CUBA DELEGATION, 2017 – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

Havana, Cuba
Nov. 15 – 20, 2017


We are pleased to lead a delegation to Havana, between November 15-20, 2017, in collaboration with Project Por Amor.

Travel to Cuba is still legal for Americans, and on this cultural excursion we will take advantage of our capacity to make people-to-people exchange, in the most magical and vibrant of cities. Registration deadline is September 6.


Double Occupancy $3,195 per person
Single Occupancy $3,425 per person

This cost includes roundtrip direct airfare.

Questions? Send us an email at

> Sign up before Sep. 6 at this link
> Download the terms and conditions here (opens PDF in new window)



_Car_350pxPlease note that this itinerary is subject to change.

All times listed are the start times of each activity, not the time we meet. In most cases we will meet twenty minutes prior to each activity in order to allow enough time for transit. All meals activities as well as full time bilingual guide and transportation to all the official activities describe in this program are included in the cost unless indicated by “cost not included.”

DAY 1, Wednesday, NOVEMBER 15, 2016

Arrive / Tranfer in Havana
José Martí International Airport, Terminal 2 or 3 depending on the airline, Los Boyeros
During the drive from the airport our travel staff will introduce themselves and give us an orientation of what we need to know to be safe and function in Havana. There will be cold bottled waters available to drink at all times. Please remember to hydrate constantly.

Arrive at your Bed & Breakfasts and Settle In
We will be staying in private inns called “casas particulares” that are located in Cuba’s most modern and central neighborhood of El Vedado. Take some time to get settled, meet your host family, and relax before dinner.

7:00 pm ~ Welcome Dinner at El Cocinero
El Cocinero (“The Cook”) is just as much about the Havana arts scene as it is about food. Built into the same building as the Cuban Art Factory, this paladar pushes the limits of private industry and government cooperation in an atmosphere offering landmark views and enthusiasm for a variety of mediums. The restaurant makes use of half of a 100 year old, and long abandoned, cooking oil factory along the Almendares River between the Vedado and Miramar neighborhoods.

9:00 pm ~ Live Concert Workshop of Charanga de Oro
We’ll be visiting one of Cuba’s best and oldest charanga bands to play traditional danzón and son music with explanations about the music they are playing and the details that distinguish the various styles.

12:00 am ~ RECOMMENDED: Havana’s 497th Birthday Ritual at El Templete
The City of Havana was founded on November 16, 1519. So it is getting close to having its 500th year birthday on November 16, 2019. Every year there is a procession at midnight where Cubans walk around the sacred ceiba tree in front of the original City Hall that were both there when the city was founded. If you can stay up this late we would recommend seeing this unique, non-touristy, and authentic Cuban ritual (cost not included.)

DAY 2, Thursday, NOVEMBER 16

_Dominos_350px8:00 am ~ Breakfast at Your B&B
Every morning your hosts will cook you breakfast. A typical Cuban breakfast includes eggs, bread, cheese, fresh tropical fruit, café con leche (espresso with milk), and juice. Make sure to talk to tell them what your preferences are.

9:00 am ~ Overview of Havana and its History with City Planner Wilfredo Benitez
Wilfredo Benitez is a specialist on Havana’s history, architecture, and urban planning. He is an expert on the development of Havana and will give a glimpse into the history of Cuban architecture, from the Colonial era to 1950s modernism and today. This will deepen your understanding of the city while we explore its many neighborhoods.

11:00 am ~ Colonial Architecture and Contemporary Art
Centro de Desarollo de las Artes Visuales / Fototeca de Cuba
Curator Gretel Medina will guide us through an exhibit of contemporary Cuban art at one of Havana’s most important contemporary art museums, El Centro del Desarollo de las Artes Visuales. Then we’ll walk around the Plaza Vieja to mingle through its boutique museums and markets. We will continue down Calle Los Mercaderes.

12:00 pm ~ Lunch at Los Mercaderes Paladar
We’ll stroll down the oldest street in Havana, Calle de los Mercaderes (Merchants Street), to have lunch in a beautiful new restaurant built inside the home of the owner.

1:30 pm ~ Workshop at Museo del Perfume
Located in an 18th Century mansion at the corner of Mercaderes and Obrapía, this beautiful shop and laboratory sells twelve varieties of scents or colognes and is known as the Perfume Museum. Some of the bottles are made by Cuban ceramicists while others are imported from India. In this workshop with the owner we will learn how Cuba’s most popular local perfume is made, the “white ginger,” or hedychium coronarium. This is called a “mariposa” in Cuba and is their national flower because it was used by women to pass secret war messages during the Cuban Revolution.

3:00 pm ~ Colonial Architecture and Contemporary Art Continued
Taller Experimental de Gráfica / Centro Wilfredo Lam / La Factoría Habana
Our Cuban guide will give us a history of the city’s settlement at the Plaza de las Armas. Then we walk to the Plaza de la Catedral where we’ll visit the collective graphic arts workshop, Taller de Gráfica. This public studio for local artists was established by Pablo Neruda and Che Guevara at the beginning of the Revolution as a place where artists living and visiting Havana can work on printmaking. Note: This is a good place to shop for Cuban art of original and affordable Cuban art of high quality.

We’ll then see an exhibit at the Wilfredo Lam Center around the corner. We’ll continue on to a new three-story art exhibiting space called La Factoría. We’ll finish by strolling down Obispo until we reach Hemingway’s famous bar “El Floridita.”

7:00 pm ~ Dinner On Your Own
Split into small groups to explore Havana’s booming new foodie scene (cost not included).

8:30 pm ~ Recommendation: El Cañonazo
After dinner we will go up to the Morro/Cabana complex overlooking the bay and participate in a nightly ritual that has been maintained for centuries with the firing of the cannons and muskets as the public announcement of the closing of the Bay for the night (cost not included).

10:30 pm ~ Late Night Music: Jazz at La Zorra y El Cuervo
For those of you who are interested in experiencing one of today’s greatest jazz night lives in action, we will make reservations and take groups to Havana’s hottest jazz clubs (cost and transportation not included).


8:30 am ~ Breakfast at Your B&B

10:00 am ~ Visit to the Homes of Afro-Cuban Spiritual Leaders
Meet Afro-Cuban religious practitioners in this authentic and once-in-a-lifetime invitation to go inside the homes of a “palero” (Palo del Monte) and a “babalawo” (Santería). As sacred Congo and Nigerian worldviews combined with Catholocism, new belief systems emerged in Colonial Cuba. Members of these religious traditions will share their altars that are made to communicate with the dead, the saints, and a pantheon of African deities. The journey will take place in Cayo Hueso, beginning in Parque Trillo and ending at the Callejón de Hamel. This is an opportunity to discuss and photograph religious practices that continue to have great importance in Cuban culture.

12:00 pm ~ Afro-Cuban Lunch at the Callejón de Hamel
Enjoy a delicious traditional buffet in the home of artist Salvador Gonzalez in Centro Habana and learn about some of the traditional creole dishes that make Cuban cuisine so rich.

1:30 pm ~ Batá Workshop with “Obini Batá” at Havana’s Yoruba Cultural Association
You will have the chance to participate in a musical workshop with the all-female Obini Bata. Obini means “woman” in the Yoruba language of Nigeria, and batá is the name given to the hourglass-shaped drums that accompany Yoruba dance and song. The culture of batá drumming originates with Africans who were brought to Cuba as slaves and is still widely practiced throughout Cuba in today’s religious communities. This ensemble of sacred Cuban music will give us a presentation of their music and dance.

3:00 pm ~ Havana Contemporary Artist Studio Visits
Leandro Feal / Renier Quer
We will visit two studios of prominent Cuban visual artists Leandro Feal and Renier Quer and have a chance to discuss their work in Cuba and internationally with the artists.

7:00 pm ~ Dinner On Your Own
Split into small groups to explore Havana’s booming new foodie scene (cost not included).

9:00 pm ~ Night Activity
After dinner for those who are not tired from the traveling we can attend a music or dance performance, to be determined, depending on what is happening in the city that night. Such activities could include jazz concerts, salsa clubs, Tropicana Cabaret, drag shows, boxing matches and many other attractions of the Havana nightlife (cost and transportation not included).

11:00 pm ~ Late Night Recommendation: Don Cangrejo
Every Friday evening Don Cangrejo turns into the most happening spot in Havana for live music, dancing, and drinks. If we’re lucky, Kelvis Ochoa will be performing music as he frequently at this weekly party (cost and transportation not included).


_paladar_3508:30 am ~ Breakfast at Your B&B

 9:00 am ~ Lecture on the Music of Cuba by Musicologist Dr. Olavo Alén Rodriguez
Olavo Alén is the Director at the Center for the Research and Development of Cuban Music. He gives a multi-media lecture that explains where Cuban music comes from telling the story of Cuba, its music, and its people. This activity will be shared with Cascadia Composers.

11:00 am ~ Clandestina 99% Diseño Cubano
We’ll visit 99% Diseno Cubano, a design firm that was visited by President Obama during his trip to Cuba. An example of a successful private enterprise, this young collective of Cuban designers has created a line of graphic, industrial, fashion, and digital boutique products. It represents new concepts and trends in Cuban aesthetics, somewhere between fine art and industrial serialism, while operating with a structure that balances profit, ecological sustainability and community empowerment. We will meet some of the designers and discuss their work. Note: this is a good place to shop for unique Cuban design items of high quality.

12:00 pm ~ Lunch at Los Nardos
This local secret is one of the best restaurants in Havana for Cubans as opposed to tourists. The portions are huge, the food is great, the atmosphere is fun, and the price is low enough for Cubans to afford to dine out, unlike the paladars that are geared toward foreigners. The line is always long and around the block unless you get there as they open at 12:30 pm.

2:00 pm ~ Afternoon Walking Tour of Prado and Central Park
After lunch we will get acquainted with the neighborhood constructed just after the independence from Spain and the formation of the Republic of Cuba. Bordering Old Havana and Central Havana municipalities, this area is notable for significant architectural structures that exemplify the mid-19th century urban center. We will start from the capitol building (1929) modeled on the U.S. Capitol, the Grand Theater (1915), walk through Central Park (1877), and see the Neo-Moorish style Inglaterra (1879) and Sevilla (1908) hotels. We’ll walk down the famous Promenade, El Paseo del Prado (1929), considered in its time as one of the greatest open spaces in the world, designed by French landscape designer JCN Forestier. Here we’ll see the original Bacardí building (1930), an example of tropical Cuban Art Deco and the National Museum of Fine Arts Cuban Collection designed by Cuban architect Alfonso Rodriguez Pichardo (1955).

3:30 pm ~ Guided Tour of the National Museum of Fine Arts, Cuban Collection, with Danela Irizar
The National Museum of Fine Arts was designed by Cuban architect Alfonso Rodriguez Pichardo in 1955 and is dedicated to the history of Cuban painting from 1500 – 2000. Art historian Danella Irizar will walk us through the history of the island through the eyes of its visual artists. Across the street from this museum you can see the old Presidential Palace of Batista which is now the home of the Museum of the Cuban Revolution.

6:30 pm ~ Dinner and Evening On Your Own
Split into small groups to explore Havana’s booming new foodie scene (cost not included).

10:00 pm ~ Optional Late Night Activity
For those who want to go out after the performance, we can hear Cuban music, depending on what is happening in the city that night. Such activities could include jazz concerts, salsa clubs, Tropicana Cabaret, drag shows, and many other attractions of the Havana nightlife (cost not included).


_350_wall8:00 am ~ Breakfast at Your B&B

10:30 am ~ Visit to Artist Jose Fuster’s Studio in Jaimanitas
See the ceramicist who has transformed his entire neighborhood into a Gaudi or Brancusiesque wonderland of sculptures, mosaics, and murals. Fuster’s home and neighborhood gallery has become internationally renowned for community projects where neighbors volunteer their houses to become part of a sprawling masterpiece known as “Fusterlandia.”

11:15 pm ~ Visit to Kcho’s Studio in Romerillo
Cuba’s most well known contemporary artist has his own studio and cultural center in the suburb of Romerillo. Not only does he offer free art exhibits at the highest level, it is the first and only place in Cuba to offer free high-speed public wifi to anyone who wants it. You can see throngs of Cubans gather here around the clock to log on and connect with the outside world.

12:30 pm ~ Lunch at Casa Santy
Santy’s is a sushi restaurant in a clapboard wooden house right on the sea. A world away from the bustle of Havana, the feng-shui of the water and the boats ambling out to sea take you away into another Caribbean state of mind.

2:30 pm ~ Afternoon On your Own
Take some time to explore more of Havana on your own.

7:00 pm ~ Farewell Dinner at La Guarida Paladar
Anyone who has been to La Guarida will find it difficult to disagree that Enrique and Odeisys have managed to create their own magical home restaurant. The building, originally known as La Mansión Camagüey, shows its former grandeur from the magnificent wooden entrance door through the marble staircase up the two flights of stairs to the restaurant itself. The location for a classic scene from Cuba’s most iconic film “Fresa y Chocolate,” La Guarida has gone on to become one of the most popular restaurants in Cuba. Make sure to stop on the first floor and wander a bit for some amazing photo ops.

9:00 pm ~ La Fábrica de Arte Cubano
Experience Havana’s hippest new magnet for the urban and chic: an old peanut factory transformed into a multi-level and almost infinite art and music space. This new cultural hangout is an entrepreneurial project of Cuban celebrity musician X Alfonso. It is a shining reflection of what the future might hold for Havana as it becomes the cosmopolitan trend-setting cultural capital of Latin America it once was. There are multiple music stages and contemporary art galleries. The current exhibits are: Living Spaces Today, a collection of housing works and projects by German, Austrian and Swiss architects. Filigrana hoy, a show of contemporary Portuguese jewelry. Expedición 8 + brings together artists with similar approaches to art: William Acosta, Michal Černušák, Viktor Frešo, Ašot Haas, Katarína Jančeková Walshe, Tomáš Klepoch, Antoine Mena, Osmeivy Ortega, Vladimír Ossif, Lisandra Ramírez, V.A.E, Ján Vasilko and Erik Vinder.


_350_Baseball8:30 am ~ Breakfast at Your B&B

10:00 am ~ Shopping at Mercado San José Artisan Market and Browse Old Havana
Depending on your flight schedule, there will be free time in our final day to explore any final places in Havana that haven’t been scheduled yet. We recommend taking you to the artisan market to shop for Cuban crafts and then we browse the old town freely. Lunch is on your own but we will recommend good restaurants in the area. Our vans are also available to take you to other parts of the city if desired. IMPORTANT: Please make sure to meet up on time to go to the airport without delays.

TBD am ~ Transfer to José Martí International Airport Terminal 2
Depending on your departure time, we will transfer you to the Havana Airport three hours before take off. We will assist you through check in and customs to make sure that you are well on your way home.



Cuba remains a developing country, and guests traveling here should adjust their expectations accordingly. Delays commonly occur, and flexibility and patience on the part of visitors is a must. Traveling to Cuba on a cultural exchange is quite unlike journeying to other destinations. While every effort will be made to operate the program as scheduled, all activities are subject to change without notice. In the event that an individual or location becomes unavailable, a comparable activity will be substituted.



Deposits are due to Project Por Amor 70 days before departure (Sept. 6, 2017) and full payment of the balance is due to Project Por Amor 50 days before departure (Sept. 26, 2017). Changes and cancellations 75 days (Sept. 1, 2017) or more before departure will be refunded all but a $200 administration fee.
Health insurance is provided in Cuba as part of the program cost through the Cuban visitor’s health insurance agency Asistur. Supplemental travel insurance is also provided upon request. We will also recommend each participant the option of choosing Trip Interruption insurance with a third party travel insurance partner such as Allianz Travel Insurance or Travel Guard at added cost that must be purchased independently. See or
You will be legally traveling to Cuba under the category of People-to-People Educational Travel with full compliance to the guidelines of the US Treasury Offi ce of Foreign Assets Control. All participants will engage in a full-time schedule of people-to-people contact that will result in meaningful interactions designed to learn about both professional Cuban colleagues and everyday Cubans and their situation and inform them of our country, its history and future. For more information on OFAC licensing or Trump’s new Cuba policy and how it effects our right to travel please visit the following two documents:
Project Por Amor LLC (PPA) is an education and production organization devoted to advancing cultural understanding between Cubans and Americans. We specialize in producing high quality People-to-People Educational Travel, Public Performance, and Professional Research delegations to Cuba. rough our extensive experience and unique network throughout the island we design custom delegations for US professionals to visit Cuba and pioneer new partnerships with its leading players. We are fully licensed by the US Treasury O ce of Foreign Assets Control to legally bring Americans to Cuba on People-to-People exchanges. For more information on who we are and what we do, please visit our website at

Thanks for your interest!