Bespoke Cuban Holidays for the Discerning Traveller

Havana Art & Culture 7 Day Tour

Day 1

Admire the treasure trove of contemporary Cuban art at Havana’s Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. A guided tour will offer insight into the crème de la crème of Cuban creatives. Lounge on a daybed by your chic rooftop pool at the Hotel Saratoga in the afternoon.

Day 2

Tour the home studios of Cuba’s avant-garde artists. A curator will introduce you to some of Cuba’s famous contemporary artists — including Esterio Segura, the Merger, Rocío García and José Toirac — where you’ll learn about their art and their mediums, and have the opportunity to buy their work. In the afternoon, head out to the golden sands of nearby Playa del Este for barefoot downtime — swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing.

Day 3

Next to the Hotel Saratoga is a museum of the Afro-Cuban religion, Santería. Santería’s pantheon of saints are syncretised with the saints of Roman Catholicism. After an informative tour of the museum, meet ethnologist and Santería expert Natalia Bolívar, who will introduce you to the mysteries of the religion and organise a ceremony. Recline by the Saratoga’s sun-drenched rooftop pool enjoying the barman’s mojitos in the afternoon!

Day 4

Cuba pulsates to the sound of percussive rhythms. Try your hand at rumba, salsa and son with experts who will introduce you to all three principal Cuban sounds. On Sundays, head to Centro Habana’s ‘rumba alley’, Callejón de Hamel; Thursday afternoons hit the Cabaret Nacional to feel the pulse of famous Yoruba Andabo; Friday afternoons swing by El Jelengue de Areito, and on Saturday afternoons, hit El Gran Palenque. Kick back in the private surrounds of the mansion of Club Havana in Miramar in the afternoon. Check into the new kid on the hotel block, the glass-fronted Hotel Terral on the Malecón.

Day 5

Inspired by the previous day’s rumba sessions, you may like to try your hand at Cuban percussion. Expert percussionists will teach you how to play the drums, the clave, and the güiro — pivotal percussion sounds of the son and salsa genres. Spend the afternoon being stroked into bliss at one of Havana’s new private day spas.

Day 6

Music thunders out of buildings on every street corner of Havana — from salsa to reggaeton — and from piano tunes to nueva trova. Meet Havana’s young, successful and emerging composers, classical musicians and singer-songwriters with a British composer who lives in Havana. In the afternoon, lie back on the flour-soft sands of Playas del Este, just east of Havana, and luxuriate in a catamaran that sails out into the heavenly turquoise sea in the golden hours before sunset.

Day 7

Meet with Esencia’s art curator who will introduce you to Cuba’s contemporary photographers in their home-studios. Spend the afternoon touring the city with one of the pro snappers looking for great photo opportunities in one of the world’s most photogenic cities. Or, unashamedly, opt to potter about the pool, sauna and restaurant of private Club Havana, in Miramar.

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