From Wednesday through Monday, March 4-9, 2020, Guillermo Pernot, two-time James Beard award winning chef-partner of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar at Tropicana Atlantic City, will serve as host for an intimate group of nine travelers to Havana, Cuba. He will lead guests on an adventure to experience the cultural and culinary treasures on the island. This journey is a collaborative arrangement with Access Culinary Trips, a leading provider of award-winning small group culinary tours, which operates under the travel category of Support for the Cuban People.
Access Culinary Trips is one of the few U.S. tour companies currently licensed to operate in Cuba under the new (U.S. travel) rules,” stated Tamar Lowell, CEO of Access Culinary Trips. “We operate under the category of Support for the Cuban People, which remains legal and was not impacted by the recently announced changes in any way. We are able to do this because we only work with private citizens in Cuba, promoting Cuban entrepreneurship and connecting with the locals in a meaningful way. Despite the confusion following several recent announcements, we are actually seeing an increase in demand for our small-group culinary tours and our guests traveling to Cuba are protected from any further changes under our No Risk Refund Policy.”
Pernot will help foster authentic connections between Americans and Cubans as the group navigates bustling city life, visits historic landmarks and discovers the new tastes of Cuba. The group will meet up in Havana to enjoy a six-day, five-night adventure exploring the island. The culinary tour is open to the public and costs $3,990 per person for double occupancy accommodations and $4,680 for single occupancy. The cost includes accommodations in a deluxe private vacation home in Havana; all breakfasts, lunches and dinners (including one welcome drink during lunch and dinner); an expert bilingual local tour leader; each day’s guided activities in Havana and Cojimar; and all ground transportation for activities included in itinerary. The cost excludes airfare to and from Cuba; required visa and Cuban health insurance (available for purchase on major U.S. airlines); mandatory trip cancellation travel insurance; optional single occupancy room upgrade, optional evening excursions and taxi rides for non-included excursions; and discretionary gratuities.
The culinary tour program highlights meaningful interactions with the people of Cuba, and each stop is part of an extensive and thoughtfully curated itinerary exploring the island’s rich history, colorful culture and culinary traditions. Private vintage cars provide transportation. Guests can expect art, music, dining, meaningful connections with locals, and a lifetime of memories. Activities include a walking tour of La Habana Vieja (Old Havana), exploring Plaza de la Catedral, dominated by the stunning 18th century Catedral de San Cristóbal and Plaza San Francisco de Asis, near Havana’s harbor; an exploration of the street art gallery of famed muralist and painter (and Cuba Libre fan) Salvador Gonzales, and an opportunity to speak with the artist or curator about the work, which is heavily influenced by the traditions of Santeria, an Afro-Caribbean religion; a Sunday pig roast in a local’s home; a visit to La Fábrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory), a trendy bar, art gallery and dance club located inside a former cooking oil plant in Old Havana; a daiquiri demonstration by a retired barman from the famed El Floridita, the birthplace of the daiquiri and Hemingway’s favorite bar; salsa lessons in the private home of dance instructor Johan, where guests will have their own professional dance partner; visits to the Museum of the City and Plaza de Armas; a trip to “Finca Vigia,” Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban home where he lived from 1939-1960 and penned three of his most famous novels; explore Cojimar, a small fishing village where Hemingway docked his beloved boat, Pilar, and the inspiration for his famous novel, “The Old Man and The Sea”; stroll Plaza Vieja, which dates back to 1559 and whose buildings have been lovingly restored to their former glory; visit a Chocolate Museum; a trip to a Cigar Factory where guests will learn how cigars are rolled, Cuban-style; explore the Fuster Gallery; meet a young, agricultural engineer, Dr. Fernando Funes and tour his Organic Farm and learn about honey production, before dining on a farm-to-table lunch hosted by his lovely wife; and visit Revolution Square in the center of Havana. Learning how food is purchased in Cuba is an important part of the tour, sharing how communism and an embargo impact the lives of everyday Cubans. On the tour is a visit to a Mercado Agropecuario (produce market); a ration store where basic staples are procured and sold; and a supermarket.
Guests will dine at numerous local paladares (privately owned restaurants). Renowned paladares on the itinerary include Havana hotspot, El Biky, consistently ranked as one of the top restaurants; cooking classes at Al Carbon with renowned chef Ivan Chef Justo; Habana Mia 7, located in one of the most exclusive areas of Vedado in Havana; La Guarida, famous for its innovative cuisine and of course, its part in the movie “Fresa y Chocolate”; La Cocina de Lilliam, is a culinary gem and a true reflection of his owner Lilliam Dominguez Palenzuela´s lifelong passions; and Ajiaco.
Pernot has traveled to Cuba more than a dozen times over the last seven years, spending a total of half a year on the island. Each voyage brings new inspiration to Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar’s menu, reflecting the current culinary movement that is emerging in Cuba. Pernot is the first American chef in over 40 years to cook in an embargoed country. He has earned numerous awards in the U.S. and is one of the leading chefs in today’s culinary scene representing Latin American food.