ARTravel: Cuba Off the Beaten Track

March 18-27, 2018

This exciting new program offers a dynamic insider’s exploration of the “real” Cuba beyond the well-known tourist sites with a special focus on Cuba’s vibrant contemporary art scene. Join a small group of open-minded travelers exploring a rapidly changing country in ways not available to most visitors. Our itinerary includes Havana and several other locations in the island’s interior. Because the group is limited in size, we’ll have the flexibility to take advantage of the spontaneous cultural interactions that make Cuba such an inspiring and exciting place to travel.

We begin in the magical time-capsule city of Havana, exploring that city’s varied neighborhoods as we interact with Cuban artists, musicians, students, dancers, craftsmen, and everyday entrepreneurs. Participate in an exciting daily schedule of interactive field visits mixed with informal talks on such topics as Cuban art history, the history of the Cuban Revolution, and US-Cuba relations. We’ll drop in on artists’ studios and galleries, attend dynamic music & dance performances, and visit many of Havana’s fascinating and lesser-known cultural hot-spots, including synagogues, neighborhood markets, and small and quirky museums. We’ll also visit some of the city’s better-known sites, including Habana Vieja (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Fine Arts Museum, the Cabaña (the Caribbean’s largest colonial fortress), the Necrópolis de Colón (one of the world’s greatest cemeteries), a cigar factory, and legendary Finca Vigía, where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote for more than two decades.

In addition to a full daily schedule of arts and cultural exchange activities, participants will have the opportunity to sample some of Havana’s famous paladares (officially sanctioned restaurants located in private homes), and, of course, to experience the city’s famous world-renowned music scene. For those interested in collecting art, there will be opportunities to purchase art in a variety of price ranges directly from Cuban artists in their galleries and studios.

Next, we’ll set off to the east on a road trip through Cuba’s fascinating interior—Visiting cities of great cultural and artistic interest such as Vinales, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad immersing ourselves in neighborhood life and exploring plazas, markets, and art galleries off the beaten tourist track.

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Dates: March 18-27, 2018

Price per person: $3,950 for double occupancy (single supplement: $400), includes lodging, ground transportation, local guides and experts, museum entrance fees, breakfasts, most lunches and dinners, and a tax-deductible donation* to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. Some independent meals give participants the chance to get a break from the group and sample Cuba’s famous paladares (restaurants in private homes) on their own.

To register: Complete registration form and pay non-refundable deposit of $800 by January 5, 2018. Balance due by February 1, 2018.

Click here to register now (closed).

Space is limited to preserve the intimacy and flexibility of the experience, so we encourage you to reserve your place early. Please note that traveling in Cuba entails extensive walking and stair climbing. Participants should be in reasonable physical condition.

Getting there: Participants should make arrangements to arrive in Havana no later than 6 p.m. on March 18, and should arrange to fly out of Havana no earlier than mid-morning on March 27. Registered participants with travel questions should contact Tim Weed directly at

An ARTravel staff member will meet you at the airport in Havana and take you to your accommodations.

Note on lodging: You will stay in well-located privately run casas particulares (bed-and-breakfasts) that get us off the main tourist track allowing unparalleled access to real Cuban neighborhoods, as well as providing a comfortable, hospitable base for daily cultural immersion and travel activities. Bear in mind that U.S. group tourism in Cuba is a recent development, Cuba is a poor country, and the Cuban tourism infrastructure is over-taxed and struggling to keep up with demand. Lodgings are simple but very clean, with excellent breakfasts served by our warm and welcoming Cuban hosts.

Group leader: Tim Weed, a Vermont-based author and educator with extensive experience in Cuba, has spent his entire career developing and leading high quality educational travel programs abroad. He graduated from Middlebury College and holds master’s degrees from the University of California, San Diego, and the Warren Wilson College MFA for Writers program. As a founding director of National Geographic Student Expeditions, Tim played a key role in developing new photography, archaeology, and wildlife conservation programs in Iceland, Peru, Ecuador & the Galápagos, Spain, the Yucatán Peninsula, Alaska, and Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks. From 1999 to 2004, he headed up a series of pioneering educational programs for American students in Cuba, including a four-week mobile writing workshop that traversed the island from Santiago to Havana. Since then, Tim has led numerous cultural, arts, and choral music programs in Cuba for National Geographic Expeditions, the Grand Circle Foundation, and Educational Travel Associates. Tim’s articles on travel and the outdoors have appeared in many national magazines, and his essay, “Embargoed Brothers: An American in Off-Limits Cuba,” won a 2012 Best Travel Writing Award. Tim is fluent in Spanish.

When I first traveled in Cuba in 1999, it struck me, as it continues to strike me today, as an utterly unique place: a time capsule, an anomaly, a treasure trove of historical architecture, a country of great natural beauty with an inspiringly creative and resourceful population. What’s different today is that Cuba is changing, rapidly and dramatically. This is one of the reasons I’m excited about this new trip: in addition to being part of a small group exploring a country that has been inaccessible to most U.S. citizens for over half a century in ways not available to mainstream tourists, we’re going to be front-seat witnesses to history. — Tim Weed

Tim was easy going, very well connected in Cuba, clearly well liked by the many people we crossed paths with. He managed complications with grace and always was cool, calm and collected. He was wonderful – he has the ability to quietly manage everything so the trip just flowed so nicely. Tim also was able to be spontaneous, and found creative things for us to do in all areas. — ARTravel participant.

Click here to register now (closed).

For more information: Contact Erin Jenkins at 802-257-0124, ext. 101 or