Berkeley, CA – Guests on a new tour from Backroads, known for offering active trips to unexplored locations around the world, will gain rare access to Cuba through the company’s recently approved People-to-People license by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The company, which leads guided hiking and biking tours around the world, received approval at the beginning of March for the educational exchange trips, which they will offer throughout 2013 and 2014 with the first trip departing May 4.
Backroads has five confirmed departure dates in May and June of 2013, as well as 10 pending departures in December 2013 and 14 pending departures in January and February 2014. Backroads expects pending dates to be confirmed by April 15, 2013. All tours will leave from Miami and accommodate up to 20 guests per tour.
On the eight-day tour, guests will have plentiful opportunities to experience the Cuban culture and interact with locals, a hallmark of Backroads tours. The itinerary will include visits to museums, art studios, coffee plantations, farms and national parks.
“As you get to know artists, musicians, students, educators and community leaders, you’ll learn firsthand about this enigmatic island-nation—about its vibrant art and music scene, its splendid colonial cities, conservation efforts, private enterprise, and about everyday life through the eyes of local Cubans,” says Michelle Muench, Latin American Regional Manager for Backroads.
Trip highlights include:
- Delving into Hemingway’s Cuba during a visit to the Museo Ernest Hemingway
- Discussing Cuba’s rich arts heritage with artists at private studios and a community art project
- Learning about Cuban enterprise from budding entrepreneurs, including owners of private restaurants (paladares) and private room rentals (casa particulares)
- Chatting with local farmers, cowboys and coffee plantation workers
- Talking conservation with local naturalists
- Learning about Afro-Cuban religious traditions with a Santeria priest
- Meeting musicians, dancers and performers from such groups as the Yoruba Association of Cuba and the Spanish Ballet of Cuba
Because of the specific license requirements of the tour, it will not be nearly as active as typical Backroads’ walking, hiking and biking tours; however, there will be some opportunities for walking. Additionally, accommodations and food will be simpler than Backroads’ Premiere and Classic Inn tours.
The trip price is from $5198 per person double occupancy plus $550 for return airfare from Miami to Havana. The trip includes all meals, except for one dinner. To reserve a spot or for more information, please call Backroads at 800-462-2848 daily from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific time. Backroads anticipates demand will exceed capacity. Visit the Backroads website at www.backroads.com/trips/ACUQ for a more detailed itinerary and departure dates.
In 2013, Backroads also began offering both a biking tour and a hiking tour to Myanmar, a nation that has largely been closed to tourism until recently, but which gained attention after a visit by President Obama, as the first sitting US president to visit the Asian country.