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The People of Cuba: Meet Leading Musicians, Athletes & Artists

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Road Scholar
Program #20610RJ
9 Days | 8 Nights
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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Barb Protass Apr 22, 2015 at 04:22 PM

Elizabeth- Leaving on the 27th People of Cuba tour and your advice was the best sensible helpful advice. Thanks!
Nancy Loomis Apr 22, 2015 at 06:57 PM

Elizabeth your comments answered many of the questions that have been asked. I just returned recently and would agree with most of your comments. I would add that if someone is a shopper there are plently of opportnities and you might want to bring more than the $500 listed in the materials. I am a moderate shopper and ran low on money. I would also encourage people to use bottled water for tooth brushing just to be safe and remember to use it also when you rinse your toothbrush. That is easy to forget. We did have a problem with the safe in our room. We got it closed alright but then could not get it open and had to call security for help several times. For all of you are going on this trip look forward to a great experience. Take part in everything and be flexible and all will be fine.
Nancy Loomis Apr 22, 2015 at 06:59 PM

Forgot to ask you Elizabeth which other trip you took to Cuba

Elizabeth Augustine Apr 22, 2015 at 04:03 PM

Just got back last night from my second trip to Cuba with Road Scholar. A few thoughts about recent postings:

> For details on staying healthy and the ins and outs of money in Cuba, I'd recommend following the guidance of your guide.

> I believe that the room safes are as effective as those in US hotels. I would recommend using them for your passport and additional cash. You can always carry a copy of your passport with you.
> It is very hard for regular Cubans to deal with dollar bills. The very high end artists can work with dollars, but for all other spending (including tips), you'll want to exchange to Cuban money (called CUCs, pronounced kooks).
> I found one place where I could have used a credit card; all other transactions are in cash. You can go and spend very little money (most meals include a couple of drinks which can be alcoholic or not ; you may not want to buy any art, souvenirs, or CDs ; and you may choose not to tip). There are a couple of meals on your own and you may have some incidental charges at the hotel. My charge for using their safe was $7.50 for the five nights we were there.
> The exit fee (25 CUC / $30) was waived; we did not have to pay it yesterday.
> When I exchanged money, the cashier at the hotel happily took $50 bills.
> There are street vendors. They will take CUCs but not dollars.
> Cleanliness - a couple of our 90+ year old co-travelers had a day or so of tummy upsets, but recovered quickly. As far as I could tell, no one else on our trip got sick. I did not use the hotel water to brush my teeth (always used bottled water). I did have ice in my drinks and was fine. In other words, I took some precautions but not the most extreme precautions possible with food and water and didn't have a bit of upset.
> I would not recommend wearing high heels in Havana.
> There are drug stores in the hotels but you probably want to bring everything you need with you.

Hope this helps. Liz

Marianne Ham Apr 21, 2015 at 07:40 PM

For those of you on this post who've been to Cuba already you might want to consider Philadelphia! The NY Times 52 places to go in 2015 listed Cuba #2 and Philadelphia #3. We have some great Road Scholar Programs ...just a little commercial. I might even be your Group leader.

Marianne Ham Apr 21, 2015 at 07:38 PM

Thanks Jeffrey ...I have always kept my passport with me on any trip out of the country for as long as I can remember. It just FELT better and sometimes in Europe they would ask to see a passport when you were purchasing something in a shop using a credit card. So I got into the habit. I also carry a copy of the inside page of my passport and leave that in the hotel and then I also leave one with someone at home. I agree with you about the money ...sometimes it's just easier to not get involved and let anyone know what you have to begin with.
Jeffrey Hamann Apr 21, 2015 at 09:57 PM

Marianne: I agree with you about the passport. Actually, the Road Scholar name tag holder is a perfect place to keep the passport (except when showering). I have never been to Philadelphia, but will consider it. Thanks for suggestion. Also, I keep a card with hotel with passport inc ase I would get lost and want to go to hotel as I have a bad memory!

Jeffrey Hamann Apr 21, 2015 at 06:34 PM

I was told that the room safes were not dependable. So I kept my passport with me the entire trip. I had some money in my backpack. I figured that I could lose most anything, but my passport.
Terry Heller Apr 21, 2015 at 07:15 PM

We used it after they fixed it at the Hotel National
Jeffrey Hamann Apr 21, 2015 at 10:26 PM

The Hotel Nacional was really nice. They sure do serve alot of Mohitos!

Marianne Ham Apr 21, 2015 at 06:01 PM

Jeffrey ...did you use a central hotel safe for your cash or a safe in your room?
Jeffrey Hamann Apr 21, 2015 at 11:14 PM

I kept my cash in my suitcase. Am from a small town in Jefferson, Wisconsin, so I trust most people.

Jeffrey Hamann Apr 21, 2015 at 05:26 PM

Just back from Cuba: Art, Dance, Baseball player. It was one of the best tours I have ever attended. I took about $800 U.S which was exchanged at the Hotel in Havana (open 24 hrs). I bought some art with U.S. dollars which the artist gladly took.
The people are so wonderful and really appreciate tips in Cuban money. We walked the streets one night when we were a little lost and felt very safe in the neighborhoods.

ENJOY :) :)

Marianne Ham Apr 20, 2015 at 11:13 AM

We are not supposed to bring any amount of cash ...the info gave the $500 figure as a suggestion since they do not accept credit cards from American banks in Cuba. Also we may want to purchase things and we have the usual out of pocket for drinks (if we want wine or something) as well as the departure fee from Cuba that has to be paid in cash. I'm sure less would be fine ...it was only a suggested amount. Marianne
Susan Sandler Apr 20, 2015 at 07:38 PM

I leave tomorrow for Miami...program starts officially on Wednesday evening.....We fly to Havana on Thursday. The cash would be mostly for purchases, I think...
Jeffrey Hamann Apr 21, 2015 at 05:20 PM

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

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


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