first scheduled commercial flight between the US and Havana was an American Airlines flight that landed on November 28, just a few days after Fidel Castro died. There are a selection of flights from the US, and Trump Tours will be happy to assist you with flight reservations. Trump Tours will also provide all information needed to secure your visa (US $50) and other necessary paperwork. Be sure to pack some patience in your bag, because the Havana airport is not yet outfitted for multiple airplane arrivals. After exiting baggage claim, you will be transferred to the hotel located in a luxurious residential area. You will be joined by a Cuban tour manager as well as a Trump Tours tour manager. The hotel has a resort feel with large swimming pool, bar, spa, gym, several restaurants and nightly entertainment. Walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO world heritage site, located within the old city walls. Havana was founded in 1519 by the Spanish who preferred a protected natural harbor to anchor their galleons between the Olde and New World. Havana—and the rest of Cuba—is still caught in that juxtaposition. See the San Cristobal Cathedral, built in 1748, stroll along the narrow, cobblestoned streets passing from plaza to plaza. Even though the area is from colonial times, you will see that many people (said to be about 60,000) live in this area, and there are even some housing projects for the elderly. Welcome reception with group introductions and briefing about the trip. Buffet dinner at hotel.
People to people focus: Learn about health care, housing projects, school system and elderly care. This morning, visit local food markets to discover how Cubans buy their food. Cubans have access strictly to in season items, so quantity tends to be adequate but the variety is lacking. This morning visit a local organaponico, created during the food shortage crisis that happened after the fall of the Soviet Union and other countries in the early 1990s. The organaponico was started on fallow ground on the outskirts of Havana, to provide locally grown food. It was a way for the growers to support themselves and fill a gap in the food shortage. Today it is a thriving operation. Lunch nearby. Continue to Trinidad, over 500 years old, known as one of the best preserved colonial towns in the Caribbean. The town’s wealthiest times were in the mid-1800s when Europe had a sweet tooth and the rich soils produced sugar cane for export. Large cobblestones used to weigh down ships during the triangle trade period were left in Trinidad and subsequently used for building streets and structures. Trinidad is also UNESCO world heritage protected; this designation along with investment monies have preserved the 200 year old buildings. The Caribbean whitewash colors of pinks, turquoises, corals, limes and yellows add to the charm and history. Check into your casa particulares (within ten minutes – an uphill walk from the central square) where you will spend the next three nights. A casa particulares is a unique result of home owners being allowed to transform their dwellings into bed and breakfast accommodations. The law limits up to four rooms, so the group might be split amongst a few casas. Each bedroom has its own bathroom, and the hostess serves breakfast each morning. This evening’s dinner will be served at the casa and will give everyone a chance to interact, meet local people and learn about the local culture.
People to people focus: Learn about transportation and distribution. Learn about culture houses, dancing and music provided by the state. After breakfast, depart in local bike taxis through the town to see how the locals shop at open air butchers, state run shops and privately run produce markets. Continue past a local school where you will learn about the school system. Also view an old steam engine that was used for the sugar cane industry but sadly is in disrepair due to lack of access to parts. Enjoy incredible views of the Sierra del Escambray mountains and the Val de los Ingenios, the valley of the 19th Century sugar mills. Continue through the valley into a rich region that produces tomatoes, onions and garlic, a staple of the Cuban diet. Visit a farm producing these commodities as well as cattle. Continue to Manaca Iznaga, a sugar estate established in 1750. The building, now housing a restaurant, will give you a taste of how the lords of the estates lived during those times. Also see a sugar press and, for those who wish, a tower to climb for incredible views. Meet local artisans who produce intricate lace tablecloths. Continue to the Mill Valley museum to see equipment used for sugar production in the mid 19th Century. Return to casa to relax and refresh. Dinner in privately run restaurant this evening. We will enjoy the nightlife with a visit to a state run locale with live music and salsa dancing.
People to people focus: Learn about the entrepreneurial spirit “free enterprise” businesses (transportation, paladors, casas particulars, fishermen, classic cars) and the limits, compared to state provided services. You will come to understand “A Day in the Life” of the Cuban people. For early risers, travel to local fishermen’s village to see them return with their catch and then market and sell it directly. A fascinating scene indeed, especially to see the rustic, motorless boats used by the locals. Return to casa for breakfast. Walking tour of Trinidad city center. See the colorful buildings of the charming cobblestoned town. See a peso store and bodega, consumable shopping for local Cubans. Lunch at a privately-owned restaurant. Visit to small scale cattle and sheep farmer. Step back in time and climb into 40s and 50s era classic cars for a cruise past the local beach with photo ops. Return to Trinidad for rest of afternoon free and dinner on own.
People to people focus: Learn about distribution of land (usufrucht) and the strictly limited utilization of it, especially after the so-called Periodo Especial. This “Special Period” was an era of economic crisis after the fall of other communist countries thus eliminating trading partners in the early 90s. Observe state run farms along the highway while passing by. Depart northward. Lunch and farm visit to a progressive, young farmer with a vision for making small and sustainable farming widespread in Cuba. His thriving business employs 12 to 15 people, producing honey and vegetables for restaurants in Havana. Participate in stimulating discussions to learn about usufrucht and markets available for small farms. He envisions copying his model to other local farmers to spread the happiness. Continue to Vinales, an idyllic village perched in the quilted landscape of fertile, oxen ploughed fields, rich tobacco plantations and incredible karst landscapes. Dinner at hotel.
People to people focus: Learn about organic and sustainable small scale farming and how they contribute to the state economy. Visit to small scale farms to learn about the agriculture in the Vinales Valley including tobacco, some sugar cane, coffee, pineapple, taro root and other crops. Enjoy time on a multigenerational farm learning about small scale agriculture where we will assist with oxen working the ground, feeding the livestock, learning about edible beans and discovering local tropical fruits. Lunch at a peaceful lakeside family run restaurant. For those with energy, hike through the incredible Vinales Valley ending at the hotel. Free afternoon and time to roam the streets of Vinales to meet locals. Dinner on own to discover local parador restaurants.
People to people focus: Learn about tobacco production and its importance to the Cuban economy. Visit a local tobacco farm including lunch. See the tobacco producing process including field production, drying sheds, rolling technique and learn about the distribution commodities and control by the state. Travel to Havana and check into hotel. Special farewell dinner at private Havana restaurant.
Breakfast at leisure. Morning meeting at hotel to wrap up and have discussions on the impressions of Cuba. Transfer to airport for flight back to US.
7 nights in superior tourist class accommodations.
17 Meals: 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Transportation provided in air-conditioned minicoach.
Sightseeing/technical visits as outlined in itinerary.
Services of full time professional tour manager with agricultural background.
All taxes and fees.
Airfare, museum entrances, tour manager and driver tips, passport fees, public transportation, personal items, beverages at meals, travel insurance.
$3,399 per person, based on double occupancy.
Add $630 to guarantee single room. Visa Fee - $50 per person.