Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cuban Music with Whittier College June 17-28

Whittier College invites outside applicants to join its Cuba Music of Latin America program this summer, 17-28 June!

Music Professor and accomplished Cuban flautist Danilo Lozano and history professor Jose Ortega, will lead a group through the sights, sounds, and smells of Cuba and its surrounding areas.  They will visit Cuba's historical sites by land and sea - Revolution Square, the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana, and Ernest Hemingway's La Vigia Estate, to name a few.  During the group's travels, they will meet tobacco farmers, poets, jazz players, artists, historians, museum curators, and, of course, musicians, both young and old, including jazz player and composer Bobby Carcassés and the legendary band Cuba Libre.

- Student and non-student participants are welcome!
- Course: MUS 074, 3 credits for those wishing to receive credit.
- Tuition: $1,600 (for those who wish to receive credit); $0.00 (for those who do not wish to receive credit)
- Cost: $3,400 (including roundtrip international airfare Miami-Havana)
- Itinerary: Havana, Vinales, Matanzas - Please see below for full details
- Extended Deadline to join:  Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Please see below for complete course, cost, and itinerary information.  Contact Shari Henderson for more information about joining!

Thank you!

Shari Henderson, M.A.
Assistant Director, International Programs
Whittier College
13406 Philadelphia Street
Platner 206

T: 562 907 4200, ext 4308
F: 562 464 4517

Complete program description

Course Description:
MUS 074 - Music of Latin America
This course provides a historical and philosophical survey of music in Latin America, in addition to a basic analysis of generic aspects
of origins, influences, style, and development within that geographical area. Discussion of regional folkstyles, of the indigenous factor
and popular trends (both traditional and progressive) and of the state of music among the Latin populations of the United States. This
class will provide an overall understanding of Latin American music aesthetic and culture, with particular focus on Cuba.

Program fee:  $3,400*.  Cost includes the following:  All in country accommodations and activities,  transportation,
expert local  guide,  activities, International airfare, visa fees, trip cancellation insurance, required travel Health insurance,
breakfast each day and arranged group meals.  Beverages with group meals consist of teas, juices, and/or processed
water (all bottled water is extra). The letters 'B, L, D' below in the itinerary indicate whether breakfast (B), lunch (L), or
dinner (D) are provided on a particular day.
Tips for hotel cleaning staff, guide, and drivers have been budgeted into this price.
*Please note that if group size changes, pricing will need to be adjusted.  The pricing is currently based on a group of 10-19 participants.

The price does not include meals not described above, domestic airfare to Miami, airport departure taxes (approx $30 to be paid
at the airport each way), passport fees, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, bottled water, laundry, telephone calls, use of the hotel
safe (approx $2/day) or any other expense of a personal nature.

Suggested Flight Schedule:   Below is a suggested flight schedule for the group.
(Please note that this schedule and fare are subject to change until confirmed.)

06/18/2012         Miami   Havana 9:00 am                10:00 am
06/28/2012         Havana Miami   10:00 am              11:00 am


06/17/2013         Miami   Holiday Inn Miami Airport   Standard
Upon arrival at the Miami airport, after collecting your luggage, you will be on your own to take the
complimentary shuttle to airport and check in at the Holiday Inn Miami Airport Hotel.

06/18/2013         Havana Hotel Presidente              D
This morning transfer to the Miami International Airport for your flight to Havana. Upon arrival you will
be met by representatives of San Cristobal Tours who will transfer you to Old Havana. Check in to Hotel
Presidente and spend the afternoon exploring the surrounding area before a special welcome dinner at
Café Taberna Restaurant.

06/19/2013         Havana Hotel Presidente              BLD
This morning you will take a bus tour of modern Havana, visiting Revolution Square and areas of Vedado
near Hotel Nacional, La Rampa, Coppelia, and John Lennon's Park. Next begin your walking tour of the
oldest squares of Old Havana: Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco de Assis, Plaza de la Catedral, and
Plaza Vieja. Enjoy lunch in Old Havana at a local restaurant, La Imprenta. This afternoon from 2 4pm you
are invited to the home of Sue Herrod. Originally from the United Kingdom, Sue is a performer and
composer, who has been living in Cuba for over a decade. Sue has facilitated a number of the exchanges
you will enjoy throughout the program. At Sue's house, members of the Clave Guanguanco, a rumba
group, will briefly perform. This will be an interactive session with opportunities for instruction in dance
and percussion.

Dinner this evening will be at a private Paladar.

06/20/2013         Havana Hotel Presidente              B
This morning you will attend rehearsal with Cuba Libre (written QVA), the winning band of the 2011
Cuba Disco Fusion Award. Students will have the opportunity to meet the musicians and learn about
this very special group. Lunch will be on your own. At 3:30pm you will meet with Professor Lorenzo
in the dining room of the hotel for a group discussion about the relation of QVA's music to Cuban culture.
This evening at 6:30pm you will go to the legendary Hotel Nacional where you will meet with Jose "Pepe" Viera
has a law degree from Havana University, with a Postgraduate course on Property Rights in Cuba. Pepe has
translated several books about cultural links and mutual influence between the US and Cuba.

This evening is on your own or to meet with Professors Lozano and Gonzales.

06/21/2013         Havana Hotel Presidente              BL
In the morning you'll visit the National Museum of Music for a tour by the director of the museum,
followed by a tour of the Museum of Popular Music. Possible discussions include the differences between
historical and modern music of Cuba. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, El Patio.
(The National Museum of Music is currently closed, and it is not confirmed that it will be open to the public in May 2013.)

This afternoon you'll meet jazz player and composer, Bobby Carcassés. The interactive session will take
place in an art studio where Bobby's friend Karina does her work. Enjoy discussions with Bobby about
Cuban jazz and its effects on Cuban culture.

06/22/2013         Vinales Hotel Rancho San Vicente            BL
Today you will travel to Viñales, a fertile plain formed by several valleys surrounded by limestone
mountains called Mogotes. UNESCO declared the site a "landscape of mankind" and a policy to protect
the valleys has been implemented by the Ministry of Tourism. Here you will meet local tobacco farmers
and learn about their trade and lifestyle. Enjoy lunch on a private farm and meet Cuban poets and singers
who have mastered the art of improvisation in singing Cuban décimas.

06/23/2013         Vinales Hotel Rancho San Vicente            BL
This morning enjoy a guided hike within Valle de Vinales National Park, as well as visiting special caves in
the area. Enjoy lunch at local restaurant, El Palenque. This afternoon you will have time for reflection of
the area and possible gatherings with local musicians.

06/24/2013         Havana Hotel Presidente              B
This afternoon you will travel back to Havana.

06/25/2013         Matanzas            Hotel Velasco    BL
This morning you will leave Havana and travel to the coastal city of Matanzas. Lunch will be en route at
Terraza de Cojimar Restaurant. Following your arrival in Matanzas, you will have the opportunity to
discover the unique musical heritage of this area of Cuba.

06/26/2013         Matanzas            Hotel Velasco    B
This morning you will be given a walking tour of Matanzas. This afternoon, you will have time to explore
the city on your own. This evening, your professors will guide you to the best of the local musical venues.

06/27/2013         Havana Hotel Presidente              B
This afternoon you will travel back to Havana.
You will have a day to finish your projects and visit sites that you have wanted to take in before your
departure tomorrow.

06/28/2013         Departure                           B
Today you will be transferred to the Havana International Airport for your flight to Miami and your
connecting flight home. It is suggested that you plan your return flight for a mid to late afternoon departure.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Third Party Provider is Licensed--finally!

Academic Programs International (API) is pleased to announce that we have been granted a license by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to operate short and long term study abroad programs in Cuba for academic credit.
As you may know, API currently offers a program in Cuban and Caribbean Studies in Havana in conjunction with Marist College. We greatly value our long partnership with Marist College and would like to inform you that students may now apply for this program directly through API.

In parallel with this program, API plans to offer additional API-administered semester, summer, and short-term academic programs. All API programs in Cuba will be offered at the University of Havana. 
Additionally, many of our affiliates and partners have approached us regarding the possibility of creating and coordinating customized programs in Cuba. We are pleased to say that we are fully able, willing, and excited to develop such options.
For more information on API's expanding Cuba programs, please visit our website at (information is continually being updated!).
For information on API's Customized Programs Division, or to submit a proposal for a customized or faculty led program in Cuba, please call us at 1-800-844-4124 or visit
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
Jeramy Johnson

(Mr.) Jeramy Johnson - Vice President of Development 
Academic Programs International (API)
Learning Transformed. Life Transforming.℠

College Study Abroad:
Intern, Teach, Volunteer, Work Abroad:
High School and Gap Year Study Abroad:

301 Camp Craft Road, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78746-6501 USA
+1.800.844.4124 (Toll Free) 
+1.512.600.8900 (Phone) 
+1.512.600/8999 (Fax)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Presbyterian College Semester Program (April 5 deadline)

**Study Abroad in Cuba with Presbyterian College**

Dates of Program: August 27- December 7

This unique Semester in Cuba program, co-sponsored by Presbyterian College
and the University of Havana, offers insight into Cuban politics, history,
society, and language in an intimate liberal arts setting. The program
encourages not only education, but also an understanding of global
developments from the perspective of the developing world.


*Courses—available in both* *English and Spanish*:

*History, Politics, and Society of Cuba *(3 credits)

*Cuba and the International System *(3 credits)

*Intensive Spanish Language *(6 credits)

*Independent Study *(3 credits) *Optional*

*Cuba: Intercultural Communication (3credits)*

*International Economics (3 credits)*

*A variety of courses are available in Spanish to fluent speakers.

*Up to 80 hours of directed activities*:**

This includes encounters with political workers, health and education
practitioners, as well as elected representatives of mass organizations of
workers, women, students, neighborhoods, and farmers.

*Optional excursions*: Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo, Playa Girón and
Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Santa Clara, Pinar del Rio, Veradero

*Program** fee*: $15,995

**Additional scholarships are available for students applying through
Presbyterian College.*

*For more information, visit our Cuba page at: *

*Or contact Viet Ha at or (864) 938-3777*

*Evan Lohmann
Presbyterian College
Office of International Programs
(864) 938-3777*

Monday, March 18, 2013

The High End: Concierge Tours

Tailor-made holidays to Cuba

Esencia Experiences is one of the few concierge travel companies in Cuba offering a completely bespoke service. We offer escorted tours to all of Cuba's attractions staying at the best hotels, private residences and villas.
Cuba Experiences | Cuba Itineraries | Cuba Travel Ideas | Press coverage

Welcome to Cuba...

An old Chevvy festooned with chrome rumbles along a street past decaying palaces and homes. As it shunts and splutters, reggaeton blasts from its radio provoking a shoulder dance among the passengers crammed into the back. Turning a corner, themáquina creaks past walls splashed with propaganda depicting Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and slogans celebrating the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Out on to the sea road, salty water splashes over the Malecón, and under the colonial columns salsa sizzles out of windows. An old man, a stogie clamped between his lips, spills a salutary drop of rum onto the steaming tarmac as the American automobile swings by.

What our clients say

“We just wanted to thank you for arranging our last minute trip to Cuba. Everything was outstanding. Lucy , what a nice contact. She did a wonderful job setting up the bike trip. We cannot say enough about how fantastic our trip guides, Victor and William were. We loved Cuba and will go back soon.."
Joan & Rob, Canada

Read more testimonials
Ay Cuba! This enigmatic Caribbean island’s allure lies in its blend of musical rhythms, rum-fuelled dancing, and tropical balm. This, combined with Spanish colonial architectural elegance, sugar-white sands, sapphire-blue seas, and coconut palms marching up mountains, stokes the appeal.
Its remarkable history envelops a diaspora of aboriginal Indians, Spanish colonial dominators, African slaves servicing sugar mills, Chinese immigrants, Haitian and Jamaican refugees, French settlers, British invaders and meddling, mercenary pirates. Their combined legacy has left a unique country: a fascinating blend of music, energising dance, decorative flourishes, delectable cocktails, impressive literature, hypnotic religious ceremonies, avant-garde cinema and in Fidel Castro a rebel with a cause who has constructed a socialist society that has turned its back on modern life, leaving Cuba suspended in a time warp...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New JV in Havana Assists Non-licensed Travel

An estimated 30,000 U.S. citizens (of non-Cuban ancestry) visit Cuba every year independently despite of the ongoing and seemingly never ending U.S. travel embargo.

While U.S. citizens should keep in mind that it is essentially not legal for them to visit Cuba, it has been years since the U.S. government has taken any actions - including even minor fines - to Americans 'caught' visiting Cuba.

Cuba welcomes American tourists with open arms and they do not stamp anyones passport unless specifically asked to do so. There is not the slightest trace of hostility towards Americans among the Cuban population, if anything they are eager to talk to and get to know Americans. They see the old dispute between Cuba and USA as an issue between the governments of the two countries, not as an issue between the people.

Cuba U.S. American travel embargo

Most U.S. citizens are overwhelmed by the reception they receive in Cuba and amazed that there is a country so different from their own so close by. Cuba and USA are indeed two very different planets, and it's a life changing experience to some Americans to visit the island.

While we do not want to make this a political statement and debate how logic and fair the U.S. embargo towards Cuba is, it is a fact that Cuba is the only country on earth that Americans are prohibited to travel to. Americans can freely travel to North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and several other countries whos governments are not democratically elected and where there are more than a few issues when it comes to human rights and basic human freedom.

We are more than happy to work with U.S. citizens. We can provide detailed advice on flights, money exchange, how to return to the U.S. with no issues, and help you with everything you need while on the island.

The alternative to visiting independently is traveling with an OFAC license and going with one of the few U.S. agencies licensed to arrange tours for OFAC license holders. These trips are not only very expensive, they also come with a list of rules. The worse being that the traveler needs to follow a strict schedule that comes with the tour.

While we cannot tell you to ignore the alternative of visiting Cuba 100% legally with an official permission from your government, we can only advice you to research visiting independently. Making it possible to plan your own time in Cuba, as opposed to being forced to stick with a supervised group during your entire stay. 30,000 American tourists visit independently each year.

Popular U.S. gateways to Havana: Toronto - Canada, Cancun/Mexico City - Mexico, Nassau - Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Panama City. See flights to Cuba.

We are more than happy to assist U.S. citizens in arranging a trip to Havana or a tour around Cuba.Send us an e-mail and we can work out everything according to your wishes for the perfect trip.