Alumni Travel Program
February 2024: Cuba
February 25- March 2, 2024
Havana, Cuba has long been heralded as the forbidden fruit of the West. Once upon a time it was the vacation destination for playboys, mafiosos, American sunseekers and party goers. Folks from all over the world flocked to the island to find refuge and make new homes, while others came for sun, music, gambling, and soaking up its colorful culture.
With a tumultuous relationship with the United States in the second half of the 20th century, the country all but froze in time. It’s geopolitical importance, extraordinary culture, warm spirit and the ingenuity of the Cuban people have all remained. It’s a case study in communism, foreign policy and economic shortcomings, and countries in transition.
SUNY Geneseo and Cuba Educational Travel are proud to explore all of this. The history, mystique, culture, and polarizing relationship with the U.S. make it intellectually stimulating and a unique exploration site.
Geneseo's Jennifer Guzmán, Associate Professor of Anthropology, will accompany the trip. Dr. Guzmán is a linguistic and medical anthropologist whose research addresses the creative ways that people confront health challenges and advocate for themselves within systems that are harmful to health. She is co-editor of Ethnographic Insights on Latin America and the Caribbean (University of Toronto Press).
Our visit to the island will include site visits, conversations and informal engagement with Cubans to get a sense of where the country is headed. We can analyze firsthand U.S. policy toward the island, economic changes taking place, and enjoy getting to know our neighbors. We’ll have a behind-the-scenes look at 21st century Cuba and explore the issues firsthand, delving deep into the culture and the people along the way.
Alumni, parents and friends are invited to participate in our second Alumni Travel Program trip to Cuba!
Photo Gallery: February 2023 Alumni Trip to Cuba
Dates: February 25 - March 2, 2024
The itinerary is available below.
- Day 1: Sunday, February 25, 2024
TBD: Arrival to Havana. (pending flight information)
Afternoon: Check in at Hotel Gran Aston. Located on the world famous 'Malecón', this new hotel has an amazing view of the historic bay of Havana and a modern and elegant design, which embodies the new urban Caribbean lifestyle.
5 PM: Conversation with Miguel Coyula, Cuba’s “Explainer in Chief.” Urban planner and professor Miguel Coyula lays a foundation of knowledge for you, with his account of the last 500 years of Cuba and Havana’s evolution. As an architect and urban planner, his perspective will provide your group with the base to begin your inquiry into how Cuba looks and why. Hotel Conference Room
6:30 PM: Sunset driving tour of the city in classic American cars from the 1950’s. Coast along Havana’s seawall, the famous Quinta Avenida and visit Miramar neighborhood, a residential district of the municipality of Playa, where many embassies are located. Explore Vedado Neighborhood stopping off at the Revolution Square, the gathering place for political demonstrations and the home to many important government offices.
7:30 PM: Welcome dinner at La Guarida. #418 Concordia’s story begins in 1913 as the Camagüey mansion, a space known for its opulent parties and visitors. In 1994, it appeared in the ground-breaking and Oscar-nominated Cuban film Fresa y chocolate as the home of this movie’s gay hero. In 1996, Enrique Nunez opened La Guarida, one of the early private eateries in Cuba’s long state-controlled dining scene.
- Day 2: Monday, February 26, 2024
9 AM: Visit with the female hip hop duo Reyna y Real for a discussion about race and gender issues and their life as female rappers.
11 AM: Tour of La Finca Vigía with a private specialist guide. Formerly the home of Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigía still houses his expansive collection of books and his boat El Pilar. Your private guide will show you around and share some of the bizarre and captivating tales from Hemingway’s many years in Cuba. The group will also stop to visit with private merchants on the way to the estate.
12:30 PM: Lunch at Doña Eutimia paladar. Famous for its ropa vieja and frozen mojitos, it’s location in the beautiful cathedral square is unbeatable.
2:30 PM: Walking tour of Old Havana’s Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. Wander through its main four Plazas and streets and learn about the historic structures as well as important monuments and churches.
*Return to hotel.
7:30 PM: Dinner at Paladar Atelier. This restaurant is equally known for its atmosphere and exquisite cuisine. The lighting and textures of the house, which was home to a pre-revolutionary senator, coupled with walls adorned in modern art, create a cozy, but modern setting.
- Day 3: Tuesday, February 27, 2024
9 AM: Morning conference with expert Oniel Diaz. Get an update and real insight into the state of the Cuban economy: currency reform, foreign investment, and economic changes. At Hotel Conference Room
11 AM: Tour of the Cuban Capitol. Similar to the Washington, DC Capitol, but actually modeled on the Panthéon in Paris, the building was initiated in 1926 and took 5000 workers and three years to construct at a cost of US$17 million. It’s been restored recently, recapturing the original beauty and power of the building.
12:30 PM: Light Lunch at Factoria Diseno Art Gallery in Old Havana.
2 PM: Behind the Scenes Art Tour. Visit the homes and studios of independent Cuban artists:
- Mabel Poblet, one of Cuba’s most exciting new artists. Her work is intensely personal, precise and carefully crafted.
- AltaMira art loft, the home and studio of a family of artists located on a top floor apartment facing the sea and the beautiful Hotel Nacional.
- Esterio Segura, one of Cuba’s leading artists who touches on many controversial aspects of Cuban society in his artwork.
*Return to Hotel.
6 PM: Discussion with a journalist. Hotel Conference Room
*Evening at leisure.
- Day 4: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
9 AM: Discussion with Entrepreneur Liber Puente Baró, founder and CEO of Tostonet, tech support, software development and design. At Hotel Conference Room
11:30 AM: Visit the Habana Compás Dance studio for a show and discussion with instructors and students. Liliet Rivera, protege of the renowned List Alfonso Dance Company, established Habana Compas in 2004 to reclaim and preserve Cuba's dance heritage from Spain and Africa.
1 PM: Swimming, sunbathing and lunch at Marea, a private restaurant in the outskirts of Havana with a stunning location by the sea, great food and atmosphere. *Bring your towel!
*Return to Hotel.
5 PM: Afternoon discussion with anthropologist Jennifer Guzman. At Hotel Conference Room
7 PM: Creative Happy Hour at La Lavanderia. We’ll meet with the founders of Dador, a boutique fashion company and lifestyle brand, and hear music from ISA’s quartet at a beautiful art gallery and workshop.
- Day 5: Thursday, February 29, 2024
8:30 AM: Depart to Viñales. Considered by many to be the most beautiful place in Cuba, the Viñales Valley National Monument holds stunning landscapes. The area is also famous for being the premier tobacco growing area in the world.
12:30 PM: Visit to a private farm in the valley owned by the large family of Concha and Paco Hernandez. The descendants of Concha and Paco have farmed the same plot of land for many generations and their land is involved in the production of a multitude of fruits, vegetables, grain and tobacco. Members of the family will give us a tour of this beautiful 40-acre farm before bringing us back to the farmhouse. Enjoy lunch at the farm.
2 PM: Visit a tobacco farm for a tour and discussion about the cultivation and production process, followed by a rolling demo.
6 PM: Sunset dinner at Balcon del Valle (Balcony of the Valley). Enjoy the best traditions of rural Cuban cooking from one of the most beautiful lookouts of the valley.
8 PM: Optional – Attend salsa lessons with a private instructor. Learn the moves of Cuba’s most famous type of dance.
- Day 6: Friday, March 1, 2024
9 AM: Morning hike through the Valley. Learn about the Viñales’ most important crops and meet with farmers and their families.
12:30 PM: Depart for Havana.
3:30 PM: Check-in at hotel.
6 PM: Get down with Cuban Music. Living room jam session with Degnis Bofill at his house in Vedado.
8 PM: Farewell dinner at Tierra, Havana’s newest international dining spot. Located inside a container in the Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the restaurant mirrors the eclectic crowd, serving dishes from around the world
Following dinner, enjoy live music, art and dancing at La Fabrica de Arte Cubano, the brainchild of Afro-Cuban fusion musician X-Alfonso, this is one Havana’s finest new art projects, an intellectual nexus for live music, art expos and fashion shows that has turned into a meeting spot for a young, eclectic crowd of Cubans and foreigners.
- Day 7: Saturday, March 2, 2024
*Transfer to airport – 2 ½ hours prior to flight departure.
Itinerary is subject to change.
This trip is intended for alumni of SUNY Geneseo and their guests, as well as faculty, staff, parents and friends of the College and their guests.
This trip is nearly all-inclusive and at a great price.
Cost of the trip depends on what type of sleeping arrangements you would like throughout the trip. The basic cost of $2,935 per person includes double occupancy accommodations. If you would like single occupancy accommodations it is $3,535. Airfare to and from Havana, Cuba is not included in these prices.
- Five nights' accommodations in Havana upscale boutique.
- One night accommodations in Vinales.
- Daily breakfast
- Meals (as specified on the itinerary)
- Meal reservations (as specified on the itinerary)
- Professional, bilingual guide for listed activities
- Local ground transportation for listed activities
- Pre-trip departure information
- Compliance with U.S. Treasury Department regulations
- Speaker fees
- Admission to all museums and public buildings listed in itinerary
- Coordination of all listed activities
- Cuban VISA
Not included in price:
- Round-trip airfare
- Meals and activities other than listed on itinerary
- Individual house or hotel expenses (mini bar, room service, laundry fees, etc.)
- Tips for local guides, drivers, restaurant service, etc.
While airfare is not included in the package pricing, here are suggested options:
From New York
- American Airlines flies to Cuba via Miami out of JFK
- Southwest flies to Cuba out of Fort Lauderdale and Miami. There several daily flight options.
- EWR to HAV has a direct non-stop flight on United. This flight is daily.
- Multiple daily flights on American Airlines out of Miami
- Multiple daily flights on JetBlue out of Fort Lauderdale
- Several daily flights on Southwest out of Fort Lauderdale
- Once daily flight on Southwest out of Tampa
- First deposit of $1,000 per person due on or before 11/08/23*
- Balance payment due on or before 1/5/24
*If the deadline for the deposit has passed, please call us because we will do what we can to add you.
- Cancellations made before 90 days of trip departure are fully refundable (> November 25, 2023).
- Cancellations made between 89 and 46 days of trip departure are eligible for a 50 percent refund (November 26, 2023 – January 10, 2024).
- Cancellations made within 45 days of trip departure are not eligible for a refund (January 11, 2024).
In some instances, time permitting, a different traveler can take the place of a scheduled participant for a processing fee of $350.
Passport and VISA Information:
All travelers are required to carry a valid passport and a Cuban visa. Those without a valid passport and VISA will not be allowed to enter. Travelers who were born in Cuba may require a special VISA in order to enter the country. Passport should be valid for a minimum of six months after departure date. Please note: we have built in VISA into the registration fees to make it easier for you.