The International Relations Committee (IRC) announced the 2018 Study Tour to Havana, Cuba, from June 2 to 8.

The 2018 Study Tour will offer members an exciting educational itinerary that will explore Havana at a time in Cuba’s history when cultural exchange is being encouraged. With the help of a respected travel agent and Llilian Godoy Llanes—art historian, founder of an art museum, and a prolific author of books on Cuban art—many doors have been opened to our group, including visits to the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Library, the University of Havana, the Center for Contemporary Art Wifredo Lam, and the Taller Experimental de la Grafica. In addition, we will spend a special day with Llilian, whose knowledge of Cuban art is unsurpassed. As always, conversations with our international colleagues will be a highlight of our time in Cuba.

We will stay at four-star hotels and a luxury coach and full-time chauffeur will transport participants to site visits, landmarks, cultural events, and culinary experiences. An English-speaking guide and translator will accompany the tour, and please know that visas will be handled through our travel agent.

Itinerary (subject to change)

Day 1 - Saturday :: Arrival and Hello Cuba

  • Arrival at Havana’s José Martí International Airport. Collect your bags and go through customs. You’re welcomed at the airport lobby by your Cuba Explorer Tours guide and professional bus chauffeur.
  • Get ready for a bus tour of Havana. You will tour of the most important sites of Modern Havana such as the Capitol building, the Grand Theatre, Central Park, Prado promenade, Revolution Square, Coppelia Ice Cream Park, Plaza José Martí (in front of US Interests Section), Malecón seawall, Monument to the Battleship Maine, Hotel Nacional, University of Havana and the Miramar, Central Havana and Vedado neighborhoods.
  • Private check-in with assistance from your guide at hotel.
  • Free time to settle in and rest up at your hotel.
  • This evening you’ll enjoy a group welcome dinner at Mediterraneo Havana with your Cuban guide and tourmates, included.
  • Evening is free to explore the sights and sounds of the city.

Day 2 - Sunday :: Exploring Old Havana, our common heritage

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Followed by a walking tour of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll visit four of the five historic plazas that make Havana unique in the western hemisphere. It contains the largest collection of remaining colonial-era architecture. This is a private tour led by your Cuba Explorer Tours guide.
  • Cathedral Square, the most beautiful and private 18th century colonial plaza on the island. Named after the masterpiece of Cuban baroque architecture: the Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana built by the Jesuit order.
  • Square of Arms, an ancient military parade ground for Spanish soldiers, surrounded by impressive buildings such as:
  • Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, former seat of colonial government. Today the building houses the Museum of the City.
  • We continue onto San Francisco Square, one of the oldest plazas in the historical quarter. The square is named after magnificent Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco de Asís dating from the 16th century. The basilica is a striking example of Cuba baroque architecture.
  • And then on to Plaza Vieja, the only civic square of colonial times. Absent are churches and government buildings, and is in contrast surrounded by opulent aristocratic 17th century residences. We’ll visit an important center for the visual arts.
  • Group welcome lunch at El Templete Restaurant. (included in tour cost)!
  • Visit Dance Group Retazos: Retazos is a center for the promotion of dance under the Ministry of Culture of Cuba and the Office of the Historian of Old Havana. It is run by Isabel Bustos, a former professor at the National School of Modern Dance and the University of the Arts in Cuba.
  • Watch a performance by Grupo Retazos.
  • Visit Callejón de Hamel (Hamel Alley) to see the artwork of famed Afro-Cuban Artist Salvador González.
  • Return to hotel
  • Group dinner at La Divina Pastora restaurant, included.
  • EVENING SPECIAL ACTIVITY: Witness a most dramatic ceremony – El Cañonazo – the Firing of the 9PM Cannon at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña. This enchanting colonial reenactment dates back to 1519 when the city of Havana was enclosed by a tall thick rock wall to ward off attacks from pirates and the English. The cannon firing signaled the closing of the city gates for the night. If you were outside at the time, you were in "vedado" or the forbidden zone. Today Vedado is an important cultural hub and beautiful section of modern Havana. (included in costs)

Day 3 - Monday :: University of Havana, Museum of Fine Arts and Taller Experimental de la Grafica

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Visit University of Havana. Include a visit to the main library at the University as well as its art facilities on campus.
  • Visit the library at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana. This museum exhibits Cuban art collections from the colonial times up to contemporary generations. Its first director and well-known architect, Emilio Heredia, founded it in 1913. After frequent moves it was finally placed on the block once occupied by the old Colon Market. In 1954, a new Palacio of Bellas Artes was opened. The original Palace was recently reconstructed and a second building was taken over for the Museum.
  • Lunch at restaurant El Zaguán (included in costs)
  • Visit Taller Experimental de Gráfica. This is one of the most important graphic arts establishments, preserving the old printmaking techniques and churning out some of the most significant works of graphic art in Havana.
  • Visit Taller de Serigrafia Rene Portocarrero. Meet with graphic designers.
  • Return to hotel
  • Dinner not included

Day 4 – Tuesday :: Cuba National Library, Cuba Libro and Fototeca de Cuba

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Visit the Art and The Colección Cubana department at José Martí National Library . Interchange with workers there.
  • Lunch at Decameron private restaurant (included)
  • In the afternoon visit The Library of Society Economic of friends of the country located in Carlos III
  • Visit The Fototeca de Cuba located in Old Havana.
  • Visit Cuba Libro. Cuba Libro is a coffeehouse and English-language bookstore providing a prototype of socially- and ethically-responsible business in Cuba’s emerging economy. Through free cultural programming, high-quality literature, community outreach and a variety of services designed to improve the health and well-being of our community. NOT INCLUDED IN TOUR COST!
  • Return to hotel.
  • Dinner tonight is included at Nazdarovie paladar, included
  • Evening is free to explore the sights and sounds of the city.

Day 5 – Wednesday :: Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Casa de Las Americas, Fuster Studio, San Jeronimo de La Habana and Ediciones Boloña

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Visit Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales. It holds temporary exhibitions of both renowned and emerging artists, with a focus on experimental art. The center’s Information and Documentation Department hosts valuable physical and digital archives of contemporary visual art.
  • Visit the library at Casa de Las Américas
  • We'll feast on a delicious lunch hosted by José Fuster, one of Cuba's most important ceramists and painters at his whimsical studio in Jaimanitas, just outside of Havana.
  • Visit the library at the University of San Jeronimo de La Habana located in Obispo Street.
  • Visit Ediciones Boloña. A book publisher located in Old Havana
  • Return to hotel
  • Dinner not included
  • Evening is free.

Day 6 – Thursday :: Visit with art historian Llilian Godoy Llanes, Visit the Havana Biennale Archive and Wifredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art

  • Breakfast in hotel (included)
  • Free time to people to people interchange.
  • Lunch not included
  • Farewell dinner at La Casa private restaurant (included)

Day 7 – Friday :: Havana and Home

  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Check-out of hotel.
  • Transfer to José Martí International Airport for flights home.


Registration Deadline: May 15, 2018

Tour Information

  • Group Limit: 20
    Spots are limited to 20 participants and we expect it to fill up quickly, so people should sign up soon as registration will be first-come, first served.

Application Fee / Deposit

$299.00 USD is due at time of registration to hold a place on the accepted list or wait list. Funds will be used toward group activities or local group transportation during the trip. Wait list participants not selected for the trip will receive a full refund.

Cancellation Policy

Notice of tour cancellation must be received by email or courier. Cancellation after registration and 45 days prior to travel. Non-refundable deposit will be credited to future travel with Zunzun or your deposit can be transferred to another traveler of your choice. Cancellation 44 to 20 days prior to departure. Loss of air cost, and loss of tour cost, however 50% of the paid portion of tour cost can be applied to future travel with Zunzun. Cancellation 19 days prior to departure. Loss of all payments received, however tour deposit can be applied to future travel with Zunzun. Refunds and credits are not offered to participants who arrive late for or depart early from a tour, or to travelers who don’t show up for services and activities. Note on sharing rooms. If you cancel your tour and were sharing a room with another tour participant the cost of a single room supplement will be deducted from your refund (if any). If no refund is forthcoming, your tour deposit will be applied to the single room supplement.

For additional information, please click here: https://cubaexplorer.com/terms-and-conditions/.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend trip interruption and cancellation insurance. We partner with Allianz Global Assistance for Cuba travel peace of mind.

Flight Arrangements

You are responsible for booking and paying for your own flight. ARLIS/NA and the Study Tour organizers are not responsible for travel to and from the Study Tour site and therefore are not able to issue any refunds for travel for any reason.

Commercial airlines flying to Cuba


A Study Tour is a great opportunity to visit colleagues, their collections, and tour relevant cultural institutions while representing ARLIS/NA and your home institution. Past tours include library visits, business meetings, collections presentations, and are often in conjunction with conferences, symposiums, or colloquiums. Applications for ARLIS/NA Study Tours will be accepted for current ARLIS/NA members working or currently seeking employment as arts information professionals. Spouses, partners, or friends of Study Tour participants are welcome to travel with participants, however inclusion in tour activities or special events is at the discretion of the hosts.

An agenda is constructed by the tour leader in conjunction with hosts in the chosen location. All items on the agenda are by formal invitation of the hosts and the following guidelines are recommended for all scheduled activities:

  • Participants are expected to participate in the agenda provided by the host(s) and plan to visit local sites either before or after the Study Tour.
  • Study Tour schedules often begin early in the morning and include multiple visits throughout the entire day. Sometimes meals are included or time is allotted for meals on one’s own. It is important that all participants arrive at designated meeting points on time in order to keep the schedule accurate for all our hosts.
  • As representatives of ARLIS/NA and their institutions, participants should dress in a manner that is appropriate for business and wear shoes comfortable for extensive walking and standing.
  • Please refrain from separating from the group while in transit between tour locations.
  • Our hosts often include their supervising directors, or other VIP administrators, in our meetings and tours. Please be prepared to participate in discussions related to the arts information profession and follow all security rules provided by the host institution when invited to examine collections.
  • Not all items on the agenda will be of interest to everyone in a group, however our hosts will expect the entire group to participate and will plan activities based on our full number.
  • If a participant is unable to attend a scheduled part of the agenda, it is advised that the tour leader be informed before the activity. Participants are also recommended to send a note of regret to the host.
  • Many countries and cultures that we visit are very generous with receptions and souvenir gifts. It is recommended that participants bring business cards, brochures, and/or small hostess gifts that represent their institution. Participants should also plan to send thank you notes or emails after the trip is complete. 
Download Release and Assumption of Risk Form

For more information about the itinerary, travel plans or other questions contact either of the the group leaders: Gabrielle Reed (gabrielle.reed@massart.edu) or Elisa Hansen (library@ringling.org).

Havana Study Tour Coordinators

Elisa Hansen
Gabrielle Reed