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Package Trip to Cuba: Intrepid or ?

Package Trip to Cuba: Intrepid or ?

Old Sep 5, 16, 9:49 pm
  #1  
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Package Trip to Cuba: Intrepid or ?

Me (senior) and a friend (adult) are thinking of a people-to-people package trip to Cuba from the U.S., including Havana, probably 5-8 days. Travel from Los Angeles would be nice, but we can make our way to Florida if necessary.

We are thinking of a mid-level package, not the fanciest and most expensive but it doesn't need to be the absolute cheapest either. The main thing is that we don't want to choose an agency that goes bankrupt, or wind up in accommodations that though our eyes are a dump with dirty sheets and small bugs that scamper into crevices when you turn the lights on.

There are so many packages advertised on the Internet. We need recommendations. We have been looking at Intrepid Travel, but this is just one agency among many.
homeboy4 is offline  
Old Sep 6, 16, 8:43 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Why not just DIY? Quite feasible, esp. since the rules changed. (Ask questions of the frequent visitors on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Cuba forum.) Generally much cheaper and you can choose your own lodging. Lots of new flight routes opened recently, with amazing promotions (U$260 RT recently from US NE and similar cheap fares from Ft. Lauderdale on another airline, for example), but routes and prices may not last, so take advantage. Spend U$500 for a week DIY or spend U$4000 on some package just to have your hand held part time.

And despite this still being a 'developing' country, perhaps hold your assumptions in check about what you might find for less expensive lodgings run by people who make a needed living on their reputations for service and comfort.
This country may be newly opening to US tourists, but thousands of discerning Europeans and others visit every month. and have been for decades.

Last edited by VidaNaPraia; Sep 6, 16 at 8:53 am
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Old Sep 6, 16, 2:12 pm
  #3  
 
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OP - there are many group tours out there and I can tell you from being in the industry, none of them are as cheap as what you think they should be. The prices American's pay is literally dictated by the two government's right now and there are still changes made seemingly daily. I have stayed relatively current on the situation.

There are many, many choices out there. Cultural Cuba, International Expeditions, Natural Habitat, National Geographic, Globus, Backroads, and many more. Not all are equal. Also, I don't recommend going on a tour with over 25 people. It is such a canned experience and not the reason most want to see Cuba. Just my opinion though.
Travel K is offline  
Old Sep 6, 16, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Travel K View Post
The prices American's pay is literally dictated by the two government's right now .....
Two governments? These tour groups are US based, not Cuban. The profits are HUGE; prices for trips are 4 times what you might pay on your own. Curious as to what percentage of profits you can detail that goes to the Cuban government in what form?
----
You might be interested in this article, OP:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifes...74e_story.html

And this discussion of what it means to some US passport holders:
http://www.fodors.com/community/cari...r-trinidad.cfm

"As I understand the rules for US travelers, it is open to you to plan your own "person to person" trip which can include all the sorts of things you'd be doing anyway, except perhaps the beach. These are however US rules - the cubans don't give a fig what you do when you get there so long as you abide by their laws of course!"
"For the people to people requirement, we will hire local guides, but I can't imagine getting hassled by the US govt. since we will legitimately meet people in the arts...and, as you pointed out, many of the scheduled people-to-people tours seem to feature cigar rolling and rum tasting."

Last edited by VidaNaPraia; Sep 6, 16 at 3:59 pm
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Old Sep 6, 16, 5:02 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
Two governments? These tour groups are US based, not Cuban. The profits are HUGE; prices for trips are 4 times what you might pay on your own. Curious as to what percentage of profits you can detail that goes to the Cuban government in what form?
----
You might be interested in this article, OP:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifes...74e_story.html

And this discussion of what it means to some US passport holders:
http://www.fodors.com/community/cari...r-trinidad.cfm

"As I understand the rules for US travelers, it is open to you to plan your own "person to person" trip which can include all the sorts of things you'd be doing anyway, except perhaps the beach. These are however US rules - the cubans don't give a fig what you do when you get there so long as you abide by their laws of course!"
"For the people to people requirement, we will hire local guides, but I can't imagine getting hassled by the US govt. since we will legitimately meet people in the arts...and, as you pointed out, many of the scheduled people-to-people tours seem to feature cigar rolling and rum tasting."
The Cuban government is collecting money from the hotels and restaurants. All of which are owned by the government. I am sure there are also fees that the tour operators must pay.
newaarondavidson is offline  
Old Sep 7, 16, 8:00 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by newaarondavidson View Post
The Cuban government is collecting money from the hotels and restaurants. All of which are owned by the government. I am sure there are also fees that the tour operators must pay.
They collect those same hotel and restaurant fees from individuals as well, US and European and other.

If you "are sure", then please give details of what these fees are and what (tiny?) percentage they make up of the extremely high prices the "tour" operators charge for these now-unnecessary tours for US visitors.

Your claim was:
Originally Posted by newaarondavidson View Post
The prices American's pay is literally dictated by the two government's right now.
but the high prices charged by tour groups right now are profit (charging up to 4 times what the trip might cost otherwise).
When using their services was the only legitimate way for US passport holders to visit Cuba directly from the US, maybe it was worth the price to some. but now that the rules have changed and are continuing to change, there is no need to be "kidnapped" in this way, unless of course you really need or prefer your hand held anywhere else in the world as well.

Last edited by VidaNaPraia; Sep 7, 16 at 8:10 am
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