Ayelet Tours Traveling University's Tour to Cuba
with Professor Stephen Berk
December 3-10, 2023


Tour Rates & Dates:

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Dec 3, 2023
Ayelet Tours Traveling University's Tour to Cuba
with Professor Stephen Berk
December 3-10, 2023
[+ Hotel Details]
$4,599Sold Out
*Please note that all rates displayed are based on standard room double occupancy.
Upgraded room categories may be available to book later in the booking process.
If Land & Air price is displayed, the air portion includes tax and fuel surcharges, which are subject to change until ticketed.

Tour Overview:

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Cuba: A land frozen in time - so close, yet decades away. A Jewish community dedicated to its heritage across half a century of isolation and prevalent atheism. A rich and vibrant island culture, filled with dance and song, classic cars and donkey carts, rum, and cigars. Experience all this and more as we step back in time together.

ON OUR 7-NIGHT JOURNEY WE WILL...

  • Hear fascinating lectures by Prof. Stephen Berk
  • Enjoy a week of vibrant cultural discovery and a Jewish humanitarian effort via a special US State Department license
  • Experience Cuba with all our senses amidst a mixed, vibrant and vital culture locked in time; step back to 1959 and see the cars smell the unique foods, hear the incredible music and sway to the sounds of Cuba!
  • Visit the communities of Santa Clara, Cienfuegos and Havana, and experience their unique joie de vivre
  • Visit with Cubans and see their culture, art and Latin flair!
  • Share Shabbat with locals in a land essentially absent of anti-Semitism
  • Meet with community leaders and hear their rich stories going back 500 years to Columbus

INCLUDED:

Roundtrip international airfare from Miami, FL
7 nights
Hotel Grand Aston La Habana, Havana
All touring on an air-conditioned vehicle with an expert English-speaking guide
Breakfast daily
6 dinners, including Shabbat dinner in Havana
5 lunches
Entrance fees and activities per itinerary
Exit tax
Cuban emergency medical insurance

NOT INCLUDED:

Roundtrip domestic airfare
Cuban travel visa (purchase directly from airline on day of departure - Religious Activities category CFR515.566)
Tips to guide, driver & dining room personnel ($25 per person, per day; pre-collected)
Meals not listed
Items of a personal nature
Gifts and aid (suggestions provided in advance)
Any costs associated with testing or related to proof of Covid/vaccine status
Travel insurance (
group policy is available)

Tour Itinerary:

Day 0: Saturday, December 2, 2023: PRE-NIGHT

• Pre-arrivals overnight at the Courtyard Marriott Miami Airport.

Day 1: Sunday, December 3, 2023: DEPARTURE/WELCOME TO CUBA!

• Pre-arrivals can take their grab and go breakfast
• We depart Florida on our non-stop flight to Cuba!
• We arrive at the Abel Santamaria Airport in Santa Clara and meet our English-speaking guide and driver.
• We stop at the Che Guevara memorial for a photo opportunity in the square and visit the Che Museum underneath.
• This afternoon, we meet with Victor Tacher, a leading representative of the Santa Clara Jewish community and Rebecca Langus, to learn about the Santa Clara and Cienfuegos Jewish communities and deliver our gifts.
• We enjoy lunch together at La Aldaba private restaurant.
• After lunch, we drive to Havana and check into our hotel, with a chance to refresh before coming together again for a welcome drink and orientation, followed by a welcome dinner at our hotel.

Overnight in Havana (L, D)

Day 2: Monday, December 4, 2023: HAVANA VIEJA

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• We begin with a lecture by Professor Stephen Berk.
• Next, we stop at the La Corona Cigar Factory. Here, we learn about the history of tobacco and the tradition of cigar rolling in Cuba and interact with some of the rollers and locals.
• We continue to the Sephardic Center, where we meet with community leader Mayra Levy for an update and to deliver gifts. We then walk through the Holocaust exhibit, the only of its kind in Cuba.
• We stop for lunch together at Rita y Champagne.
• After lunch, we enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana (Havana Vieja), a UNESCO World Heritage site. We learn about the history of Havana as we visit highlights of the city and the colonial plazas. We also visit Jewish points of interest, such as the Jewish-themed Raquel Hotel and Adat Israel, the Orthodox synagogue, where we will meet with Jacob Berezniak to deliver our gifts and aid to the community.
• Tonight, we enjoy dinner at Al Carbon.

Overnight in Havana (B,L,D)

Day 3: Tuesday, December 5, 2023: HEMINGWAY IN HAVANA

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we enjoy a lecture by Professor Berk.
• Next, we visit the Patronato, where we meet with community leaders. We tour the center and learn about the Pharmacy and Sunday school, with time to deliver our gifts and aid.
• This afternoon, we head to Café Ajiaco and begin with a visit to their organic farm for a “mojito” making and tasting class prior to lunch.
• We continue with a visit to the Jewish cemetery in Guanabacoa, including a special stop at the site of the Holocaust Memorial.
• Our final stop today is at Finca Vigia, the villa that Hemingway called home for 21 years. His home is now a museum with many of his personal belongings. While here, we will learn how Cuba influenced his writing.
• Free evening to explore Havana's restaurant and night life culture!

Overnight in Havana (B,L)

Day 4: Wednesday, December 6, 2023: THE ARTSY SIDE OF HAVANA

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• After a lecture by Prof. Berk, we begin our day with a panoramic overview of the city, including Revolution Square, dominated by the José Martí Memorial. This square is where Fidel Castro delivered the majority of his lengthy political addresses. Along the way, we pass by the Rosenberg Memorial, Lennon Park, and Havana University.
• We continue with a guided tour of Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts).
• We enjoy lunch at private restaurant ChaChaCha.
• After lunch, we stop at the impressive Fuster house/studio to see this unique mosaic masterpiece and learn about the artist's project to beautify and help the community in which he lives.
• We return to our hotel for a chance to freshen up.
• This evening, we enjoy dinner together at L'Atelier restaurant.
• Option to attend the world-famous show at the Tropicana, an old-world Vegas-style show in production since 1939 (separate cost).

Overnight in Havana (B,L,D)

Day 5: Thursday, December 7, 2023: MATANZAS & VARADERO

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today, we travel to Matanzas located on the northern shore of the island and known for its poets, culture and Afro-Cuban folklore.
• Along the way, we stop at Bacunayagua Bridge. Built between 1956 and 1959, it is considered one of the seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering.
• Upon arrival in Matanzas, we set out on a walking tour. Here, we visit Ediciones Vigia, an independent publishing collective showcasing handmade books of Cuban literature, interact with the staff and watch them in action!
• We continue to the popular beach town of Varadero, where we have lunch at Xanadu Restaurant at Dupont Mansion. Overlooking the ocean, this property has been carefully restored following its original construction plan dating from the 1930's when it was commissioned and built for French American business tycoon Irénée Dupont.
• After lunch, enjoy time at leisure to explore the area on own.
• We return to Havana in the late afternoon and have time to rest before heading out for dinner on own.

Overnight in Havana (B,L)

Day 6: Friday, December 8, 2023: DANCING INTO SHABBAT

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• We begin with a visit the Habana Compas Dance headquarters to enjoy a performance and interact with the dancers and instructors.
• Next, we stop at Almacenes de San Jose market, where we stroll through the stalls of arts and crafts made by the locals. We'll interact with local artisans to learn about their challenges.
• We stop for lunch at La California.
• Return to our hotel for time to prepare for Shabbat
• This evening, we join together for Shabbat services at the Patronato Synagogue with community members, followed by Shabbat dinner at La Mansion Castillo, a nearby private restaurant.

Overnight in Havana (B,L,D)

Day 7: Saturday, December 9, 2023: A HAVANA SHABBAT

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• We hear oner final closing lecture by Prof. Berk this morning.
• Today, we explore the new Fidel Castro center, exploring Castro's life and the history of revolutionary Cuba in a beautiful setting.
• We continue to Vocal Clave del Sol, a musical education program for children ages 5 to 19, founded in 2009. We meet and interact musically with some of the students and teachers and learn about the importance of this program to the students here.
• We enjoy lunch together at Buena Aventura Restaurant, then return to the hotel to refresh.
• We gather this evening and enjoy a classic car ride from our hotel to our farewell dinner at Vista Mar Restaurant, where we savor our closing dinner together as a group and recall all that we have experienced together on this enlightening journey.
• The hearty among us will set out after dinner for a late evening visit to the artists of Fabrica D'la Arte (FAC), a former cooking oil factory, which comes alive on weekend nights and features the best avante garde art in the country.

Overnight in Havana (B,L,D)

Day 8: Sunday, December 10, 2023: DEPARTURE

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• We transfer to the airport for our flight back to Florida.


The Memories Last Forever!!
*Itinerary subject to change