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Cuba Today: People and Society

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Road Scholar
Program #20437RJ
9 Days | 8 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
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.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Judy Kemp Mar 02, 2015 at 06:48 PM

Going next week. Was there time in Havana to go to the synagogue?
Paula Galland Mar 02, 2015 at 06:53 PM

Our free time was in the evenings so not sure on this one.
Sydelle Weinberger Mar 02, 2015 at 06:56 PM

We were in Havana on Friday night and a few of us arranged to go to the service at the Sephardic synagouge. And we paid to stay for dinner ( 15 CUCs). It was a wonderful experience.


Margaret Siegel Mar 02, 2015 at 07:47 AM

Malpaso Dance group performed in Dc last night, and they were amazing!As fabulous as they were when we saw them in rehearsal, they were even more amazing! If you live in NY area and can see them t the Joyce Theater, try and go!
Sydelle Weinberger Mar 02, 2015 at 08:47 AM

We have tickets to see them this Wed night at Joyce. Very excited; and so amazing that last week we saw them in Cuba at the Sephardic Center and now this week in NYC! Very cool.
Mimi Greenfield Mar 02, 2015 at 02:47 PM

Planning on seeing them this summer in Lenox Ma


Kathryn Bowers Mar 01, 2015 at 06:07 PM

Can anyone confirm the availability of WIFI in Cuba? RS said expensive and slow. Correct? Or did you have a different experience? Thanks!
Sydelle Weinberger Mar 01, 2015 at 07:06 PM

We didn't purchase any; some people did in Havana but it was expensive and slow; there was none in Cienfuegos.
Marcus Nevarez Mar 01, 2015 at 07:20 PM

I thought it was worth the price in Havana. Speed was better than I thought, so emails came throught just fine. I saw a computer in lobby in Cienfuegos. I believe you could check your email there but not sure.
Paula Galland Mar 01, 2015 at 07:48 PM

At Hotel Nacional in Havana the wifi was $12 for 10 hours of use in a 24 hour period. We found it quite speedy. As for Cienfuegos, they had Internet but did not have any cards left with usernames and passwords. We went "cold turkey" for those four days.
Kathryn Bowers Mar 01, 2015 at 09:48 PM

Thanks for your feedback, you all! I appreciate it!


Linda Lancaster Mar 01, 2015 at 01:43 PM

Could someone who has been on the Cuba trip tell me about the luggage restrictions? The "Luggage Policy" section says we can check one suitcase and bring a "small purse or small personal backpack" on the plane. Later on we are advised to bring a number of items + change of clothes in our carry-on baggage. It would take more than a "small purse" to bring a change of clothes. Can anyone shed light on how big a "small personal backpack" is? How nitpicky are the airlines about carry-ons? Thanks in advance...Linda
Margaret Siegel Mar 01, 2015 at 02:07 PM

Don't worry about the change of clothes rule -- hte flights are nonstop form miami to Cuba, so not much chance of luggage getting lost. I did not need a backpack for daily activities, used it mostly as a great way to carry gifts back to US. BTW, iu brought art supplies forhte Benny More School, and they were gratly apprecietd. WE also handed out pens and pencils on hte street, and they were welcome gifts.
Paula Galland Mar 01, 2015 at 02:09 PM

I tookk a small backpack with enough clothes to last a day if my luggage did not make it. This is ganerally a good idea. Do not take a suitcase bigger than 24 inches, however, because they do enforce the 40 pound limit on the charter flight.
Sydelle Weinberger Mar 01, 2015 at 02:10 PM

The luggage is 44 pounds for the checked bag ( not the both combined, which is what booklet says). I checked one bag; I had one carry on plus a purse. Also, they do a group check in, so weight of all is combined, and if someone is over then someone else is under. We had no problem. We found it very well organized. Our trip was very well organized. Also, I purposely packed and wore old clothes, which I then left in my room for the housekeeper.
Paula Galland Mar 01, 2015 at 02:50 PM

Our suitcases were weighed individually so be prepared to pay $2 for each pound over 40. Our guide said this depended on how many packages were being checked total on the flight, and you will see everything from bicycles to toilets being brought to Cuba by visiting relatives. I totally agree about wearing clothes you are ready to donate. We used Google translate to print a note that said, "Please give these to someone who needs them" in Spanish and just left it on top of our pile at each hotel.


Linda Bevan Feb 22, 2015 at 05:42 PM

when we were there it was not very well organized whether the group leader or tour guide. It is a good idea to keep some small items with you to pass out to the people. The most frequent request we heard was "soap". My friend created a frenzy passing out pencils and pens!
Sue Hobbs Feb 22, 2015 at 09:11 PM

We actually had 2 people stop us on the street and ask for pens, which luckily I had a few in my purse, so you might want to bring some.


Marc Weiss Feb 22, 2015 at 02:07 PM

My wife and I are leaving on the 24 Feb. trip. Regarding donations does anyone have first-hand info on how or to whom this donations are distributed?
Mimi Greenfield Feb 22, 2015 at 02:45 PM

Just give whatever you bring to the group leader.
Dorothy Jackson Feb 22, 2015 at 02:54 PM

I brought ballet slippers that were donated to the children's dance group in Cienfuegos. However, all the children had slippers and costumes -- a different costume for each dance. So, it wasn't clear whether this was a "needy" group. Toiletries and two tee shirts were donated to the graphic arts workshop, which has a special program with Down syndrome kids. We didn't see the kids, but our RS group leader conferred with the main artist, and together they determined that these kids and their families would appreciate the donations. I had bought a book on Cuba wildlife that had both Spanish and English text. I e-mailed ahead of time with the English bookstore Cuba Libro, who said they'd be delighted to have the book in their lending library (I didn't want them to sell it but wanted availability to maximum number of readers). I spoke with an American tourist with another group who said that they were donating toiletries to a synagogue that provides these items to whoever has need in their community, regardless of religion. That seemed to me to be a better way. Would love to hear from others about their experience with donations.
Douglas Cummings Feb 22, 2015 at 03:13 PM

Douglas Cummings Feb 22, 2015 at 03:14 PM

We pooled our donations, like Mimi said. The group leader distributed them.
Marc Weiss Feb 22, 2015 at 03:16 PM

Mimi/Douglas - I know that is what RS says to do.
Marc Weiss Feb 22, 2015 at 03:19 PM

Dorothy - thanks for some useful info. That is exactly my concern - that items go to folk who are truely in need. I agree that direct donation such as the synagogue is ab etter way for me.
Paula Galland Feb 22, 2015 at 03:19 PM

Many people on the street in Santa Clara and Trinidad asked us if we had any soap. I'd suggest putting little bars of soap in your pocket each day to give to anyone who asks for it. We felt terrible we did not have any.
Paula Galland Feb 22, 2015 at 03:20 PM

I'm jealous you are on your way. Returned Wednesday from a fabulous week. You will love it!
Paula Galland Feb 22, 2015 at 03:21 PM

Also, small items like thumb drives, pens, and markers are a good idea because they are easy to pack.
Paula Galland Feb 22, 2015 at 03:23 PM

Many of us left our clothing behind in the hotel closets with a note to please give it to someone who needed it. It's a great way to lighten your load along the way. You'll want to make room for some Cuban cigars. We found the best place to purchase these was in the cigar store of the Hotel Nacional. Prices were better here than in the fortress.
Marc Weiss Feb 22, 2015 at 05:14 PM

Paula - thanks for the soap tip. I can clear out my travel collection. Also got some Crayola Markers (made in the USA!)


Joan Engelhaupt Feb 16, 2015 at 08:34 PM

My medical record shows that I got the tDAP shot a month before I went to Cuba, possibly in preparation for the trip. I had gotten the Hep A & B shots back in 2007 for another trip, so maybe I was advised they were still good. They were having a typhoid outbreak in Havana just before I went, so I took prescribed meds for that but evidently didn't get the shot for some reason. This was two years ago.
Rena Sonshine Mar 01, 2015 at 03:42 PM

My doc's office just told me that Hep A vaccination is "for life" and once you've had both in the series, you are done. I believe that also is the case with Hep B, but check. I decided to get the Prevnar 13 Pneumonia shot in addition to the initial one I had several years ago. Different bugs.


Julie Engberg Feb 16, 2015 at 08:17 PM

I'm on an April trip. I got hep A. CDC says not required, but I wanted it anyway. Hep A has to be given two doses, several months apart.
Richard Hannegan Feb 17, 2015 at 08:13 AM

and remember that your medical insurance may not want to pay for them.
Mimi Greenfield Feb 22, 2015 at 02:45 PM

Did not get shots. No problems encountered. Drink only bottled water.


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