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Posted August 04, 2003 by publisher in US Tourism to Cuba

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New York Times | SUSAN CATTO

Cuba Tour Companies Add New (Last) Trips

Time is running out for groups offering educational trips to Cuba. Since 1999, when the United States government began licensing companies to take groups on people-to-people educational exchanges, an estimated 50,000 Americans have participated in study trips to Cuba. But in March, the Treasury Department announced that it would no longer grant or renew educational-travel licenses unrelated to academic coursework.

Many permits have already expired; the rest will run out by early next year.
“The bottom line with this particular license is it was frequently abused for travel that related to little more than tourism,” said Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the Treasury Department.

Many tour companies and cultural institutions regret the change of policy. “It’s a shame,” said Harriet Friedlander, whose company, Academic Arrangements Abroad, has planned Cuban trips for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Folk Art Museum. “I would think the best thing we could do for the Cuban people would be to have cultured Americans interested in their country there for them to talk to. That whole chain of contacts will be gone with the abolition of these licenses.”

Groups that still have valid licenses are rushing to add new departures to their schedules. The following are among those programs with space remaining.

The Center for Cuban Studies, (212) 242-0559, [url=http://www.cubaupdate.org]http://www.cubaupdate.org[/url] , a New York-based research group, offers weeklong Cuba Update trips examining the country’s political, economic, religious and artistic institutions. Trips depart from New York City on Sept. 6, Oct. 11 and Nov. 8 and cost $2,500 a person for double rooms and $2,700 for singles. The Center also offers itineraries focusing on performing arts (Sept. 13 to 20; Oct. 18 to 25; Nov. 22 to 29), film (Sept. 20 to 27), architecture (Oct. 18 to 26) and the visual arts (Nov. 1 to 10; Nov. 10 to 20). Rates include air fare and some meals.

Elderhostel, (877) 426-8056, [url=http://www.elderhostel.org]http://www.elderhostel.org[/url] , offering trips to travelers 55 and over (and younger companions), has four Cuba programs and more than 15 departures scheduled between October and December. There is a waiting list for double rooms on all trips, but single rooms are still available. The 11-night Cuba: Key to the Americas trip visits Havana, Viales and Santiago de Cuba; participants study the country’s cultural, geographical, agricultural and religious history. Eight departure dates are available between Oct. 20 and Dec. 8; the single-room rate is $3,375. A tour called An Exploration into Cuban Culture and History goes to Santa Clara, Trinidad and Havana and focuses on political, economic and cultural history. Five departures are offered between Nov. 8 and Dec. 6; single rooms are $3,101. Rates include air fare from Cancn and all meals.

Insight Cuba, (800) 935-2822, [url=http://www.insightcuba.org]http://www.insightcuba.org[/url] , a program of the international volunteer organization Cross-Cultural Solutions, has more than 20 trips remaining. A one-week Havana-based jazz trip departs Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov. 8 and Dec. 13; prices start at $2,299 a person, double occupancy, including air fare from Miami, a Cuban visa and two meals a day; single supplement $175. Perspective, a two-week cultural tour, visits Havana, Pinar del Ro, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Remedios and Santiago de Cuba. Departures are Sept. 20, Oct. 25, Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13; rates start at $2,899, double occupancy, including two meals a day but not air fare or visa; single supplement $490. There is also a one-week Perspective trip departing Sept. 6, Oct. 18, Nov. 22, Dec. 6 and Dec. 20; $1,799 a person, including two meals a day but not air fare or visa; single supplement, $245.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, (800) 944-6847, Web site [url=http://www.nationaltrust.org]http://www.nationaltrust.org[/url] , offers a study tour called Cuba: Its Culture and Its People from Oct. 10 to 17. Participants explore the architecture of Havana, Trinidad, the Valley of the Sugar Mills and Cienfuegos. Tours depart from Miami and cost $3,975 a person based on double occupancy, with a $380 single supplement; membership in the National Trust costs $20. Rates include most meals but not air fare.

[url=http://www.SalsaDanceCuba.org]http://www.SalsaDanceCuba.org[/url] , (877) 912-3118, based in Boulder, Colo., will hold a dance and percussion program in Havana from Nov. 22 to 29. Cuban instructors will teach salsa and contemporary Latin dance and percussion techniques; cultural classes, dances and excursions to local nightclubs are also on the itinerary. The tour departs from Miami and costs $1,849 a person, double occupancy, or $2,099 for a single room. Rates include air fare from Miami and all meals.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on September 04, 2003 by N-normana with 4 total posts

    Experience Music Project a non-profit 501 (c) 3 museum (1-877-EMPLIVE) is sponsoring an educational trip to Cuba December 12 - 19, 2003 on an OFAC license. This will be our third trip to Cuba in less than 2 years. Our educational travel program focuses on Afro-Cuban and Cuban music, dance, and Cuban culture. Our past trips have fostered relationships with some of Cuba’ best musicians, and leading experts on music. We will meet with many of them, and explore the nightclubs of Havana for great music and dance. The trip originates in Los Angeles (alternate flight from Miami is available).  Complete information is available on our website at: http://www.emplive.com/join/membership/membership_travel.asp

  2. Follow up post #2 added on January 06, 2004 by jack

    are there any trips to cuba in 2004?

  3. Follow up post #3 added on January 08, 2004 by N-normana with 4 total posts

    Experience Music Project will not be traveling to Cuba again until OFAC and the current government regulations allow it. Our travel license expired on December 31, 2003 and with current rules, we are unable to receive another license ofr educational travel to Cuba.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on July 08, 2004 by Penelope Morel

    I would like to work as a Tour Director or Tour Guide for Cuba.  I have experience directing tours to Puerto Rico with EF Tours.

    Please let me know where I need to apply.


    Penelope Morel
    20 Charlesgate West #614
    Boston, MA 02215-2703
    Tel. (617) 267-2291
    e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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