Little Havana Walking Tours

Explore Little Havana with the co-author of “A History of Little Havana”!

On my engaging Little Havana walking tours, learn the neighborhood’s intriguing connections with the histories, cultural traditions, politics and spiritual practices of Cuba and other parts of of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Meet locals, enhance your knowledge, and experience the soul of Little Havana.

Meet artists like Alejandro Lazaro at work in Little Havana

Meet artists like Alejandro at work in Little Havana

I share my in-depth knowledge about Little Havana and my experiences as a resident and community leader in the neighborhood, and I will introduce you to locals from all walks of life, including important figures in local history. Depending on whom we encounter during our walk, you may meet local poets, artists, authors, musicians, Santeras/os, filmmakers, former political prisoners, dancers or merchants.

Experience Little Havana through your senses: taste, touch, smell, listen (I include music samples!) and perhaps, if you want to, try a few dance moves (I can teach you)!

This is no ordinary tour. It is designed for people who want to learn and better understand people and place in an engaging and meaningful way. My tours challenge common stereotypes and superficial treatments of places and people.

Your tour was the highlight of our time in Miami. You showed us Little Havana with an emphasis on the history of the place and the people. Our group loved every minute.”
– Lila (Florida)

This was by far one of the best tours I have ever been on.”
— Tina Bucuvalas, former State Folklorist and Director of the Florida Folklife Program

I am also a tour director for tours to Cuba for Classic Journeys, named a World’s Best Tour Operator for 2016 by Travel & Leisure magazine.

INTERESTED IN A PRIVATE TOUR? See my Tour Calendar first, and then Contact Me if you are interested in booking a tour. See my testimonials.

Visit our special places ... while learning in an engaging, multi-sensory way

Visit our special places … while learning in an engaging, multi-sensory way

Is This the Right Tour for You?

My tour guests come from across the globe. They inspire me and we always end up learning from each other. Honestly, however, I am as picky about my guests as you may be about the tour guide you choose.

I am looking for guests who are inquisitive, respectful of cultural differences, and eager to learn and better understand this place. If your answer to most or all of the questions below is yes, then I’m confident you will love my tours.

1. You prefer to work with a local (Little Havana-based) guide.

I don't just talk about traditions, I partake in them, like "arrollando con la conga" at the Calle Ocho Festival

Here I’m “arrollando con la conga” at the Calle Ocho Festival.

I have lived in Little Havana for the past decade. My efforts as an advocate for my neighborhood have been mentioned in a PBS mini-documentary, on National Public Radio, El Nuevo Herald, the Miami Herald and numerous other publications (see In the Media).

I re-invest tour income in Little Havana as a local resident and regular at numerous local establishments, from restaurants to clothing stores to dance studios to the Tower Theater. I am also the co-founder of the Little Havana Merchant Alliance and sit on the advisory board of Little Havana’s Koubec Center.

2. You prefer to work with a trained and experienced guide.

I have been leading Little Havana walking tours since I served as director of Little Havana's monthly arts and culture festival, Viernes Culturales, in 2006

I am the former director of Little Havana’s monthly arts festival, Viernes Culturales

In addition to my ten years of experience as a tour guide and resident of Little Havana, I have been featured in The New York Times (see article), Florida Travel & Life, National Geographic Traveler and in travel media from around the globe (see In the Media).

I am also a tour director for tours to Cuba through one of the top 10 walking tour companies in the world, Classic Journeys, as rated by Travel & Leisure. read more

3. You want a guide very knowledgeable about Little Havana’s history AND Cuban / Latin American / Caribbean history.

I have led walking tours of Little Havana for more than ten years, beginning when I was director of Viernes Culturales, Little Havana’s monthly arts and culture festival. I conduct original research on the neighborhood as a cultural anthropologist and historian, and as reflected in “A History of Little Havana,” (The History Press, 2015), the book I co-authored with Cuban-American sociologist Guillermo Grenier. I am also researching Little Havana history for my Ph.D. dissertation.

My knowledge of neighborhood history comes not only from numerous books, articles and other publications, but also from dozens of interviews and conversations I have conducted with current and former Little Havana residents and influencers. I am earning my Ph.D. in Anthropology at Florida International University, with Graduate Certificates in Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Afro-Latin American Studies and African & African Diaspora Studies.

4. You want a very knowledgeable guide — about Latino/Hispanic arts, culture and spiritual traditions.

A Little Havana dancer performs sacred/folkloric dances representing the Lukumi (Santeria) Orisha Oya

A Little Havana dancer performs folkloric dances representing the Lukumi (Santeria) Orisha Oya

For more than two decades I have studied Latino and Latin American/Caribbean music, visual art, theater and dance traditions, beginning in Southern California, where I learned about Chicano/Mexican mural and teatro, and later in Washington, DC, when I served on the board of the Latin American Folk Institute. For 15 years I have studied Afro-Cuban music, dance and spiritual practices in particular. My teachers of Afro-Cuban folkloric and sacred dance include nationally known teachers of Afro-Cuban dance, including Neri Torres, Marisol Blanco and Oscar Rousseaux.

I have learned about Afro-Cuban and other Latin American and Caribbean religions, spiritualities and healing practices directly from practitioners as well as from scholarly texts. In the summer of 2014, I was one of 12 graduate students selected nationwide to participate in the Latino Museum Studies Program at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, where I deepened my knowledge of Latino/Latin American arts and culture.

Standing in front of the Good Wall

Standing in front of the Good Wall

5. You want a guide who is warm, engaging, interesting and dynamic, and interacts easily with people of all ages and backgrounds.

My previous guests say it best … please read my testimonials!

Demonstrating the musical instrument of the checkere to a young guest on my tour.

Demonstrating the musical instrument of the checkere to a young guest on my tour.

6. You want a guide who does not perpetuate (and who instead challenges) ethnic, racial, gender or cultural stereotypes.

My tours do not perpetuate all-too-pervasive stereotypes about the neighborhood and its history, about Cuba, Cubans and Central Americans, about people of African (or other) descent, and about Little Havana residents in general. Little Havana is not stuck in some unchanging past. It is not Cuba, it is not Disneyland, it’s not West Brickell. It is a place many people feel very deeply about, but for their own reasons. My tour is for people who don’t settle for one-dimensional representations.

Go "off the beaten track" of Calle Ocho and the the stories told about Little Havana.

Go “off the beaten track” of Calle Ocho.

7. You want to have a very memorable, interactive and meaningful experience, with a chance to connect with locals.

Again, I suggest reading my testimonials.

My private tours include opportunities for dance classes and workshops with local residents.

My private tours include opportunities for dance classes and workshops with local residents.

8. You want a guide who does not take commissions.

I do not accept commissions from local businesses and I will never steer you into a business because of some vested self interest (I am enthusiastic about local small businesses because I believe in supporting mom and pop business owners).