HAVANA BEHIND THE SCENES THRU MUSIC, BASEBALL & MORE
ERIC NADEL, RUTHIE FOSTER & SETH WALKER – HAVANA 2019
ABOUT THE TRIP
In conjunction with Texas Rangers Announcer and longtime Cuba Watcher Eric Nadel, Cuba Educational Travel (CET) has teamed up with musicians Ruthie Foster and Seth Walker, who will perform for the first time for Cuban crowds, to put together a behind-the-scenes look at Cuba and the Cuban people. Rich with concerts, jam sessions and private performances with top Cuban musicians, travelers will have the chance to enjoy Cuba alongside Foster and Walker, who will each perform at Havana’s hottest nightspot, the Fabrica de Arte Cubano.
ABOUT CUBA EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL
Cuba Educational Travel (CET) is a leader in cultural travel to Cuba. CET unlocks the best of Cuba by providing access to the country’s top artists, academics, tastemakers, and cultural figures. CET’s tailor-made programs enable clients to experience Cuba’s vibrant culture and gain a deeper understanding of the island, while ensuring full compliance with all U.S. regulations.
CET has been on the frontlines of cultural collaboration, helping to bring Cubans to the U.S. and Americans to Cuba. From Yoga retreats to concerts to dance performances, CET has wide-ranging experience and contacts. Recent highlights include organizing the Diplo Major Lazer concert in Havana, which drew a crowd of over 500,000 people and bringing Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba, the country’s top dance group, to perform at the Latin Grammys.
Wednesday, Feb 6
TBD Arrive to Havana. (pending flight information)
TBD Settle in to the historic Hotel Capri, which was one of the first hotel casinos built by the American mafia in Cuba. Owned by mobster Santo Trafficante, and run by George Raft, the hotel was at a time one of the largest casinos in Havana. Located blocks from the University of Havana, Coppelia ice cream, and the Havana seawall, the recent remodeling provides first class amenities, while leaving the history and original charm of “The Capri.”
6 pm Spend the early evening at Café Madrigal with Frank Delgado, renowned singer and songwriter, for a discussion about the nueva trova movement in Cuba, followed by a musical performance. Café Madrigal, owned and run by film director Rafael Rosales, is housed in a beautiful colonial mansion with the walls lined with captivating artwork. Enjoy tasty tapas and cocktails.
8 pm Welcome Dinner at La Terraza, a lovely restaurant on a terrace overlooking the famous Pardo Promenade of Old Havana.
10 pm Enjoy Old and Central Havana under the stars; take a stroll along Prado Boulevard, hang in Central Park, and take in the hustle and bustle of Obispo Street.
Thursday, Feb 7
9:30 am Visit a centuries-old mansion in Vedado neighborhood. Step inside this stately residence to discover what lies behind the crumbling facades of Havana’s impressive mansions. Josie, who has lived in the house for over 60 years, will show us around and explain its rich history.
10:30 am Walking tour of Old Havana’s Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. Wander through the Plaza de Armas, a scenic tree-lined plaza formerly at the center of influence in Cuba. It is surrounded by many of the most historic structures in Havana as well as important monuments. See the Plaza de San Francisco, a cobbled plaza surrounded by buildings dating from the 18th century, dominated by the baroque Iglesia and Convento de San Francisco dating from 1719. Visit the Plaza Vieja, surrounded by sumptuous houses of the Havana aristocracy from the 18th and 19th centuries. Visit Plaza de la Catedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana.
1 pm Lunch at Doña Eutimia paladar. Famous for its ropa vieja and frozen mojitos, this cozy paladar made Newsweek Magazine’s top 100 restaurants in the world in 2012. The restaurant’s location in the beautiful cathedral square is unbeatable.
3:30 pm Enjoy a private performance by Banda Ancha, a jazz band led by Yissy Garcia, an amazingly talented young percussionist. Banda Ancha calls its style “high-speed Cuban jazz,” a mixture of different rhythms like funk, reggae and samba, with Afro- Cuban influences.
7:30 pm Cocktails at Oficios, a magazine dedicates to Cuban art and literature that focuses much of its work on emerging artists. Discuss the project with the Oficios team and check out the Oficio Art Gallery.
9 pm Dinner Reservation at Tierra, Havana’s newest international dinning spot. Located inside a container in the Fábrica de Arte Cubano, the restaurant mirrors the eclectic crowd, serving dishes from around the world. Calle 26, between Calle 11 and 13, Vedado (not included – to be paid on the ground)
11 pm Performance by Ruthie Foster mixing a wide palette of American song forms, from gospel and blues to jazz, folk and soul, at Fabrica de Arte. The brainchild of Afro- Cuban fusion musician X-Alfonso, it has become the country’s most successful art and music venue and a meeting spot for a young, eclectic crowd of Cubans and foreigners.
Friday, Feb 8
11 am Enjoy a performance by Habana Compás Dance, which encompasses the rich rhythm and flow of the island, performing traditional and modern dances born from their Spanish, Cuban and Afro-Cuban heritage.
1 pm Lunch at Mediterraneo Havana, to witness the farm-to-table experience in a modern, family run paladar in the Vedado neighborhood. This cozy paladar produces much of what it serves at a nearby farm in Guanabacoa Cuba, including the vegetables and dairy products.
3 pm Discussion with La Reyna y Real, a female hip hop/jazz duo. The group’s music focuses on breaking down stereotypes in Cuban society, including machismo, healthy relationships, gender relations and race. They will share info about their interesting musical journey and insight into the challenges and opportunities young Cubans face.
4:30 pm Visit to a local baseball field and meet with Lázaro de la Torre, former pitcher for the Havana Industriales, and a little-league team. Opportunity to interact with young baseball players and offer donations.
8 pm Dinner Reservation at El Cocinero. This lovely restaurant is housed in a former factory. Home to Havana’s hip, you might think you are in Soho or Madrid. (not included – to be paid on the ground)
10:30 pm Performance by Seth Walker who has had a remarkably prolific career as a prime exponent of the blues and other variations of a rustic roots sound, at Fabrica de Arte Cubano.
Saturday, Feb 9
9 pm Depart to Matanzas, referred to as “the Athens of Cuba.” Between 1817 and 1827, after the introduction of large sugar mills, the region flourished and attracted a large number of artists, writers, musicians, and intellectuals.
10:30 am Arrive to Matanzas.
11 am Enjoy a performance by the local Matanzas Choir in the beautiful seminary.
1 pm Enjoy Lunch at Paladar Mallorca, Tripadvisor’s selection as one of the best restaurants of the city, it offers Cuban, Chinese, Italian and Spanish cuisine.
2:30 pm Visit the Palmar de Junco Baseball field, the “Oldest active baseball stadium in the world.” It held the first baseball game 147 years ago. There, you will find the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum of Matanzas, visited by thousands of Cuban and foreign tourists. This baseball field contributes to the development of our young talents that are part of the Provincial Academy of the well-known national sport.
Sunday, Feb 10
10 am Discussion with Sigfredo Barros, sports reporter for the Granma and top expert on baseball in Cuba.
12:30 pm Visit to the Vista Hermosa Farm in Guanabacoa and enjoy lunch. Excursion includes horseback riding, discussion about sustainable agriculture and food sampling.
2 pm Behind the scenes art tour: Visit different homes and neighborhoods to tour the studios and galleries of established and up-and-coming Cuban artists.
3:30 pm Tour of agricultural market and food ration store to better understand purchasing power and consumption.
7:30 pm Head out to The Matinee at Casa de la Música, for live music and dancing with locals. A necessary destination for those who come in search of good musical offers, because right there they will be waiting for the best exponents of popular music.
9:15 pm Dinner Reservation at Paladar Atelier. This restaurant is equally known for its atmosphere and exquisite cuisine. The lighting and textures of the house, which was home to a pre-revolutionary senator, coupled with walls adorned in modern art, create a cozy, but modern setting. (not included – to be paid on the ground)
Monday, Feb 11
9:30 am Discussion with Carlos Alzugaray, former Cuban diplomat and expert on U.S.-Cuba relations, to learn about the bilateral relationship and Cuban foreign policy.
11 am Behind the scenes Mafia tour of Havana. Visit the places owned and frequented by mob bosses in the 40s and 50s, uncovering the city's pre-revolution Mob haunts. Visits include: Hotel Nacional & Cabaret Parisien, home to the great meeting of the American Mafia, convened and chaired by Lucky Luciano in 1946.
1 pm Enjoy a traditional Cuban meal overlooking the Straits of Florida at the Hotel Nacional. Tasty Cuban food served family style with a great view of the Havana sea wall and the old Spanish fortress. The setting brings many back to the 1950s, when the mafia held its annual meetings at this historic hotel.
6:30 pm Sunset Cocktails at La Guarida paladar rooftop, famous not only for its delectable dining, but also as the location for the film Strawberry and Chocolate. It is housed on the third floor of a large, old town house carrying the charming ambience of the early 1900s.
8 pm Farewell dinner at Paladar San Cristobal. Located in the heart of Central Havana, this paladar has a reputation of excellence in both atmosphere and local cuisine. Enjoy great food while the local takes you back to the 1940s and 50s.
10 pm Rooftop Party and Jam Session with Cuban Musicians in Old Havana, including live performance by star musician Adrian Berazain.
Tuesday, Feb 12
TBD Check-out and depart for airport. (pending flight information)