With the recent lifting of travel bans, many American travelers are turning their sights on the mysterious island nation of Cuba - forbidden from US tourists for over 55 years. Who could resist the visions of curling cigar smoke over the deep beat of rumba music, vintage American cars crawling down cobble-lined streets as the blazing Caribbean sun glances off of straw hats and swishing silk skirts? It’s no wonder we’re seduced by the idea, but it’s not as easy as jumping on a flight and covering your nose in sunscreen!
While tourism rules have indeed been loosened, Americans are still not permitted to vacation in Cuba in the traditional sense. This is not the destination for lazy resort retreats sipping mojitos on a tropical beach. Cuba wants to ensure that its new visitors are coming to its shores with a positive purpose that will benefit both countries and has provided an extensive list of legitimate reasons to request a tourist visa. Fortunately for Classic Escapes travelers, one of those legitimate reasons is cultural enrichment, charmingly known on the visa application as “people to people” tourism. As it happens, cultural enrichment is our specialty.
Half a century of isolation from the rapid advancements of the Western World have cultivated a uniquely preserved cultural flavor amidst the Cuban people. Despite our rocky history of trade embargoes and missile crises, Americans will find the people of Cuba not only warm and welcoming, but eager to share the treasures of their heritage. A “people to people” visa requires that American tourists open themselves up to cultural exchange – which means both absorbing and sharing cultural viewpoints. One of the requirements of this visa is that you see the offerings of Cuba with a local guide. Your guide will provide insight on everything from the proper way to enjoy a cup of Cuban coffee to the history of the vibrant cities and charming colonial villages you’ll visit.
You will find the Cuban people you encounter just as curious about you as you are about them. For example, a popular stop on our tours include an afternoon at a trendy art studio in Havana, watching the artists produce their work and answering their questions about what it takes to study and create art back home.
Beyond the cities and towns, you will find the raw and breathtaking beauty of Cuba’s natural landscape. Over the decades, Cuban engineers and conservationists have worked behind their curtain of solitude, producing their own unique methods for preserving their spectacular wetlands and wildlife habitats. These innovations include the construction of one of the most remarkable zoos in the world, where animals of different species wander freely in shared enclosures modeled after their native habitats.
This is the perfect tour for a traveler who truly wants the type of experience that gets talked about for years. Now is the ideal time to visit, before tourism from the US grows into a larger, more commercial industry and overtakes the untouched charm of the places you will visit. Both unique and immersive, a “people to people” tour of Cuba is sure to enrich your mind, your palate, and your spirit.
Click here to see our upcoming partner journeys to Cuba. Or give us a call at 800-627-1244 and we'll help you build your dream trip.
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