Spend Spring Break in Cuba with Dr. Gilderbloom, Depart from Louisville KY

Cuba: Art, Preservation, Architecture, Sustainability, Transportation and Housing


March 11 to 20th—fly directly on AA Charter from Miami to Havana

Trip Bonus:  March 11 will include an orientation in Miami with special guest speakers!

Where you’ll stay: Havana Libre (Old Hilton Hotel in the center of town), in Old Havana:

Over 1,000 people, including Harvey Molotch, Dennis Judd, Peter Marcuse, Larry Muhammad, and Michael Brazely, have gone to Cuba with Professor John I. Gilderbloom, Director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods

We have been taking study groups from the United States since 1997 with 32 different programs and have spent 480 days there. Several travel magazines and books, including Holiday Travel, Travel Smart, and Budget Travel, have praised our Cuba travel programs.  “Time Out: Havana and the Best of Cuba” ranked it as the best  “educational option” and “the least bureaucratic way” for a U.S. passport holder to travel to Cuba.” These travel programs have also produced published scholarly articles on Cuba and travelers have testified to the U.S. Senate and State Department (private meeting) on lifting the embargo.

Dr. Gilderbloom has been featured on CNN for his work in Cuba, served as a technical advisor to National Geographic on issues in Old Havana, and won an honorary Architecture Diploma from Cuba’s Union of National Architects and Engineers. He has written about Cuba in numerous books, articles and journals including an edited book on modern architecture that included a chapter on Cuba by Professor Gilderbloom that was ranked as one the best planning books of the year by Planetizen.

This Spring Break trip is a “people to people exchange” program during which Cubans and Americans share ideas on transportation, preservation, community development, housing, sun harvesting, ecology, environment, planning, architecture, community gardens, and green planning.  We are working to either meet at the top Planning School in Havana or State Architecture School for participants to present their research (UAA/APA style presentation of 15 minutes).  We are providing this afternoon of exchange of ideas so that students and faculty in academia and professional practice can qualify for additional travel funds to offset any costs.  We are also providing continuing education credit for AIA, CNU, and APA members.  Up to $500 of the trip counts to a Tax Deductible Donation to the University of Louisville. Finally, the deadline has been extended to December 15. Below you will find the cost breakdown and itinerary.

It’s a trip of a lifetime.

John I. Gilderbloom Ph.D.
2013 Presidential Medal: Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Creative Activity
Urban and Public Affairs, Professor
Home of the Top Ranked (#14) Planning Program in the Country
Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods

Email: jigild01@louisville.edu


March 12 to 19

University of Louisville sponsored people to people program

Program emphasis on historic preservation, planning, community development, art, architecture, transportation and housing.

Below are the costs with 10 rooms confirmed at the Havana Libre (formerly Hilton Hotel).  It is rated a four star Hotel in the heart of Havana. Upon confirmation of the arrangements, I will immediately send you application forms which each participant must complete.

Costs are divided into three parts:

AIR  $479 via American Airlines roundtrip from Miami to Havana

VISA  $75


Costs include U.S. Departure taxes and Cuban medical insurance

Costs also now include Cuban departure taxes previously paid in Havana upon departure

Costs do not include $20 charge per checked bag plus overweight charges


AA 9450  MIA/HAV                       12:50 PM-1:50 PM /  Check-in by 9:50 am – Concourse. D, 2nd fl

AA 9451  HAV/MIA                       2:50 PM-3:50 PMí


$75 per person

(This visa is not applicable for any participant born in Cuba)



University of Louisville. Hotel Habana Libre http://www.hotelhabanalibre.com  

This is a four-star hotel in the heart of Havana.   The price is $2,595 for students not registered in the class; those who are registered get to go for $1,999 and we are hoping for a scholarship to reduce the cost even more along with financial aid package to cover the costs:  includes Hotels, transfers, breakfast, lectures, bus, English speaking presentations by Cubans and Americans involved in Planning.  Single room is $499 extra.


DEPOSIT OF $200 PER PARTICIPANT IS DUE NO LATER THAN  December 5 made out to UofL Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods, 426 West Bloom Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40208 .



March 12 Saturday  arrive in Miami, Florida

Miami—orientation talk with Dr. Gilderbloom at a selected Hotel 4:00 p.m. with special guest speaker!  We are trying to arrange for the most important urban thinkers, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, along with several other CNU leaders, to give a talk to our group at their studio.  We are picking a Hotel like Red Roof Inn near the airport to stay overnight.

March 13  Sunday

12:50pm         Charter departs Miami for Havana 9 must arrive for Visa and passport control by 10:00 a.m.

1:50pm           Arrive Havana

After clearing customs, we will proceed by private motor coach to the Sevilla Hotel, our accommodation Upon arrival, we will enjoy a welcome cocktail reception at the hotel. http://www.hotelsevilla-cuba.com/


Afternoon          Walking tour of Habana Vieja (Old Havana)/Obisbo Street.

This afternoon, we will become acquainted with Havana, one of the most architecturally alluring cities in the Western Hemisphere.  View examples of colonial architecture around Havana’s handsome main squares.

Evening              Dinner on your own—We always recommend Hotel   Sevilla

with its old world charm and architectural splendor, this 1908 colonial hotel will transport you back to another time.  The spectacular Roof Garden restaurant features a stunning Venetian-style painted ceiling and panoramic views of the city and the sea. The Hotel Sevilla is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

March 14 Monday

9:00 am – 12:00      Program Session:  Havana’s Historic Preservation and

Walking Tour of the Capitolo Area (new city)

Departures:  Hotel Lobby

The program will be held in the Convent of Santa Clara, which is a striking example of how this historically important building has been restored with attention to both historic preservation and present-day needs.   Anais Nin once lived and wrote here.

Speaker:            Isabella Rigol (Invited)

Formerly Director of Restoration and Preservation for Old Havana

Professor of Planning, University of Havana

Prof. Rigol was in charge of unprecedented historic preservation effort in historic Old Havana.

12:00 nn – 2:30 pm         Lunch/Free Time to explore Havana either on your own to conduct research on urban planning, preservation or art.

2:30 pm – 4: 00 pm       Program Session: Model City of Havana

Departures:  Hotel Lobby

We will meet back at the hotel and proceed to the “Maqueta de la Havana.”  The Model City shows every building, street, and tree in Havana and is a wonderful planning guide.  Here, the group will take part in a workshop with Miguel Coyulla and exchange ideas on planning issues in Havana concerning buildings, transportation, commercial development, tourist development, and recreational uses.

Speaker:              Miguel Coyulla (to be confirmed/invited)

Development  expert, Urban Planner

4:30 – 6:00 pm      Presentation of Planning, Architecture, Preservation,                                                                                                                              Housing and Transportation Ideas by U.S. Citizens

Evening              Dinner at the Hotel Naçional

Departures:  Hotel Lobby

 March 15 Tuesday

9:00 am – 10:15 am           Program Session:  Globalization of Cuba

Location:  Habana Libre

Speakers:            Nicola Cecchi

Presidente (invited)

Cristobal Investment & Financial Services


Eduardo Luis Rodriguez (invited)

Architect & Planner

Sr. Cecchi is considered a leading “player” in commercial development and, as a lawyer, puts together many international commercial investment deals. ((invited)

Sr. Rodriguez is the author of Havana Guide: Modern Architecture 1925 to 1965 which has won wide acclaim as the best book on building design in Cuba.  He is considered the leading architecture critic in Cuba and edits a Cuban journal on architecture.  He has lectured at Harvard and other leading schools.(Inivted)

10:30 am – 12:00 nn         A walking/bus tour of commercial developments with 

Sr. Cecchi and Sr. Rodriguez.


Afternoon                            Free Afternoon – Time to explore on Own


·         Plaza de Armas Art Fair

·         Cigar Factory Tour

·         Santa Maria Beach (departures at 12:00nn)


Evening                      Dinner at local Paladar

Departures: at  5:30 p.m.  Hotel Lobby

Historic Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro (El Morro) 

Sunset Cannon Ceremony

 March 16 Wednesday

9:00 am – 10:30 am       Program Session: Hotel and Office Development in Havana

Location:  Havana Libre Speaker: José Choy

Architect ( invited)

Sr. Choy has been called Cuba’s greatest living commercial architect, and is considered to be the “Frank Gehry” of Cuba.  He has created some of Cuba’s most highly acclaimed hotels, office buildings and homes in the past 15 years.  After he speaks, he will take us on a personal visit to a shopping mall he designed as well as his bank building on Avenida 5 in Miramar.

10:30 am – noon                           Santería Museum & the artist Salvador

We will visit his studio and outdoor sculpture garden.   He is the subject of a PBS documentary

1:00 p.m. to 2:30 pm                       Lunch at La Ferminia (Miramar)

This is an outdoor luncheon with a beautiful garden and musicians.  

Late  Afternoon                                Miramar

We will spend the afternoon in the Havana suburb of Miramar.  Before the revolution, wealthy Habaneros used to live in the grand houses that characterize Miramar.  It is still an exclusive district, but many of the mansions have been converted into offices for foreign companies and embassies that line the main thoroughfare, Avenida 5. 

Speaker:              Isabella Leone (to be confirmed0

Sra. Leone has helped build houses for poor people under the sponsorship of the Lutheran Church; previously she was a Professor of Planning at the University of Havana. We will also visit newer hotels in Miramar. 

Evening                                                Dinner Paladar.

March 17 Thursday  Rural Cuba Farming land and water Las Terrazas (bring your swim suit)

9:00 am – 3:00 pm                            Las Terrazas including lunch

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm                           Alamar—This is a Soviet Designed Housing Community designed to the inch and its located in the suburbs of Havana 

We will return to Havana and meet with residents of Alamar.  

Evening                                                Evening on Your Own

March 18 Friday

9:00 am – 10:30 am                          Demographic and Social Changes in Havana

Speaker:              Ruben Bancroft (and graduate students)

Former Dean of Engineering, Planning, Architecture and Urban Studies
University of Havana ( to be confirmed)

Dean Bancroft has sponsored numerous international conferences on development in Havana.  He will address the demographic, social and economic make-up of the Cuban people.

11:00 am – 12:00 nn                        Visit to neighborhood school

Mid-Afternoon                                 Meeting and Reception at the U.S. Interests Section (arranged on their own)

March 19 Saturday

                Morning                              Visit Jaimanitis and Jose Fuster outdoor art enterprise

                                                                Lunch at Fuster’s

                                                                Free afternoon

Evening                           Dinner at El Aljibe followed by Tropicana Night Club Show


March 20 Sunday

                                                Bus departure from Havana Libre to airport

                                               2:50pm  Depart Cuba for Miami, USA

                                                3:50pm Arrive Miami