CUBA ADVENTURE TRAVEL: A NEW FRONTIER
As travel restrictions to Cuba change, new adventures beckon from the Caribbean island previously closed off to American tourism. Now is your chance to be part of a new era of adventure travel to Cuba–a country rich in culture and enchanting natural landscapes. Traveling through Cuba’s cities and coastlines, mountains and wetlands, this itinerary offers a chance to experience the diversity of the country while encouraging and facilitating cultural connections. Since 1963, American tourism to Cuba has been prohibited and the tumultuous relationship between the two countries spanned decades. Now, as regulations have changed and people-to-people travel has been approved, is the time to meet and learn from the locals, walk through the colonial plazas, travel in 50s era Chevy’s, and glide along the aquamarine coastlines without the crowds. Join us for our inaugural trips to Cuba for a time that’s sure to both inspire and educate, mystify and delight.
HAVANA: EXPLORING THE CAPITAL
The draw of Havana is hard to pin down. Is it the colorfully beautiful but dilapidated baroque and neo-classical architecture that’s so interesting in its contradictions? The guitars, voices and high energy of the Mambo that permeates the streets with excitement? The Hemingway and Guevara legacies that inspire, entertain and enchant? Havana has it all for a curious explorer, and we will kick off our itinerary roaming it’s streets alongside classic cars, sample it’s cuisine in unmarked local haunts, and rest soundly in its historic center. One of our highlights in Havana will be the time spent in Havana Vieja, the old city, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. This incredibly resilient city has seen pirates and fires, guerrillas and revolutions, and has endured to offer a glimpse into a complicated but beautiful country. Our journey begins and ends in this incredible city, allowing our guests time to soak in its fascinating history.
PEOPLE TO PEOPLE TRAVEL
Legal travel to Cuba falls under 12 categories, one of which is people-to-people travel. As defined by the US Treasury Department, people-to-people travel is “intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.” As travelers under the people-to-people stipulations, we look forward to connecting our guests to the joys of Cuban culture.
The people-to-people cultural exchanges our itinerary offers are sure to be some of the most memorable experiences on your to trip Cuba. After spending time in Havana mingling with the locals, we’ll visit the Korimacao Community Project in Playa Larga, a community program invested in performance and musical arts. We’ll interact with young artists and teachers, and may have the opportunity to watch a musical or dance performance. The next people to people encounter brings us to the Jardin Botánico Cienfuegos, a botanical paradise where over 2,000 plant species are grown. While the garden originally was home to sugar cane, it is now a haven for rare and tropical trees. We will explore the gardens and listen to the staff as they share their wisdom and insight into this diverse and beautiful place.
REVOLUTION & CONSERVATION: KAYAKING THE CARIBBEAN COAST
While the incredibly pristine coastlines in Cuba are widely attributed to Castro’s commitment to conservation, the struggling economy and lack of tourism to Cuba has also worked to preserve Cuba’s place as the most biodiverse in the Caribbean. More than 20 percent of Cuba’s land is under federal protection and we will have the opportunity to explore some of its most pristine places. Leaving Korimacao, we will arrive at Playa Larga and later at Playa Giron. Both locations are famous as a landing sites during the Bay of Pigs, but now in more peaceful times boast serene and stunning beaches. Playa Larga is known worldwide as a diving mecca, famous for its coral reefs, flooded caves, and colorful marine life. Playa Giron offers us a chance to kayak through its aquamarine waters, watching for a plethora of wild birds and fish at the Las Salinas Salt Flats. Before leaving the area, we’ll visit the Museo de la Intervención and learn about the historic Bay of Pigs invasion that deeply influenced the tide of the country and this region in particular.
WHY CHOOSE OARS FOR A CUBAN VACATION?
OARS has been in business for over 45 years and that is no accident. We thrive on creating adventures that take you off the beaten path and away from the crowds to magical landscapes, rivers and coastlines. National Geographic, Outside, Men’s Journal and Sunset magazines along with NBC, CNBC, Forbes Traveler and SmarterTravel.com have all recognized OARS for serving up some of the “Best Trips on the Planet.” Our Cuban adventure is no exception. With more than 150 years of combined experience in the adventure travel industry, our staff of knowledgeable adventurers has put together an intimate trip paddling the country’s Caribbean Coast, exploring its historic cities, and learning from its tumultuous past and culturally diverse people.
We believe it is a fundamental part of adventure-tourism to work with local guides while at the same time bringing our wealth of experience to the table. In addition to our tour leader, we provide highly-skilled sea kayaking guides. These local tour guides share their personal experiences with guests as well as general information about the region and culture of Cuba. Our like-minded partners realize they are accountable to OARS high standards, so you can rest assured you will be in be in good hands. OARS has taken out the guesswork and added our guarantee. We hope you have an opportunity to join us for this once in a lifetime Cuban adventure.