Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Enjoying Cuba's Irish and Celtic Heritage

This program offers a unique window into the Irish diaspora in the Caribbean, as well as Cuban history and culture.  Not to mention the craic will be awesome in organized concerts and into the wee hours sesiuns.  On top of it, all the excitement and enjoyment of discovering our too long forbidden neighbor.  Our trip is licensed by the US Treasury Department so is available to everyone, professional and amateur musicians and dancers, diaspora hobbyists and academics, just plain fans and the curious.  The program is tentative until the CeltFest schedule is final.

Sunday April 14, 2013

Fly to Havana (afternoon flight from Cancun)
CeltFest program

Monday April 15, 2013

9:00 am Lecture  at Hotel Palacio O'Farrill. Discussion on 16th – 18th century Irish presence
10:00 am Tour "In the Irish Footsteps of Old Havana"
12.30 pm Lunch at Asociacion Yoruba, visit Santaria exhibit
2:00 pm  Ferry to church in Regla
2:30 pm  Performance by AfroCuban group Nsila Cheche
5:30 private briefing on social/economic changes; US Cuba relations
Dinner on own
CeltFest Program
* may be replaced by CeltFest program

Tuesday April 16, 2013

9:00 am Departing for a Tour of the South West and Havana (Railroad Route )
(Box lunch and 2 drinks included)
Places to visit in the morning and afternoon:
• Monument to workers at Capitolio and Villanueva Station.
• The swamp  at Cerro: railway workshops.
• Santiago de las Vegas (Agronomic Station).
• Corner (railroad station); leprosarium San Lazaro (O'Naghten).
• Bejucal (Municipal Museum), (Railway Museum) (Parish Church).
• Quivicán (Ingenio Espiritu Santo: V Marqués de San Felipe y Santiago O 'Farrill-O'Reilly).
• Guines (Municipal Museum, Railroad Museum, ruins of the mill "Alexandria"; ruins of wit "The Netherlands," Calvo Gate O 'Farrill).
Dinner on own
CeltFest program

Wednesday April 17, 2013

9:00 am Lecture  at Hotel Palacio O'Farrill. Discussion on 19th – 20th century Irish presence
10:00 am Tour "In the Footsteps Irish in Old Havana"
1.00 PM Lunch on own
3:00 - 6: 00 pm Depart for National Library "José Martí" for a talk by Irish academic and performance of traditional Celtic music ensemble
Dinner on own 
CeltFest program

Thursday 18 April 2013

9:00 am Departing to Matanzas - Varadero.
Places to visit in the morning and afternoon:

Habana del Este:
• Fortress of  Cojimar and Bacuranao (Taking of Havana by the English 1762).
• Santa Cruz del Norte (Hershey, former sugar refinery town of FC, White House, Matanzas).

• Fortress of San Severino.
• The Museum Morrillo.
• House of Culture Bonifacio Byrne.
• O'Reilly Streets, before Rio, Tirry and Madan.
• House Bonifacio Byrne (Contreras. 30,208).
• House of Charities (Byrne).

1:00 to 2:00 pm Lunch at Hotel Velasco

• Oscar María de Rojas Museum
• Flag House.
• beach Camacho (J. O'Brien).

5: 00 pm Check in at hotel in Varadero

Transportation included for evening activities
(meet/sessiun with Asturian or Galician celtic group in/from Matanzas??)

Friday 19 April 2013

Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00 am Departing to Havana via Limonar, San Antonio de Cabezas, Madruga, Tapaste, Cotorro, Santa María del Rosario.
(Box lunch and 2 drinks included)

Places to visit in the morning and afternoon:
Municipal Museum.
• San Patricio Farm(Mary Gowen Brooks).
• Villa Ariadne (Rufus King).
San Antonio de Cabezas:
Parish Church.
• Ruins of San Antonio de Varela sugar mill.
• Municipal Museum
• La Paila, sulfur water source
• Parish Church (R. J. O'Farrill)
• St. Patrick (Ricardo O'Farrill)
• Villa Casañas, Loma de Tierra, Km 20 Carretera Central (Arturo "Chico" O'Farrill)
Santa Maria del Rosario (Cotorro)
• Parish Church
• Source of sulfur water
• House of Jose Maria Chacon y Calvo (Restaurante El Meson).
• Hill of the Three Crosses (Memorial slave rebellion).

Return to Havana
9:00 pm Opera de la Calle

Saturday 20 April 2013

Pending activities of Havana CeltFest: Gala Concert, etc.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Transfer to Havana airport for the flight back to Cancun.

For further information on cost or to obtain a PDF registration form, contact John McAuliff

[block print above by Mario Cruz Moscoso, Cienfuegos, Cuba]

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Masters School Community Program

Masters School Community 
People to People Program
March 23 – 30, 2013

Schedule subject to modification

Hotel Habana Libre, 5 stars, Havana
Hotel Los Delfines, 3 stars, Varadero

DAY 1 –Saturday March 23/Varadero
  • Depart LGA 10.30 am arrive Toronto 12.07 pm
  • depart Toronto 4.00 pm arrive Varadero 6.30 pm
    * Transfer to Hotel
    * Welcome dinner with tour guide

    DAY 2 – Sunday March 24/ Varadero/ Matanzas/ Havana
  • Breakfast in hotel
    (mid morning) depart for the Museum of Slavery and San Severino Fortress
  • lunch in Matanzas, depart for Havana
  • stop in Cojimar for ten minutes to see Hemingway memorial
    Visit Finca La Vigía (House and farm of Ernest Hemingway)
  • check in Habana Libre
  • optional walking tour of La Rampa area, Hotel Nacional, dinner on own

DAY 3 – Monday March 25/ Havana

* Breakfast in hotel
* Visit the Scale Model of Habana Vieja (Old Havana)
* Walking Tour of Habana Vieja
* Visit and lunch Asociación Cultural Yoruba de Cuba (Yoruba Association of Cuba) to see Santería exhibit and meet with staff.
  • Visit to Fundación Núñez Jiménez a non-governmental organization involved with issues of sustainable agriculture and the environment; learn about Amazon expedition
  • Return to hotel
  • Privately arranged discussion with Jose Viera of changes in Cuba and bilateral relations
  • Dinner on own (option of Passover seder or dinner with Viera family)
DAY 4 – Tuesday March 26/ Havana/ Viñales

* Breakfast in hotel
* Morning tour of Viñales Valley
* Visit Cueva del Indio (Indian Cave)
* Lunch at El Palenque Restaurant (included)
* Spend the afternoon hiking in the area
* Visit a tobacco plantation and meeting with farmers
* Return to Havana
* Dinner at La Divina Pastora Restaurant, included
* Night: Witness the Cannon Firing Ceremony at San Carlos de la Cabaña Castle, included

DAY 5 – Wednesday March 27/ Havana
* Breakfast in hotel
* Visit to Vocational School Vladimir Ilich Lenin, meet with teachers and students
  • Special event: a cultural exchange between the Cuban students and the US students
* Visit the Art Studios and community project of famed Cuban painter José Fuster, lunch included
* Visit the Literacy Museum

* Return to hotel
* Dinner not included
* Evening: 9:00PM. Learn to Salsa Dance at Club Chévere, included

DAY 6 – Thursday March 28/ Havana
* Breakfast in hotel
* Visit the Museum of the Revolution
* Visit the UBPC Organopónico Vivero Alamar (eco-community and urban organic farm)
* Lunch and dinner on own, afternoon and evening self-directed

DAY 7 – Friday March 29/ San Miguel/Cardenas/Varadero
* Breakfast in hotel
  • Early departure to San Miguel de los Baños town, explore the former spa, climb hill
  • Lunch at Centro Cristiano de Reflexión y Diálogo (Christian Center for Reflection and Dialogue); learn about its community service programs
  • Check-in at hotel in Varadero
  • Farewell dinner included
  • option of Varadero Tropicana show
DAY 8 – Saturday March 30/ Varadero / Departure (Breakfast)

* Breakfast in hotel
* Transfer to Airport

• Double room occupancy per person (sharing a room during tour): $ 2,149.00

• Single room for duration of tour: $ 2,349.00


A non-refundable deposit of $200 is required within 10 days of registration to secure your tour participation. If you cancel, your deposit can be applied to any future tour or transferred to another traveler. Balance of tour payment is due 30 days prior to departure. We invoice you for your tour deposit and final payment. We accept Canadian and U.S. checks . All credit cards are processed in Canadian dollars (exchange rates vary daily). Checks payable to Zunzun Education Services, Ltd””

Note: Cost of return airfare from New York to Havana is not included in this proposal.

Included in your tour cost
• All taxes. Prices listed are the total amounts you pay.
• Airport transfers: We meet you at José Martí Int'l Airport in Havana and take you to your hotel upon arrival. We return you to José Martí Airport for departure.
• Hotels as listed in tour itinerary.
• Welcome cocktail and orientation gathering with hotel management, staff and your Cuba Education and Explorer Tours guide upon arrival.
• All breakfasts. Welcome dinner. Other lunches and dinners as listed in tour itinerary.
• All activities, services, speakers, meetings and meals as described in tour itinerary except those noted as "optional" or "not included in cost."
• Luxury air-conditioned coach transportation and a full-time professional driver.
• An expert Cuban English speaking guide and translator throughout the program.
• Official Cuban medical insurance coverage during your island stay.
• Free air reservations, arrangements and ticketing services.
• Ongoing support from Cuba Education and Explorer Tours staff in Canada before, during and after your stay.
• Emergency collect call access to our North American staff while in Cuba.

Not included in your tour cost
• International airfare to and from Cuba. We help with best rates and flights. WE DO NOT add a commission or markup your air ticket costs!
• Gratuities for Cuban tour guide, bus driver. chambermaids, restaurant staff, porters, etc. (total approximately $100) Guidelines here
• Cuban airport departure tax of 25.00 Cuban convertible pesos (CUC).
• Optional travel interruption and cancellation insurance. Your tour cost already includes an excellent Cuban medical policy.

* Optional cultural and social activities, meals on own

* $100 per family for miscellaneous in country expenditures by FfRD, incl. CCRD in Cardenas

For information, contact