Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interested in Traveling to Cuba?

From Friday, April 20 through Tuesday, April 24, Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot of Penn Quarter's Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar (801 9th Street, NW, 202.408.1600) will bring an intimate group of 15 travelers to Havana, Cuba for a rare look at the island.  Working with Insight Cuba, the leading provider of authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens, Chef Pernot accompanied by his Cuban-born wife Lucia, whose great-great-grandfather was Cuba’s 3rd president, together will be hosting guests and offering the first chance for most Americans to travel to the island which, until recently, has been restricted by embargo-era U.S. regulations.  
The group will depart from Miami, Florida and head to Cuba for a five-day, four-night journey through Havana.  The culinary tour is open to the public and cost $4,000 per person for double occupancy accommodations and $4,500 for single occupancy.  The cost includes:  round-trip airfare to Cuba, hotel accommodations; all meals; each day’s guided activities; U.S. Treasury Department License and Letter of Authorization from Insight Cuba; an English-speaking Cuban tour guide; all entrance fees for scheduled activities; all Cuban ground transportation, transfers and taxi fares to restaurants, paladares and other scheduled destinations; travel health insurance; emergency medical evacuation; trip cancellation coverage (up to $1000); and an Insight Cuba Travel Handbook.  The cost excludes the expense of traveling to Miami before departure, air and visa processing fees, a departure tax of $25, baggage fees, alcoholic beverages and tips given to service staff. 
Five-star hotel accommodations will be provided by Hotel Palacio del Marqués de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal, an elegant hotel in a historical building located in Old Havana.  Through Insight Cuba’s licensed “people-to-people” program, Chef Pernot and his wife will help foster first-hand connections between Americans and Cubans as the group navigates bustling city life, historic landmarks and discovers the new tastes of Cuba.  The program, which highlights meaningful interactions with the people of Cuba, will include activities such as:  a walking tour of historic Old Havana with stops at the famous Cathedral Square, Plaza de Armas and the City Museum; a presentation on the evolution of Cuban cuisine at the Cuban Culinary Association; a trip to “Finca Vigia,” Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban home where he lived from 1939-1960 and penned “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea”; a visit to UBPC Vivero Organopóniceo Alamar, one of the most successful organic urban farms in Cuba; and Convento de Belen, “The Convent of Bethlehem,” a former religious institution which now functions as a place of recreation and culture and also offers medical care.  
In addition to dining at the hotel, guests will travel to numerous local paladares, Cuba’s popular restaurants typically set inside a chef’s own home as well as other restaurants.  Renowned paladares on the itinerary include those participating in Cuba Libre’s popular guest chef series, Pop-up Paladares, which invites Havana’s most notable chefs to cook at Cuba Libre and showcase the new cuisine of Cuba.  The first event of the dinner series was held this past January in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and another chef will be invited this summer. 

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