Headed to Cuba
The I'm soon headed to Cuba on a legal people-to-people study trip flying from Miami. Most go there illegally from Toronto, Jamaica or another Caribbean island, since Americans have been permitted legally with only a few licensed operators.
Im expecting to be restricted more than the illegal travelers who can rent cars, smoke Cuban cigars and drink the rum - all things I expect are unlikely on the licensed trip. Those going illegally brag about how cheap Cuba is, how nice the beaches are and its lively nightlife. My Canadian friends, who can travel to Cuba legally and have been doing so for years, also speak of how inexpensive it is and how friendly the people are. My friend Judy suggested I bring guitar strings and Advil which are hard to get in Cuba and will help me make friends.
It's not cheap to go legally since there are licensing fees which are passed along to the traveler.
The study aspect is culinary, which is right up my alley. We'll be going to a cooking school and farmers' market, meeting chefs, producers, and restaurateurs. I know very little about the group I will be joining, except that it is a small one with just a dozen people and the tour operator is a reputable one.
I'll be learning the ins and outs of both types of travel and will be writing about it in coming weeks. I wont be taking my laptop because I'm not expecting to find wi-fi, so for the next week or so I'll be off the grid, just taking notes and photos the old fashioned way. But it's worked for me in the past, so stand by to share what I discover.