This September, Abercrombie & Kent USA will begin offering Connections small group journeys, limited to just 24 guests, that enable Americans to discover Cuba through a combination of authentic and surprising personal encounters designed to transform their understanding of the people of this enigmatic country. Abercrombie & Kent USA has been granted a license by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control to offer People-to-People educational exchange programs to Cuba.
Abercrombie & Kent’s inaugural departure of Cuba: People to People is Sept 6-15, 2013, followed by additional departures throughout 2013 and into 2014. All departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests. Land arrangements for 10 days from $4,995 per person, double occupancy (when booked by August 15, 2013*), plus international charter air ($525) and visa ($75).
“Much of Cuba’s allure comes from the mystery surrounding an island lost in time,” explains Abercrombie & Kent USA President Phil Otterson. “But from my own personal experience, I can say its real charm is found in the culture, art, cuisine, music and personal stories shared by the people who live there.”
The program will go beyond Havana to Caibarién in northern Cuba, and west to the rural countryside and lush farmland of Viňales with the chance to experience Cuban culture, architecture, agriculture, music and cuisine during one-to-one educational exchanges with local residents.
Guests will meet the artists of the Proyecto de Arte Por la Costa, local musicians during a private Buena Vista Social Club-style concert and cultural discussion and participate in a private salsa lesson and one-on-one talk with a Cuban salsa instructor, as well as with artist Salvador Gonzales.
In Havana, guests will explore on foot with a local architect and dine at a paladar (family-run restaurant), where they can discuss what is involved in running a private business in Cuba - an opportunity that, historically, was all but unheard of, Abercrombie & Kent said. Travelers will also join Cuban painter and ceramicist, José Fuster on a neighborhood walk, followed by a discussion of the role of the arts in contemporary Cuban culture over dinner at his home.
Guests can also pay an interactive visit to a cigar factory, where local craftsmen teach guests their craft; then, discuss how life is actually lived on a working tobacco farm during a discussion with the farmers. Explore La Terraza eco-community with resident specialists for a better understanding about Cuba’s environmental commitments at this unique UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Engage in a conversation on fishing practices with a local fisherman, an experience revealing the industry’s impact on the local community.
Compare the distinct differences and similarities between Cuba and the United States with a briefing on the history of U.S.-Cuban relations by a Foreign Service scholar in Havana. Gain insight into Cuba’s well-regarded public health care system during an informal, yet engaging conversation with a local physician; discuss everything from physician training to research and production during an exchange of ideas or issues around the subject. Learn about Cuba and America’s great shared passion — baseball — at a game where you meet the players and have the opportunity to play a few innings with them.