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Cuba Today: People and Society

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Road Scholar
Program #20437RJ
9 Days | 8 Nights
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EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
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Discussion Board

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Donna Fitzpatrick Nov 23, 2014 at 06:22 PM

Is anyone going on Jan 6-14? I'm wondering about the ease of taking photos. Is it acceptable to give little gifts to the kids if you take their photo?
Richard Hannegan Nov 23, 2014 at 06:55 PM

In some cases, if the mom is there, she's going to demand a couple of coins if you're taking the kids pictures. Same with the guys with the restored cars in Havana.
Barbara Fredricksen Nov 24, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Can we use US dollars as tips, or must it be CUCs or pesos?
Richard Hannegan Nov 24, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Based on my experience, pesos are greatly appreciated. I had a few folks who gave me a dollar and asked if I could give them a peso in return. Coin of the realm (theirs!) is best.

Simeon David Nov 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM

What kinds of gifts or donations are needed the most? Did you bring different gifts for different People to People visits?
Barry Langton Nov 23, 2014 at 02:10 PM

We returned from our trip Wednesday, Nov 19. We just went to Target and bought travel size soap, shampoo, toothpaste, some letter sized white & construction paper, markers for drawing, coloring books, and stickers . All of the group gifts were brought to the back of the bus on one of the first days and were sorted through by our guide and anyone else from our group who was interested. I don't know what gifts were brought by other member of our group. When I asked our tour guide if the gifts brought by our group were appropriate he said that everything that was brought was greatly appreciated.
Kathleen Berglund Nov 23, 2014 at 03:06 PM

We also brought several packets of guitar strings which went to the Benny More School of Music & Art.
Kira Dirlik Nov 24, 2014 at 02:36 PM

In addition to above, I brought some notebooks with sparkly colorful covers for kids. Small manicure kits. Pens. You never see the actual receiving of the gifts. I suggest carrying around a few of those nice 3 oz. soaps (Oil of Olay, Caress, Zest, etc) and some ball point pens, to give out where you might see very old people on the street, or vendors, performers, actually asking for such.
Bonnie House Nov 25, 2014 at 12:03 AM

I took personal hygiene items, however, after watching the children's dance group, I wish I had taken black dance slippers. Several of the children were dancing in socks and others were wearing threadbare dance shoes with toes poking through.

Barbara Fredricksen Nov 22, 2014 at 04:01 PM

I tried to access Richard Hannegan's blog, but I got a German site instead. Do you have a new one?
Richard Hannegan Nov 22, 2014 at 04:21 PM

Huh...interesting...worked for me
Barbara Fredricksen Nov 22, 2014 at 05:51 PM

The link I got worked. Really, really enjoyed your narrative and photos. Wish you were on my tour! This is my first trip to Cuba and the only time left on my Bucket List. I think Road Scholar will do a much better job than the guys who did the train tour. I've done RS before, and every minute was absolutely perfect.

Sue Hobbs Nov 21, 2014 at 10:54 PM

One more question. I'm rereading the info they sent and they keep mentioning visas. We haven't gotten them. Are they given out once you get to Miami?
John Hilton Nov 21, 2014 at 10:55 PM

What a great trip. (Sigh)
Douglas Cummings Nov 21, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Douglas Cummings Nov 21, 2014 at 11:17 PM

You'll get your visa in Miami from the trip coordinator.
Sue Hobbs Nov 22, 2014 at 12:09 AM

Thanks. That's what I thought but then when I kept reading about it I didn't see that mentioned and I was getting nervous.

Sue Hobbs Nov 21, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Does anyone know if the alarm clock on your cell phone will work if you're not connected to the Internet?
John Hilton Nov 21, 2014 at 10:53 PM

It will work just fine Sue. Thank God cause the bus will leave without you. 8:00AM came pretty early and you'll want breakfast. The hotel Nash you know was the first place I ever saw mini hotdogs for breakfast
Sue Hobbs Nov 22, 2014 at 12:08 AM

That's an interesting breakfast choice!
Richard Hannegan Nov 22, 2014 at 08:11 AM

You'll see lots of that are to us, non-traditional breakfast items.

Sandra Schwartz Nov 21, 2014 at 03:53 PM

Kira Dirlik Nov 21, 2014 at 04:09 PM

No need to shout (caps). I've sure stayed in way worse hotels and motels in the USA. One person did not have hot water. At times some of the lights go out, or the TV doesn't get CNN. No biggy. To me this just added "character" to my experience.
Ellin Ifft Nov 21, 2014 at 04:12 PM

All the hotels had hot water when I took the Cuba Today trip. We lacked water one morning for a hour but they went room to room handing out drinking water and it was quickly restored. I enjoyed Cuba so much I am taking the Eastern Cuba trip in March.
Ellin Ifft Nov 21, 2014 at 04:14 PM

Douglas Cummings Nov 21, 2014 at 04:22 PM

I didn't have hot water the first two nights at hotel Nacional, but everyone else in our group did. They ended up changing my room. Hotel in Cienfuegos was fine (I liked it better than Hotel Nacional. Water problem was annoying -you just have to roll with it and let your guide know of any problems . Trip was WELL worth it!
Bonnie House Nov 21, 2014 at 05:53 PM

I was the person mentioned by Kira as having no not water. I should mention that I did not ask for a room change. I did have hot water in the sink which didn't make it too bad. I'm sure the hotel would have done something if I had asked. I had no TV in Havana but I survived. This was by far the best trip I have ever taken. It was beyond interesting.
Richard Hannegan Nov 21, 2014 at 08:27 PM

My experiences have indicated that hot water...really HOT water was always available, although in some cases there wasn't much pressure. As was pointed out, it's Cuba...."It's just the way things are!"
Jan Wolfe Nov 22, 2014 at 12:08 AM

I was on the trip where we didn't have water at all one morning, but it was on by the time we returned to the hotel, and I was just going to take a dip in the pool if it hadn't been. Pack your flexibility cap and sense of humor. The quirks are part of the charm of Cuba. I'm going back in January!

Barbara Fredricksen Nov 18, 2014 at 01:28 PM

I'm going (solo) on the Dec. 9 trip. Anyone else out there making that one? I'm flying down to Miami on Dec. 8 to rest up for the coming adventure.
Richard Hannegan Nov 18, 2014 at 01:43 PM

Sorry...January trip here.

Lorna Gerry Nov 16, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I'm also going on December 2, with my friend Ilene, from Los Angeles. Does anyone know if the Hotel Nacional has tourist maps of Havana? If not, I'll buy one here. Thanks.
Richard Hannegan Nov 16, 2014 at 01:00 PM

I don't recall, but you'd probably be better served if you looked on Amazon (maybe) and got your material ahead of time. There are a number of extremely good guides to the entire island, not just Habana.
Lorna Gerry Nov 16, 2014 at 01:07 PM

Thanks, Richard. Is there one that you recommend?
Richard Hannegan Nov 16, 2014 at 01:34 PM

Lonely Planet is good, and up-to-date.
Kira Dirlik Nov 17, 2014 at 12:25 PM

The maps included in that final booklet from Road Scholar are also good. In addition, you will be really busy with the planned events with the group. In the last 2 trips I've taken, I found I didn't really have time to read the materials I brought with me.

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Our Value Promise To You

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at no additional cost on this date ...
8 nights of accommodations
21 meals: 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
4 Expert-led lectures
12 Field trips
14 Hands-on experiences
2 Flights during the program
Visas: 1(out of 1 required)


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