The Art of Gardening, Landscapes and Organic Agriculture in Cuba
To organize your own group and TRAVEL FREE AS A GROUP LEADER, please visit our CONTACT US page and provide all required Information. You can also call us at 978-998-0039.
Our program will explore more than gardens. Landscapes, city scapes, as well as culture, organic food production and wildlife are central to this learning experience. Our journey will start with a conference about organic agriculture in Cuba followed by visits to gardens in Havana, Soroa, and the Valley of Viñales, meeting with farmers and garden keepers to exchange ideas.
In Havana we will visit the Organopónico Garden of Alamar, a cooperative farm, focusing on agricultural production and services that contributes to the needs of people, offering a wide range of vegetables, ornamental and medicinal plants. Also in Havana is the must see National Botanical Garden with special collections in the approximately 600 hectares that are home to about 4,000 identified species and almost 150,000 specimens.
When visiting the gardens of the Pinar del Rio province we will explore Las Terrazas, considered to be the first Cuban echo museum. The Conservation Award granted by UNESCO was presented to Las Terrazas.
To conclude our journey, we will visit the Viñales Valley in the Sierra de los Organos, an outstanding landscape encircled by mountains and dotted with spectacular dome-like limestone outcrops (mogotes) that rise as high as 300 m. In the Valley we will visit an organic farm for lunch and will learn about their practices in food production and community development, followed by a visit to the Viñales Village.
The program includes a guided walking tour of Old Havana. Founded in 1519, UNESCO declared Old Havana Universal Patrimony of Humanity. Delegates will learn about Old Havana as a unique urban sustainable development project that integrates community and economic development with art.
What is included?
What is not included? (Estimates)
Air tickets will be individually booked online with Southwest Airlines using miles or a credit card;
health insurance while in Cuba is included in the airfare.
Travelers will be able to buy the Cuban visa online before departure or at the Southwest check-i
counter at the airport on the day of departure
For a Registration Packet
Please visit our Contact Us page and provide all required Information. As soon as we hear from you, we will email a registration packet with required forms and instructions. You can also call us at 978-998-0039.
Payment Options - Program Package
Cashier's Check or Credit Card
PLEASE VISIT OUR PAYMENT PAGE
Timetable for Registration and Payments
50% of Program Package Cost
45 days before departure
50% balance due of Program Package Cost
Cancellations after registration and before 2nd payment- 50% refund
Cancellations after 2nd payment - no refund
DAY 1 – WELCOME TO CUBA
Our flight from Tampa to Havana will take one hour. Once in Havana we will be on our way a panoramic tour of the city and lunch. After lunch we will have some time to visit El Nacional Hotel, Historic Patrimony site built in 1930, before we do check-in at the B&B and enjoy a welcome dinner in the evening.
DAY 2 - OLD HAVANA
Our second day in Havana will start with a visit to Old Havana. Founded in 1519, UNESCO declared Old Havana Universal Patrimony of Humanity. You will learn about Old Havana as a unique urban sustainability development project that integrates community and economic development with art. Through a guided walking tour we will visit Cathedral, Arms, San Francisco and Old Squares. exploring secluded urban gardens in this colonial jewel. After Lunch we will participate in a conversation about organic agriculture in Cuba with A Cuban expert.
DAY 3 – HAVANA GARDENS
Our day will start with a visit to the Alamar Organoponico Gardens, one of Havana’s most successful urban gardens and about a half-hour bus ride from Old Havana. The 27-acre food garden has 160 cooperative owners and is run by agronomist, Miguel Salcines. The more than 200 organic farms in Havana, which cover over 80,000 acres, were born of necessity. The Cuban economy collapsed in the early 1990s after support from the Soviet Union ended, and the farms that emerged to feed its citizens resorted to more primitive agricultural models, which are more sustainable than Western industrialized practices and are now considered progressive.
After lunch our next stop will be the National Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Nacional) on the outskirts of Havana. The garden began to be built in 1968, and although it was officially inaugurated in January 1989, it opened to the public on March 24, 1984 thanks to the direct participation of workers, students and professors of the University of Havana, and students of technical institutes, who worked intensively for many months. Following a master plan rigorously established on scientific bases, they planted trees and grass, and developed the phytogeographic zones and special collections in the approximately 600 hectares that are home to about 4,000 identified species, and almost 150,000 specimens.
DAY 4 - VALLEY OF VIÑALES AND ORGANIC FARMING
This is the day when we travel to the amazing Valley of Viñales in the Pinar del Rio province. The valley was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 because of the area’s natural beauty and the inhabitants’ use of traditional agricultural techniques. In Viñales we will visit Los Jazmines Hotel and its Valley Balcony to get a wide view of the valley. After lunch at Finca Paradiso (an organic farm-restaurant) we will have a walking tour of the valley and some time in the town of Viñales (population, about 10,000) and peruse the shops and activity on either side of the busy, two-lane highway that runs through town.
DAY 5 - LAS TERRAZAS AND SOROA GARDEN
Our next visit will be to the first eco community in Cuba called Las Terrazas. Located in the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve, Las Terrazas is the first Cuban eco community of both national and international reference for others developing areas with similar conditions. It also owns the Conservation Award granted by UNESCO. The settlers count on conditions that unquestionably set the grounds for an increase in their lives’ quality, and constitute one of the main principles of a sustainable development model. Las Terrazas population consists of 1014 inhabitants grouped in 253 family nucleuses. The life expectancy of its inhabitants is of 79 years old. The 45% of the economically active population works in tourism. Part of our tour will include a visit to local artists studios and galleries and the restored buildings and ruins of the Buena Vista coffee plantation, which was built in 1801 by French refugees from Haiti. The main house has been restored and now houses the Cafetal Buenavista Restaurant, a spectacular site for lunch.
After lunch we will visit the Orchid Nursery Botanical Gardens, part of the Soroa Botanical Garden, with more than 25,000 orchid species from different parts of the world, including around 100 Cuban species. The garden also has 6,000 species of other ornamental plants, trees, and flowers that represent the national flora of several countries. With around three hundred species, including a number of endemics, Cuban orchids form an important component of the broader Caribbean flora, and have connections both with those of Meso-America and North America.
DAY 6 - DEPARTURE
In the morning during breakfast we will have a final meeting to debrief experiences and learning and plan for checkout and transfer to the Jose Marti International Airport for departure.