Experience the Culture and Arts of Cuba in March 2017

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Cuba - Havana skyline

WILSON, N.C. — No need to imagine traveling to Cuba. Now, you can take that long-awaited trek to our southern neighboring country. Join Barton College for a nine-day trip to Cuba from March 4-12, 2017. Alumni and friends of the College, as well as faculty, staff, and students, can take a well-deserved break from books and work to learn more about Cuban culture, art, and history. Meet the warm and friendly residents of Cuba. Explore its beautiful countryside. Experience its exotic and expressive culture.

“The 2017 spring trip to Cuba will be an exciting opportunity for travelers to interact with the people of this long-isolated island,” shared Mark Gordon, associate professor of art at Barton College, who will be leading the trip. “Extraordinary historical architecture from the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as well as traditional customs in music and dance, will contribute to a truly authentic travel experience—a virtual time capsule of culture that this country is now sharing with its enthusiastic visitors.”

Interest meetings to discuss the trip will be held on Monday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Wilson Public Library and also on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m. in The Sam and Marjorie Ragan Writing Center at Barton College.

The itinerary will include fabulous sites and opportunities to experience Cuba’s rich history and culture. Travelers will arrive in Miami on the first day of the journey for a guided tour of Little Havana. This brief stop will whet your appetite for the amazing cuisine that awaits. Rest well that evening and rise early to travel from Miami to Havana, Cuba, where you will meet your Explorica tour director for the week. Experiencing Old Havana at night will be a special treat as you visit its famous and internationally awarded Project Artecorte community.

Don’t miss the beautiful Cuban sunrise before your visit to the Habana Compas Dance and Music Company. The energy and enthusiasm of the dance and music company members will be contagious as they mix flamenco and Afro-Cuban rhythms and incorporate the staccato beat of handmade drums and special “rhythm chairs” to support their lively and participatory performance. Then, it’s on to the Jamainitas community to visit the José Fuster project, nicknamed “Fusterlandia,” which features large installations of mosaic murals by the well-known Cuban painter and sculptor. Look forward to an inviting meal that evening at a Cuban paladar, a small, privately-owned, family-run restaurant that features local Cuban cuisine. Delight your taste buds with these authentic Cuban menu selections featuring fresh ingredients from the countryside.

Breathtaking views of the Viñales Valley will open your eyes to the exquisite beauty found on this island. Plan to lace up your walking shoes and hike with fellow travelers to tour the Finca Agro-Ecologica, where you will meet local farmers and their families, members of this extensive agricultural cooperative. The lush plantings and terraced organic farming will be both impressive and inspiring as you better understand how these farmers maximize the productivity of their land. Travelers will trek even further beyond Havana to Cienfuegos via Matanzas, on the northern shore of Cuba. Visit the Hector Crespo Farm and, later, enjoy the sights and shops during the Cienfuegos city walk. Then, it’s on to the Indio Hatuey institution, an experimental research agricultural station.

Continue to explore Cienfuegos, as you meet local students at an art school and enjoy the hospitality of a local fisherman in his home. From there, travelers will head to Trinidad to experience the city through a walking tour. Among the sites you will visit near Trinidad will be the Valley of the Sugar Mills, where you will learn about the intriguing history and culture of Cuba’s late 18th and 19th century sugar mills and plantations. An afternoon city walk in Santa Clara will showcase the architecture and culture of this community, located in the central portion of the island.

The last full day in Cuba will include the Fiesta de los Abuelos educational exchange in Santa Clara before returning to Havana to return home the next day. The evening will include a special farewell paladar dinner to remind everyone once more of the warm and intriguing tastes of Cuban cuisine and culture before heading home.

This trip promises to be an unforgettable journey to Cuba where time is suspended, and the island’s welcoming native residents readily share their country’s history and culture.

For detailed costs for the trip, visit www.explorica.com/Gordon-4357. For more information, contact Mark Gordon at 252-399-6474 or mgordon@barton.edu or Amelia Martin at 252-399-6981 or amartin@barton.edu.

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