CasaQ Cuba Foodie Fantasy Adventure


CasaQ Cuba Foodie Fantasy Adventure

Havana Culinary Exchange

September 28 thru October 1, 2016

5 Day / 4 Nights • Cost per Person $2,780.00 Double Occupancy

September 24 thru October 1, 2016

8 Days / 7 Nights  •  Cost per Person: $4,950.00 Double Occupancy

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CasaQ would like to invite you to venture to Cuba for an unforgettable foodie fantasy adventure from September 24 – October 1, 2016 to experience the first HAVANA CULINARY EXCHANGE brings together Celebrity Chefs, Sommeliers, Mixologists and Wineries from United States and Cuba to celebrate and advance public knowledge of and appreciation for great food and wine.  The Festival provides a diverse range of interactive and educational epicurean experience while showcasing the area’s unique and rich culture, history and traditions interacting with the Cuban society. Collectively they have appeared as competitors and judges across Food Network’s Chopped, Iron Chef,  BravoTV’s Top Chef, FYI’s Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown and appeared in Gourmet, Restaurant, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Sunset MagazineUSA Today and every major network. 

Not only will be experiencing some of the best cuisine from the USA & Cuba but you’ll  be able to explore this beautiful Caribbean island with unprecedented access. You’ll explore numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites that will transport you to another era to take in the colonial architecture, stunning landscapes and seaside towns with Cuban locals.

You’ll experience Cuba’s rich cultural past of Meso-American, Spanish, French, African & British influence through food, music and dance.

You’ll follow the footsteps of famed author Ernest Hemingway from his private home to favorite spots which inspired him to live in Cuba for over 20 years.

Special Appearances by Celebrity Chefs

Douglas Rodriguez – Godfather of Nuevo Latino Food

John Mooney –  Revolutionizing Sustainable Foods

Aaron May – LTB Concepts

Susur Lee – Lee

Mike Isabella – Mike Isabella Concepts

Michael Ginor – Hudson Valley Foie Gras

Dean Corbett – Honorable Order of the Golden Toque

Brad Kilgore – Alter

Kevin Sbraga – Sbraga Dining

Fernando Martinez – Olé Restaurant Group

Bernie Matz – Connoisseur of the Taco

Darlene Tenes – CasaQ

See complete list of talent

See Full Itinerary

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Adventure Includes:

  • Roundtrip Airfare to/from Miami to Havana
  • Accommodations at IBEROSTAR Parque Central Hotellocated in central Havana. Cuba’s no#1 luxury hotel where the most elite travelers stay.
  • Luxury 24/7 Dedicated Air-conditioned Motor Coach and Driver
  • A private English-speaking Cuban guide and translator
  • Exclusive access to Havana Culinary Exchange Festival with Celebrity Chefs & Sommeliers from the USA & Cuba
  • All Meals including daily themed competitions amongst chefs where you are the judge
  • Official Asistur Cuban Health Insurance Coverage.
  • Guided tour of Old Havana founded in 1519, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a showcase of baroque and neoclassic architecture, music and culture
  • Explore Cuba’s paladares, private home restaurants offering exciting cuisine in atmospheric surroundings
  • Exclusive receptions at the studios of leading Cuban artists and shopping in Cuba’s best Art and Craft Markets.
  • Travel to Cienfuegos, a charming waterfront city founded in 1819 known as the “Pearl of the South”, has a distinctive French influence
  • Visit the tobacco plantations & agriculture in Valle de Viñales, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the most photographed stunning landscapes in Cuba
  • Explore Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement where the clocks stopped ticking in 1850
  • Explore Sugar Mill Valley, a UNESCO Heritage Site, where you’ll see the opulent ruins of the wealth built by sugar mills with African slave labor
  • Follow in the footsteps of Nobel Prize winner and American author, Ernest Hemingway as we visit two of his favorite watering holes in Havana
  • Visit Cojimar Fishing Village, where Hemingway was inspired to write one of his most famous works, The Old Man and the Sea
  • Explore Hemingway’s private home, Finca La Vigia, outside of Havana where he lived for over 20 Years.
  • Tour of Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba’s Arts School with pavilions for dance, art, music, and drama
  • Guided tour of El Morro Fortress, built in the 16th Centur
  • – Cuban Tourist Card – Visa.
  • – Airport Taxes and Fees.
  • – Cuban airport departure tax.
  • – Health insurance for emergency coverage.
  • – 24 hour assistance.
  • – Compliance with US Treasury Department.

Adventure does not include:

  • – Airfare to/from Miami.
  • – Meals other that listed on itinerary or describe as on your own.
  • – Gratuities for guide and driver.
  • – Individualized hotel expenses (mini bar, room services, laundry fees, etc.).
  • *** A Cuban born traveler’s please contact our office prior to fill the reservation form.

US Travel to Cuba – FAQs

 Is it legal to travel to Cuba?

There are twelve categories of travel to Cuba that are authorized under a U.S. Department of the Treasury general license including family visits, official government business, journalism, research, education, religious activities, performances, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and humanitarian trips. According to new changes implemented on March 16, 2016, US citizens can now go to Cuba under the General License for People-to-people Educational Travel.  Under this category, Americans can legally travel to Cuba provided they participate in guided tours with a company that provides a full schedule of educational exchange activities intended to promote meaningful interaction between the traveler and Cuban citizens.  What’s great about that is, you will be able to interact with artists, musicians, professionals, and other fascinating people in real-life settings. Tour companies also take care of all the details, such as paperwork, flights, hotel reservations and just about everything else. Keep in mind that individual tourist travel is still prohibited, meaning that although having a drink at the beach while chatting it up with the locals may be educational, it’s not going to pass muster.

What about airfare/flights to Cuba?

Currently there are Charter Flights flying to Cuba mostly out of Miami & Los Angeles. The travel agent will be able to help you book a flight. However, commercial flights are expected to begin in September on major American airlines such as American, Alaska, Delta, Southwest, United and JetBlue and may be up to 50% less. Alternatively, some people are booking cheap flights to Miami now and are planning to take a ferry to Cuba which is expected to start service this Fall as well. See SFO to MIA Flights. When the floodgates open the people that will be granted flights first will be those with their approved tours and visas in order. Tourism trips to Cuba are still not allowed. 

Weather

In September / October the temperatures range between 74-81ºF with the ocean water a cozy 79ºF. See Havana, Cuba Weather Forecast.

Money / ATMs / Credit Cards

First of all the exchange rate is really easy – One CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) = One US Dollar. Now it gets complicated…Cuban currency is NOT traded internationally, so you can not buy it in advance. You buy it when you arrive in Cuba. Then, there is a 10% penalty charged when exchanging USA dollars cash, so, you will only receive 87 centavos CUC for one USA dollar when changing the money, allowing for the 10% penalty and a 3% currency exchange fee.  Many visitors withdraw Canadian or Mexican money from there bank prior to arriving to Cuba so they don’t have to pay the 10% fee only charged against US dollars. Make sure to bring new crisp bills and no change. The best exchange rate is at any bank and the worst is at your hotel which is not regulated.

ATMs are virtually nonexistent and very few locations take credit cards.  In general cash is king in Cuba, although legal to use now, you should not count on paying for goods or services with a U.S. credit or debit cards anywhere in Cuba.

Shopping

The new changes now allow you to spend as much money as your heart desires on the island but you can only bring back up to $400 dollars worth of goods per person, including up to $100 dollars worth of tobacco and alcohol such as those famous Cuban cigars and rum.  U.S. travelers may also purchase an unlimited amount of goods or products in Cuba for “educational purposes” including music CD’s, books (new or used), photography, and visual arts.

Cell / Wifi / Mobile Devices

The best thing to do while in Cuba is place your phone on “airplane mode” and use it as a camera and video recorder while traveling. WiFi services are as fast as molasses, but if you feel the need to stay connected some U.S. carriers have or are beginning to make agreements with ETECSA (the Cuban national telecommunications company) to provide roaming services in Cuba.  Sprint and Verizon, for example, currently offer roaming services in Cuba.  If your carrier offers a roaming plan and your mobile phone is capable of roaming in Cuba, you should ask your carrier about any additional charges for voice calls, data, and outgoing text messages that you may incur during your trip.  The telecommunications market in Cuba is changing rapidly, so before you travel, be sure to check with your wireless provider for the latest developments.

The IBEROSTAR Parque Central Hotel, where we are staying, has a business center with internet access.

Safety

Cuba generally has a reputation as being a very safe location for tourists and violent crime is virtually unheard of. Official crime statistics are not published by the Cuban government, but reporting by U.S. citizens and other foreign travelers indicates that the majority of incidents are non-violent and theft-related – e.g., pickpocketing, purse snatching, or the taking of unattended or valuable items.  More information

Resources

U.S. Department of State – Cuba

U.S. Embassy – Havana, Cuba

U.S. Department of Treasury – Cuba

Questions?  Contact us at info(at)casaq(.)com or call 408-280-1065

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