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Open Kitchen Travel: Cuba

Cuba Fields - Photo by Norlys Perez Padron

Attend a free information session about this travel opportunity. 
Information Session One
Location:
 Fort Omaha Campus, Institute for the Culinary Arts, Building 22, 32nd Street and Sorensen Parkway
Date: Monday, Aug. 26, 2019
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Sign-up for this session.

Information Session Two
Location:
 Fort Omaha Campus, Institute for the Culinary Arts, Building 22, 32nd Street and Sorensen Parkway
Date: Monday, Sept. 23, 2019
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Sign-up for this session. 

Open Kitchen Travel: Cuba   |   APRIL 19-24, 2020

Join our culinary educators and food/beverage industry professionals for this open kitchen travel course centered on humanitarian immersion into the food and culture of Cuba. Discover the heart and soul of Cuban food and agriculture, escorted by a full-time expert English-speaking Cuban guide. This course will be led by a chef instructor from the Institute for the Culinary Arts. Travel comfortably in and around Havana in a modern air-conditioned bus with professional driver, and participate in hands-on, immersive experiences that will shape your understanding of the culinary and agricultural influences and systems of Cuba. Seating is limited—enroll now! 

Departure: Sunday, April 19, 2020 from OMA (Omaha Eppley Airfield)
Return: Friday, April 24, 2020 to OMA (Omaha Eppley Airfield)
Accommodations: Hotel Las Brigidinas, 3 stars, Havana (5 nights)
Seats: 22 available at $2851/person (double occupancy)
Deadlines: Registration + $600/person deposit due no later than Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019; balance due Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020

SECURE YOUR SEAT, REGISTER AND PUT DOWN YOUR DEPOSIT TODAY
Deposit is due no later than Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019

DEPOSIT PAID? PAY YOUR BALANCE
Balance is due by Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020.

ITINERARY
Subject to change until final payment due date.  
DAY 1 – SUNDAY, APRIL 19 / ARRIVAL / HELLO, CUBA!

  • Arrive at Havana’s José Martí International Airport. 
  • Transfer to your hotel and check-in.
  • Settle in and rest at the hotel.
  • Welcome dinner at El Atelier private restaurant. (Included)
  • The evening is free for you to explore the sights and sounds of the city.

DAY 2 – MONDAY, APRIL 20 / FARM EXPERIENCE, OLD HAVANA, EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY PROJECT

  • After breakfast, depart to Vista Hermosa Farm.
    • Beginning on the trail 500 meters from the farm entrance, choose whether to ride a cart towed by a 1950’s American tractor, ride noble horses or to walk.
    • Reception and tasting of tropical and fresh fruits.
    • Walking tour of the farm.
    • Visit to the production centre.
    • Students will have the opportunity to participate in planting by their own efforts together with the farmers. The group must be on the farm before 8 a.m.
    • Horse riding, use of the cart or walking through another trail to observe a variety of flora and fauna native and typical of the specific place, ascent on foot through a mountain with normal elevation, to the highest point of the area above sea level (viewpoint Vista Hermosa).
    • Return to the farm for lunch. Participate in the preparation of the barbecued pork.  (Included)
  • Up next: walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll visit four of the five historic plazas that make Havana unique in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Visit Cathedral Square, Square of Arms, San Francisco Square, Plaza Vieja and Museum of Cuban Rum Havana Club. 
  • Dinner tonight at private restaurant Mediterraneo Havana. (Included)
  • Evening highlight: Witness a most dramatic ceremony – El Cañonazo – the Firing of the 9 p.m. Cannon at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña. 

DAY 3 – TUESDAY, APRIL 21 / VIÑALES, TOBACCO LAND

  • Morning departure to the western agricultural province of Pinar del Río.
  • Visit and tour of Francisco Donatién Cigar Factory and see how some of Cuba’s premium cigars are made.
  • Tour a privately owned small tobacco farm that produces rarified leaves for Cuban’s world-renowned cigars. 
  • Tour Finca Agro-ecológica El Paraíso.
  • Lunch at Finca Agro-ecológica El Paraíso. (Included)
  • Afternoon tour of Viñales Valley.
  • Visit Mural de la Prehistoria, tour the town square of Viñales village and then return to Havana.
  • Dinner on your own tonight. 

DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 / FARM, COOKING LESSON AND DANCE

  • Visit the UBPC Vivero Organopónico Alamar, 15 km (9.3 miles) east of Havana. 
  • Visit Cojimar, small fishing village—one of Hemingway’s favorite places in Cuba.
  • Tour highlight: Cooking lesson at paladar Café Ajiaco followed by lunch, which we help prepare. (Included)
  • Meeting with Dra. Marta Núñez Sarmiento and Overview of Cuban Education system. 
  • Return to your hotel to rest and freshen up.
  • Before dinner, enjoy one-hour salsa lessons at El Chevere Saloon.
  • Dinner at private restaurant Barbra in Centro Habana neighborhood. (Included)
  • Attend a fabulous Buena Vista Social Club performance.

DAY 5 – THURSDAY, APRIL 23 / CAPITOL AND THE BEACH

  • We’re off in a cavalcade of Cuban coconut cabs! Get ready for an exciting ride along the Malecón to Old Havana.
  • Visit Cuba’s National Capitol Building.
  • Visit Havana’s eastern beaches known as Playas del Este. We’ll visit two notable white sand shores: Santa María del Mar and Guanabo. 
  • Lunch on your own. 
  • Return to hotel and freshen up.
  • Farewell dinner at Mojito Mojito private restaurant. (Included)
  • Evening entertainment suggestion, FÁBRICA DE ARTE CUBANO, one of the best settings to listen to great Cuban music. (Cover and transfers not included in tour cost.)

DAY 6 – FRIDAY, APRIL 24 / HAVANA & HOME

  • Check-out of hotel.
  • Transfer to José Martí International Airport for flight home.
  • Memories of a wonderful visit to the Pearl of the Antilles: Cuba, included.

Passports
A valid passport is required for this course and is the responsibility of each passenger. Passports must be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the travel dates. All names must be submitted EXACTLY as they appear on passenger passports. 

A photocopy of your valid passport is required.

Flight Information
The flights for this course have been secured at a group rate, and as such students of this course must travel via the flights offered as part of this package and may not use points to pay for air travel. Delta customers may earn points on this travel experience (be sure to include your Delta Frequent Flyer # in your registration).

Delta Airlines Flights
Departure 4/19/20:
Depart OMA 7:00 AM, Arrive ATL 10:15 AM
Depart ATL 11:15 AM, Arrive HAV 1:35 PM

Return 4/24/20:
Depart HAV 2:35 PM, Arrive ATL 4:57 PM
Depart ATL 7:19 PM, Arrive OMA 8:48 PM

INCLUSIONS/EXCLUSIONS
Included in course cost:

  • Certificate of Legal Cuba Travel in compliance with US Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations (OFAC)
  • Cuban Visa
  • Airport transfers: We meet you at José Martí Int’l Airport in Havana and take you to your hotel upon arrival. We return you to José Martí Airport for departure.
  • Accommodations and all taxes.
  • Meals included: 5 breakfasts, plus 3 lunches and 4 dinners as per itinerary.
  • All activities, services and meals as described in tour itinerary except those noted as “optional” or “not included in cost.”
  • Modern air-conditioned bus and professional chauffeur.
  • Bottled water on transportation.
  • An expert Cuban English-speaking guide and interpreter whose background matches tour content throughout the program.
  • Ongoing support from tour operator staff in North America and Cuba before, during and after your stay.
  • Emergency collect call access to our North American and Cuban staff while in Cuba.
  • Emergency cash advances for our tour participants who face complications accessing funds from abroad while in Cuba.

Not included in course cost:

  • Gratuities for Cuban tour guide, taxi driver, chambermaids, restaurant staff, porters, etc.
  • Metropolitan Community College requires the purchase of travel insurance through a specific vendor. More information coming soon.

 

Questions?

Cathy Curtis
Continuing Education Coordinator, Culinary Arts, Hospitality + Horticulture
Metropolitan Community College
531-622-2588
cjcurtis@mccneb.edu

Brian O’Malley
Associate Dean, Culinary Arts, Hospitality + Horticulture
Metropolitan Community College
531-622-2615
bomalley@mccneb.edu

Gary Girard
Executive Director, Continuing Education
Metropolitan Community College
531-622-2541
gagirard@mccneb.edu