For the last several decades, Cuba has been off-limits to the average American tourist. Because of the icy relationship between the US and Cuban governments, trade of all kinds—including tourism– was restricted between the two countries for years. Fortunately, due to a recent thawing of political relations between DC and Havana, some travel to Cuba is now permitted. While mass-market tourism is still forbidden, American citizens can legally visit Cuba through a select type of educational travel that focuses on fostering relationships between people.
“People to people” tours, as they are known, have little in common with the kind of large-scale tourism that many people are familiar with. Instead of a generic package of sun, sand, and sea, you’ll find yourself whisked away on an educational adventure, seeing the heart of the country in ways you might never have imagined. As the name implies, people to people tours are designed to foster direct personal contact between travelers and locals, in order to stimulate engagement and understanding on both sides. Curious about Cuban cigars? Take a tour of the factory and meet the workers! Interested in breathtaking mountain scenery and pristine beaches where turtles nest? Meet the local conservationists who are working to make sure their country stays beautiful for generations to come.
On a people to people tour, you’ll have a chance to meet people from all levels of society and all walks of life, from priests and professors to farmers and factory workers. You won’t just see the sights in Cuba; you’ll immerse yourself in the culture that makes the sights special. What’s the best part about a people to people tour? It gives you a chance to really know the country, from the perspective of the people who live there. By the end of your time in Cuba, you will know and understand the country at a level that goes far beyond what you would experience on an ordinary vacation. You’ll also be able to share your own stories with people who are just as curious about your life as you are about theirs!
Travel to Cuba is not without challenges. In order to participate in a people to people tour, you’ll need to look for a tour operator that carries a Specific License issued by the US Treasury Department. In addition, due to Cuban government regulations, you’ll need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months following the end of your trip. Once you’ve selected a tour, your tour operator will be able to help you with the details—everything from arranging your visa to chartering your flight.
If you’re looking for a unique adventure in a country both close to home and far off the beaten track, taking a people to people tour to Cuba might just be the perfect option. With nature, history, and an incredible culture just waiting to be shared, Cuba as seen through the eyes of its people is an experience not to be missed. So book your people to people tour…It could be the most memorable and meaningful vacation of your life!
Visit Classic Journeys to learn more.