Cubans from different social backgrounds seek inspiration from the religion of the Orishas – sometimes known as Santería – a spiritual practice rooted in West Africa. Those who follow this path seek to be guided by the orishas, deities or “saints” who reign over human efforts and the forces of nature. The ceremonies are carried out in the houses instead of a public temple or a church. To honor the orishas, practitioners often create elaborate altars or “thrones,” sacred spaces that present these powerful beings in a majestic splendor.
The orishas – gods of the Yoruba religion – have been recognized in Cuba for almost five centuries, reflected with their human characteristics and those elements that distinguish them, among them: colors, music, animals, preferences in food and drink. Derived from the Yoruba culture, the so-called Rule Ocha, popularly known as Santería, is generated, which has as its center of worship those orishas with different myths and attributes.
Music and dance
In the religion of the Orichas, people communicate with the deities through the rhythmic language of the batá drums. In front of the altar, the percussionists greet the orishas with their own rhythms in a sequence called gold. Then, they turn to the people and they play while a singer of praises sings in lucumi, a Yoruba language. Some practitioners, moved, choose to dance in the characteristic style of oricha.
5 nights Accommodation in Private Houses in Havana and Trinidad.
2 nights Hotel accommodation in Cayo Santa María Island.
Participation in Orishas Party.
Explanatory Workshop on Afro-Cuban Religion.
All transportation to Cayo Santa Maria, Trinidad, Ciénaga de Zapata, Havana and Santa Clara.
Afro cover Orishas Dances Workshop with live music and demonstrations of orishas dances.
Visit to the swampy region of crocodiles and lunch in Ciénaga de Zapata.
Tour to the Che Guevara mausoleum and lunch in Santa Clara.
Excursion to the Topes de Collantes National Park.
DAY 1 – “WELCOME TO HAVANA”.
After clearing immigration and customs at the José Martí International Airport in Havana, you’ll take a short drive to your “Particular House” for check-in and orientation. This evening, we’ll celebrate your arrival over a traditional cuban welcome dinner with live Music.
DAY 2 Havana and Afro-cuban Religious.
We start the day with a relaxing Hatha Yoga class that will prepare you for the rest of the activities.
Breakfast in your private house.
Next, we will make a walking tour of Old Havana and its labyrinthine cobblestone streets. We will also enjoy a tour in old cars through places such as Plaza de la Revolución, Malecón Habanero and Vedado.
After lunch, we will be part of a celebration of the Orisha Saints in which we will share with priests of the Orisha religion and we will learn about this interesting Cuban syncretization.
This night you will have dinner by your own.
DAY 3 CIÉNAGA DE ZAPATA TOUR AND CAYO SANTA MARÍA.
Start the day with a healthy breakfast in your private home. Then please get ready because we will head to Cayo Santa María, an island of 21.4 square kilometers located in the middle portion of the Jardines del Rey archipelago, north of the central region of Cuba.
On the way we will make a stop to discover and have lunch in La Ciénaga de Zapata a marshy ecosystem, belonging to the province of Matanzas in Cuba. This is the largest insular Caribbean wetland with an approximate area of 300 thousand hectares and is part of the best preserved green regions of the archipelago.
After having lunch in this ecological zone, we will continue the trip to Cayo Santa María, where we will stay in an all inclusive hotel on the shore of the beach.
DAY 4 – Rest day in Cayo Santa Maria
This day you can optionally attend a free Vinyasa Yoga class on the beach, adapted to your level and needs.
Contemplating the sunset we will have a session of meditation and offering to “Mother Water “one of the orishas of the Yoruba Pantheon.
DIA 5- Visit the Memorial of Che Guevara in Santa Clara and arrival in Trinidad.
After a delicious breakfast and a dip on the beaches of Cayo Santa María, we will travel to the province of Santa Clara to visit the Memorial of Ernesto Guevara “El Che”.
In Santa Clara we will have lunch in a “paladar” Typical Cuban restaurant. Then we will continue the journey towards the old and restored Trinidad one of the best preserved colonial cities not only of Cuba, but also of America, and to be inscribed on the World Heritage List by Unesco next to the Valle de los Ingenios in 1988.
In Trinidad we will stay in “Casas Particulares Trinitarias”.
DAY 6 – Hiking and exploring Topes de Collante National Park.
This morning you can take a Hatha Yoga class listening to the birds singing.
After breakfast we will make an excursion of approximately 4 hours to the sugar and hiking plantations in the Topes de Collantes National Park, where you can enjoy a refreshing natural waterfall. We will have lunch in a peasant restaurant near the Park.
At night, the steps of the house of music await you to dance salsa and share delicious mojitos.
DAY 7 – Returning to Havana and learning Afro-Cuban dances.
After having breakfast in Trinidad, we will travel to Havana.
In the afternoon you can enjoy a workshop of Afro – Cuban dances with live music and demonstration of the Orishas Dances.
DAY 8 – Goodbye Cuba.
After breakfast at your private home, we will have a farewell ceremony.