Join former world boxing champion, humanitarian, and Playboy model Mia St. John, plus renowned Cuba expert, National Geographic author & photographer, and news personality Christopher P. Baker, on a unique Cuba boxing tour in 2018
Cuba punches far above its weight in boxing. No other country has won as many boxing gold medals at the Olympics (32 to be precise). This special program will focus on studying and experiencing the world of boxing in Cuba (where since the 1959 Revolution all boxing has been amateur and professional boxing has been banned), providing an exciting opportunity to meet some of Cuba’s “greats.” You’ll also marvel at the threadbare gyms where boxers train with unparalleled discipline and dedication; and discover what it is that fuels Cuba’s unbridled and unrivaled passion for the sport.
We’ll also visit community development projects that echo Mia’s own humanitarian passions (focusing on art and health therapy) to support nurturing and healthy communities, especially among socially and economically disadvantaged youth.
Plus, we’ll immerse ourselves in Cuba’s endlessly fascinating world of socialism and sensuality as we experience the eccentricity and enigma of Havana and Cuba in the company of Mia’s close friend, renowned Cuban expert, author, and celebrity news personality Christopher P. Baker.
This one-of-a-kind program is offered under the “people to people” educational exchange license granted by the U.S. Treasury Department and is subject to regulations requiring a full itinerary of engagements with Cubans resulting in “meaningful interaction.”
This trip can be booked by ANY U.S. citizen.
TOUR DATE: TBA
ITINERARY: 8 days/7 nights in Havana (subject to change)
Morning flight MIA-HAV
Lunch: El Aljibe
Sightseeing tour of Plaza de la Revoluión and key sights in downtown Havana
Check-in to hotel or casas particulares (private room rentals)
Dinner: La Guarida—Havana’s most famous, and perhaps finest, restaurant
Meet with Alberto Puig de la Barca, president of the Cuban Boxing Federation, and/or Antonio Castro, head of Cuba’s Olympic Commission, for a Q&A overview of boxing in Cuba.
Walking tour of Habana Vieja, Havana’s remarkable colonial core.
Lunch: Mama Ines (or alternative)
Visit the Gimnasio Rafael Trejo (in a derelict outdoor space in southern Habana Vieja) to witness local boxers training at Cuba’s premier training ground for young boxers. Tour members who are boxers may wish to train with the Cubans!
Meet with Rev. Gilbert Walker to learn about humanitarian work at Iglesia Merced, opposite Gimnasio Rafael Trejo. His charity works with youths from broken families, helping them adjust to Havana’s hard economic realities.
Visit the Escuela de Initiación Deportiva Escolar Mártires de Barbados (Sports Initiation School), in Cotorro, to learn about the Cuban Boxing School system.
Lunch: Il Divino
Visit Museo Ernest Hemingway, the author’s former home, with a private tour by Christopher’s close friend and museum director, Ada Rosa Alfonso.
Enjoy a performance by La Colmenita, a world-renowned children’s community theater group initiated during Cuba’s desperate economic plight of the early 1990s as a way to develop children’s creativity and self-assurance.
Dinner: At leisure
Meet Félix Savón, winner of three Olympic gold medals (Barcelona, Atlanta, and Sydney) and six world titles, at his home in the Fontanar district of Miramar, Havana.
Then visit the remarkable Fusterlandia community art project.
Lunch: Casa-Estudio Fuster OR Santy, Jaimanitas
Visit the Cuban national boxing team’s training center, outside Havana to meet Cuba’s Olympic hopefuls. Q&A with the national boxing team coach (and former four time Olympic champion) Juan Hernández Sierra, plus Dr. Rafael Lerena, the team doctor. Tour members who are boxers may have a chance to train with Cuba’s olympians!
Dinner: El Litoral
Day excursion to Las Terrazas sustainable community in the Sierra del Rosario mountains.
Guided community tour with Oscar Campos
Lunch: Eco-Restaurante El Romero
Guided hiking, horseback riding, and/or biking in the mountains
Dinner: At leisure
Morning visit to a cigar factory to see how the world’s finest cigars are made. Then visit Gimnasio de Neptuno to work out with fisiculturistas (body-builders), including female boxer and fisicultura Caridad Villa Castro.
Lunch: La Bonita
Enjoy a remarkable session of music and dance with Habana Compas, a remarkble troupe fusing African drumming and Spanish flamenco.
Rest of the afternoon self-directed.
Dinner: At leisure
Meet for Q&A with Namibia Flores, Cuba’s only female boxer and Olympic hopeful.
Demo match between Mia St. John and Namibia Flores at Gimnasio Rafael Freyre… your ringside seat is definitely worth the price of admission!
Lunch: At leisure
Dinner: VIP Havana followed by a musical and dance sensation at the Tropicana Cabaret.
Operated by Cross Cultural Journeys
- Round trip airfare Miami–Havana
- Cuba visa
- Cuba airport departure tax
- Cuba medical insurance policy
- Seven nights accommodations (double occupancy) in premium hotels or casa particulares
- All breakfasts
- Lunches and dinners as indicated in itinerary (subject to change)
- Airport transfers in Cuba
- Bilingual Cuban guide
- Entrances at group venues
- Miscellaneous people to people events as described in ‘Highlights’
- Pre-tour preparation materials
- Expertise of Christopher P. Baker and Mia St. John as trip leaders
While we will do our best to adhere to the itinerary listed here, traveling in Cuba requires flexibility. Changes to accommodations, activities, etc. may occur.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Airfare or transportation to start of tour in Miami
- Accommodation in Miami on the nights preceding/after the tour
- Meals not listed in the itinerary
- Alcoholic beverage
- Tips to staff
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Medical evacuation insurance
- Other inclusions not specified
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $800.
DEPOSIT, REFUND & CANCELLATION POLICY
Due to the unique nature of conducting tours in Cuba, PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
- Deposit required US$800
- Cancellation prior to 60 days before tour departure, 50 percent refund of deposit
- Cancellation 30-60 days before tour departure, no refund of deposit
- Cancellation less than 30 days before tour departure, loss of full payment and deposit
- No refunds once tour has commenced
- Final payment due 60 days before departure
This program is offered under a general license for “people-to-people” educational exchange per Cuba Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515 administered by the Dept. of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Controls, and is prepared in accordance with said regulations.
MIA ST JOHN
Mia St. John is the one of the most famous and popular competitors in women’s boxing today, as well as a leading humanitarian and charitable sponsor.
Born in San Francisco, California in 1967, Mia began her fighting career at the age of six, competing in Tae Kwon Do, in which she later earned a black belt. After receiving a degree in psychology, Mia decided to pursue her true passion full-time. In 1997, she made her pro-debut in boxing, knocking out her opponent in fifty-four seconds into the first round. Mia signed with Don King before later signing with Top Rank, for which she spent four years opening all of Oscar De La Hoya’s major fights.
After accumulating an unheard of boxing record of nearly 60 pro fights, in 2008 Mia became the WBC International Boxing Champion of the World at the age of 40. In August 2012, Mia beat Christy Martin and, at the age of 45, became the WBC Super Welter Weight Champion of the World.
She continues to box professionally.
Mia appeared in an eleven-page celebrity pictorial in the November 1999 issue of Playboy magazine. She has appeared on Conan, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, and countless other major TV shows, and has been featured in such publication as SELF and Shape. She stars in the successful DVD Mia St. John’s Million Dollar Workout.
Mia St. John: Humanitarian and Philanthropist
Of Mexican heritage, Mia, a mother of three, is also known for her humanitarian and charitable work. She founded “El Saber Es Poder/Knowledge Is Power” to empower disadvantaged youth and address the most serious health and social challenges facing Latino youth and their families today.
Mia spoke on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to reintroduce the Mental Health in Schools Act and create awareness and support for mental health initiatives. Mia also advocates on the importance of education and overcoming hardship. She speaks of her own battles with mental illness, addiction, poverty and overcoming it all, to become a five time international and world boxing champion.
She was presented with the “WBC Goodwill Ambassador” Award from The World Boxing Council. In 2015, Mia was named by CNN, “Mental Health Warrior”, along with eight other inspiring people.
Namibia Flores: Cuba’s only female boxer
During our exciting 8-day program, Mia St. John will spar with Namibia Flores, who defies Fidel Castro’s ban on female boxing to follow her dream of Olympic glory. We’ll meet with this inspiring lady, whose harrowing journey against insurmountable odds to become Cuba’s first female boxer is revealed in the recently released documentary Boxeadora…
Community Health Care
In November 2014, Mia and her former husband Kristoff St. John (star of ‘Young and the Restless’) lost their son Julian. Diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, Julian died while in care at a mental health rehabilitation center (see Washington Post story). Mia’s ongoing advocacy on behalf of the mentally ill is intended to shine a light on inadequate care at U.S. mental health institutions.
In Cuba, we will take time to visit community assistance programs such as Muraleando, and health care facilities such as the Latin American School of Medicine, to learn about the country’s approach to assisting and empowering the disadvantaged… including through one of Mia’s personal passions: art and sport as therapy.