Four week full cultural immersion based in Old Havana & Viñales. Spanish classes are supplemented with dance classes, cultural tours and adventure activities to explore, enjoy and experience this amazing country!
Three weeks – 1st, 2nd & 4th week – are based in Old Havana. Spanish language lessons take place Monday to Friday in the mornings, and in the afternoons you receive dance classes and ‘Discover Cuba’ cultural excursions. Two weekends feature a trip to the beach while during the third week we change the setting and pace with an adventure in Viñales.
In Havana accommodation in is a licensed Casa Particulare in the atmospheric heart of Old Havana; shared single sex dorm rooms with other program participants (couples or friends booking together automatically upgraded to private room with en suite/private bathroom) OR upon payment of a single room supplement you have the option to stay in another nearby Casa with your own room and private en suite bathroom. Either way breakfast and lunch are served at our main Casa and this is the hub of program activities. This is also where Spanish lessons are taken as well as group discussions, planning meetings and impromptu social gatherings.
In Viñales we also stay in centrally located Casa Particulares where breakfast and lunch are also provided.
This is a busy program and offers the possibility of a full immersion into Cuban life – city and country, past and present!
Upon arrival Havana International Airport you are picked up for a transfer to our hostel and language school, or Casa Particulares*. Opened at the end of 2015 our hostel features shared single sex bedrooms (all with air con), separate shower and toilet facilities, dining rooms and lots of comfortable indoor and outdoor space (including spacious roof terraces). Here you can enjoy hanging out with new friends or chilling on your own to enjoy the cool breezes and great views of the streets below. As with most of Havana you will enjoy taking in the atmosphere in this central location which is truly unique.
Monday to Friday’s intensive Spanish lessons take place shortly after breakfast. Your teacher is licensed and on day one you receive a short test to establish your level and objectives. Lessons take the format of 3 x 45 minute lessons each morning, with 15 minute breaks to refresh, making approximately 3 hours of Spanish lessons each day – 15 hours per week. Lessons are held from 09:00 sharp, Monday to Friday.
* The Discover Cuba content features additional Spanish language tuition, oral comprehension and dialogue (approx. 4 hours per week).
There are 2 dance classes per week, usually Tuesday and Thursday from 14:00-15:00. You will be taken through your paces – lessons will feature Salsa but depending your progress you may also be introduced to Son, Rueda de Casino, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, and Rumba and perhaps a few moves you haven’t heard of. The lessons are delivered in ‘Casa Del Son’ – a professional dance school a short walk from Casa Jakera – by a licensed dance instructor, and in the evenings there are MANY free live music venues where you can do your homework!
In its day Havana was one of the most important and wealthy cities on the planet. The source of this wealth is undoubtedly controversial and Cuba’s more recent history is testament to this controversy. The faded patina of Havana’s gorgeous neo classical architecture, rumble of classic American cars and curious soviet era high rise buildings force you to question – what is Cuba?
We would like to help you answer this question through a series of cultural excursions and encounters with Cuban people. These will comprise three ‘sessions’ per week, usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 14:00. The four week program includes a schedule of 11 different cultural excursions and the two week program includes 6 cultural excursions. The format is varied, for example, a guided tour of a museum, or a weekend excursion down ‘Paseo del Prado’ to see the free open air art classes and discussion groups, or a sporting event such as baseball or basketball game or other ‘event’ where there is a big social gathering.
These cultural experiences and excursions are with our trained local guides who will show you how to buy (and spend!) local peso’s, take local transport and generally make you feel at home and comfortable with your new surroundings.
Two weekends will be in Havana and we go on a daytrip to the beaches directly east of Havana. Journey time is 30 minutes by bus and you can enjoy the exhilarating rollers that break on these pristine sandy beaches.
Week 3 – Viñales
At the end of your second week, on Sunday we head west on a three hour drive to the central western region of Cuba. Viñales is a beautiful agricultural town utilising horse power to cultivate plantations including the best tobacco fields in the country. The perfect contrast to your time in Havana here we enjoy the fresh air and natural world including stunning UNESCO heritage status limestone mountains and tobacco drying houses.
Spanish lessons continue Monday to Friday but after lunch we explore*; hiking, horse-riding and cycling through some of the most wonderful landscapes in Cuba. Accommodation, breakfast & lunch, Spanish lessons each morning and an adventure activity every day Monday to Friday help you maximise your time in this special place. The following Sunday we head back to Havana for our final week in Cuba.
* adventure activities in Viñales include horseback exploration Viñales valley including a traditional tobacco drying house to learn more about growing, curing & drying and rolling cigars, trek through plantations to learn about other crops including a sunrise trek to learn about some of the history – and mythology – of this beautiful area. We also take bicycles heading out of town to explore distinctive limestone caves. If you don’t like horses – or bikes! – alternative arrangements can be made to enjoy the countryside.
Cost of 4 week program USD 1,580 / EURO 1,420
Price includes accommodation (28 nights), breakfast & lunch, intensive Spanish lessons (60 hours), twice weekly dance lessons & three times weekly cultural excursions/activities while in Havana, two escorted trips to the beach, transfers to/from Viñales and a full week of adventure in Viñales while continuing Spanish lessons there.
Cost of extra night – accommodation & breakfast USD 30 / EURO 25
Cost of airport transfer – each way USD 35 / EURO 30
Program Start Dates 2020: 05-Jan, 02-Feb, 01-Mar, 05-Apr, 03-May, 07-Jun, 05-Jul, 02-Aug, 06-Sep, 04-Oct, 01-Nov, 06-Dec Start Dates 2021: 03-Jan, 07-Feb, 07-Mar, 04-Apr, 02-May, 06-Jun, 04-Jul, 01-Aug, 05-Sep, 03-Oct, 07-Nov, 05-Dec
NOTE : though program start date is Sunday you are welcome to arrive early and pay for extra nights bed & breakfast. We are open 365 days a year!
To book now or learn more about this program, please send us a message today. We will usually get back to you within 24 hours.
We have fixed start dates but you are welcome to arrive a day or so early, or extend after program ends, if this helps to optimise your travel plans. We look forward to hearing from you!