Cuban Discovery

Led by Jeane DeLaney, Associate Professor of History and Latin American Studies, and Gwen Barnes-Karol, Professor of Spanish
May 30–June 7, 2016
$5,499 per person (see below for inclusions)

Just 90 miles from Florida lies an island of pivotal history and lush natural beauty, of rich artistic tradition and architectural grandeur. Off-limits to most American travelers for half a century, Cuba — one of the world’s most enigmatic countries — is ready for you to unravel its mysteries.

As diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. continue to develop, now is the perfect time to experience this long-isolated nation on the verge of great transformation. Join us on an enriching people-to-people exchange, specially designed to reveal the authentic spirit and culture of Cuba — where 1950s-era automobiles still roll past grand Spanish colonial buildings. We’ll connect with a variety of citizens to gain insight into Cuba’s intriguing past, present, and future. Throughout this week-long journey, we’ll have insider access to unique cultural experiences. Whether visiting a private artist studio in lively Havana, the picturesque Bay of Pigs, or the beautifully preserved colonial cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, each destination will spark meaningful interactions and memories that last a lifetime.

With only enough space for up to 25 travelers, this program will fill quickly. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the fascinating heritage of Cuba, one of the most complex and vibrant nations in the world, during a time of historic change.

Program Leaders

Jeane DeLaney (Ph.D. in Latin American History, M.A. Latin American Studies) is Associate Professor of History and Latin American Studies at St. Olaf. She teaches courses on Modern Latin America, Cuba, the Environmental History of Latin America, as well as courses concerned with U.S.–Latin American cultural relations. She has led six St. Olaf interim programs to  Cuba, all of which have focused on Cuban history and the construction of historical memory through the use of museums, memorials and monuments.   This program also introduces students to the workings of contemporary Cuba and the experiences of ordinary citizens. This is Professor DeLaney’s second St. Olaf Study Travel program; she is eager to share her expertise in Cuban affairs with “continuing learners” and to collaborate with Professor Barnes-Karol to make possible this rare opportunity to travel to one of the hemisphere’s most fascinating countries.

Gwen Barnes-Karol (Ph.D. in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures) is Professor of Spanish at St. Olaf. She teaches a wide of range of courses in the Spanish language as well as the literature and culture of Spain including courses on religious minorities throughout Spanish history (Jews, Muslims, and Protestants) and contemporary issues in Spain. She has taught seven St. Olaf interims abroad in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Spain, in addition to leading two St. Olaf Study Travel programs in Spain and teaching summer graduate-level courses in Spain for U.S. teachers of Spanish. In addition, she has taught the Spanish-language discussion component for Professor DeLaney’s Modern Latin American History course ten times. This will be Professor Barnes-Karol’s second Study Travel program to Cuba with Professor DeLaney and she is looking forward to continuing her long-standing collaboration with Professor Delaney on the island.

What to Expect

Hotels will be tourist class (typically three or four star) with private baths and air conditioning. We generally seek out smaller hotels with local charm, rather than chain brands that may have extra amenities like a spa and bar. The following hotels have been chosen for this program:

Parque Central Hotel, Havana
Situated in the cultural heart of Old Havana, the Parque Central Hotel is close to the historic Plaza de la Catedral, the Capitol, and the Havana Harbor. This Spanish colonial hotel offers an array of modern amenities, including restaurants, lounges, a fitness room, a massage room, and a rooftop pool.

Hotel Los Caneyes, Santa Clara
Set against a lush backdrop of eucalyptuses, coconut trees, and palms, Hotel Los Caneyes provides a quaint, rustic atmosphere with its thatched bungalows. Situated just two miles west of Santa Clara, this tranquil hotel features a swimming pool, open-air bar, restaurant, beauty parlor, and gym.

Iberostar Grand Hotel Trinidad
Ideally positioned in the heart of Trinidad and across from Céspedes Park, a peaceful square sprinkled with verdant plants and trees, is the Grand Hotel Trinidad. Featuring a pastel-colored façade, this delightful hotel showcases a charming lobby with checkered floors leading to a fountain. On-site amenities include a restaurant and a game room with billiards.

Average lows in May are around 45ºF and highs around 60. You will need light layers that can be added or removed as needed. Rainfall averages less than one inch in May, but you will be out walking, of course, and will want to bring waterproofs.

Participants should be in good physical condition.This program involves motor coach and walking tours with more than a moderate amount of walking on cobblestone streets, stairs, and uneven ground. The daily tours can include moderate to strenuous walking, primarily over natural and uneven surfaces. There are numerous steps and inclines to negotiate and many sites do not have elevators. You should be capable of keeping pace with an active group of travelers on long days of sightseeing, of dealing with the emotional highs and lows that can occur when experiencing different cultures, and of traveling with a group for several hours each day.

You should plan on seeing your family physician or a travel doctor at least four to six weeks prior to departure, preferably earlier, to talk about routine vaccinations. For more information on travel health, visit or

Program Fee

The program fee is $5,499 per person. Based on double occupancy, it includes discussions led by Jeane DeLaney and Gwen Barnes-Karol, a dedicated tour manager, charter flight between Miami and Cuba, 1 night accommodation in Miami at the start of the program, 7 nights’ accommodation in Cuba, breakfast daily and group meals as listed on the itinerary, including 2 local beverages with each meal, admissions for group activities, ground transportation during the program, 2 bottles of water per person, per day, gratuities to group guides, drivers and meal servers, Cuban travel insurance covering medical repatriation expenses only, as required by the Cuban government, valid only during your stay in Cuba, and some additional limited medical coverage while overseas. For single occupancy, add $900. Only 2 single spaces are available on this program.

Airfare to and from Miami is not included. Participants are solely responsible for all expenses not specifically included in the program fee. Examples of excluded expenses are: Airfare between your home town and Miami • Airport transfers in your home town and Miami • Cuban visa fee of approximately $85 • Cuban departure tax of approximately $25 • Any passport fees • Any recommended immunizations or vaccinations • Baggage insurance • Trip cancellation insurance above $2,000 lifetime coverage • Beverages at group meals other than those listed above • Laundry • Dry cleaning • Phone charges • Room service or other items of a personal nature • Expenses incurred during free time or non-group activities • Lunch and dinner, unless specifically included on program itinerary.

Making Your Travel Plans

You should plan to arrive in Miami in the afternoon of Monday, May 30, 2016 in order to partake in the mandatory orientation meeting that evening. Plan to depart from Miami in the evening of Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Charter flight times will not be known until quite close to departure.

You may contact our tour operator, Go Next, to arrange domestic Miami flights (a $35 administrative fee per reservation will apply). All passengers must travel with a passport valid at least 6 months beyond their return date. You should not book airfare until we alert you that this program has enough participants to go.