Dates January 3-18, 2014
Registration and Processing Fee

$150 (Mason)

$200 (non-Mason)

Program Fee $4,611
Process Application Procedures

Denise Elles-Mdahuar
866.468.1243 toll free

The toll free number does not accept calls from the 703 or 571 area code

The Program Fee includes tuition and program expenses. Click on Program Fee for details.

Airfare from Miami to Havana included in Program fee. Personal expenses are not included and are the responsibility of the participant.


This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students with a cumulative GPA of 2.25, including students who do not attend George Mason University.


Undergraduate: Seeking credits in HIST 398, ANTH 398, HNRS 240, NCLC 399, GLOA 480

Graduate credit pending

HIST 598, ANTH 635


Double-occupancy in three-star hotels


Too many to list!
See the itinerary below.

Faculty Info

Alexander Benitez

Alex Benitez, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Cuba's Beat: Exploring the Island's History and Culture

Program full!

Study abroad this Winter Break at the crossroads of the Caribbean in Cuba where lush mountains, verdant blue-green seas, and genuinely hospitable people offer a unique opportunity to immerse in the culture, climate, rhythm, and mystery that is Cuba! 

Is what you’ve always heard about the exuberant Cuban nightlife, distinct procession of vintage automobiles, and innate creativity of the Cuban people true? Explore this question and more during your time in Cuba while staying in numerous cities throughout the island from the coast to the mountains. You’ll engage residents and fellow students in cultural exchange; visit museums; learn about biodiversity and the island’s flora and fauna; and even become actively involved in a local cultural and sustainability project!

street in Cuba

Highlights of the trip include a stay in the magnificent and resilient city of Havana, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982; short trips to the Vinales tobacco fields; the colonial city of Trinidad; and the beaches of Varadero. Other highlights of your time in Havana may include visits to the National Museum of Fine Arts; street performances of the popular rhumba dance; and conversations with contemporary writers, artists, and film makers. 

another street with an old car on it in Cuba

Imagine experiencing Spanish colonial architecture up close as you feel cobble-stoned streets underneath your feet. Wonder for yourself how Cubans have created such a culturally rich and sustainable oasis as you enjoy views of mountains, lush-green tobacco fields, and picturesque bays.

Make no mistake--this is not a typical study abroad program--this is Cuba!

2014 Itinerary

Friday, Jan 3 – Group Arrival to Miami

Overnight stay at Holiday Inn Express – Miami Airport Hotel
7:00pm Welcome Reception and Briefing
8:00pm Dinner

Saturday, Jan 4

5:00am Depart hotel for Miami International Airport
5:30am Group check-in at Wilson Charters Counter
8:00am Flight Departs to Havana, Cuba
9:00am Arrival in Havana – Jose Marti International Airport Terminal 2
Private Coach Transfer and orientation tour with knowledgeable guide in route to check-in to Hotel Presidente, in Vedado  
VIP check-in
1:00pm Depart Hotel for Old Havana for Lunch – Orientation Meeting and Material Distribution
4:00pm Return to Hotel
6:30pm Depart for Welcome Dinner – La Imprenta Restaurant
8:30pm End of Day – Debriefing
10:00pm Return to Hotel

Sunday, Jan 5

9:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
10:30am Depart for Old Havana City Tour
A guided walk reveals some of the most famous locations in Old Havana, which has been declared a heritage site by UNESCO.  We will visit 4 famous squares (Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco, Plaza Vieja and Plaza de la Catedral.)
Lunch at Bodeguita Del Medio, made famous by Hemingway
2:00 to 5:00 Visit to Callejon de Hamel.  Santeria and African influence  in Cuban Culture
6:00pm Return to Hotel
Dinner on your own (list of paladares will be provided)

Monday, Jan 6

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Visit to Casa de Africa for a morning of cultural exchange and Cuban traditional music.
12:00pm Lunch on your own
Visit Museo de la Revolución
Visit Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - view the wonderful collection housed in the museum
5:00pm Return to the Hotel El Presidente
Dinner on your own

Tuesday, Jan 7

8:00am Breakfast at Hotel
9:00am Depart for Pinar del Rio
10:30am Arrival at La Moka Hotel – Room assignments and Check-in
12:00pm Lunch at La Casa del Campesino
2:00pm Guided tour of La Terrazas – First Eco-Resort in Cuba.  Visit the self sustained community. Visit to Home/Studio of  Artist Lester Campa
4:00pm Return to Hotel
Dinner at the hotel

Wednesday, Jan 8

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure for Viñales
12:00pm Lunch Included
2:00pm Visit the Cuevas of Santo Tomas
4:00pm Return to Hotel La MoKa
Dinner at a Private Paladar

Thursday, Jan 9

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure to Cienfuegos
12:00pm Lunch at Aguada de Pasajeros not included (Enjoy an excellent Arroz con Pollo)
3:00pm Arrival at Hotel Jagua, Cienfuegos. Room assignments and Check-in
5:00pm Meet with Chef at the Casa Verde Restaurant for a culinary class of a typical Cuban Dish.
7:00 Dinner at Casa Verde, included
8:30 Return to the hotel, walking distance.

Friday, Jan 10

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure for Trinidad.
10:30am Arrival at Trinidad.  Walking presentation of the Historical  City. Visit the Romantic Museum
12:00pm Visit the Valley of the Sugar Mills.
Lunch included. 
2:00pm Visit a  Private family own clay factory and receive classes in ceramic making
5:00pm Return to Hotel Jagua
8:00pm Dinner at a private paladar.  Cost not included

Saturday, Jan 11 – Depart to Villa Clara

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure to Villa Clara
12:00pm Visit to the “Che” Guevara’s  Memorial Site
1:00pm Buffet Lunch at the Los Caneyes Hotel. Included
2:00pm Continue the journey to Havana
5:00pm Arrival at Hotel Presidente. Room assignments and Check-in
7:00pm Dinner on your Own
10:00pm Return to Hotel

Sunday, Jan 12

8:30am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure to the Cultural Community Project of Montedeespumas. Directed by famous Artist Jose Antonio Hechavarría and his wife Yaima Gonzalez. Visit to their Home/Studio.  Also, visit to the Community of El Calvario.  The El Calvario’s Church is one of the oldest churches in the Americas.  Learn the cultural history of this Town and visit their Historical Church.
12:00pm Lunch included
2:00pm Departure to the Hemingway Museum
3:00pm Visit the Village of Cojimar made famous by Hemingway’s book the Old man and the Sea.
4:00pm Return to hotel
7:00pm Dinner on your own

Monday, Jan 13

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure for the Municipality of Regla.  Learn the Afro-Cuban culture and visit the Town’s famous Black Virgen of Regla’s Church.
11:00am Return to Havana by ferry.
11:30am Visit the Capitol Building
12:00pm Lunch on your own
2:00pm Visit the Open Market.  Meet the local artisans and enjoy their fine Cuban Craftsmanship.
4:00pm Return to the Hotel
7:00pm Dinner on your own

Tuesday, Jan 14

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure for the University of Havana. Guided visit of the campus. One of the oldest Universities in Latin America.
12:00pm Lunch at the University. Included
1:00pm Visit the Museum of La Naturaleza y El Hombre.  Conference on Cuba’s indigenous history (pre-conquest)
2:00pm Tour of the Museum and its Anthropology’s subject matter.
4:00pm Return to Hotel
7:00 pm Dinner on your own

Wednesday, Jan 15

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure for Artist’s Jose Fuster’s Community Project
10:00am Visit the Hemingway’s Marina
12:00pm Lunch on your own.
2:00pm Visit Modern Havana
4:00pm Return to the Hotel
7:00pm Dinner on your own

Thursday, Jan 16

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Departure for the Special Education School for blind children Abel Santamaría. Visit their classrooms and workshops.
12:00pm Lunch at El Aljibe (Included)
2:00pm Return to Old Havana and visit the Partagas Cigar Factory and Wilfredo Lam’s Museum of Art.
3:00 Visit the Modern Dance Studios, “Retazos’ ” Community Project
5:00pm Return to Hotel
7:00 Dinner on your own.

Friday, Jan 17

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
9:00am Day trip to a near beach to meet with the local community.
5:00pm Return to the Hotel
6:30pm Farewell Dinner (Included) at La Divina Pastora Restaurant
8:00pm Depart for Cannon Ceremony at the La Cabaña’s Fort.
9:00pm Return to Hotel

Saturday, Jan 18 – Group Departure to Miami

8:00am Breakfast at the Hotel
8:30am Hotel Check-out
9:00am Transfer to Jose Marti International Airport in private coach bus

This is a preliminary itinerary and is subject to change due to the authorization or denial of activities by the Cuban Authorities. 

Academic Director

Alexander Benitez is a Mesoamerican archaeologist interested in the peoples and cultures of the Central Highlands region of Mexico. Specifically, he focuses on the Classic and Epiclassic periods (circa AD 200-900) of that region. His current research attempts to understand networks of commodity exchange and shifting political economies during a monumental episode of state collapse at the city of Teotihuacan, in the Valley of Mexico, at the end of the Late Classic period.  Connected to this is a general interest in exploring the relationships that develop between centers of economic and political power and borderlands/periphery regions where agency and identity play vital yet under-explored roles. A related historic archaeology project explores issues of identity along the U.S. - Mexico border; prior to and following the Mexico – U.S. War (circa 1848). 

Dates: January 2014*

You should plan to arrive in Miami at least one day prior to the program start date to arrive in Havana for the first day of the program. You can schedule your return from Miami for the last day of the program or choose to travel independently.

Do not purchase airfare until you are advised by your Program Officer.

Program Fee: $4,611

The Center for Global Education Program Fee includes:

  • Tuition

  • Roundtrip airfare from Miami to Havana and transportation from the airport to the hotel

  • All lodging

  • Daily breakfasts, one welcome dinner, and a farewell group dinner

  • A local English-speaking guide

  • All tours in an air-conditioned motorcoach with driver & guides

  • Pre-departure orientation

  • Emergency medical insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation


Scholarships are available to George Mason students. Consult the Financing Your Study Abroad and the Scholarships sections for more information.

CGE Global Perspectives Scholarships

Open to George Mason University students who participate in CGE Winter Break and Summer Programs, scholarship amounts range from $250 to $1,000, depending on merit and financial need. Students who are awarded a Global Scholarship may volunteer to assist CGE in the promotion of study abroad upon their return.

Download CGE Global Perspectives Scholarships Information

Financial Aid

Mason students may also use financial aid (external link to FAFSA Student Aid) to cover a program's cost. If you are not a George Mason university student check with your study abroad office or office of financial aid to learn more about how to cover the cost of your study abroad.

How to Apply

Consult the How to Apply section for detailed instructions.

  1. Start by completing the online application.

  2. Pay the $150 registration and processing fee ($200 for non-Mason).

Note that all supplemental documents are required by the application deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Contact the Program Officer for further application forms and instructions specific to your program.

*CGE reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, or any other unforeseen circumstances.