North Dakota to Cuba

 

If you recognize this music, you will remember the Cuban revolution of 1959. Cuba today remains much as it was then, with 1950s Chevys cruising the streets, kept running by talented mechanics. The Greater North Dakota Chamber has arranged an opportunity for you to visit Cuba from Jan. 10-17.

Group travel to Cuba through annually licensed tour companies is becoming more common, but individual travel by US citizens to Cuba is still prohibited. North Dakota government representatives have been pursuing trade with Cuba, especially related to agricultural products.

On the January tour, when it’s warm in Cuba and cold in the Dakotas, you can spend six nights in Havana and enjoy a colorful overview of the island’s history. Old Havana is nearly 500 years old and has the largest collection of Spanish Colonial architecture in the Americas. You’ll see the Plaza of the Revolution, the center of Cuban political life and Havana’s largest plaza where huge rallies are held. The plaza is where millions of Cubans stood listening to the speeches of Fidel Castro.

Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll take a walking tour of the area and see the beautiful Cathedral de la Havana, built in baroque style in 1748.

Visit the charming fishing village of Jaimanitas to visit he home and workshop of world famous artist Jose Fuser, often called the “Picasso of Cuba.”

You’ll visit a historic cemetery named after Christopher Columbus, and tour the Museum of the Revolution with artifacts, and even planes from the revolution. Learn more about the Bay of Pigs, the historic clash that took place in 1961. This event defined US-Cuba relations for decades, and even to the present day. The museum is housed in the former Presidential Palace which was home to Cuba’s leaders from the 1920s to 1959. The Museum’s interior was designed by Tiffany’s.

The two things of which Cuba is most proud are health care and education.

You’ll tour the Cuban Literacy Museum and learn about a national effort to educate rural farmers and their families.

Cuban tourism officials are eager to share the country’s culture. Visitors will see a dance presentation, tour the National Museum of Fine Art, and visit the San Jose Craft Market and Art Center.

Traveling out of Havana into the rural Cuban countryside, you’ll visit the Vinales Valley, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is known for its stunning scenery featuring a landscape of flat-top mountains.

Stop at a cigar factory to learn about the manufacturing of fine Cuban cigars. You’ll visit a tobacco farm and meet with a farmer to learn about tobacco cultivation, the drying process and see a cigar rolling demonstration.

Along the way, tourists will experience the religious diversity of Cuba including colonial churches with a heritage of the Catholic faith, and the unique faith heritage of West African slaves.

Enter the world of Ernest Hemingway with a visit to his farm where the Nobel Prize winner lived with his wife Martha for 21 years. You’ll see his yacht, the Pilar, featured in his novel “Islands in the Stream.”

 



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