Filed under : Editors Choice

Seniors Are Saying, “Let’s Visit Cuba”

For five decades, legal travel to Cuba has been almost impossible for senior Americans, making this island of salsa, Colonial architecture and Caribbean beauty a forbidden fruit for the adventurous. But this enigmatic island and its inviting people are beginning to open – slowly – to a select few.

Traveling to Cuba is banned for most Americans under the Trading with the Enemy Act, journalists are exempt.  Nearly half a million travelers now go from the United States to Cuba every year, making the once-forbidden island if not familiar, at least far less isolated from its American neighbors than it used to be. But who gets to go and how do they get there?

International Expeditions has been granted a special government license to offer legal people-to-people travel to Cuba, thanks to policy changes by President Obama earlier this year, designed to encourage more contact between Americans and citizens of the Communist-ruled island.

As one of the lucky few to experience Cuba, senior visitors will delve into the daily lives of naturalists, entrepreneurs and artists while seeing this nation through the eyes of its people. Cuba conjures up visions of beauty, music, and intrigue.

 Seniors Discover Havana

In Havana one experiences the old and the new, dialoguing with highly respected architects, historians, academics, and curators, and learning about Cuban-American relations. Cuba harbors the beautiful, multiethnic Viñales Valley, a World Heritage Site.

Guided travel to Cuba was reintroduced in August 2011, giving trailblazing senior visitors access to organized itineraries packed with educational and cultural activities.

Travel organizations are making it easier to see and do in Cuba with all types of arrangements from a solo passenger traveling to Cuba on a family medical emergency, to groups visiting for educational, professional, religious or other permitted reasons.

Forbes may have one of the best sites for making it legally possible for a visit to Cuba. Abercrombie and Kent has been granted a license to offer a people-to-people educational exchange program that adheres to the US government’s restrictions for the travel of U.S. citizens to Cuba.

Experience the rich culture of indigenous, African and European roots on this new “people to people” educational program. Meet artists in their Old Havana studios, Afro-Cubans in Spanish Colonial Trinidad, and lunch on a farm with Guajiros, or Cuban cowboys.

They are not the only tour companies with such a license, but these are far from commonplace and Insight Cuba is a respected alternative.

Friendly Planet Travel has also been issued a license by the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control authorizing them to organize and operate People-to-People programs to Cuba. So if you are a senior adventurous type, check these out and plan a trip to Cuba.  jeb

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