15 - 24 JUNE 2017
Havana is FABULOUS!
Beautifully restored colonial buildings beside crumbling wrecks; rattling, back- firing 1950s Yank Tanks, bikes, horse-drawn carriages and tuk-tuks; revolutionary history, current political and financial struggles, new private enterprises popping-up all over the place. And best of all, happy and resilient people; rum and cigars; and MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC!!!
Cuba is just starting to change with the thaw in its relationship with the US. Join us in Havana NOW, before it really is too late.
Thursday 15 June 2017
Depart Australia arriving in Mexico City in the evening. Stay overnight at the Airport Hotel
Friday 16 June 2017
Fly to Havana and transfer to your centrally located hotel. You are free to start exploring Havana on your own. The pre-conference group will arrive at the hotel this evening.
Saturday 17 June 2017
Morning conference session. (4 hours)
This afternoon start exploring Havana with a walking tour through the old city, one of Cuba’s many UNESCO world heritage sites. The once grand city is gradually being restored – but not as a replica of a glorious past (or as tourist eye candy) but as a living breathing pulsating place – apartments, artisan workshops, shop fronts, plazas, churches, galleries, green spaces (where buildings are beyond repair) and at every turn, the beat of music.
Finish today’s tour with a surprise welcome cocktail party.
Sunday 18 June 2017
Morning conference session.
This afternoon’s tour focuses on Cuba’s political history starting with a visit to the memorial of Jose Marti, the heroic 19th century revolutionary, in the Plaza of the Revolution – the massive phallic monument a reminder of Cuba’s ties to the former USSR. Visit the fascinating museum of the revolution. During your time in Cuba it becomes apparent that these events are not part of history but continue to be part of every day life for Cubans – from the clapped out 50’s gas guzzling American cars to the ubiquitous political slogans, to the virtual implosion of the economy when the Soviet Union collapsed, to the lack of commodities due to the US trade embargoes.
Evening free to find one of Havana’s many fabulous night spots.
Monday 19 June 2017
For today’s full day tour we head off to Vinales in the west of the island. Spectacular rounded limestone outcrops rise above the fertile farmlands. This is tobacco country and you will have a chance to visit a plantation and meet the farmer (I reckon he is Cuba’s answer to Crocodile Dundee). Then we visit the fascinating Las Terrazas UNESCO Biosphere reserve and enjoy a late lunch in a gorgeous forest setting before heading back to the city.
Tuesday 20 June 2017
Start the day with a visit to a cigar factory. You will be struck by the complete disregard for OH&S, not to mention that no concessions are made for visiting tourists. Secondly, you will discover why cigar factories became one of the revolutionary hot houses.
Return to the hotel to continue the conference (4 hours). This afternoon visit a medical clinic in Havana.
Tonight enjoy a wonderful evening at the legendary Tropicana nightclub. This Las Vegas–style nightlife has survived the Revolution. Immortalized in Graham Greene's 1958 classic Our Man in Havana , this open-air cabaret show is little changed since its 1950s heyday, with scantily clad señoritas descending from palm trees to dance Latin salsa amid bright lights.
Wednesday 21 June 2017
Morning conference session (4 hours)
Free afternoon to explore Havana on your own, perhaps visit the handicraft markets, pop in to some galleries or museums, or just wander the buzzing streets.
Tonight is the Gala dinner – as always, a wonderful night of surprises.
Thursday 22 June 2017
Depart for your return home via Cancun arriving in Australia on Saturday 24 June or join our fantastic post conference tour to Guatemala.
End of arrangements or Join optional post conference tour
Please note that this itinerary and costs may be subject to change.