Finally, it truly is “Cuba Si and Yankees Yes,” now that the Obama administration and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has reauthorized Insight Cuba, the leading provider of legal, people-to-people travel to Cuba, to bring all Americans to Cuba on a series of six different tour itineraries highlighting Cuban history, culture, music and the arts.
“Now that we have the license in hand, anyone and everyone can reserve their spot on one of our carefully crafted travel programs to Cuba throughout 2011 and 2012,” says Insight Cuba director, Tom Popper. “We’ve created six exciting new experiences, which can be found on our website, insightcuba.com, providing unique access to people and places the average traveler rarely sees.”
Prior to this, even licensed travel to Cuba was restricted to specific groups—Cuban-Americans with blood relatives living in Cuba, educators and cultural entitities, professional journalists and individuals on specific exchange programs—but the new ruling opens up travel to virtually everyone.
According to the company, Insight Cuba has sent the largest number of Americans to Cuba under a specific license since 1963. However, in 2004, U.S. travel restrictions were tightened, eliminating most U.S. travel to the island nation. Despite the new limitations, the company says, Insight Cuba continued to strengthen its relationships and reputation in Cuba, confident that one day they would be able to return.
Insight Cuba hand picks exclusive experiences for its groups, which are kept to a maximum of 16 participants with an in-country host/escort, four- and five-star hotels and all meals included. Prices (pp dbl) also cover ground transport, domestic flights in Cuba (where required), all entry fees, professional guide services, U.S. Treasury Department license and Letter of Authorization, and travel insurance. A single supplement of $300 ($200 for Weekend in Havana) is available. There are six new itineraries with over 130 departures through September 2012, with August inaugural departure dates to be determined.
The itineraries are the 7-night Havana & Colonial Trinidad priced from $2,995-$3,395; the 7-night Havana & Scenic Pinar del Rio from $2,495-$2,995; the 7-night Bay of Pigs! Havana/Playa Giron/Cienfuegos/Santa Clara program from $2,745-$3,095; the 8-night Cuban Music & Art Experience encompassing Havana and Santiago de Cuba/Bayamo priced from $3,395-$3,795; the 7-night Havana Jazz Experience with Jazz Times Magazine from $2,795-$3,295; and the 3-night Weekend in Havana priced from $1,695-$1,995.
Popper want agents to know, however, that while the programs are set and ready to go, bookings may have to wait for a short time because, “We are currently awaiting authorization to restart our partnership with a United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA) member who will directly be able to accommodate travel agent needs and will be paying commissions.”
In the meantime, you can see and get the details on the new travel programs at insightcuba.com or call (800) 450-CUBA.