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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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Chris Coleman Mar 03, 2015 at 02:55 PM

We are in the May 19 group, traveling from South Dakota through Minneapolis so are arriving at MIA the day before the tour starts. We've had connection glitches before and don't want to risk it again. An extra half day in Miami will be fun. Doing the same thing after the tour and not leaving MIA until the following morning. We made arrangements with the hotel in Miami via RS.


Walter Weeks Mar 03, 2015 at 12:59 PM

Anyone leaving from Phila for the April 7th trip. April 7th anyone.
Soap and pens seemed to be needed on the street, with tights for the dancers.
Dorothy Jackson Mar 03, 2015 at 02:05 PM

Regarding donations, read my comment from Feb. 22. I'd like to hear comments from others.


Beverly Peress Mar 03, 2015 at 12:37 PM

Any bad (or good) experiences with return flights from Cuba? I am hoping to return to NY at night but am wary of the "4 hour" rule suggested by RS. Anyone going on April 26?
Ann Baker Mar 03, 2015 at 01:55 PM

Give yourself plenty of time to get through the return to Miami. Customs took us several hours with extremely long lines.
Dorothy Jackson Mar 03, 2015 at 02:00 PM

You should have no difficulty in April. My trip was in February, and my evening flight to Philadelphia (and others to NYC) was delayed because of a snowstorm in the Northeast. However, be sure to allow plenty of time to get through Customs in Miami -- it was a nightmare. RS's 3 to 4 hours leeway is definitely appropriate.
Bonnie House Mar 03, 2015 at 02:23 PM

I had virtually no lines but the long distance to walk was time consuming.
Ken Smith Mar 03, 2015 at 05:13 PM

Ann, Dorothy or Bonnie....I'm curious what time your flight landed in Miami from Cuba on your return?
Dorothy Jackson Mar 03, 2015 at 05:30 PM

Our flight departed Santa Clara at 4:30, arrived Miami 5:30 pm. These are charter flights, you know, so you really have to wait till RS sends your final packet. Or you could call RS.
Bonnie House Mar 03, 2015 at 05:32 PM

I think it was around 3pm but I elected to stay overnight and go home the next day so was no problem. This was a good decision.


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.
Sydelle Weinberger Mar 02, 2015 at 06:57 PM

We chose to do this and missed the planned group activity which was a choral singing group.
Sydelle Weinberger Mar 02, 2015 at 06:57 PM

The service is lay led.
Sydelle Weinberger Mar 02, 2015 at 06:58 PM

We also had a group event at the synagouge earlier in the week because it is used as a communithy center and that is where we saw the Malpaso dance group perform.
Lorna Gerry Mar 03, 2015 at 02:07 AM

My travel companion and I went to the main temple in Havana- the one closest to Hotel Nacional (not the Sephardic temple). We made the arrangements with our group leader and we did that instead of having dinner with the rest of the RS group that night. Since there are no Rabbis in Cuba, the service was led by three young congregants who had recently had their bar and bat mitzvahs and they did a wonderful job. We also had dinner at the temple afterward, which we paid for ahead of time. We really enjoyed the 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.


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