I recently had the opportunity to go to Cuba on a group travel trip. This was my first group trip ever, and I was pleasantly surprised that I genuinely enjoyed myself! I was able to experience things I normally wouldn’t on my own, as well as learn from so many different people. Continue reading for a basic itinerary of the trip, a pros/cons list, and my overall impressions.
BOOKING THE TRIP
How did I find out about this trip you may ask? I follow Dr. Kiona on Instagram [handle @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch]. She posts educational posts, raising awareness on topics deemed generally ‘uncomfortable’ by society. When she posted she was hosting her first group travel trip in Cuba, I knew I had to go. When news hits that Americans were now allowed to visit Cuba, I was interested in going and learning about the country, so when this opportunity came, I knew I had to take it.
The trip wasn’t promoted as visiting the most popular attractions and finding the most ideal locations for picture-taking, which I’m definitely not against by the way. Instead, the trip focused on supporting the Cuban people by connecting with them and learning from them. That, is what drew me into the booking the trip.
Originally, there were only two dates available and they sold out before a blink of an eye. Dr. Kiona decided to add more travel dates, and that is how I was able to go on trip. There are more dates being added for 2020, although you may want to check it out soon as they do go fast!
This trip consisted of a 6 day / 5 night journey. Of course, you had the option to fly in a few days before, or stay a few days after. Several people in our group opted for one or the other, but also people, myself included, came in the day the group trip started, and flew out the day it ended. I’ll give a brief day-by-day breakdown of what we did, but will write more in-depth posts on each day. Every day was jam-packed with so much information and activity, and honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way while trying to maximize my time in Cuba.
Day 1: Arrive in Havana | Lunch with Journalists | Dinner Party
Day 2: Casa de Africa | Carlos Acosta Dance Company | Dance Lessons | Dinner + House Party
Day 3: New Cuban Art Scene Tour | Beyond Roots Grand Opening | Beach | Dinner & Medicine | Free Outdoor Concert
Day 4: Head to Viñales | Lunch & Agricultural Talk | Horseback Riding Tour | Farm to Table Dinner
Day 5: Sunrise hike to Los Acuaticos | Rock Climbing | Block Party | Last Night Out
Day 6: We left Viñales, and headed straight to the airport.
- The entire trip is geared toward supporting the Cuban people, hence the activities involved support the Cuban people. You will be able to see where your dollars are going, and who it is helping.
- You gain a different perspective of Cuba from the people who live there. Sure, you may have learned about Cuba’s history and current state in your own country, but aren’t there always two sides to every story? You may be surprised to learn you don’t know the whole story.
- You get to meet people, not only from Cuba, but from potentially around the world. The group will be diverse, and that provides an opportunity to learn from so many different people.
- There is rest time scheduled into the itinerary. I am an introvert, so I definitely need me time to recharge and keep going. I was thankful that was thought of while creating the itinerary. You can also opt out anytime you want to/need to.
Honestly, in my experience there weren’t any cons that were a direct result of the group travel. Everything I would deem as a ‘con’, could not be controlled by anyone. But I will go ahead and discuss them here:
- Bad rooming situation. Obviously with a group trip, this could become an issue. Thankfully, we did not have that problem with our group, and I personally loved my roommate! [I guess technically this one can be controlled if brought to the attention of the trip organizers, but you get what I’m saying here].
- Hot weather. It is hottttt in Cuba. Like sweat through your shirt on the daily, hot. You’ll grow used to the fact that you’re sweating so much because you’ll realize so is everyone else. Make sure to bring a bottle of water with you and stay hydrated throughout the day.
How Not to Travel Like a Basic Bitch and Like a Cuban curated an amazing group trip experience! I would definitely go back again and again. Although they have a tentative itinerary, each trip is different for several reasons:
- Your Group – The individual members of the group contribute to the group vibe. Thankfully, we had an amazing group who brought experiences from all over, had open minds, and wanted to dive in head first in this experience!
- Time of Year – Depending on the time of year, certain attractions may be open or close; special events may be taking place; people may be hosting concerts/parties. What is happening at the time, reflects what the overall itinerary looks like.
- Pop Up Events – One of the coolest things in my opinion, was that Rita would hear about something happening that night, and we would shift our plans to attend. Whether it was a house party to support an art fundraiser or an outdoor concert that filled the streets,
All in all, I would recommend travelling to Cuba on this group trip. I met some of the most incredible people on this trip; I had the opportunity to see Cuba from the perspective of people who were born and raised there; and I learned so much! Are you interested in going to Cuba? Does this trip sound like something you would enjoy? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!