Cuba Calling

Havana Steet Scene

Has Cuban curiosity been killing the cat? Wait no longer! Thanks to the award-winning tour operator, Austin-Lehman Adventures, travelers will be able to experience cultural and educational adventures in Cuba beginning in early 2012.

“Because most Americans have been prevented from visiting Cuba since the US embargo in the 1960s, we are extremely curious about our neighbor just 90 miles to the south of Key West, Florida,” says Dan Austin.

Cuba has been an unavailable market for the past 50 years and so adventure there fits well with Austin-Lehman’s goals of “exotic, desirable destinations, easy access from the US…” Travelers will be given an unique opportunity to be immersed in authentic Cuban culture. A custom-designed 10-day tour itinerary (limited to 12 or 18 for family departures) will give travelers the opportunity of a lifetime, promoting cross-cultural and authentic people-to-people contact.

Cuba travel expert, Christopher Baker, designed the The Real Cuba tour which commences with a welcome feast where Baker’s local Cuban friends offer provide insights into Cuba’s political, social and economic environment. Visitors will enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana with Eusebio Leal, Official Historian of Havana, and visits to private homes and community projects such as colonial mansions turned into rehabilitation centers, maternity clinics, and schoolrooms.

Farm in Cuba

Guests will also meet local artists like José Fuster, known as the “Picasso of the Caribbean.” Fuster’s dwelling represents a remarkable urban community art project. More cultural exploration include a trip to a legendary tobacco farmer and Cuban cigar ‘ambassador’s estate along with a journey through the time-warp colonial village of Viñales, which reflects on yesteryear’s rural lifestyle. Over a dinner at historic Casa de Don Tomás, troubadours will performing traditional Cuban country music.

Cuban womanOther exiting stops include a tour of an orchid garden with gardener Ana Lydia  in Soroa and a visit with National Geographic photographer Julio Muñoz, who will open up his colonial home.

A 1906 steam train transports guests to the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills). In the industrial-university city of Santa Clara, a local historian explores Che Guevara and the battles that he led here that resulted in the toppling of General Fulgencio Batista in 1958.

Visits to the Car Museum and Museo Hemingway lend further cultural flair to the trip. Private restaurant dining, exemplary lodgings and optional horseback riding are additional perks of this ground-breaking adventure.

Trips start at $4498. Call 800.575.1540, or check here for more information.

By Vittoria Picone & Ann Wycoff

Latest posts by Vittoria Vincenza and Ann Wycoff


  1. Bruce Leadbetter on October 10, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I’ve always wanted to travel to Cuba! What a beautiful series of photos. Thanks for the article & heads up!

    • Eric Hiss on October 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      As anyone who has been will tell you (I’ve been multiple times) do yourself a favor and go. It will become your fave Caribbean destination…

  2. Bronson on October 13, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Ever since traveling in Central America Cuba has been on my places to visit list and these photos and article confirm that we’ve added a great destination to the bucket list.

    I can’t wait to get there and experience it firsthand.

  3. Hilary on November 11, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Any idea how they make it legally possible to go to Cuba? Will travel laws to Cuba be changing for 2012?

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