Expert's Corner

Warm Greetings! I’m Luis D'Aguiar, and I warmly invite you to join our educational journeys to Cuba, the least commercialized, largest, and most exciting island in the Caribbean. Cuban culture is a very diverse cultural blend of African, European and North American design reflecting the diverse demographic of the island. I studied at the University of Havana, and guided hundreds of cultural groups from the most prestigious North American museums of arts before moving to Canada. Today Cuban contemporary art remains one of the few export items for collectors. Come and join us! Need help, send me a message.
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US Jews who are actively involved in religious congregations, or are part of the staff of such Jewish organizations, can now go to Cuba under the premises of the General License. North American Jews can book their travel services with US based travel agencies and tour operators included in the list of OFAC authorized TSPs (Travel Service Providers). Alternatively, they can book their travel services to Cuba with travel agencies or tour operators based outside of the United States of America. In that case, the USA Cuba Travel Service provider should not be included in the OFAC List of TSPs.

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Cuba's Fire Festival
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havana book fair
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Jewish Cuba Tours & Travel

The Jews of Cuba, Cuba Tours & Travel 2015 Cuba Tour for US Jews Cuban Jewish Heritage Picture of Cuba's National Hotel Cuba Tours for US Jews

This Jewish Heritage Cuba Tour travels to Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santa Clara for $2,429 (all taxes included)


Go Up Front and Get To Know Cuban Jews Up Close and Personal


From August 12 to August 19, 2016


Referral Discount: $100


Invite 1 Friend and Pay $2,329 only
Invite 2 Friends and Pay $2,229 only
Invite 3 Friends and Pay $2,129 only
Invite 4 Friends and Pay $2,029 only
Invite 10 Friends and Pay $0
And remember every person you invite
will also receive a $100 discount!


Those American Jews seeking to understand what life is like for Jews in Cuba today should join this tour that also shed lights on the origins of the Jewish settlement in the largest island in the Greater Antilles. As you explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites, picturesque towns and villages and amazing landscapes, you will meet with Cuban Jewish leaders and Jews who will passionately share with you their stories and dreams for a better future.

Attending the daily minyanim at the orthodox shul, Adath Israel in Old Havana; meeting Jewish congregations at Havana’s largest synagogues Beth Shalom and Centro Sefardita in Vedado district; traveling to colonial towns and cities outside the Cuban capital to meet with smaller Jewish communities such as those in Santa Clara and Cienfuegos are all highlights of our Cuba tours for the North American Jewish traveller.

Authentic Cuba Travel invites Jewish travelers, Jewish organizations and congregations from all over the United States to join The Jews of Cuba Tour. The USA Cuba travel experience features people to people exchanges with Cuban Jewish communities in Havana, Santa Clara and Cienfuegos. It also features the exploration of four UNESCO Heritage Sites along the way.



Booking this religious tour to Cuba with us means more than the ability to get an up close and personal look into the life of Cuban Jews. It means exploring the best than Cuba has to offer at a great value while staying at beautiful accommodations such as the National Hotel of Cuba, Cuba’s signature hotel that has hosted an endless list of celebrities throughout its history. This cultural tour to Cuba also includes modern air-conditioning transportation and best tour guide services. It all combines to take the Jewish traveler to discover the authentic Cuba that exists beyond secluded beach resorts and off the beaten path.

Take A Sneak Peak at the Cuban Destinations You Will Visit Outside Havana





Following in the footsteps of famed American author Ernest Hemingway, attending the popular 9 O’Clock Cannon Ceremony, traversing the Valley of the Sugar Mills and touring the Partagas Cigar Factory (1845) are only some of the cultural activities of this educational tour to Cuba which is packed full with excitement and discovery. Please, do find the detailed itinerary below for all that’s included in our Cuba tours for the Jewish travelers. We have limited space availability so book at your earliest convenience to make sure you do not miss out this lifetime opportunity to go to Cuba.

Jewish Cuba Tours Highlights

  • Tour Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Exchange with the Jewish Community of Centro Sefardita
  • Join in the Daily Activities of El Patronato
  • Participate in Services at the Adath Israel Synagogue
  • Explore Cienfuegos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Tour Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Visit Santa Clara City in Central Cuba.
  • Travel to the Valley of the Sugar Mills.
  • Get to Know Jewish Communities in Santa Clara and Cienfuegos
  • Tour of Jewish Cemeteries in Havana and Santa Clara
  • Follow in the Footsteps of Ernest Hemingway.
  • Tour Cojimar fishing village, Hemingway's favorite hangout!
  • Explore Finca La Vigia, where Hemingway lived for over 20 years.
  • Attend Shooting of the 9 O'clock Cannon, Cuba's most popular!
  • Guided tour of Partagas Cigar Factory, founded in 1845.

Notice to US citizens:

Cuba Jewish Travel is licensable for US citizens who are members or staff or Jewish religious communities interested in participating in a Cuba tour of Jewish religious activities.

Authentic Cuba Travel is able to offer the Jewish Heritage Cuba Tour to US Jews and members or staff of US based synagogues and Jewish organizations because of new categories for Cuba legal travel introduced by OFAC last year that allow educational groups to go to Cuba as part of full time programs of religious content under the provisions of the General License.
Rebeca Langus  welcomes Authentic Cuba Travel participants.
Rebeca Langus (above), the active leader of the Jewish community of Cienfuegos meets with US Jewish travelers at her home which also serves as the gathering place for the Jewish community in the city as there’s no synagogue or temple. Authentic Cuba Travel will take tour participants to meet with Rebeca, her family and other Jewish families in the “Pearl of the South”.
Oldest Shul in Havana, Chevet Ahim.
Dating back from 1914, the Chevet Achim Synagogue is the oldest one in Cuba. Unfortunately it is closed today due to the advanced estate of disrepair which has doomed the building as inhabitable and structurally unsound. Havana’s Jews are working hard to restore the building into a museum.
Orthodox Shule, Adath Israel, Cuba.
The orthodox shul serving the city is the Adath Israel located in Old Havana, the historical center of Cuba’s capital city. Our Jewish heritage Cuba tours take tour participants to meet with the Jewish congregation and attend services at this synagogue that has been financially supported by Jewish communities in Canada, USA and other countries in recent years. This Cuban synagogue proudly maintains social and religious programs conducted by their own trained leaders and even serves meals (twice a day) for members in attendance.
Bet Shalom in Vedado, Havana, Cuba. The Beth Shalom gathers the largest Jewish congregation in Cuba. Its modern temple, known as El Patronato was built in 1952 in the Vedado district and it was refurbished in the 1990’s with the support of the international Jewish community. It contains a library, pharmacy and other facilities to serve its members.
Centro Sefardita de La Habana, Cuba.
The Sephardic Hebrew Center in Vedado neighborhood is housed in a modern building from the 1950’s that we will tour as part of our Cuba travel to the world of the Cuban Jews. Offering Kabbalat Shabbat services and Saturday morning Shacharit each week, the Centro Sefardita celebrates all Jewish festivals and host several educational programs such as the School for Adults every Sunday.
Hemingway and Fidel, Cuba.
Ernest Hemingway and Fidel Castro met only once at a marlin fishing contest in 1960. Yet several pictures were taking of this historical moment such as the one above. Another great picture was published by Life Magazine showing the moment when the famed American novelist hands over to young Fidel a trophy for catching the largest marlin. Yes, Fidel won the contest!
Jewish Cemetery in Santa Clara, Cuba.
Our Cuba tours will take American Jewish travelers to central Cuba to meet with members of the Jewish community, Tikun Olam of Santa Clara. Accompanied by David Tacher, the congregation leader, tour participants will visit the Jewish cemetery and newest synagogue to complete the Cuba travel experience.
Once a wedding present to Del Valle family, Palacio del Valle has become one of the most visited palaces in the Caribbean city of Cienfuegos. Housing an iconic restaurant today where tour participants will have lunch, the palace showcases Moorish style architecture, an elaborate marble staircase and four distinct lookout towers at the rooftop.
Immersing in the authentic Cuba that extends from coast to coast outside secluded all inclusive beach resorts is the goal of our Cuba tours and this cultural journey is no exception. So UNESCO World Heritage Site Trinidad and the Valley of the Sugar Mills are authentic Cuban destinations we cannot miss. Founded by the Spaniards in the early 16th century, the city flourished in the 19th century. But at the turn of that same century, the economic development was halted all of a sudden. What happened back then?

Travel to Cuba legally from US



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  • Day 1. Friday 12 August 2016. Hello Cuba

    All connecting flights to Havana arrive at the Jose Marti International airport in Havana City. You will meet your Authentic Cuba Tours guide at the designated waiting lounge once you go through customary airport procedures.

    Orientation will be provided during the short bus ride from the airport to the your hotel in Vedado district.

    Get yourself familiar with the National hotel’s amenities as you complete the check in process with the assistance of your tour guide and the hotel’s staff. Breakfast is served at La Veranda restaurant every morning and it is complimentary.

    After some refreshment, we will go out to start our evening exploration of the city. The first visit would be to the Beth Shalom synagogue, better known as El Patronato de La Comunidad Hebrea to meet the Jewish congregation and part take in the Kabalath-Shabbat services.

    Day 2. Saturday 13 August 2016. Sephardic Hebrew Center

    Morning: US Jewish travelers will join services this morning at the Centro Sefardita. Next we will tour the temple and other facilities of this modern building by the hand of Mayra Levy, one of the Jewish community leaders who will tell us about the history of the Sephardic Jews in Cuba. Talking to members is also a great chance to learn firsthand about the daily life of the Jews in Cuba’s capital today.

    Afterwards, and escorted by leaders of the Sephardic Centre we will visit the Chevet Achim Shul in Old Havana which is the city oldest temple. Even though, this synagogue is not in use today due to the unstable structure of the building, it is a good opportunity to learn about the plans of the Sephardic Jews to turn it into a museum. This trip also serves as an introduction to the historical centre of the city.

    Before embarking on a more in depth exploration of Old Havana this afternoon, we will enjoy a complimentary lunch at La Mina restaurant which is popular because of its authentic Cuban dishes and a host band which plays traditional rhythms live.

    Afternoon: the best way to explore the sights and sounds of the historical center is by foot. Our Authentic Cuba Tours guide will show us to four out of the five oldest colonial squares in Old Havana today.

    We will start at the religious square of the city, the Cathedral Square which takes its name from the Catedral de La Habana completed in the late 18th century. Surrounded by majestic palaces such as the Palace of the Counts of Lombillo, the Palace of the Marquises of Arcos and the Palace of Marquises of Aguas Claras this is the most secluded plaza in the city and the prettiest one.

    Next we are off to visit the oldest colonial plaza in the city, the Square of Arms which was a symbol of the Spanish power in the Caribbean island nation for more than 400 years. Used in the mornings for the military exercises of the garrison of the adjacent Fortress of the Royal Force in the 16th and 17th centuries, the plaza was also the stage for official celebrations and political rallies in colonial times and even during the first years of the Republican times.

    On a spot marked by a huge ceiba tree and a small neoclassical building known as El Templete, the Villa of San Cristobal de La Habana was founded in 1519, an event that was depicted by French painter Jean Baptiste Vermay in three large paintings contained inside the building since 1828. Next to El Templete we find the 18th century Palace of the Counts of Santovenia that houses today the Santa Isabel hotel.

    The Palace of the Captains General and the Palace of the Vice- Governor have stood on the west side of the Square of Arms since the late 18th century. The imposing buildings were erected using local coral stones from the area and slave labor and were the seat of Spanish rulers until Cuba gained its independende at the beginning of the 20th century.

    In our Cuba tours we also include a visit to the Square of San Francisco de Asis which is named after the convent and church on the south side of the square which displays the highest bell tower in Old Havana. This colonial square dates back to the times when Spanish galleons unloaded Spanish immigrants and African slaves in Havana’s harbor front.

    All along colonial and Republican times the square had a busy commercial life, and even today La Lonja del Comercio, the pretty domed building that takes the north side of the square provides office space for foreign companies and joint ventures operating in Cuba.

    Plaza Vieja is the last colonial plaza we will visit today. Used for years as a market and a forum for the people of Havana to discuss their daily affairs, Plaza Vieja is today an important epicenter for the promotion of Cuban visual arts with institutions such as the Cuban Photo Gallery, the Center for the Development of Visual Arts and other art galleries occupying the one- time palaces of Havana’s aristocracy.

    Tour participants of this Cuban Jews discovery tour will then enjoy free time at Old Havana’s famed handicraft market, where locally made souvenirs and crafts are available for purchase.

    We will then return to the hotel for some refreshments before tonight's evening venue.

    Evening: learn such popular Cuban dances as Rumba, Salsa, and the authentic Cuban Son with the help of bandleaders as we enjoy the sights and sounds of a local Cuban band playing just for Authentic Cuba travel guests!

    Day 3. Sunday 14 August 2016. Ernest Hemingway in Havana

    Morning: this morning we go up front to meet with the president of the Adath Israel congregation in Old Havana. The Adath Israel synagogue is the orthodox shul serving the city. It was built in 1959, the same year that the Cuban Revolution came to power. The founding members left to the United Sates within a few years. Today the synagogue showcases a fully restored 600-seat sanctuary in the second floor which is used mainly on holidays.

    Next we are off to Guanabacoa, a humble town at the other side of the bay of Havana to visit the cemeteries of the Jewish community in Havana, one for the Sephardic Jews and one for the Ashkenazic Jews. Dating back the beginning of the 20th century, a Spanish gate with the star of David marks the entrance to the cementer that also contains a Holocaust Memorial.

    The rest of the day will be devoted to follow in the footsteps of famous American novelist, Ernest Hemingway. Our Cuba travel takes us to Cojimar first, a fishermen coastal town where the famed writer used to hang out in the afternoon after he finished his morning writing sessions at Finca La Vigia. Here Hemingway docked El Pilar, his provervial boat.

    We will have lunch at Las Terrazas de Cojimar restaurant. This is the same “The Terrace” that Hemingway depicts in his book The Old Man and the Sea and where the author enjoyed spending time drinking with the local fishermen.

    From Cojimar, we will go on to tour Finca La Vigia, an estate house located atop a hill about twenty kilometeres east of Havana. This property is where Ernest Hemingway lived from 1939 until 1960, more than 20 years. World known Hemingway's works such as Islands in the Stream, The Old Man and the Sea, and Across the River and Into the Trees were written here.

    Since 1961, a museum was established to preserve the thousands of books, art collection, guns, fishing tackle and other properties of Hemingway. Among the most precious belongings of the famed journalist, the museum also contains original manuscripts, over three thousand photos and letters and other documentation.

    The museum draws millions of visitors and scholars every year looking to learn more about the life and work of Ernest Hemingway. And it is included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation List of of Endangered Places as well as in the World Monuments Fund.

    Evening: before the night draws to a close, tour participants of this authentic Cuba tour will have the opportunity to attend the Fire of the Cannon of 9 O'Clock, a tradition held at the Fortress of San Carlos de Cabana that dates back to colonial times and it is considered one of Havana’s oldest and most popular ceremonies.

    Day 4. Monday 15 August 2016. Cultural Attractions in Havana

    Morning: guided tour of one of the most iconic cigar factories in Cuba, the Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas founded in 1845 by Don Jaime Partagas, the most influential businessman in the Cuban cigar industry of the 19th century who also named a cigar brand after himself the very same year.

    He realized that quality tobacco leaves were the key to produce the finest cigars so he bought plantations in Vuelta Abajo, a region in the western province of Pinar del Rio that has traditionally been recognized as Cuba’s prime tobacco growing lands. He also came up with the best methods for tobacco leave fermentation, aging and curing. The way of decorating and packing the cigar boxes today are also partially its very own ideas that were soon imitated all through the industry.

    Lunch is not complimentary today which presents as an excellent opportunity to try a Cuban Paladar (family- owned private restaurant) (optional/ not included in costs). Your Authentic Cuba Tours guide will help you booking. No worries.

    Afternoon: regardless the reason you decided to travel to Cuba, a visit to the Palace of Fine Arts (Cuban Collection Building) is always an authentic Cuban attraction not to be missed. This world class museum showcases the largest collection of Cuban art in the planet. Period. It is impeccably curated into 8 thematic rooms dedicated to distinct historical periods from colonial arts to the conceptual art of the last decades.

    Evening: there are countless evening entertainment venues around the National hotel every night. We recommend the Cuba explorer to walk a couple of blocks to the Jazz club, La Zorra y El Cuervo, Havana’s top Jazz venue to enjoy Latin jazz, Cuba jazz, and other rhythms by Cuba’s leading Jazz Musicians (optional/ not included).

    Day 5. Tuesday 16 August 2016. Cuba Explorer Hats On! Travel to Central Cuba

    Morning: today marks the beginning of our exploration of Cuba’s countryside so put your Cuba explorer caps on! Along the journey, we will discover the authentic Cuba that exists in historical cities like Santa Clara our first destination which is renowned for being the last battleground in the war against the army of dictator, Fulgencio Batista.

    Tired of the attacks of Caribbean pirates and buccaneers, the inhabitants of Remedios, a coastal town in the northern shoreline of central Cuba, founded Santa Clara inland in 1689.

    The city is also a popular destination for those seeking to understand better the life of Argentinean guerilla fighter Ernesto “Che” Guevara whose remains rest in a Mausoleum at the Square of the Revolution which will be our first visit upon arrival at the city. The crypt-like resting place also contains the remains of sixteen of Che Guevara’s companion guerilla fighters who were killed in Bolivia in 1967. Adjacent we find a Museum showcasing photos, belongings, documentation and artifacts related to the guerilla fighter.

    From the museum, we will go for some complementary lunch and refreshments to the Los Caneyes Hotel.

    Afternoon: we will meet with one of the most thriving Jewish communities outside Havana, the Tikum Olam congregation in Santa Clara. Escorted by David Tacher, its leader and other members we will pay a visit to the Jewish cemetery and the refurbished synagogue to learn more about the Cuban Jews of central Cuba.

    In the late afternoon, we will say farewell to our new Cuban friends in Santa Clara and hit the road again. This time we will go south to the Caribbean city of Cienfuegos, The Pearl of the South where we will spend the next two nights.

    With the assistance of our Authentic Cuba Travel tour guide, we will complete the check in at the Jagua hotel smoothly over a welcome cocktail. Please do notice the excellent location of the hotel surrounded by the waters of the Cienfuegos’ Bay in Punta Gorda, the former upper class neighborhood of Cienfuegos’ wealthiest families before the Revolution.

    We will enjoy a complimentary dinner at the hotel. The Jagua hotel also provides various evening entertainment venues for its guests, a cabaret show and a disco that we can explore if we feel like dancing or listening to good music tonight.

    Day 6 Wednesday 17 August 2016. Connecting with the Jews of Cienfuegos

    Morning: unfortunately Cienfuegos lacks a synagogue or temple for the local Jewish congregation to gather around holidays and to attend Shabbat services, so the apartment of Rebecca Langus is considered by all as the epicenter of Jewish life in the city. And that includes our tour participants who will be welcomed by Rebecca, her family and other Jews of Cienfuegos this morning for a chat about the origins and challenges of the congregation today.

    Lunch will be served at Palacio del Valle, an upscale restaurant that was once the residence of the wealthy Del Valle family. Built with the most expensive foreign materials at the time, like European marble and alabaster, the palace showcases Moorish-style architecture with elements of the Gothic style like the entryway guarded by iconic lions.

    Afternoon: our North American Jewish travelers will embark next in a guided tour of the historical center of Cienfuegos. The old town has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the large number of well preserved neoclassical buildings contained within this area. Our Authentic Cuba tour guide will start the afternoon exploration at park Jose Marti, the original site of foundation of the city in 1819.

    Inaugurated in 1895 with a performance of Verdi’s Aida, the theatre Tomas Terry stands on the north side of the park. This remarkable 950 seat auditorium still showcases most original elements such as the hardwoods carved seats, the detailed ironwork of the balconies and the wall murals and ceiling fresco.

    The east side of the square is occupied by the neoclassical Catedral de la Purisima Concepcion which also showcases several original pieces such as the made-in-France clock tower machinery and the stained glass windows.

    The provincial Art Gallery La Maroya on the south side of Parque Marti has one of the best collections of local arts and crafts for sale in the city. Therefore, all our Cuba tours provide some free time for personal explorations and free souvenir shopping.

    Evening: your Authentic Cuba Tours guide will keep you posted on entertainment venues in the city tonight. Usually Casa de La Musica, within a walking distance from the Jagua hotel, features the most popular Cuban bands and it is a great place to meet locals and dance all night long (optional/ not included in costs).

    Day 7. Thursday 18 August 2016. Day trip to Trinidad

    Morning: today we will embark on the exploration of one of Cuba’s most authentic colonial cities. In fact, no other city is Cuba is charge with such a colonial atmosphere as beautiful Trinidad.

    The best way to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site is by foot. Trinidad is a faultless remnant of the early colonial days with beautifully conserved cobblestone streets and mansions with barely a trace modern times.

    We will visit the Architecture Museum of Trinidad which houses an incredible array of samples representative of the Trinitarian architectural development in the 1700’s and 1800’s. The mansion was the former residence of one of Trinidad’s wealthiest families, the Sanchez Iznaga who owned extensive sugar cane plantations in the Sugar Mill Valley.

    Another mansion surrounding the Plaza Mayor (town’s central square) is the one of the Counts of Brunet housing today the arguably most visited of museums in Trinidad. The Romantic Museum showcases the typical domestic daily life and decorative objects (porcelain, glass, paintings and furniture) of Trinidad’s aristocracy.

    Displaying a collection of trucks, weapons, items related to the Cuban Revolution struggle to get rid of counter-revolutionary military gangs operating in the Escambray Mountains in the early 1960’s, we will visit the Museo de La Lucha contra Bandidos that occupies the area of the former Convento de San Francisco.

    Trinidad is famous for its many pottery makers, and before departing, we will take the time to meet The Santanders; a family that’s been passing down the authentic Cuba’s tradition of making pottery for generations.

    We will make a stop at a lookout point over the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sugar Mill Valley for a panoramic view of the breathtaking natural beauty of the fertile plains where Trinidad’s sugar cane plantation owners established their estates and mills.

    Before heading back to our hotel in Cienfuegos, we will enjoy some free time in the historical center for some last minute shopping in the array of street markets that of the city.

    Day 8. Friday 19 August 2016. The Jewish Heritage Cuba Tour Comes to an End

    We will depart early in the morning to Havana City International Airport so that our tour participants may catch their flights back home.

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