World Heritage Tours ... With Joy Katzen-Guthrie

Joy Katzen-Guthrie

Please Join Me on An Extraordinary & Memorable
Cultural, Educational, & Humanitarian
Jewish Heritage Tour to Cuba

with Joy Katzen-Guthrie,
Artist & Scholar-in-Residence

Havana • Jaimanitas • Cienfuegos • Trinidad
Santa Clara • Remedios • Pinar Del Rio • Cojimar
ELEVEN Days! March 23-April 2, 2014

See full itinerary and details below

I invite you to join me in this unique, enriching, and unforgettable experience, a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore Cuba’s art, architecture, and heritage while visiting the Jewish communities of Cuba. Hotels, US/Cuba airfare, all domestic transportation within Cuba, most meals, and an amazing schedule of extraordinary activities are included, plus visits with the Havana and Santa Clara Jewish communities. You will leave and return from the Tampa Airport (TPA), a one-hour-twenty-minute direct flight. We will take supplies and materials to support and benefit the Cuban Jewish congregations and donate these goods while there, interacting in a truly people-to-people experience.

Buildings, streets, and monuments constructed during Cuba’s 500-year history provide a glimpse into the country’s early development, its colonial influences, political and religious development since Columbus’ arrival, and 400 years of Spanish rule along with the rich and varied Jewish history of the island. We’ll view the architecture, visit museums, experience a range of music, walk through historic Jewish districts, join two of Havana’s active Jewish communities for Shabbat and Shabbat meals, and visit the Holocaust Memorials of Havana and Santa Clara. We’ll discover Ernest Hemingway’s home and haunts, visit the open-air workshop-gallery of the Caribbean Picasso, José Rodrigues Fuster and his eye-popping town of Jaimanitas which itself is defined as a work of public art. We’ll visit spectacular Pinar Del Rio Province and its world-renowned Las Terrazas (environmental terraces) project, an official UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We’ll travel to some of the most breathtaking and history-laden regions of the island, including World Heritage Sites of Cienfuegos, Valle de los Ingenios, Trinidad, Santa Clara, and Remedios. And we’ll discover so much more in our stay at the renowned Hotel Nacional, frequented by the famous and the notorious, diplomats and celebrities through its long history, and the restored Modernist Jagua Hotel of Cienfuegos.

Journey Outside Yourself....
Jewish Heritage Tours with Joy!

Time is short and space is limited—Register Today For This One-of-a-Kind
Cultural and Humanitarian Tour to Cuba and Cuba’s Jewish Community.
Round-Trip Airfare between Tampa and Havana: Sunday, March 23 to Wednesday, April 2, 2014
11-day/10-night stay, including the 5-star Hotel Nacional de Havana, Cuba and 4-star Jagua Hotel in Cienfuegos, Cuba
A/C Bus Transportation, Private Driver, English-Speaking Cuban Guide
Full schedule of activities includes entrance to all sites within itinerary
Services of Tour Artist/Scholar-in-Residence Joy Katzen-Guthrie
10 Breakfasts, 7 dinners, 6 lunches (including Shabbat meals and Farewell Dinner)
Transfers within Cuba, Medical insurance within Cuba AND Visa and Processing/Licensing Fees

TRIP PRICE: $4,095 per person (Double Occupancy)
For a pdf download of this itinerary, including details and registration form, CLICK HERE

Our Humanitarian Mission to the Jewish Communities of Cuba
Our mission is to take a wonderful collection of donations of supplies and ritual objects to support and benefit the Jewish community.
We request that you bring gifts as you desire of prayer shawls, yarmulkes, menorahs, candles, tefillin, prayer texts (Hebrew/Spanish), CD’s,
Judaic and educational books, Shabbat/Havdalah/Hanukkah candles, children’s books and coloring books, crayons, chalk, toys/games, clothing,
art supplies, musical instruments, guitar strings, pens/paper, hygienic items like soap, toothpaste, toiletries, makeup, thermometers,
gloves, shoes, Spanish/English dictionaries, over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, antibiotic cream, band-aids,
vitamins, sheets and towels, sponges, and cash donations. These items are not easily attainable to the residents of Cuba.

A Partial List of Sites and Activities in Our Itinerary
(Detailed Itinerary Below)

City Tour of Havana & Old Havana with its music, cafés, and historic sights
Jewish Havana District and Acosta Street, the UNESCO site of historic Jewish Havana
Havana Hotel Nacional at seaside on Havana Malecón (seaside boulevard and promenade)
Day Trip to Pinar Del Rio—often called Cuba’s most beautiful province—and Las Terrazas UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
The town of Jaimanitas—a “public work of art”—and the open air studio of the Caribbean Picasso, José Rodrigues Fuster
The Western Hemisphere’s first Holocaust Memorials, erected in 1947 in Havana, and the Holocaust Memorial of Santa Clara
The scenic and historic cultural city of Cienfuegos, one of Cuba’s chief seaports, with hotel at seaside and Cienfuegos Malecón
Trinidad and Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), UNESCO World Heritage Sites celebrating a 500-year history in 2014
Historic Santa Clara, center of the War of Cuban Independence against Spain (Spanish-American War) and Cuban Revolution of 1958
Two of Cuba’s most renowned opulent colonial theatres as well as museums, historic churches, monuments, neighborhoods, businesses, and cemeteries
Ernest Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigia, and favorite haunts, along with the fishing village of Cojimar that inspired Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”
Kabbalat Shabbat Service and Dinner and Shabbat morning service and Kiddish lunch with two of Havana’s active congregations
A tour of a Havana Cigar Company and Hernando de Soto’s La Fuerza Castle, the oldest fortress in the New World
Walking tour of the Havana Vedana neighborhood, the Havana Model, the Museum & Plaza de la Revolution
The flamboyant Cemeterio de Colón, where Christopher Columbus is purportedly buried
Opportunities to experience Cuban art, culture, breathtaking architecture, and music
The town of Remedios, a “hidden historical gem” and 8th oldest city in Cuba
Sephardic and Ashkenizic cemeteries of Havana

For a pdf download of this itinerary, including
details and registration form,
*Itinerary subject to change
Tour pricing based on 25 travelers

For more information or questions:
5153 A Salmon Drive, S.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705


Art by José Fuster

Enjoy an outstanding video interview with José Fuster
and view of his studio and the city of Jaimitas
from Havana Cultura, at:

Day 1 - SUNDAY (March 23, 2014) - TAMPA TO HAVANA (D)
2 PM - Arrive Tampa International Airport. 5 PM Depart Tampa on Charter Flight to Havana. Arrive at Havana Airport @6:20 PM. Transfer to the five-star Hotel Nacional. This is a good time for currency exchange. You will purchase all goods with CUC’s (Cuban Convertible Pesos). USD can be exchanged at hotels. There is no banking relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, so no US credit cards or US travelers cheques are accepted here. We’ll tour this historic hotel which since 1930 has been frequented by famous and notorious, celebrity, business elite, politician, military officer, and diplomat alike. The hotel is in the center of the city’s activity and exhibits an eclectic Art Deco architectural style with Arabic, Hispano-Moorish, neo-classical and neo-colonial elements and rooms in their original Art Deco decor, making it one of the most distinctive and memorable hotels in the Caribbean. Welcome Cocktail at Hotel Nacional, followed by dinner at the Comedor de Aguiar, the luxury restaurant in our hotel. The Havana Malecón (seaside promenade) is a few minutes walking distance from our hotel. Take a stroll after dinner to enjoy the music, activity, and locals.

Day 2 - MONDAY (March 24, 2014) - HAVANA-JAIMANITAS (B, L)
Breakfast at hotel. This morning begins with a walking tour through the historic UNESCO Jewish Havana district and Acosta Street with its restored orthodox Adath Israel Synagogue, Menorah courtyard, ornate Hotel Raquel, the Jewish residential Belen Neighborhood, plus Cuba’s only Kosher butcher shop. Lunch is included. We’ll see the Plaza de la Revolution with its memorial statue of José Marti, hero of Cuba’s late 19th century revolution against the Spanish, and the Museum of the Revolution with its noted national relics. We’ll visit the renowned Maqueta de la Habana (Havana model), a nearly 1550 sq. ft. model of the city that can be viewed by walking around it at floor level and from a balcony above.

This afternoon we’ll bus 8 miles to the quaint fishing town of Jaimanitas to visit The Caribbean Picasso, José Rodrigues Fuster, who specializes in whimsical ceramics, painting, drawing, engraving, and graphic design. In addition to creating his stunning open air workshop-gallery at his home, Fuster has rebuilt and decorated more than 80 houses in Jaimanitas, making the entire town a work of public art. We’ll see his spectacular murals and ceramics, his Chess Park with its giant boards and tables, The Artists’ Wall composed of a quilt of dozens of tiles signed and donated by other Cuban artists, his Doctor’s Surgical Center and other buildings that display his one-of-a-kind creativity. Dinner on your own (not included). In the evening we’ll attend the spectacular La Parisien Show at our hotel.

Day 3 - TUESDAY (March 25, 2014) - HAVANA-CIENFUEGOS (B, L, D)
Breakfast at Hotel. Following breakfast, we’ll check out of the Hotel Nacional (but we’ll return in several days, so extra luggage may be safely stored for your return) for a 4-hour drive to Cienfuegos, a charming city originally settled by French immigrants in the early 19th century. It takes its name from the respected Captain General Cienfuegos who was serving the island in 1880 when the settlement officially became a city. It is today one of Cuba’s chief seaports, a center of sugar, coffee, and tobacco trade. Upon arrival, we’ll enjoy lunch at the stunning and ornate Palacio de Valle Restaurant and Historical Monument, a Spanish-Moorish-Gothic architectural jewel. In addition to its outstanding restaurant, it is a National Heritage Memorial, the location of cultural events and a museum. A visit to the Cienfuegos Historic Center will allow us to walk through the Parque Jose Marti with its statues, plants, shops, and city hall. El Bulevar, the central boulevard, wends its way by historic buildings and is a center of activity. The 18th century Cathedral de Cienfuegos with neo-classical front, red bell towers, arched doors and splendid French stained glass is a must-see. The Tomás Terry Theatre National Monument, a neoclassical luxury theatre house, was constructed from 1887-1888 from a fortune bequeathed to Cienfuegos by Tomás and later his Parisian heirs as a monument in his honor. Its elegant facade with portico of mosaics, 4 levels, ornate ceiling, paintings, portraits, and statues is beautifully preserved, actively in use, and transports one instantly to a 19th century world. The Cienfuegos Malecón, which is the extension of Paseo Del Prado, is the promenade/sea drive that cuts along one of the world’s finest natural bays and exquisite vistas. In the evening, it comes to life with music and activity of every kind: walk back here in minutes from our hotel after dinner. The Cementerio La Reina, a stunning cemetery founded in 1837, is famous for its stone garden filled with baroque architecture and neo-classical tombstones and statues made entirely of imported carrara marble. This afternoon, we’ll hear and interact with the Cantores de Cienfuegos Youth Choir, which provides a private performance for us. We’ll check in at the Jagua Hotel and enjoy dinner in the hotel. This Modernist 50’s-era hotel, one of Cuba’s best known, recently underwent a renovation for which it received the National Award for Restoration of Monuments. Its pool deck overhangs the bay with one of the most beautiful ocean landscapes in the Caribbean. It is only minutes from the City Center where we were earlier in the day and is right on the water with a stunning panoramic view. Click to view breathtaking photographs of Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad by photographer stephenk1977.

Parque Jose Marti

Cienfuegos Malecón

Palacio de Valle, Cienfuegos


Day 4 - WEDNESDAY (March 26, 2014) - TRINIDAD-CIENFUEGOS (B, L, D)
Breakfast at Hotel. Following breakfast, we’ll take a one-hour excursion to Trinidad, a breathtaking and deeply rich historical region. Founded in 1514, the third Spanish settlement in Cuba, the city is a time capsule of landmarks and majestic natural beauty that many describe as the most beautiful town in Cuba. One of the finest-preserved colonial cities in the world, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We walk the Playa del Mayor, the historic centre of town with its cobbled streets, wrought-iron lampposts, statues, columns, and charming flowered plantings, to explore historical and architecturally significant colonial landmarks, including the 19th century Iglesia Parraquial de la Santisima (Church of the Holy Trinity), a focal point of the city and Cuba’s largest church, and Brunet Palace, built in 1812, which houses the stunning Romantic Museum containing impeccably preserved porcelain, glass, paintings, ceramics, and decorative furniture that belonged to the nobility. The home/museum features a central balustraded courtyard, its original marble floor, frescos, original kitchen earthenware tiles, and neoclassical design.

Trinidad is renowned for its ceramic works of art. Numerous workshops here produce high quality ceramic pieces sold nationally. The most skilled and famous families of ceramic artists in Trinidad have passed the craft from generation to generation. We’ll visit one such ceramic artist workshop for a view of the craft, then have lunch at the El Jigue Restaurant—a charming, airy, and elegant colonial house only a block from the Plaza. Trinidad’s flourishing tourism has supported many private enterprises, including local restaurant and room rental proprietors whom we’ll meet as we walk through the city.

After lunch, we’ll tour the Valle de los Ingenios, the Valley of the Sugar Mills, which served as a center of sugar production for a century. Its panoramic views and astounding history have earned it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. At its peak, there were more than 60 mills in operation here with some 30,000 slaves working the plantations. Most now are in ruin, but intact structures remain. We will visit one of the 12 remaining mills, learning of the natural and commercial history of the valley, then close the afternoon with a visit to Manaca Iznaga, a Spanish colonial 7-story observation tower built in 1816. At that time, the Iznaga family would climb to the top to view their vast sugar fields, mills, and slave laborers. At close of day, we’ll return to Cienfuegos, with dinner at Club Cienfuegos on the bayfront overlooking the marina. Sunset here is described as one of the most magnificent in Cuba. Overnight at Jagua Hotel.

Breakfast at Hotel. After breakfast, we’ll take a one-hour bus drive to Santa Clara, the capital city of its province, Villa Clara, and an important historical region of Cuba. Founded in 1689, this city has long been a home of Cuban rebels both in the early 20th century and during the War of Cuban independence against Spain (The Spanish-American War). It was also the site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution in late 1958, led by Che Guevara. The victory of Castro’s troops here was seen as the decisive moment in the Cuban Revolution, with Batista fleeing within hours. We are here, however, to experience the beautiful parks and historic buildings as well as the Sephardic Jewish Community, Comunidad Tikkun Olam, its synagogue Or Hadash in the city center, and its Holocaust Memorial. While here, we’ll also visit the 1885 Teatro de la Cariad, one of the few remaining colonial theatres in Cuba. Like the Tomás Terry in Cienfuegos, this theatre was financed privately, in this case by Marta Abreu de Esteves, a beloved local philanthropist whose projects were so greatly responsible for the prosperity of the city that Santa Clara was often known as The City of Marta. One of Cuba’s most famous, this theatre has hosted individuals of world renown such as Enrico Caruso. It and the Parque Vidal are National Monuments.

We will visit Marta Abreu de Estevez University and hear of Santa Clara’s rich history, then continue some 30 miles east to the quiet coastal city of Remedios, eighth oldest city in Cuba (founded 1514) and described as a quaint, hidden gem. Lunch at Hotel Mascotte, a charming historic hotel on the main square. The central area of Remedios is a collection of gorgeous monuments and colonial buildings, including the oldest church in Cuba, The Iglesia Parroquial Mayor San Juan Bautista (built 1692 on the foundation of an earlier church constructed in 1570) with its ornate ceiling and breathtaking gold-leaf cedar altars. The gold was hidden for centuries under white paint to keep it safe from pirates who constantly besieged this city. When renovation began in 1944, the gold was rediscovered. This church is one of two on the main square; the second, Iglesia Buen Viaje, is closed as it awaits restoration. Remedios also contains a fascinating smaller-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty known as the Liberty Statue of Remedios that was constructed in marble from the quarry of Carrara, Italy by Italian sculptor Carlo Nicoli. It was dedicated to Cubans who lost their lives during the War of Cuban Independence from Spain. Following our visit to Remedios, we’ll return to Havana and check back in to the Hotel Nacional. Enjoy a free evening with dinner at leisure (not included).

Iglesia Mayor of Remedios

Patronato Synagogue

Day 6 - FRIDAY (March 28, 2014) - HAVANA (B, D)
Breakfast at Hotel. After breakfast, we’ll tour Havana’s commercial center, the Vedado Neighborhood—the vibrant downtown and residential district outside our hotel, and possibly see a popular morning activity, Hebrew school classes for children and adults. We’ll view Vedado’s avenues and mansions from the 1920’s, Museo de Artes Decorativas and Casa de la Amistad. We’ll see Havana University and Colón Cemetery (purportedly Christopher Columbus’ resting place). You’ll have time for lunch on your own (not included), we’ll see the Plaza de la Revolution with its memorial statue of José Marti, hero of Cuba’s late 19th century revolution against the Spanish, and the Museum of the Revolution with its noted national relics. We’ll experience a local Cuban jazz or folk performance and visit both Jewish cemeteries (Ashkenazi/Sephardic) in Guanabacoa containing the first Holocaust Memorials in the western hemisphere, erected in 1947.

We’ll return to the hotel by about 4:00 PM to prepare for Shabbat. Sunset is 7:44 PM. Tonight’s Kabbalat Shabbat services and dinner with Temple Beth Shalom (El Patronato Synagogue - conservative) will allow us to meet members of Havana’s Jewish community, including its Hadassah chapter and youth group. We will be delivering donations of goods to this community. After Shabbat dinner, we’ll return to our hotel.

Liberty Statue
of Remedios

PLEASE NOTE: Our hotel is not within walking distance of active synagogues. Bus transportation will be provided for those who desire to join the Jewish communities for Shabbat on Friday night and Saturday.

Day 7 - SATURDAY (March 29, 2014) - HAVANA (B, L, D)
Breakfast at Hotel. If you desire, attend Shabbat morning service at the Centro Hebreo Sefardi de Cuba (conservative) and share Kiddish lunch with the congregation. We will be delivering donations of goods to this community. Spend a free afternoon relaxing, walking along the Malecón, or other sightseeing on your own. Dinner at La Barraca, the Hotel Nacional’s lovely open-air seaside restaurant with its stunning view. We’ll share our own Havdalah service at sunset.

Havana Panoramas

Pinar Del Rio

Day 8 - SUNDAY (March 30, 2014) - PINAR DEL RIO (B, L)
Breakfast at Hotel. Today’s day trip to the island’s westernmost region, Pinar del Rio, brings us to what many describe as the most beautiful province of Cuba with its majestic mountain ranges. Tobacco is the main crop here and is world renowned, so our day includes a visit to a tobacco plantation. We’ll also explore the environmentally conscious “Las Terrazas” project, a community of nearly 1,000 residents in a picturesque village winding along the terraces overlooking a lake created by the San Juan River Dam. The primary work here is reforestation to cure severe deforestation from 19th century colonial coffee plantation owners, which led to destruction of the ecosystem, degradation of the land, and poverty for the locals. Now an official UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Las Terrazas project serves as a model for the world. We’ll see other local and historic sites, visit with the people of the region, enjoy lunch at Casa del Campedino Restaurant, and in late day return to Havana to our hotel. Dinner on your own (not included).

Day 9 - MONDAY (March 31, 2014)- HAVANA-COJIMAR (B, D)
Breakfast at Hotel. Today’s “Hemingway Day” includes Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigia, and lunch at Las Terrazas in the fishing village of Cojimar which inspired Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. An architect guides us through Old Havana’s historic areas, including Plaza de Armas, San Francisco Square and Church, Museum of the City (the former Governor’s Palace), La Fuerza Castle (with an explanation of the city’s historic defensive system) and Obispo and Mercaderes Streets. Of all the city’s castles, La Fuerza is the strongest and most formidable. It was built by Hernando de Soto before his discovery of the Mississippi River and is the oldest fort in the New World.

Lunch on your own (not included) After lunch, you’ll love visiting the Centro Cultural Almacenes (Artisans Market) of San José and interacting with local artisans. We finish day with a cocktail at Hemingway’s favorite bar, El Floridita and an evening dinner in the Vedado District near our hotel at Café Laurent, a family-run restaurant on a residential rooftop noted for its beautiful views, romantic ambiance, outstanding food, and excellent service.

Cuba's Fortresses

Havana Sunset
Day 10 - TUESDAY (April 1, 2014) - HAVANA (B, D)
Breakfast at Hotel. This morning we visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana (Museum of Fine Arts of Havana), to see its Cuban Arts collection, with an extensive display of Cuban paintings spanning the 17th century to the latest generation of Cuban artists, including landscape, religious subjects, and Cuban life. Afterward, we’ll visit artist workshops in the picturesque Old City of Havana. Lunch (not included) and free afternoon will be at your leisure. Dinner this evening is at Divina Pastora, known for its unique and stunning view over Havana Bay and the city from the veranda, along with its intimacy and fine food. After dinner, we visit La Cabaña Fortress for the exciting, colorful 9 PM Cannon Ceremony, in which soldiers dressed in 18th century uniform fire a cannon over Havana bay in a historical reconstruction dating to colonial times. We return to our hotel for our final night.
Day 11 - WEDNESDAY (April 2, 2014) - HAVANA-TAMPA (B)
Breakfast at Hotel. This morning’s visit to a Havana Cigar Factory takes you back in time even as the workers here go about their bustling business. Havana is birthplace of the world’s finest cigars, and a Cuban cigar factory is a world of history, craft, and senses unto itself.

Afterward, we’ll stop at Sloppy Joe’s Bar for a quick lunch of tapas or sandwiches (not included) or just to see and photograph this restaurant, which has just been restored and reopened in April 2013 after 48 years closed. Founded in 1918 by Galician immigrant José Abeal Otero, Sloppy Joe’s was a former hangout of American tourists and the rich and famous—including John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, Errol Flynn, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Rock Hudson, Babe Ruth, Nat King Cole, and Clark Gable—before the revolution. A frequent patron was Ernest Hemingway. Joy’s parents had a honeymoon photo taken here and perhaps you may have souvenir family photos similar to the one pictured to the right. And here’s a tidbit of history: the bar’s name was inspired by its famous sandwich, the ropa vieja, meaning “old clothes.” This messy sandwich contained shredded or ground steak in a tangy tomato-based sauce and was called a Sloppy Joe after the nickname of the owner José. Following the Cuban revolution in 1959, the bar was nationalized, then closed and abandoned in 1965. Now after a 3-year restoration it is again open, brought back exactly as it was—including its famous long black mahogany bar that you can see in the 1959 British film, Our Man in Havana, starring Alec Guinness and Maureen O’Hara. Read more about Sloppy Joe's restoration and historic Havana from Reuters and

We’ll transfer at 1 PM to Havana International Airport for our return flight to Tampa at 3:10 PM. Be sure to have your 25 Cuban Pesos departure (=$25 USD) tax at check-in. Arrive in Tampa at @4:30 PM.

Hotel Nacional

Jagua Hotel

Deluxe Luxury Accommodations In Havana’s Beautiful and Historic
5-Star Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Our hotels have been selected for their scenic location, their centrality to city landmarks and the Cuban people, their rich history, and the consistently glowing reviews from international travelers. Sitting high on a bluff overlooking the exquisite Malecón (Avenida de Maceo)—the broad esplanade, roadway and seawall that stretches 4 miles along Havana’s coast—the Hotel Nacional de Cuba is Havana’s most luxurious, bustling, and signature hotel. Rooms are large and many have ocean views. The vast lawn looks out over the sea from the bluff. The Compass Card is an outdoor marble terrace in the pattern of a nautical compass where you can enjoy a sunset drink overlooking the Malecón, with enormous cannons on either side. In short, there is no more central, luxury hotel in all Cuba, and you will love your stay here.

Luxury Accommodations In Cienfuego’s Class 4-Star Modernist Jagua Hotel

The classic recently renovated 1950’s-era Jagua Hotel overlooks the bay on the Cienfuegos Malecón, with gorgeous panoramic vistas from every direction. Built in the modernist style of the 1950’s, its colorful decor, spacious pool deck and renowned restaurants along with its location just minutes from the city center make it a favorite in this vibrant and beautiful city. Renovated between 1999 and 2002, it received the National Award for Restoration of Monuments in 2007 and is one of Cuba’s best-known hotels.

Hotel Nacional on Malecón

Jagua Hotel

Tour Artist/Cantorial Leader/Scholar-In-Residence
Joy Katzen-Guthrie

Composer-lyricist and concert artist as well as writer, keynote speaker and educator, Joy Katzen-Guthrie is devoted to uplifting, empowering, and inspiring through the arts and cultural studies. A Memphis, Tennessee native who has made her home in the Tampa Bay area since 1981, Joy has created and served as scholar-in-residence for six Jewish heritage tours throughout China from 2000-2008, a 2012 Jewish Heritage Tour of Turkey, and has developed heritage tours to Argentina, Australia/New Zealand, and Alaska in addition to helping arrange numerous private heritage tours to China and other countries as a tour consultant. She is Cantorial Leader for Congregation Beth Am (reform) in Tampa, a lecturer and instructor for Eckerd College and the University of South Florida Osher Institutes and Eckerd College Road Scholar Programs in the Tampa Bay area and learning series elsewhere. She melds a performance repertoire of some 4,000 songs with a vast knowledge of musical history in congregation, classroom, concert hall, and in 14 published recordings. With her husband Mark, Joy operates a professional recording studio, Tune-of-the-Century Music®, as well as sound design services for a roster of broadcast facilities, congregations, organizations, and individuals. She is a contributing writer to the Encyclopedia Judaica, and her photographs of China have been published worldwide. She has also received appointments to the Florida Artist Residency Directory, funded by the State Division of Cultural Affairs, and has been awarded two arts resource fund performance arts grants from the Pinellas County Arts Council/National Endowment for the Arts. Following studies at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with BA and BFA Degrees magna cum laude and cum laude in Broadcast Communications and Music, she served Tampa Bay’s WPLP/News-Talk Radio as Executive Producer and Operations Manager. Her extensive website,, is her own design and creation and she loves sharing her knowledge and appreciation of music culture and history, world faith traditions, Judaism, women’s studies, and creative expression through her performances, recordings, classes, workshops, and lectures.

Tour Cost PP: $4,095 Per Person USD (Double Occupancy)* • $495 Single Supplement • INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT
*Note: If paid by check or money order. Credit card payments add 3% for Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and 4% for AMEX

This wonderful card
and many more like it
are available online at


one-half of which is refundable up until 60 days prior to departure.
Please do not wait to reserve your space—Reserve IMMEDIATELY

Full payment absolutely due 60 days prior to departure (January 23, 2014) and is non-refundable.

Checks should be made out to RAMA TOURS and mailed to:
Carol Evans
Ultimate Group Tours
5153 A Salmon Dr., S.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Final payment may be made by all major credit cards with a 3% fee except AMEX, which is a 4% fee.

We highly recommend participants purchase travel insurance in the event something unexpected should occur pre-departure. It may be obtained from Rama Travel by calling 773-205-7903, ext. 1, or from any travel insurance company of your choice. PLEASE NOTE that insurance companies offer “pre-existing medical condition” coverage, but it generally must be purchased approximately within 2 weeks of paying the trip deposit. Ask your travel insurance agent for details.

PLEASE NOTE: You must have a current passport that does not expire within 6 months of your return.

For a pdf download of this itinerary, including details and registration form, CLICK HERE
Itinerary subject to change • Tour pricing based on 25 travelers

Tour Cost Includes:

  • All transfers within Cuba per program itinerary
  • Round-Trip International Airfare between Tampa and Havana, Sunday 3/23/14 to Wednesday 4/2/14
  • Security fees and taxes associated with Tampa-Havana roundtrip flight
  • 8-Nights at the renowned 5-star Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana
  • 2-Nights at the renowned 4-star Hotel Jagua, Cienfuegos, Cuba
  • 11 days A/C Bus Transportation, Private Driver, English-Speaking Cuban Guide
  • Services of Tour Artist/Scholar-in-Residence Joy Katzen-Guthrie (Spiritual and History Specialist)
  • Full schedule of activities including entrances to all sites per itinerary
  • 10 Breakfasts, 7 dinners, 6 lunches (including Shabbat meals and Farewell Dinner)
  • Medical insurance within Cuba (standard Cuban procedure, included with international flight)
  • Visa, Licensing, and Processing Fee are included in tour pricing (worth an estimated $275)
  • Our group will provide donations of goods and cash to each Jewish congregation we visit: a portion of your tour cost benefits these gifts.
    We strongly encourage you to bring additional goods of your choice or cash to gift to each congregation or other local organizations while in Cuba.

Tour Cost Excludes:

  • Optional trip cancellation insurance
  • U.S. domestic flight connection to Tampa if needed
    • Any extras at the hotels such as laundry, drinks, phone calls.
    • Any snacks, meals, or activities not mentioned in the day by day itinerary or meals noted as not included
    • Tips for guide/driver (recommended minimum $8 total per day total for both) or for bellhops, hotel staff, concierge or waiters
    • 25 Cuban Pesos (Equivalent to $25 USD) departure tax in Cuba at check-in for flight to Tampa. You must provide this in cash at the airport.
    • Round-trip charge on international flight is $20 PER CHECKED BAG
      PLEASE NOTE: Charter Airline baggage allowance TOTAL is 44 pounds INCLUDING all check-in bags AND carry-on.

      Excess weight over 44 pounds total per passenger is $2 per pound. No bag or package/box may weigh more than 70 pounds, regardless of size
      Carry on: 20 lb. FREE for two-item limit (such as carry-on bag plus purse or similar, weighed together)
      Non-luggage, irregular boxes and packages are $20 per piece + $3 per pound
      Cargo: Bulk Shipments such as boxes/equipment are $20 each with weight limit of 70 lbs per item]

      As a courtesy, we share the following information:
      Internet Service is available in the hotel. We are warned that it is very slow compared to US service and can be unreliable.
      It is advised NOT to bring laptop computers or cellphones to Cuba. They are expensive to operate and unreliable, especially in hotel rooms
      Cameras and photography are welcomed most anywhere, though there might be a nominal charge to take photos of some shrines or museums.
      Think of your trip to Cuba as a VACATION FROM your devices. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity and a chance to enjoy an electronic-less experience.
      Emergency calls can be made from US to the travel agent who will immediately notify the guide. Additionally, the tour leader will be able to call guide/driver in Cuba,
      Many items are not available for purchase and you will want to bring everything you may need, but will want to keep luggage to a minimum because of weight restrictions and costs.
      Wear cool, casual, comfortable clothes; shorts are common, but March is not a hot month. Women may wear pants/tallit/kipah to synagogue. Bring light jacket/sweater if easily chilled.
      One US dollar currently=One Cuban Convertible Peso (subject to change), no calculation is necessary for the exchange, which can be made at hotels. US Dollars can NOT be used.
      Cash is King. You cannot use US credit cards, Travelers Cheques or ATM's in Cuba because there is no banking relationship between the US & Cuba today.
      There is no limit on how much you spent or purchase in Cuba. However, US custums may confiscate rum or cigars if you return with them.
      Do not drink from the tap. Buy bottled water, which is easily available. You'll be provided 2 bottles a day on the bus.
      March is sunny with average temperature of 75F day, 70F night. March is one of Cuba's driest months.
      Bring your hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, medicines, vitamins and antibiotics
      Yes, toilet paper is in very short supply. Bring enough to last the full duration of your visit.
      Additional details provided at request—please feel free to ask!

Our Humanitarian Mission to the Jewish Communities of Cuba
Our mission is to take a wonderful collection of donations of supplies and ritual objects to support and benefit the Jewish community.
We request that you bring gifts as you desire of prayer shawls, yarmulkes, menorahs, candles, tefillin, prayer texts (Hebrew/Spanish), CD’s,
Judaic and educational books, Shabbat/Havdalah/Hanukkah candles, children’s books and coloring books, crayons, chalk, toys/games, clothing,
art supplies, musical instruments, guitar strings, pens/paper, hygienic items like soap, toothpaste, toiletries, makeup, thermometers,
gloves, shoes, Spanish/English dictionaries, over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, antibiotic cream, band-aids,
vitamins, sheets and towels, sponges, and cash donations. These items are not easily attainable to the residents of Cuba.

  • Deposit of $500 Deposit Deadline EXTENDED!!
    BUT ABSOLUTELY DUE NO LATER THAN NOVEMBER 21, 2013, one-half of which is refundable up until 60 days prior to departure.
    Please do not wait to reserve your space—Reserve IMMEDIATELY

    Full payment of balance absolutely due 60 days prior to departure (January 23, 2014)
    and is non-refundable

    For more information or questions:
    5153 A Salmon Drive, S.E.
    St. Petersburg, FL 33705

    For a pdf download of this itinerary
    including details and registration form

    I am so grateful to the following for their photographs and resources:
    Cathedral de San Cristobal Cienfuegos MaleconCannon CeremonyCuba ImagesHavanaHavana ImagesHavana PanoramaHemingway Marina
    Hotel NacionalIglesia Parroquial Mayor San Juan BautistaJewish CubaJews of CubaJose Fuster ImagesLiberty Statue Remedios Menorah Memorial
    Palacio de VallePatronato Synagogue Pinar Del Rio ImagesPinar Del RioTrinidad Reconnecting with CubaVirtual Jewish History Tour Cuba
    Wikipedia Cuba ImagesWikipedia Cuba PortalCreative Commons Information and License

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