International Tours Alliance is a Destination Management Company focused on offering once in a lifetime unique cultural experiences by bringing together the international tourist traveler and the local community. We do this in a variety of ways through our customized packages and services which incorporate the exciting pleasures of experiencing local foods, music, and interaction with the local people of the countries we visit.
For 2019, we are offering our culinary adventure trip in the tropical and historical island of Cuba. Creating a culinary trip has always been at the top of our list as food and cooking are two of our greatest passions and ways we bring people together. In every trip, we do not leave our customers searching or planning for the right places to eat. We always offer the best food options and incorporate local cuisine, creating a genuine and authentic culinary experience.
The idea to introduce this new trip all started over Nicaraguan Cigars and cocktails with our friend Chef Armando Tam (TitosMundo), the man behind the “Levanta Ventures and Comidazo” we talked about creating a specialty trip focusing primarily on the culinary arts. Since Cuba is one of our destinations he immediately said “I know the right Chef for such an experience”, and quickly introduced us to “The James Beard” award-winning Celebrity Chef Douglas Rodriguez, known as the inventor of Nuevo Latino Cuisine. In less than 24 hours, we had a conference call with Douglas and his team to talk about the details of the trip.
After a couple of weeks of planning we came up with a culturally rich culinary experience hosted by the renowned Chef Douglas Rodriguez. The trip will focus not only on visiting the best restaurants in Cuba, but also sharing the “behind the scenes” experience of visiting some of the most diverse farms and markets where the magic begins.
The experience of Cuba will be filled with excitement right from the start. Once you are settled at your Hotel Parque Central in Old Havana, the magical charm of Cuba will sweep you off your feet on this unique and once in a lifetime vacation with Chef Douglas Rodriguez. He will make your tongue dance with exciting flavors of the Caribbean infused with creative elements yet to be experienced by taking you on a culinary journey of meticulously selected restaurants. You will visit the historic Sloppy Joe’s Bar founded in 1919 by Don Jose Garcia. This iconic bar was visited by many Hollywood celebrities from the 1930s such as Ramon Jacinto Herrera “Ray Tico”, John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Mario Moreno “Cantinflas and many other personalities of the time.
As we continue exploring and sightseeing the streets of Havana we will stop at a very special place for lunch. Ivan Justos Restaurant, named after its Chef. The place is simply spectacular with a thoroughly Mediterranean style. The restaurant is located in a building made out of wood and stone, dating back to more than 200 years, the decor is elegant and classy which creates a unique welcoming atmosphere, you’ll definitely want to come back for more. After tasting some incredible food, we will continue to walk along the streets of Havana and visit other historic sites. Your first dinner in Cuba will take place at La Fontana, quite simply one of the very best places to eat in Havana. Delicious food, awesome atmosphere, excellent service, making this a real Havana landmark, where Havana really discovers the charcoal grill. The portions of fish and meat are to perfection, it is the perfect place for a foodie.
When you visit Havana there are places that are iconic to the city where personalities of the 20th century left their mark. The mixology experience starts at La Floridita where the famous writer and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway would contemplate his afternoons and bohemian nights sitting in the corner of the bar while enjoying his classic Cuban Daiquiri. Also worth mentioning is another of his favorites places, La Bodeguita del Medio where the famous Mojito was born, as his famous quote states “My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita.”
A Cuban cigar has to be the most requested item by friends and family when they know you’ll be traveling to Cuba. During this trip you will not only enjoy a Cuban cigar and smoke it in style in one of the many great spots in Havana, but you will get to see the entire cigar making process at the Robaina Plantation in Pinar del Rio.
To make things even more special you will have lunch a the Buena Vista Restaurant in El Valle de Viñales and a delicious pig roast at El Cuajani Restaurant with Jose and Bertha. You will also have the opportunity to visit Finca Marta, about 18 miles from havana. This farm is an organic farm leading the forefront of the agro-ecology movement in Cuba. The fresh ingredients are purchased here by the top restaurants in Cuba.
As the days go by you’ll realize how dynamic the culinary movement in Cuba is. You’ll visit La Guarida one of the most iconic restaurants in Havana, Chef Rodriguez will narrate the story of his first encounter with Enrique and Odeysis, owners of the restaurant.