Cuba is like no other place in the world and one of Road Scholar’s most popular destinations.
For the past six months, the Obama administration has been chipping away at the American embargo against Cuba. The recent easing of restrictions has led to a 36%* increase in American travel to Cuba this year alone.
This year, Road Scholar offered the first voyage from Miami to Cuba in over 50 years. Road Scholar President James Moses has explored Cuba Twice – first in 2013 and again this spring. He believes now is the time to experience Cuba with Road Scholar, while the nation still retains its authentic culture and ambiance.
Mr. Moses was interviewed about his experience in Cuba and why Cuba is one of the most unique places on earth.
Why experience Cuba?
People should visit Cuba while it’s still frozen in time — while it’s still a place that’s different from the rest of the world. It’s extraordinary to see a major city like Havana in a country that has had virtually no construction for the past 50 years. There are beautiful Art Deco buildings along the Malecón, like Miami in the 1950s, juxtaposed to untouched Spanish colonial buildings from centuries before.
When I tell people to go now, it’s because the changes, though subtle, are already occurring. People think there will be a McDonald’s on every corner, and I don’t see that happening. The change isn’t that blatant. But already in two years, thanks to the introduction of free enterprise, there is a change in the way people live and perceive their opportunities.
What other changes did you notice?
When I first went, there was virtually no renovation or construction. However, this spring there were several buildings under construction or renovation. The Parliament building was falling apart — now it’s beautifully restored. Another big difference is the food.
Two years ago, you never got anything green in any meal. There just weren’t vegetables. Every meal was rice and beans, maybe chicken or pork. Now meals are much more varied and appealing. Raúl Castro has decentralized farming. He’s allowing much more freedom for intrepid entrepreneurs — and Cubans are very enterprising. Suddenly there’s more of a variety of food and a lot more choice.
Why learn in Cuba with Road Scholar?
In 2000, Road Scholar was one of the first organizations to be granted a license to go to Cuba. Not only do we have years of expertise, but we are one of the biggest providers of programs in Cuba. We have the experience, the expertise and the contacts — because of this, we have some extraordinary people lecturing on our programs.
For example, Dr. Carlos Alzugaray, an educator on our programs, is a Cuban diplomat who holds several degrees, including a Ph.D. in Historical Sciences. He’s a regular lecturer on current international affairs at the National Defense College in Havana. In addition, Road Scholar has access to and supports a number of flourishing arts organizations in Cuba.
Click here to learn more about Road Scholar’s new Cuba voyage.
For a limited time, Sixty and Me members can enter to win $500 off of a Road Scholar learning adventure. To learn more, please click here to sign up for a free catalog.
Have you ever visited Cuba? What was your experience? If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit Cuba, what do you find most intriguing about this country? Please join the conversation below.
*Associated Press, May 2015
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