Visiting Cuba is on my bucket list of places to travel. And there are plenty of marginally legit ways to visit, like flying to Cancun, Mexico, then taking a flight from Cancun to Havana without getting your US Passport stamped. A little shady, but still doable.
For those who prefer not to risk getting thrown in jail, there’s Abercrombie & Kent. They have a 10-day “educational exchange” vacation available.
What You’ll Experience
- Immerse yourself in Cuban culture, exploring its architecture, agriculture, music and dining during intimate, one-to-one experiences with residents
- Discover Cuba’s and America’s great shared passion – baseball – at a game where you meet the players and even have the opportunity to play a few innings with them
- Meet the husband and wife team operating the Proyecto de Arte Por la Costa, who are artistically enriching their community
- Engage in a stimulating discussion of the history of U.S.-Cuba relations with a Foreign Service scholar in Havana
- Join a local architect for an educational walk through Havana, discussing its historic styles and contemporary restoration efforts
- Partake in a private salsa lesson and one-on-one talk with a Cuban salsa instructor
- Pay an interactive visit to a cigar factory, where residents teach you their craft; then, gain insight into the growing process at a tobacco farm
- Explore Las Terrazas eco-community and learn about Cuba’s environmental commitments at this unique UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
- Take an informative walk with artist José Fuster or his son to review his local projects, followed by an authentic dinner in his home
- Experience Cuba’s culinary variety with an interactive cooking demonstration at a paladar (family-run restaurant), and talk with the owners about this privately owned Cuban enterprise
- Gain insight into Cuba’s well-regarded public health care system during an informal yet engaging conversation with a local physician; discuss everything from physician training to research and production during an exchange of issues on the subject
- Meet with local musicians during a private Buena Vista Social Club-style concert and cultural discussion
- Day 1: Arrive in Miami and have dinner while listening to a Cuban-American speaking about life in Miami
- Day 2: Fly to Santa Clara, Cuba and meet with locals
- Day 3: Experience Cuban industries up close
- Day 4: Explore Cuba’s vibrant arts
- Day 5: Visit Cuba’s capital, Havana
- Day 6: Cigars and Farming in the countryside
- Day 7: Art & Nature in Las Terrazas
- Day 8: Interactive cooking experience
- Day 9: Spiritual center and private concert
- Day 10: Depart Havana for Miami
How Do You Sign Up?
Visit Abercrombie & Kent’s website, complete the forms, and pay $4,995 (includes $300 discount if booking 2013 trip by August 15th). They have put together an amazing trip, but I have to knock it down a notch due to the price. Paying $5k per person is too rich for my blood when miles and points can get me so many experiences that rival this. At the very least, I’d book a spectacular vacation to Cancun with miles and points, then pay less than $2k cash ($700 for 2 round-trip tickets & fees + $1300 in spending money for hotel, cars, etc.) for a short flight via Cubana or Aeromexico.