Thursday, December 4, 2014

Welcome to the Little Havana Cultural Tour

Given recent news about evolving relations and policy between US and Cuba, The Little Havana Cultural Tour (LHCT) is the only tour that goes beyond the tourist- layered surface and delves into the political, religious and social customs that have had significant influence and transformation of a major city.  Take a regular or private tour with a reputable guide through one of Miami's oldest neighborhoods where waves of Cuban refugees changed the landscape every decade.

This cultural tour* winds you through a humble but lively neighborhood, a kaleidoscope of culture, traditional customs, and vivid colors. Amble down memorial boulevard that marks the site of  Bay of Pigs memorial, and statues of historic leaders in Cuban history. Continue down famed "Calle 8" (or 8th street) to  the very location where the Bay of Pigs was planned,  and the fountain of youth called Dominoe Park. Sample pure sugar cane juice from a local fruit market, the classic Cuban Sandwich and other homemade bites at a family restaurant, and watch cigar rollers follow a decades-old technique to create the finest cigars. The owner, a third generation cigar roller, shares the history and myth vs. fact.

Enjoy this boutique service, where Christine or Flavia can answer any questions about the history, the people, and the politics. LHWT has a thumb on the pulse of this pocket neighborhood, where Christine and Flavia will introduce you to Cuban exiles and the second generation who run the mom-and-pop shops. We've had the distinct honor to meet and talk with survivors of Bay of Pigs battle and share their insight and stories of factual accounts.

 The guide also gladly takes your photos for your entire group so no one is left out. It's like having a concierge, tour guide, local friend all in one.

(*Note: Please know there is not a lot of walking on this tour compared to our South Beach Art Deco Walking Tour. All the main highlights are concentrated within a four block area. )

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT FOOD SAMPLES INCLUDED IN THE TOUR: a preplanned menu is selected. Coffee, sodas, juices are not included but may be purchased by client on their own.

AVAILABILITY OF The Little Havana Cultural Tour

Daily at 10:00am
Duration 3 hours

For cost of tour and reservations for further dates, click here.

Price of Tour and Reservations

This daily tour is only offered with advance reservation, at 10:00am. We have three methods of payment:

1. You can purchase your tickets online at any time using our booking system Zerve (click the word "Zerve" to be redirected). 
2. We can process your payment over the phone with full credit card info (a $3.00 service charge applies).
3. We can send you a direct payment link to your email where you can easily pay with your PayPal account or credit card (a $3.00 service charge applies).

Upon receipt of the payment, a confirmation will be sent with the meeting place and other helpful tips.

Price is $45 per person (including prearranged food samples!) and $10 for children under the age 12. The tour is offered for a minimum of two people. Full payment is required to reserve. For a PRIVATE tour the price is $62 per person.

If you have any questions please send us an email to or call 305-814-4058.  Email is best as we're often out conducting tours.
Large group tours or customized tours are available. Advance planning is recommended.

The payment is non-refundable AND the reservation is nonchangeable except for an official Hurricane Watch/Warning the day of the tour. Also, if it should rain heavily for more than 20 minutes along the tour route,  you may terminate the tour and the deposit is 100% refundable. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

About the Tour Guides

Christine Michaels is the creator of the Little Havana Cultural Tour. A native Floridian, Christine is the daughter of immigrant parents who met in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1960s.  Her mother is from Ecuador and her father from Poland. Armed with a Masters Degree in business and undergraduate degree in both business and international relations, launching and operating a cultural walking tour combines both her passions. Her fluency in Spanish also elevates the tour as Christine can readily translate conversations or questions/answers with locals.

Grateful for her multicultural heritage, Christine has had the opportunity to travel the globe to gain insight into the fabric of life of many cultures. Since she was a child Christine spent many summer vacations in Ecuador a month at a time. She also studied in Valencia, Spain during college. More unique was a rare visit to Poland with her family during the Cold War and to witness the Communist way of life first hand when visiting relatives.  Some of her Ecuadorian cousins have migrated to Australia where Christine spent a month exploring Sydney and the Gold Coast. Her most recent trip was to Machu Picchu in Peru.

With an affinity for culture and history, and an appreciation for her backyard, it was a natural progression for Christine to offer this unique tour offering deep insight into a cultural gem.

Flavia Caldas is the lead tour guide for this popular cultural tour. A native of Brazil, Flavia started her career in television production. Observing people and their subjects behind the scenes motivated her to delve deeper into history, various cultures as well as the arts and architecture. In moving to Miami, consumed the highlights of Miami and soon launched a blog Here Flavia shares her impressions and tips on Miami culture and activities to fellow Brazilians ranging from festivals, to concerts, art scenes, dancing places, food trucks and best restaurants. With a passion for authentic Cuban cuisine and coffee and the ability to dance salsa, samba and Flamenco, a it was a natural fit for Flavia to lead the Little Havana Cultural Tour.  Flavia is fully immersed in the neighborhood and has a thumb on the pulse on the Cuban  social, economic, and politic veins as it impacts greater Miami.

Come join us for an educational and enlightening cultural tour of Little Havana with Flavia and Christine!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tour Starting Point /Parking

The tour begins in front of the Bay of Pigs Memorial in Miami on the mainland.

The address to use is 1305 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL  33135.

Do NOT enter "Bay of Pigs Memorial" into GPS as it does not recognize this entry and will send you far away to unknown location.


1. Take one of these buses (depends of the bus stop; check the sign to see which one stops there): 120, 119 (S) or 103 (C).
2. Get off at The Downtown Bus Terminal.
3. Walk to South Miami Av @W Flager St
4. Take the 8 Bus - FIU via Westchester
5. Get off at SW 7 St. @SW 14 Av
6. Walk to 1305 SW 8th Street

You can park along 8th street or side streets and pay at the meters.
When you book a tour with us, your confirmation will indicate where to park for free.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Debate: To Travel or Not to Travel to Cuba

During the tour, I share the political debate among Cuban exiles and between young vs. elder Cubans on whether President Obama's lifting of travel restriction by Americans to the communist island will have a positive impact for the people of Cuba and Castro regime.

The controversy continues. Republican presidential candidates vow for continued isolationism. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen criticized a recent tour hosted by the Smithsonian Institute. 

Here is one article that appeared today in the Miami Herald by reporter  Elissa Vanaver sharing her visit to Cuba.
  We were stunned by the one-time opulence of Havana — a scope that exceeds the most spectacular of photo books — and dumbfounded by its ruination. The contrast gave scale to the loss and longing of the exile, and made the peril of crumbling buildings, reported in recent headlines, a comprehensible concern.

Read more here:
One hardliner, Carlos Saladrigas, has changed his decision and will be visiting Cuba for the upcoming Papal visit. In an interview by WPLG in Miami, Saladrigas shares,

"Why do we think that after 53 years of failure, all of a sudden, there's going to be a silver bullet, and all of a sudden, it's going to work, when it hasn't, and it hasn't anywhere else?" Saladrigas said.
For the complete interview, click here. 

Another observer, Humberto Fontova shares a forensic analysis of the faux embargo and maintains that the US should remain resolute in prohibiting travel to Cuba. According to Fontova,
The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom shows no loosening in Cuba’s repression during this tourism windfall. For over a decade Cuba has consistently ranked as the most economically repressive regime in the hemisphere and among the four most repressive on earth, consistently nudging North Korea for top honors... For much of the past decade the United States has been among Cuba’s biggest food suppliers. The expenditures by an estimated 400,000 travelers from the United States combined with a blizzard of remittances puts the estimated cash-flow from the United States to Cuba last year at $4 billion. While a proud Soviet satrapy, Cuba received $3 billion to $5 billion annually from the Soviets. So to label our current relationship with Cuba an “embargo” is laughable.[For the complete article, click here]

Read more here:
For much of the past decade the United States has been among Cuba’s biggest food suppliers. The expenditures by an estimated 400,000 travelers from the United States combined with a blizzard of remittances puts the estimated cash-flow from the United States to Cuba last year at $4 billion. While a proud Soviet satrapy, Cuba received $3 billion to $5 billion annually from the Soviets. So to label our current relationship with Cuba an “embargo” is laughable.

Read more here:

Read more here:

Miami is deeply embedded in a triangular relationship with Washington DC and Havana. Whoever holds office in the US Presidency will no doubt continue to influence policy and the outcome of Cuba's economic and social state of health and growth.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Keith and Blake Bankwitz (father and son)
At the Cuban Cigar Company in Little Havana with Pedro Bella III
(August 21, 2011)

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