Skip to main content

Southern Safari

cuba car



MAY 18 - MAY 25, 2017 (tentative)

Cuba Street scene

Read about the Southern Safari's 2016 trip to Cuba here:

During our visit to Cuba we will focus on the path Cubans have taken since the Revolution and how that journey has shaped Cuban society and culture. Through daily talks, visits and field trips, we will learn about that unique history, its impact on Cubans and contemporary Cuba.

In order to give us an idea of Cuba today, we will visit a school, a senior center, a medical clinic, a farmers’ market, a community art project, an Afro Cuban cultural center and an artist’s studio, as well as Hemingway’s finca near Havana. By visiting Vinales, a scenic, rural valley west of Havana and a nearby seaside community, we will get a sense of life in rural Cuba.

In the process, we will have an opportunity to join Cubans in their daily activities and experience Cuban culture by sampling their food, attending performances of dance and music, and dancing to Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Faculty director: Dr. David Locher, a professor of sociology at MSSU who has led two trips to Cuba. The trip is sponsored by the Southern Safari club, under the direction of MSSU’s Institute of International Studies.

Agreement/$500 Deposit for Cuba

Chad Stebbins
Phone: 417-625-9736 or email:
Paul Bardwil - President Global Educational Facilitation
Phone: 916-225-8207 or email:

Since 1998, Paul Bardwil has worked with community colleges and universities, doctors and nurses, lawyers, educational groups and cartoonists. He has led many specialized groups to Cuba over the last 15 years.

Cuba \statue PROGRAM COST: $2,975

$500 deposit due January 30, 2016

Final payment of $2,475 due April 15, 2016


The program application can be found on the link above. It must be completed, signed, and sent to Global Educational Facilitation with the required deposit of $500 by Jan. 30.


Sunday, May 15, 2016: Miami

You will be responsible for your flight to Miami and hotel while staying overnight in Miami.

Monday, May 16, 2016: Miami to Havana

Fly from Miami to Havana, Cuba. Upon arrival we will check into our hotel. We will then have a chance to rest and meet back in the lobby for a small orientational tour around the hotel to see where you can buy water, snacks and other necessities. We will return to the hotel for an arrival orientation and dinner.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016: Havana

Following breakfast at the hotel, we will have a short lecture on the history and culture of Old Havana by an expert from the University of Havana. This will give exciting meaning for what we are about to see!

Cuban boys playing baseballWe will begin our discovery of Havana with a walking tour that starts in Old Havana. Walk through the historic streets of Old Havana to witness some of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial and Art Deco architecture of the Americas. Visit the museum of the City of Havana set in the splendid Palacio de los Capitales Generales and the imposing colonial fortress, Castillo de la Real Fuerza. Pass the Ambos Mundos hotel, where Ernest Hemingway started writing For Whom the Bell Tolls.

After lunch we will visit the other main squares of Havana including, Plaza San Francisco, Plaza Vieja, Cathedral Square and the Parque Central. We will stroll down Paseo de Prado, which begins at the Parque Central andends at the seawall.

In the afternoon we will visit by motorcoach Revolution square and Central Havana. We will have an opportunity to talk with entrepreneurs who are engaging in new business recently approved by the Cuban government. We will exchange tourist money into local currency and buy what Cubans can buy with their own currency; this is something most tourists don't know about. We will visit the agromercados (vegetable market) and some private businesses. Dinner will be some interesting Cuban cuisine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016: Las Terrazas

After breakfast we will depart for Las Terrazas, a biosphere reserve that was once a French coffee plantation. We will visit the arrival center and have an orientation tour of Las Terrazas, which is more than 12,350 acres. We will be about 51 kilometers outside of Havana in the countryside of Cuba.

Upon arrival we will have an orientation tour of Las Terrazas. We will also have the person in charge of the various bio-diversity programs lecture on what currently is taking place at Las Terrazas. We will visit the remains of a French coffee plantation and then drive to the center of the community where there is a clinic, general store, disco and pharmacy. This unique community of 1,000 inhabitants is self-sustaining to a degree with lakes that produce fish and farms that include dairy, beef, poultry and pork. Farmers produce a variety of fruits and vegetables and honey is a main crop as well. After lunch we will visit some of the local artists and visit a small farm or "finca," and gain a firsthand experience with colorful farmers of what farming is like in the countryside of Cuba, and perhaps take a swim in the river if the climate is agreeable. Dinner will be in Havana in the evening after we return.

Cuban Statue two 

Thursday, May 19, 2016: Havana

After breakfast will have a discussion on the educational system in Cuba. We will then visit a school that also has some boarding for students who have lost their parents or have family issues. We will have an opportunity to talk with students and discuss the Cuban daily life. We will stop for lunch on the way back to the hotel. In the afternoon we will visit a mural art project; the community members will describe how this project took place and how they funded it, as well as who benefits from it. We will also visit a family doctor and see how primary care is practiced in Cuba. We will take a stroll in the evening on the malecon, which is the heartbeat of the city. In the late afternoon we will stop in Cojimar and visit Hemingway's little ranch or "finca."

Friday, May 20, 2016: Matanzas

After breakfast we depart for Matanzas. Matanzas contains a lot of culture represented through afro-Cuban dance, paintings as well as sculpture. We will stop in the city center and visit the historic French museum of pharmacy as well as stroll the streets of a mid-sized non-tourist city in Matanzas. Our next stop will be a unique finca where an agricultural engineer has constructed an interesting social project by combining his passions for farming as well as collecting plants and trees from around the world, and his wife's passion of firing pottery. We will enjoy a unique farm style lunch and time permitting a sampling of afro- Cuban dancing.

Saturday, May 21, 2016: Havana

Boys playing baseball by green carAfter breakfast we will have a tour of a local cigar factory and discuss the impact of cigars on the Cuban economy. Our second stop will be a visit to the rum museum and perhaps a taste of some of Cuba's finest. Lunch will be downtown; after lunch we will visit a small business where a husband and wife are restoring and rebuilding American cars and then turning them into taxis.

It is fascinating to see how the Cubans have ingeniously kept these cars running using parts from Toyotas, Hyundais and many other makes and models to keep these cars in service. We will take a walk along the malecon (seawall)and have some impromptu conversations with friendly Cubans.

Sunday, May 22, 2016: Havana

After breakfast we will visit the Museum of Revolution and the modern art museum. After lunch in Old Havana we will have an opportunity to visit the largest covered market in Havana to look at the crafts, clothes and many objects Cubans make and sell. This is a great place to mingle with the new business owners of Havana. The afternoon will be some time for exploration and relaxation. In the evening we will have our farewell dinner depending on what you can do, perhaps we can formally or informally share our impressions of Cuba. We will get some nice entertainment to go with dinner.

Monday, May 23, 2016: Travel to U.S.

Say “Adios” to Cuba. Today we fly back to the U.S.
++NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change

The Program Price Will Include:

• Round-trip international airfare Miami-Havana-Miami
• Lodging at Hotel Presidente or similar hotel in Cuba based on double occupancy.
• All scheduled land transportation in Cuba, as specified in itinerary.
• All sightseeing and entrance fees, as specified in itinerary.
• Meals: All breakfasts and lunches and 2 dinners while in Cuba.
• English speaking guide and accompanying bus driver.
• Emergency Medical Insurance in Cuba

The Program Price Will NOT Include:

• Departure tax in Havana, currently $50 USD
• Optional Single Supplement, $350
• Meals, except as specified, personal expenses and any items not listed as
included in the program
• Tips to guide, $35 per person
• Tip to bus driver, $35 per person
• Optional trip to Tropicana, approximately $85 per person without dinner

Cuban boats


A valid passport is required for this program. A copy of the picture page of your passport needs to be mailed with your deposit. The passport must be valid six months after return. U.S. citizens are required to show a valid passport for entry into Cuba. Non-U.S. citizens should contact their local Consulate regarding visa and entry requirements. A visa will be obtained for U.S. participants and distributed to the group in Miami.


The trip includes at least four pre-departure sessions about Cuba in March/April 2016. Dates and times to be announced.