Today I’m in Miami where early tomorrow morning I will be boarding a charter flight to Havana, Cuba for a week’s long cultural exchange tour. I am fantastically excited as I’ve been dreaming about going to Cuba ever since I was a teenager standing at the famous Mallory Pier in Key West, Florida looking across the 90-miles of ocean that separate the United States from Cuba.
Cuba has always captivated and mystified the American people especially in a sense due to her forbidden nature. The United States’s economic, commercial and trade embargo with Cuba known locally as “el bloqueo” was implemented over a half a century ago on October 19, 1960 and imports to Cuba were blocked in 1962. For decades, all travel from the United States to Cuba was illegal unless of course you snuck in through the back door mainly via Mexico or Canada.
Although the trade embargo continues, travel restrictions to Cuba were finally lifted in 2011 by President Obama, slowly beginning with Cuban Americans who wanted to see family and moving to include American tourists authorized through “people to people” cultural exchanges.
A National Geographic article on Cuba last year prompted my interest in finally seriously considering a way to visit. I began researching on the few, licensed US Companies that provide People-to-People tours in Cuba and found Insight Cuba. Ironically, I’ve traveled with their sister company before, Cross-Cultural Solutions, as an international volunteer to Costa Rica and Morocco, thus I know that Insight Cuba would be a great choice as a tour operator.
I leave for Havana tomorrow morning on a charter flight and will be exploring Cuba’s culture for the next seven days. I can hardly wait! Our itinerary is booked solid with visits with local musicians, architects, schools, museums and most of all, with Cuban people. It will be an amazing journey and I have my notebook and camera ready. I am certain I will learn a ton of fascinating things to share when I get back.
I may not write at all on thirdeyemom over the next week and a half as the internet connection is supposedly extremely slow. But I may have time to post pictures on my Facebook page and Instagram. (If you want to follow me on either of those social media outlets, check my About.me page which will take you there).
But rest assured, I will have many fabulous stories and countless photos to share upon my return. I’m ready now to step back in time, and see those old 1959 American cars. Hasta luego!