http://havanajournal.com/travel/entry/spirit-quest-tours-offers-cuba-trip-383/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Travel

Spirit Quest Tours offers Cuba trip

Posted September 29, 2011 by publisher in Cuba Travel.
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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Anne Sorock of BigGovernment.com discovered that Spirit Quest Tours is offering a Cuba vacation, or should I say “humanitarian trip to Cuba”.

The Las Vegas based company is pricing this Cuba trip at $3985 per person plus $75 for a humanitarian visa. Airfare from Cancun to Havana is included. 

As you can read from the Spirit Quest Tours Cuba itinerary webpage, this is mostly a Cuban vacation with a tiny component of a humanitarian mission. The itinerary starts by saying that We’ll each be bringing 2 lbs of medicine much needed by the locals, so we will have a chance to give it to those who are waiting to bring our humanitarian aid to Havana patients.

However, there is no other mention of any humanitarian aid or gestures and no mention of how the 2 lbs of medicine will be distributed to “Havana patients”.. Furthermore, I’m not sure that simply bringing 2 lbs of medicine per person qualifies any Cuba trip to be a “humanitarian mission”.

Participants will enjoy the following:

Driving Tour of the city of Havana in vintage cars

Walking tour of Old Havana

Cultural tour of Trinidad

Havana tour and Buena Vista Social Club

Bloomspot

Bloomspot is a Groupon deals type business and offered this trip for a very short time. As you can see by the screen capture below, Bloomspot has closed the offer.

I don’t know why Bloomspot closed this offer but it is my opinion that they could not legally promote this Cuba trip.

Halle Eavelyn

I called Spirit Quest Tours to inquire about the type of license they are using in order to offer this humanitarian mission to Cuba. I spoke with co-founder Halle Eavelyn and she informed me that she has researched legal travel to Cuba, consulted with an attorney and is working with a licensed Travel Service Provider to offer this trip.

She informed me that each person signing up for the tour would have to obtain their own humanitarian license to travel to Cuba. She did not want to share the name of the Travel Service Provider in charge of organizing the details of the trip.

She told me that Spirit Quest Tours does not have, nor did they apply for, any type of Cuba travel license from OFAC. She has been relying on advice from her attorney and Travel Service Provider that this trip is compliant with US laws. They have not yet taken any deposits for the trip since it has only been offered for two days.

—————————————- Havana Journal Comments—————————————-

After reading the itinerary and the humanitarian aid component of this trip and due to the lack of public information about any type of US Cuba travel license, I have to wonder if this qualifies as a humanitarian mission to Cuba.

I am not an attorney and I don’t know all the details about legal travel to Cuba but I do know the difference between a Cuban vacation and a humanitarian mission. In my opinion, this is a Cuban vacation being promoted to Americans. Abercrombie and Kent cancelled their Cuba trip and have now posted this on their website: “The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury Department issued new guidance on July 25th regarding authorized travel to Cuba. As a result, Abercrombie & Kent has suspended all Cuba- related travel bookings until it can ensure it is fully compliant with this new guidance.”

I support legal travel to Cuba but trips that operate in a gray area cause OFAC to release a Cuba Travel Advisory and that is not good for legal trips to Cuba.

Cuba Trips website

Our sister site, CubaTrips.org lists all the legal tours to Cuba and information about general and specific US Cuba travel licenses and Travel Service Providers.

Member Comments

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On September 29, 2011, publisher wrote:

Halle Eavelyn informs me that they have a charitable component to each of their tours, including donating to charities on the ground.

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On December 19, 2011, publisher wrote:

December 19 update

We have learned that Spirit Quest Tours has decided to stop promoting religious tours to Cuba.

Unfortunately this is yet another example of the confusion that exists by the OFAC travel regulations. 

There certainly need to be a better articulation of the President’s intention by OFAC. 

Legal trips to Cuba should not be a “guessing game” by travel agents, religious groups, and others” said a Cuban travel expert who wished to remain anonymous.

He added “I have found that most people want to follow the law and want to do what is right, but the OFAC travel regulations are unnecessarily causing much confusion”.