Join Erin Hill in Cuba for an 11 day sketching holiday March 1 – 11 in 2018
A small group, fully escorted holiday for 11 days to Cuba starting in Santa Clara and
ending in Havana where you may also choose to continue to Mexico to join Erin on her Sketching the Colours of Mexico holiday March 12 – 21 in 2018.
So you think you can’t sketch….?
Even if you have never put a pen on paper to sketch anything – or if you have been sketching for a long time – you will find this 11 days in Cuba experience magic and inspirational.
You will be amazed at what you can achieve when shown how.
The bond within the group becomes very special as everyone learns from and encourages each other in their sketches.
This is a tour that gives you a wonderful present to take home with you for life.
See some of Erin’s lovely artwork here.
Partners and friends are welcome as non-sketchers if they are accompanying a sketcher so it is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to see this lesser known and famous little island. This Sketch Adventure is designed to run before Erin Hill’s Sketching in Mexico holiday which starts on March 12 in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.
Everyone should experience salsa-spicy, Spanish, grungy, colourful, colonial Cuba.
- mid-century cars trundling along the road as though on some period film set;
- architectural masterpieces are reduced to decay;
- no fast food franchises
- laughing Cuban people walk with their heads held high instead of bent over mobile phones.
Cuba is a masterpiece of crumbling, cobbled, colonial buildings with elaborate facades and faded frescoes. So much to sketch!
We will be staying with the enormously welcoming, happy and hospitable locals in “Casa Particulares” which are comfortable homestays with your own bathroom and bedroom. This is a great experience; eating in their private homes plates of tropical fruit and eggs with cheese and jamon (ham). Cuban coffee flows thick, strong and delicious.
- These rooms have ensuites (sometimes these ensuites have been installed within the room as some of the homes are 19th century terraces and therefore the only way to add an ensuite is to build it into the bedroom) so most of the rooms are a good size.
- The décor is a family home with pictures of the family on the walls
- There are plenty of rocking chairs which is a must in every Cuban home.
- These homes while some are modest and others are very trendy depending on area and availability all have proper hot water heating systems and toilets. The beds are also in good condition. THOSE WHO BOOK EARLY GET THE BEST PICK OF ROOMS
- Staying in a homestay versus a hotel means you usually get better service as the owners have a vested interest.
Music is an ever-present backing track on the streets of Cuba, and musicians and lovers of music alike will find themselves deeply immersed in this vibrant, defining culture.
- We include a guided tour round Havana in one of these classic old cars: Buicks and Dodges, Chryslers and Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles and Fords; they appear in a terrific blaze of colour: hot pink, lime green and red, purple, cobalt and gold.
- We visit the memorial to the revolutionary Che Guevara in Santa Clara and appreciate the scale of his hold over the country.
- We visit the breathtaking beautiful tobacco heartlands of Viñales Valley
- Crumbling Trinidad with its grand old mansions from the sugar and rum era
- Cienfuegos with its boulevards and colonial architecture
- Boat trip and lunch with local fishermen
- Cuban Cabaret dinner
- 6 lunches and 3 dinners included
PRACTICALITIES: GETTING TO CUBA & SANTA CLARA
Our tour begins in the Cuban city of Santa Clara 5 pm on March 1 in 2018.
For people coming from outside North America, consider flying into Mexico City and then catching a local flight to Havana or directly Mexico City to Santa Clara. (eg Interjet, American Airlines, Cubana, Avianca, Copa Airlines) This avoids the bureaucracy associated with flying via the US to Cuba.
We highly recommend a 24 hour stopover in Mexico City on the way to recover as the flight is very long from Australia (at least 21 hours) to get to Mexico City.
- If you fly via the USA, Jetblue and American Airlines have flights direct to Santa Clara from LAX, Florida & other ports in the USA.
- Consider flying with Air Canada to Cuba via Vancouver to avoid transiting through the U.S. (less paperwork!) though longer flight time.
- Westjet flies Fridays Vancouver to Santa Clara, to Varadero on Tues & Fridays)
- Everyone must have Travel and Health Insurance to enter CUBA.
- Everyone must have a valid passport and tourist card/visa to enter CUBA.
- For Australians travelling please see: http://visalink.com.au/destination/cub/cuba-visa
- French Fusion Travel can assist you with your tourist card application/VISA for Australian citizens when booking your flights with us
- Be aware US residents – or people travelling via the USA to Cuba, US airlines are not allowed to issue you a boarding pass to enter Cuba for “tourism” so you must state your reason on your Tourist Card/ VISA application form for visiting CUBA is “to support the local people”
- The Cuban Departure Tax equivalent to US$25 is included in your airline ticket.
CUBA IS A DIFFERENT ADVENTURE AND HOLIDAY EXPERIENCE:
- Please note: Cuba is a “communist” economy and the government controls all hotels and room bookings.
- Reservations are renowned for being difficult to make well in advance as the government rules can be mercurial. Hotel rooms are strictly limited and are very pricey.
- Cuba is still under international embargo and whilst this makes the country “retro charming” it also means standards are lower than Western countries, and the country has a primitive infrastructure. So with the number of international people who want to visit Cuba, competition for limited accommodation is steep.
- We cannot guarantee that all rooms will be situated in the same residence, street or area as we are governed by booking restrictions in Cuba.
- Water is shipped into Havana daily, food is cheap but restaurants and homeowners themselves cook only what they can acquire, wine is out of the question but rum, daiquiris, mojitos and locally brewed beer are freely available.
- You will eat well with simple food with Spanish and Caribbean influences. A typical meal consists of rice, black beans and tender saucy meat. Ropa Veija is one of these dishes, and consists of shredded steak steeped in tomato sauce, and sides of fried plantain and yuca chips. Other classics include malango fritters and Cubano sandwiches stuffed with ham, cheese and pickles.
- Please note that special dietary requirements are very difficult to cater for whilst in Cuba
- Two currencies circulate in Cuba: convertible pesos (CUC$) and Cuban pesos (referred to as CUP).
The currency you will use is the CUC (the Cuban Peso) There are 4 main banks in Cuba. BFI is the most reliable.
- Note that the NAB Travel card works well in Cuba and is tried and tested so consider putting cash into one of these for spending in CUBA and elsewhere. You will have to nominate the currency conversion into CUC on your NAB card.
- You will be required to withdraw cash when you arrive to buy or pay for anything (we escort you there to do this in Santa Clara) as ATM’s are limited as is acceptance of credit cards (American credit cards are not accepted at all)
- CASH IS KING. But not USD cash!
- Mobile phone coverage is limited to certain wifi areas – yes, this is a very different type of holiday experience and adventure!