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Day by Day Itinerary

Small groups: never more than 12-20 participants

Uncover the mystique of Cuba with Grand Circle Foundation on a journey that reveals Cuba’s complex history, natural beauty, and cultural riches in the most authentic way possible—through its people. Interact and engage with a variety of artists and writers, fishermen and farmers, and Cubans from all walks of life as you stroll the colonial streets of Old Havana, experience Afro-Cuban rumba rhythms of Cienfuegos, and discover the colonial gem of Trinidad. Toss aside any preconceived notions you may have of Cuba—and prepare to be enthralled by the welcoming spirit of the Cuban people and the unforgettable experiences that await you.

Please note: This is a representative itinerary. Features are subject to change as availability is controlled by the Cuban government. While this is the itinerary that we strive to follow, due to local circumstances (such as moveable holidays, museum/site closing days, and weather conditions), it is important for you to understand that we may not always be able to follow this plan in the exact order. The sequence of places visited may vary.

Havana Trinidad Expand All
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    • Accommodations:

    After arriving in Miami today and transferring to your hotel, meet with members of your group for a Welcome Briefing and overview of the cultural interactions planned for us during your time in Cuba.

  • hidden

    We fly to Cuba and transfer to our hotel in Havana. Our Cuba discoveries begin with an orientation walk around the immediate vicinity of our hotel, which is located along one of most picturesque boulevards in Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Our stroll will reveal the historic restorations that have revived much of the district’s former splendor—and we begin to gain an understanding of why Havana’s historic heart has earned recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We’ll also enjoy lunch at Starbien, a renovated colonial mansion tucked into the residential neighborhood of Vedado. Starbien is one of Cuba’s new wave of privately-owned restaurants called paladares, and we’ll have a chance to talk to the entrepreneurs about the recent changes in Cuba. Please note: If you arrive in Miami on Saturday and fly to Havana on Sunday, your included lunch at Starbien will be on Day 11 instead of Day 2.

  • hidden

    Discover local Cuban culture and family life

    After breakfast, a member of the Ludwig Foundation—a non-profit organization created to promote Cuban culture—will speak with us about the role of art and artists in contemporary Cuba. Then, we visit a residential neighborhood and stop at a non-governmental agency like Iglesia Merced or Iglesia Pasionistas, where we visit one of the senior centers sponsored by Cuban churches. Sharing photos and stories with senior Habanero residents will give us an intimate glimpse of Cuban family life in this fast-changing island nation. Then we visit a handcrafts market and talk with local artisans before returning to Habana Vieja for lunch. Afterwards, we embark on a neighborhood walking tour, followed by a panoramic tour of the city en route to our hotel with stops in Havana’s historic Plaza de la Revolución and La Cabaña, an18th-century fortress complex near the entrance to the Bay of Havana.

  • hidden

    Our morning starts off with an enlightening discussion on U.S./Cuban relations led by a pair of Havana residents, who will give us the “Cuban perspective” on this sensitive topic—and perhaps share their views on the possibilities of the 60-year stand-off between the two countries coming to an end. Then we see what life is like for everyday Habaneros when we hop aboard local transportation—bici-taxis—and head to a local market to meet with vendors and mingle with some shoppers. Next, we have an opportunity to interact with children at a day-care facility sponsored by a local church. Then, creative expression becomes our focus as we visit the Museo de Bella Artes (Fine Arts Museum), and see how Cuban artists have interpreted society throughout the nation’s history.

    This afternoon, we drive to the outskirts of Havana to visit a public art project in Jaimanitas, a village where Cuban artist and sculptor Jose Fuster has decorated more than 80 neighborhood houses with ornate, Gaudi-inspired murals and domes. After touring what has become known as “Fusterlandia in Jaimanitas,” we have an opportunity to ask the artist questions about his living canvas and discuss contemporary Cuban art during dinner with Jose Fuster (or with his son Alex).

     

  • hidden

    Explore Cienfuegos on a guided tour

    Today we drive west from Havana to the southern coastal city of Cienfuegos. Home to one of the most captivating natural bays in the Caribbean Sea, Cienfuegos was founded in 1819 by settlers from the former French colonies of Haiti and Louisiana—and has maintained many of its French cultural and architectural influences. Upon arrival, we enjoy an introductory stroll through the lively port town, whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, we enjoy a performance of classic Cuban songs by the Cantores de Cienfuegos. Afterwards, we’ll get to chat with the talented young singers of this renowned choral group and perhaps share a song of our own with them.

  • hidden

    Discover local artists in Cienfuegos

    This morning we meet with a few of the writers, artists, and musicians of the Union of Writers and Artists in Cuba (UNEAC) to discuss the role of the arts in Cuban society and how they can help to preserve Cuban culture. Then we visit some artists’ studios in Cienfuegos to view their works and hear about the challenges they face in earning a living through their craft. This afternoon, we participate in a social program with some of the younger residents of Cienfuegos. Then, after dinner at our hotel, we return to UNEAC to hear a local son band such as Los Naranjos (who have been playing Cuban classics since 1926) perform for us. Son is the lively Afro-Cuban musical style played over a rumba beat that has enjoyed worldwide popularity—and we may find it difficult not to break out in dancing with some of the local artists and writers who will attend the performance with us.

  • hidden

    Encounter local basket makers in Trinidad

    This morning we leave Cienfuegos for Trinidad. Along the way, we stop for a visit to Cuba’s largest Botanical Park. Dating back to 1899, the gardens feature collections of palms, orchids, bamboo, and myriad other lovely Caribbean flora spread over almost 250 acres. Upon our arrival in Trinidad, we meet with some local basket makers and learn how their modest enterprises help support local families.

  • hidden

    Today begins with a visit to Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), a series of interconnected valleys where more than 60 sugar refineries once made Trinidad extremely wealthy during the 18th and 19th centuries. About 30,000 African slaves were also brought here to work on the sugarcane plantations that dotted this verdant region, and remnants of the mills, plantation homes, and slave quarters can still be seen—a reason why Valle de los Ingenios has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Returning to Trinidad, we next visit Templo de Yemaya, where we learn about the complex traditions of Santeria—a religion that blends Afro-Caribbean and Roman Catholic beliefs.

    Then, for a revealing glimpse into everyday life in contemporary Trinidad, we visit the home of a local family. This is followed by a walking tour of another UNESCO World Heritage Site—Trinidad’s historic core. Frozen in time since the sugar boom collapsed in the middle of the 19th century, the cobblestone streets, elegant plazas, and pastel-colored former manor homes of the wealthy sugar barons have changed little since Trinidad’s golden age. Our tour includes a visit to Museo Romántico, a restored colonial mansion featuring evocative reminders of the lives of the Trinidad sugar barons. This evening, we discover Cuba’s relaxed restrictions on private enterprise during dinner at Davimart, one of the many small family-run restaurants known as paladares that feature authentic home cooking in an intimate setting.

  • hidden

    See a local Trinidad pottery studio

    After breakfast, we drive out to the surrounding Sierra del Escambray mountain range, an unspoiled wooded landscape of deep valleys punctuated with streams, caves, and exotic flora and fauna. Coffee is also cultivated in the shade of pine and eucalyptus trees of the mountain slopes here, and we visit a small plantation to meet with a coffee farmer and his family to learn what it’s like to live and work in this region of great natural beauty. After lunch, we return to Trinidad and visit a ceramics studio that has been run by the Santander family for a century. We can take a spin at the pottery wheel as we learn about the secrets of working with clay that has been passed down through several generations of the same family.

  • hidden

    Encounter local artists and scholars from the Ludwig Foundation

    On our way back to Havana this morning, we stop at Cojímar, the fishing village where Hemingway visited in the 1950s to play dominoes, drink rum, and listen to the stories of the Cuban fishermen who soon became his friends. During our lunch with some of the local fishermen, perhaps you can ask them about Gregorio Fuentes, the Cojímar fisherman who was the inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea. Fuentes, who was a close friend of Hemingway’s, died in 2002 at the age of 104. After our revealing lunch, we visit Hemingway’s home for 20 years in the Havana suburb of San Francisco de Paula. Respected by Cubans for living in a modest area among the people he fished with, Finca La Vigia (meaning “lookout house”) is where the famous author wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. Later this afternoon, we check into the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, an historic hotel overlooking the harbor with views of the sea wall and El Morro Fortress. Then, we gather our group together and join some of the local artists, young professionals, and scholars of the Ludwig Foundation for a dinner reception.

  • hidden

    Discover Cuban customs

    Today begins with a talk about Havana’s historic ties to Ernest Hemingway, including the famous writer’s love of marlin fishing and his close friendships with the fishermen of Cojímar.  Next, we gain further insights into Cuban customs at the ornately historic Colón Cemetery, a sprawling 19th-century burial ground with elaborate memorials to figures from Cuba’s past. Then, a contemporary dance company will welcome us into their studio to watch a private rehearsal, followed by a chance to chat with the dance members. After lunch, we have time at leisure to pursue individual cultural interests during our final afternoon along the colonial streets of Havana. Our last evening in Cuba features dinner in Havana's Miramar neighborhood at Paladar La Fontana, one of the country’s finest paladares.

  • hidden

    Today, we bid Cuba a fond adios as we board our flight to Miami.

    Please note: This is a representative itinerary. Features are subject to change as availability is controlled by the Cuban government. While this is the itinerary that we strive to follow, due to local circumstances (such as moveable holidays, museum/site closing days, and weather conditions), it is important for you to understand that we may not always be able to follow this plan in the exact order. The sequence of places visited may vary.

Havana Trinidad Expand All
  • hidden

    • Accommodations:

    After arriving in Miami today and transferring to your hotel, meet with members of your group for a Welcome Briefing and what to expect for your charter flight to Havana tomorrow (Please note: No meals are included while you are in Miami).

  • hidden

    This morning we fly to Cuba. After we exit Cuban Immigration and Customs at the airport, we’ll be met by our Cuban Trip Leader, who will accompany us to lunch at Il Divino, one of the best of Cuba’s new wave of privately-owned restaurants called paladares. After our meal, we’ll stop at the nearby sustainable family farm and botanical garden which supplies fresh produce to Il Divino. Then, we’ll make a brief stop at Havana’s historic Plaza de la Revolución on our way to our hotel, where we'll meet our Grand Circle Foundation Representative. Our hotel is located along one of most picturesque boulevards in Habana Vieja (Old Havana), and an orientation walk around the immediate vicinity will reveal the historic restorations that have revived much of the district’s former splendor—and we begin to gain an understanding of why Havana’s historic heart has earned recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Please note: If you arrive in Miami on Saturday and fly to Havana on Sunday, your included lunch at Il Divino will be on Day 11 instead of Day 2.

  • hidden

    Discover local Cuban culture and family life

    Our first full day in Havana begins with a discussion on urban development in Havana led by Miguel Coyula, an architect, urban planner, and professor at the University of Cuba. Then, we visit a residential neighborhood and stop at a non-governmental agency like Iglesia San Agustin or Iglesia Merced, where we visit one of the senior centers sponsored by Cuban churches. Sharing photos and stories with senior Habanero residents will give us an intimate glimpse of Cuban family life in this fast-changing island nation. Then we visit a handcrafts market and talk with local artisans before returning to Habana Vieja for lunch. Afterwards, we embark on a neighborhood walking tour, where we'll stop and chat with the Cuban people as we walk through the streets and squares of Old Havana. Later this evening, we’ll head to a Havana barrio to visit Muraleando, a community arts project of colorful murals and various forms of street art, where we’ll meet with some local artists and view their works. Several of the talented artists will then join us for dinner, which they host in their community.

  • hidden

    Our morning starts off with an enlightening discussion on U.S./Cuban relations led by a pair of Havana residents, who will give us the “Cuban perspective” on this sensitive topic—and perhaps share their views on the possibilities of the 60-year stand-off between the two countries coming to an end. Then we see what life is like for everyday Habaneros when we hop aboard local transportation—bici-taxis—and head to a local market to meet with vendors and mingle with some shoppers. Next, we have an opportunity to interact with children at a day-care facility sponsored by a local church. Then, creative expression becomes our focus as we visit the Museo de Bella Artes (Fine Arts Museum), and see how Cuban artists have interpreted society throughout the nation’s history.

    This afternoon, we enjoy a panoramic tour of the city with a stop at Havana’s historic La Cabaña, an 18th-century fortress complex near the entrance to the Bay of Havana. Later, we drive to the outskirts of Havana to visit a public art project in Jaimanitas, a village where Cuban artist and sculptor Jose Fuster has decorated more than 80 neighborhood houses with ornate, Gaudi-inspired murals and domes. After touring what has become known as “Fusterlandia in Jaimanitas,” we have an opportunity to ask the artist questions about his living canvas and discuss contemporary Cuban art during dinner with Jose Fuster (or with his son Alex).

  • hidden

    Explore Cienfuegos on a guided tour

    Today we drive west from Havana to the southern coastal city of Cienfuegos. Home to one of the most captivating natural bays in the Caribbean Sea, Cienfuegos was founded in 1819 by settlers from the former French colonies of Haiti and Louisiana—and has maintained many of its French cultural and architectural influences. Upon arrival, we enjoy an introductory stroll through the lively port town, whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, we enjoy a performance of classic Cuban songs by the Cantores de Cienfuegos. Afterwards, we’ll get to chat with the talented young singers of this renowned choral group and perhaps share a song of our own with them. Then, we'll have dinner at Villa Lagarto, one of Cuba's privately-owned restaurants called paladares. Villa Lagarto is situated at the tip of Punta Gorda with views of the sea.

  • hidden

    Discover local artists in Cienfuegos

    This morning we meet with a few of the writers, artists, and musicians of the Union of Writers and Artists in Cuba (UNEAC) to discuss the role of the arts in Cuban society and how they can help to preserve Cuban culture. Then we visit some artists’ studios in Cienfuegos to view their works and hear about the challenges they face in earning a living through their craft. This afternoon, we participate in a social program with some of the younger residents of Cienfuegos. Then, after dinner, we return to UNEAC to hear a local son band such as Los Naranjos (who have been playing Cuban classics since 1926) perform for us. Son is the lively Afro-Cuban musical style played over a rumba beat that has enjoyed worldwide popularity—and we may find it difficult not to break out in dancing with some of the local artists and writers who will attend the performance with us.

  • hidden

    Encounter local basket makers in Trinidad

    This morning we leave Cienfuegos for Trinidad. Along the way, we stop for a visit to Cuba’s largest Botanical Park. Dating back to 1899, the gardens feature collections of palms, orchids, bamboo, and myriad other lovely Caribbean flora spread over almost 250 acres. Upon our arrival in Trinidad, we meet with some basket makers at a government sponsored workshop. This will be an excellent opportunity to see the contrast with the free enterprise sites and private entrepreneurs we'll visit during our program. Dinner this evening is at Sol Ananda, a beautifully furnished paladar in a former colonial mansion. After our meal, we can speak with the owners about the difficulties in starting a private business in Cuba.

  • hidden

    Today begins with a visit to Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills), a series of interconnected valleys where more than 60 sugar refineries once made Trinidad extremely wealthy during the 18th and 19th centuries. About 30,000 African slaves were also brought here to work on the sugarcane plantations that dotted this verdant region, and remnants of the mills, plantation homes, and slave quarters can still be seen—a reason why Valle de los Ingenios has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Returning to Trinidad, we next visit Palenque de los Congos Reales, a folkloric group that will demonstrate Afro-Cuban dance and music for us.  We can also learn about how the meaning of these dances relate to the Afro-Cuban traditions and religious beliefs, including Santeria.

    Then, for a revealing glimpse into everyday life in contemporary Trinidad, we visit the home of a local family. This is followed by a walking tour of another UNESCO World Heritage Site—Trinidad’s historic core. Frozen in time since the sugar boom collapsed in the middle of the 19th century, the cobblestone streets, elegant plazas, and pastel-colored former manor homes of the wealthy sugar barons have changed little since Trinidad’s golden age. Our tour includes a visit to Museo Romántico, a restored colonial mansion featuring evocative reminders of the lives of the Trinidad sugar barons. This evening, we discover Cuba’s relaxed restrictions on private enterprise during dinner at Davimart, one of the many small family-run restaurants known as paladares that feature authentic home cooking in an intimate setting.

  • hidden

    See a local Trinidad pottery studio

    After breakfast, we drive out to the surrounding Sierra del Escambray mountain range, an unspoiled wooded landscape of deep valleys punctuated with streams, caves, and exotic flora and fauna. Coffee is also cultivated in the shade of pine and eucalyptus trees of the mountain slopes here, and we visit a small plantation to meet with a coffee farmer and his family to learn what it’s like to live and work in this region of great natural beauty. After lunch, we return to Trinidad and visit a ceramics studio that has been run by the Santander family for a century. We can take a spin at the pottery wheel as we learn about the secrets of working with clay that has been passed down through several generations of the same family.

  • hidden

    Encounter local artists and scholars from the Ludwig Foundation

    On our way back to Havana this morning, we stop at Cojímar, the fishing village where Hemingway visited in the 1950s to play dominoes, drink rum, and listen to the stories of the Cuban fishermen who soon became his friends. During our lunch with some of the local fishermen at Bodega Las Brisas, a local paladar, perhaps you can ask them about Gregorio Fuentes, the Cojímar fisherman who was the inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea. Fuentes, who was a close friend of Hemingway’s, died in 2002 at the age of 104. After our revealing lunch, we visit Hemingway’s home for 20 years in the Havana suburb of San Francisco de Paula. Respected by Cubans for living in a modest area among the people he fished with, Finca La Vigia (meaning “lookout house”) is where the famous author wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. Later this afternoon, we check into the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, an historic hotel overlooking the harbor with views of the sea wall and El Morro Fortress.

  • hidden

    Discover Cuban customs

    After breakfast, a Director of the Ludwig Foundation—a non-profit organization created to promote Cuban culture—will speak with us about the role of dance in contemporary Cuba. Next, we gain further insights into Cuban customs at the ornately historic Colón Cemetery, a sprawling 19th-century burial ground with elaborate memorials to figures from Cuba’s past. Then, Malpaso, one of Cuba's first private dance companies, will welcome us into their studio to watch a private rehearsal, followed by a chance to chat with the dance members. After lunch, we have time at leisure to pursue individual cultural interests during our final afternoon along the colonial streets of Havana. Our last evening in Cuba features dinner at Starbien, a renovated colonial mansion tucked into the residential neighborhood of Vedado. Starbien is another of Cuba’s privately-owned restaurants called paladares, and we’ll have a chance to talk to the entrepreneurs about the recent changes in Cuba.

  • hidden

    Today, we bid Cuba a fond adios as we board our flight to Miami.

    Please note: This is a representative itinerary. Features are subject to change as availability is controlled by the Cuban government. While this is the itinerary that we strive to follow, due to local circumstances (such as moveable holidays, museum/site closing days, and weather conditions), it is important for you to understand that we may not always be able to follow this plan in the exact order. The sequence of places visited may vary.

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What to Know

For more detailed information about this trip, download our Travel Handbook below. This document covers a wide range of information on specific areas of your trip, from passport, visa, and medical requirements; to the currencies of the countries you’ll visit and the types of electrical outlets you’ll encounter. This handbook is written expressly for this itinerary. For your convenience, we've highlighted our travelers' most common areas of interest on this page.

Download the Travel Handbook

What to Expect

Pacing

  • 3 locations in 11 days with a one-night stay in Miami
  • Roundtrip charter flight between Miami and Havana

Physical requirements

  • Not appropriate for travelers using wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility aids
  • You must be able to walk 2-3 miles unassisted and participate in a full schedule of People-to-People exchange meetings each day

Climate

  • Daytime temperatures range from approximately 70-90ºF
  • The weather in Cuba is semi-subtropical year-round, with trade winds often tempering the heat

Terrain

  • Walk along many uneven cobblestone streets in Havana and Trinidad, amongt ruins in Sugar Mill Valley, and along dirt paths in the Escambray Mountains

Transportation

  • Travel by private, air-conditioned 32-passenger motorcoach
  • Three 2- to 6-hour drives between cities

Accommodations & Facilities

  • Hotel rooms in Cuba, while clean and comfortable, offer simple amenities and do not reflect American or European counterparts
  • All accommodations feature private baths

Travel Documents

Passport

Your passport should meet these requirements for this itinerary:

  • It should be valid for at least 6 months after your scheduled return to the U.S.
  • It should have the recommended number of blank pages (refer to the handbook for details).
  • The blank pages must be labeled “Visas” at the top. Pages labeled “Amendments and Endorsements” are not acceptable.

Visas

U.S. citizens will need a visa for this People-to People program; the visa will be processed through the Grand Circle Foundation. For non-Cuban born participants the visa fee is included in your program price, for Cuban-born participants there is an additional supplement. Information about the visa—and instructions on how to apply—will be mailed to participants about 10 days after booking.

Vaccinations Information

For a detailed and up-to-date list of vaccinations that are recommended for this trip, please visit the CDC’s “Traveler’s Health” website. You can also refer to the handbook for details.

Before Your Trip

Before you leave on your adventure, there are at least four health-related things you should do. Please check the handbook for specifics, but for now, here’s the short list:

Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendations for the countries you’ll be visiting.
Step 2: Have a medical checkup with your doctor.
Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup. (Recommended, but less important than steps 1-3.)

What to Bring

In an effort to help you bring less, we have included checklists within the handbook, which have been compiled from suggestions by Trip Leaders and former travelers. The lists are only jumping-off points—they offer recommendations based on experience, but not requirements. You might also want to refer to the climate charts in the handbook or online weather forecasts before you pack. Refer to the handbook for details.

Insider Tips

Accommodations

Main Trip

  • Hotel Saratoga

    Habana Vieja, Havana, Cuba

    The Hotel Saratoga is a restored Neo-Classical building that is a good example of the restoration work currently underway in Habana Vieja. The hotel is located at a prime intersection in Old Havana—at the corner of Paseo del Prado and Dragones, just across from the Capitol Building. Hotel facilities include two restaurants, three bars, wireless Internet access, spa, gym, and a rooftop pool. There are 96 air-conditioned rooms at the Saratoga, each with satellite TV, minibar, safe, and private bath with hair dryer.

  • Hotel La Union

    Cienfuegos, Cuba

    Originally a 19th-century colonial mansion, the Hotel La Union is located in the heart of Cienfuegos, just steps away from Parque José Martí. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, fitness center, central courtyard bar, swimming pool, and rooftop terrace with views of the city and bay. There are 49 rooms at Hotel La Union, each with satellite TV, safe (for nominal charge), minibar, and private bath with hair dryer.

  • Hotel La Ronda

    Trinidad, Cuba

    Situated in Parque Cespedes in the heart of Trinidad, the colonial-style Hotel La Ronda is steps away from the historical attractions of Old Town. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, lobby bar, and terrace bar. There are 17 air-conditioned rooms, each with satellite TV, safe, minibar, telephone, and private bath.

  • Hotel Nacional de Cuba

    Vedado, Cuba

    Situated in Havana’s Vedado district, the Hotel Nacional de Cuba overlooks the harbor with views of the sea wall and El Morro Fortress. Built in 1930, this twin-towered Art Deco landmark quickly became a favorite of such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Josephine Baker, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and many more. Hotel amenities include three restaurants, three bars, a pool, garden area, and live cabaret show. Our group will stay on the Executive Level, in air-conditioned rooms that include minibar, cable TV, safe, and private bath with hair dryer.

Please note: While our accommodations in Cuba feature clean, comfortable rooms with private baths and standard amenities, please bear in mind that Cuban hotel standards may not reflect their American or European counterparts. On balance, we think the potential leaky faucet or worn carpet is a small tradeoff for the authentic atmosphere and rich experience you’ll receive in return.

Flight Information

GCF's People-to-People Program in Cuba starts and ends in Miami, Florida. You can purchase your airfare to and from Miami with us, or make your own air arrangements. If you purchase your airfare from us, please be advised that airfare from certain gateway cities may not be available on select departure dates. We will arrange your charter flights to and from Cuba—but in order to do so, we need you to follow the instructions included with the mailing you’ll receive approximately 10 days after making your reservation. Your charter flight schedule is subject to change until 60 days prior to departure, at which point we’ll send you a charter schedule—while last-minute schedule changes are unlikely, they are not out of the question. Please be aware of all airline change and cancellation fees when making independent air reservations to and from Miami, as these will be your responsibility. We strongly recommend that you do not book your flights to Miami until you receive your charter schedule at 60 days prior to departure.

DOMESTIC AIR ADD-ONS

JAN-DEC

Orlando, Tampa

$300

Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit*, Houston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, DC

$400

Denver*, Los Angeles, Minneapolis*, Phoenix*, Portland*, San Diego*, San Francisco*, Seattle*

$500

*Please be advised that Air Add-Ons to Miami are not available from these cities on select departure dates. Due to Grand Circle Foundation's policies concerning minimum connection times and airline schedule limitations, passengers would be required to remain overnight in Miami prior to returning to their home cities.

We cannot guarantee that there won’t be last minute changes to your charter flights, even within 60 days of departure.

Cuba: A Culture in Transition

How the Cuba of today will not be the same in years to come


With Cuba’s doors opening to global tourism, Cuban culture is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation.

Due to the Caribbean nation’s decades-long isolation, Cuban culture remains a mystery to most Americans. What we think we know about Cuban people and their culture is almost exclusively shaped by politics.

When Fidel Castro and his band of guerrilla fighters emerged from the Cuban jungle in 1959 to overthrow the Batista dictatorship, the U.S. government initially wished the rebels well. But when Revolution turned to Communism, relations between the U.S. and our Caribbean neighbor quickly soured—and have remained hostile ever since.

Yet the people of Cuba have always been so much more than its controversial system of government. Just like the tropical island’s undulating landscapes and forested hills, Cuba’s cultural vibrancy was firmly in place long before the 1959 Revolution—and is certain to outlive it. But Cuban culture is changing.

Cuba’s culture is shaped by its past

In order to truly understand Cuban culture—or any unfamiliar culture—consider this advice from Irish travel writer Dervla Murphy: “To travel in ignorance of a region’s history,” she writes, “leaves you unable to understand the ‘why’ of anything and anyone.” And she chooses the perfect example to illustrate her point: “Castro’s Cuba must baffle visitors uninformed about the five-hundred-year lead-up to Fidel’s revolution.” Murphy understood that Cuban culture is inextricably bound to its past …

Cuba is one of the few countries in the world to have cast off three imperial powers from its shores over its lengthy history—Spain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. And it was only with the collapse of the Soviet bloc that Cuba became completely independent of foreign influence.

In the ensuing years, Cuba has seen a legalization of the U.S. dollar, the advent of limited private enterprise, Fidel Castro’s withdrawal from politics, and cautious overtures to capitalism. And with Cuba’s doors opening to global tourism, Cuban culture is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation.

A passion for patriotism, community, and music

Throughout their nation’s embattled history—perhaps as a direct result of it—Cubans have been a deeply patriotic people. Their love of country (even for many living in exile) transcends political viewpoints. Feelings of nationalism have always run deeper than loyalty for socialistic ideals—yet there remains great pride in the achievements of the Revolution. While it is a poor nation, Cuba can boast one of the world’s best health care systems, as well as almost 100% literacy. A melting pot of races, Cubans’ sense of community, neighborhood spirit, and egalitarianism is without equal—and their friendliness unfailingly extends to foreign visitors. 

The resilience and inventiveness of the Cuban people in the face of austerity is mind-boggling (look no further than how they have managed to preserve antique American cars for half a century!). Museums are ubiquitous throughout the country, and Cuba’s most popular sports are baseball and boxing. And to anyone walking the streets of Havana, the lifeblood of Cuban culture quickly becomes apparent—music and dance. Passion, pride, and general ebullience for life are traits of the Cuban people that long predate the Revolution. And with any luck, they should survive this transitional time in Cuban history.

While it is much too early to predict the long-term effects of 21st-centry global capitalism on Cuba, there is no question that it is a land and culture at a crossroads. To experience this rapidly-changing island nation through the eyes of the proud Cuban people—to engage with them directly in discussions about their lives, work, traditions, and vibrant culture—is an opportunity Grand Circle Foundation is proud to be able to offer today.

Cuba with Grand Circle Foundation—the best value anywhere

There’s no better travel value to Cuba than ours—and no better time to visit than now

Our new fall 2014 and 2015 Cuba departures not only include an enhanced itinerary with many more cultural highlights added to your itinerary, it’s also offered at our best value ever. When you join Grand Circle Foundation in Cuba, you can count yourself among the very few American travelers to meet the gracious Cuban people and experience their vibrant culture and traditions. We reveal Cuba’s culture to you like no one else can, and we’ll take you there at a travel value that no one else can beat. With Grand Circle Foundation, you can explore Cuba from just $333 per day—an incredible value when you compare our wealth of inclusive features (including roundtrip airfare between Miami and Havana) with other travel companies. Visit Cuba now—and be a part of history. Call Grand Circle Foundation toll-free at 1-855-423-3443 today.

What is People-to-People?

  • Our People-to-People program is an educational itinerary focusing on meaningful cultural interactions between Cuban people and American guests.
  • It includes interactions with a wide range of Cuban people—from artists, dancers, and musicians to community leaders, children, and seniors.
  • To adhere to U.S. government requirements for travel to Cuba, participants are required to actively engage in our full schedule of our People-to-People activities.
  • Our People-to-People program is operated entirely by Grand Circle Foundation, and is led by an English-speaking Cuban Trip Leader.
  • The services of a Grand Circle Foundation representative located in Havana will also be available to you during portions of your program
  • Our program is limited to a small group of just 12-20 participants, and is not recommended for people with mobility issues.

Why should you visit Cuba with Grand Circle Foundation?

  • Peace of mind—Grand Circle Foundation is authorized to travel to Cuba under OFAC License #CT-2014-310986-1
  • Convenience—you can choose from dozens of 2014 and 2015 departure dates
  • Experience—we’ve taken almost 3,000 travelers to Cuba so far
  • Success—90%+ of returning participants rated their experience in Cuba with us as “excellent”
  • Value—our wealth of inclusive features (including roundtrip airfare between Miami and Cuba) makes this program the best value anywhere
  • More discovery—enjoy a variety of itinerary enhancements on 2014 and 2015 departures, including: More meals at Cuba’s new wave of privately-owned restaurants called paladares and visits to many sites associated with Ernest Hemingway

Before you reserve, please note these important differences

If you've traveled with OAT before, please be aware that our itinerary in Cuba is not an OAT adventure. It is an educational program operated entirely by Grand Circle Foundation. Before you reserve, please note these important differences:

  • To reserve please call Grand Circle Foundation's toll-free number: 1-855-425-3443, Monday-Friday 9:00 am–8:00 pm (EST), Saturday–Sunday 9:00 am–7:00 pm (EST).
  • As a participant in this program, you will be expected to take part in all People-to-People meetings and interactions described in your itinerary.
  • OAT benefits such as Customize Your Trip, Frequent Traveler Credits, Vacation Ambassadors*, Good Buy Plan, Sir Edmund Hillary Team, free or reduced single supplements, and lowest price guarantee do not apply to our Cuba program.
  • The Travel Production Plan offered by OAT does not cover travel to Cuba. Therefore, we recommend that participants purchase travel protection through Allianz.

* Learn about our Grand Circle Foundation Referral Program, where you can earn rewards for referring friends and family to our Cuba programs.

GCF CALL CENTER HOURSMonday–Friday  9:00 am–8:00 pm (EST)
Saturday–Sunday  9:00 am–7:00 pm (EST)

Reservations can only be made
through Grand Circle Foundation:
1-855-423-3443

Email this page to your friends

A $500 deposit is required to reserve your departure. (Within 90 days of departure, full payment is due at point of sale.)

Now Refer Friends and Family to Grand Circle Foundation's Cuba Program

Now is an amazing time to discover Cuba, its vibrant culture, and its welcoming people at a pivotal point in its history. And, with the Grand Circle Foundation Referral Program, you also have the unique opportunity to invite friends and family to experience the spirit of this island nation on 2014 departures of our People-to-People program.

Grand Circle Foundation has been granted a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer a People-to-People program to Cuba. If you have traveled on a Grand Circle or OAT trip in the past or are an existing Grand Circle Foundation participant, you may refer a friend to partake in our discovery-filled program.

When the new participants you refer call to reserve their Cuba program, tell them to mention your name and Customer Number while reserving—they will instantly save $100 off the cost of their reservation. As our thanks for your sharing word of this special program, we’ll also send you a check for $100.

Share with your friends

Please note: To qualify for referral rewards, your new Cuba participants must not have traveled previously with Grand Circle Foundation, or the travel companies the Foundation works with on projects around the world: Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle Travel. Referral program is for 2014 departures only.

Before you refer, please note these important differences about traveling with Grand Circle Foundation.

If you've traveled with OAT before, please be aware that our itinerary in Cuba is not an OAT adventure. It is an educational program operated entirely by Grand Circle Foundation. Before you reserve, please note these important differences:

  • To reserve please call Grand Circle Foundation's toll-free number: 1-855-425-3443, Monday-Friday 9:00 am–8:00 pm (EST), Saturday–Sunday 9:00 am–7:00 pm (EST).
  • As a participant in this program, you will be expected to take part in all People-to-People meetings and interactions described in your itinerary.
  • OAT benefits such as Customize Your Trip, Frequent Traveler Credits, Vacation Ambassadors*, Good Buy Plan, Sir Edmund Hillary Team, free or reduced single supplements, and lowest price guarantee do not apply to our Cuba program.
  • The Travel Protection Plan offered by OAT does not cover travel to Cuba. Therefore, we recommend that participants purchase travel protection through Allianz.

GCF CALL CENTER HOURSMonday–Friday  9:00 am–8:00 pm (EST)
Saturday–Sunday  9:00 am–7:00 pm (EST)

Reservations can only be made
through Grand Circle Foundation:
1-855-423-3443

Please note: A $500 deposit is required to reserve your departure. (Within 90 days of departure, full payment is due at point of sale.) Our Grand Circle Foundation program has a maximum of 20 participants.

Terms and Conditions

Grand Circle Foundation Passenger Contract

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO PASSENGERS: THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS IN THIS CONTRACT GOVERN YOUR TRIP BOOKING. THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS COLLECTIVELY REFERRED TO AS THE “PASSENGER CONTRACT” CONSTITUTE A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT AND THE ENTIRE AGREEMENT GOVERNING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND THE COMPANY. THERE IS NO VERBAL OR WRITTEN REPRESENTATION, WARRANTY, PRIOR AGREEEMNT OR DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES OTHER THAN AS EXPRESSED HEREIN.

READ THE FOLLOWING TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE ACCEPTING. YOUR ATTENTION IS ESPECIALLY DIRECTED TO SECTIONS 2, 3 and 15 LIMITING OUR LIABILITY FOR YOUR DEATH, ILLNESS OR INJURY, AS WELL AS DAMAGE CLAIMS RELATING TO BAGGAGE AND PERSONAL PROPERTY, AND YOUR RIGHT TO SUE OR ARBITRATE, AND WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL AND CLASS ACTION. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH THE TERMS OF THIS PASSENGER CONTRACT, DO NOT ACCEPT. INSTEAD, CALL AND CANCEL YOUR RESERVATION AND WE WILL REFUND ANY DEPOSIT PAID. ONCE THIS PASSENGER CONTRACT IS ACCEPTED, YOU CANNOT SUBSEQUENTLY REJECT IT. HOWEVER, YOU CAN CANCEL YOUR RSERVATION SUBJECT TO ANY CANCELLATION PENALTIES THAT MAY APPLY.

By accepting, you certify that you are an adult with full legal authority to enter into this Passenger Contract for yourself and on behalf of all accompanying passengers on your reservation. You further affirm that you have read the terms of this Passenger Contract, and that you understand and accept all such terms and conditions. The Passenger Contract terms must be accepted within 21 days (72 hours for bookings made within 45 days of departure), or your reservation will be cancelled.

1. DEFINITIONS

The word “you” or “passenger” refers to each passenger booking, purchasing or traveling on a Cuba tour, including any accompanying minors, and all of the passenger’s heirs, successors in interest and personal representatives.

“Company” or the term “we” or “us” refers to Grand Circle Foundation, Inc., and all affiliated companies including but not limited to Grand Circle LLC and its affiliates, and each of their owners, shareholders, directors, officers and employees.

“Program Price” refers to the sum of the base price for your program, plus single supplement (if applicable), plus any air add-on costs, included government taxes and fees, and pre- or post-trip extension costs; but does not include any other items, such as surcharges, port charges, government taxes or fees that are payable onsite, etc. (collectively, “Other Items”).

“Suppliers” are independent third party providers of services. See “Tour Operator” Section 2 below.

“Tour Operator” or “Operator” means Grand Circle Foundation, Inc.

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2. TOUR OPERATOR

a) For purposes of the Cuba tour, we are a “tour operator.” This means that we organize, promote, and sell tour programs consisting of certain travel services that are provided by independent third parties (“Suppliers”).* All travel activities and services provided in connection with, before, after or during your tour including but not limited to hotels, restaurants and other food providers, Grand Circle Foundation on-site representatives, local guides, ground operators, providers of optional tours and shore excursions, or transportation of any kind by any vessel, aircraft, bus or other mode of transportation, are provided, owned and operated by independent third party contractors whose employees, facilities, products and services are not subject to our supervision or control.

* Grand Circle Foundation utilizes the services of Educational Travel Alliance, Inc. (“ETA”), an OFAC licensed Travel Service Provider, to provide certain services related to the coordination of the Cuba programs. ETA may in turn utilize the services of other suppliers, which are independent third parties, including companies in Cuba, to make arrangements related to the program.

b) The Suppliers providing services for your tour are independent contractors and are not our agents, employees, servants, or joint venturers. To the extent we book air transportation for you, we act as an agent of the air carrier and not as your agent. For all other purposes, we do not act as an agent for any party whatsoever.

c) In the course of your tour, you may see the name Grand Circle Foundation or hear or see the use of the word “our” to denote hotels, transportation vehicles or vessels. We may also use sign placards with these names. Any such use is purely for reasons of identification and does not denote any agency, joint venture, or ownership, supervision, or control by us in any way

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3. LIMITATION OF OUR LIABILITY

Except as otherwise expressly provided herein, for the purposes of the defenses, limitations of liability and rights of Company set forth in this Passenger Contract only, “Company” also includes any vessel used in your tour (or any substituted vessel) whether owned or operated by Company, the vessel’s owners, operators, managers, charterers, and agents, any affiliated or related companies thereof and their officers, crew, pilots, agents or employees, and all concessionaires, shipbuilders and manufacturers of all component parts, launches, appurtenances, craft or facilities, whether provided at sea or on shore, belonging to any such ship or owned or operated by its owners, operators, managers, agents, charterers, contractors or concessionaires.

Additionally, unless otherwise expressly provided herein, all limitations of liability apply to your tour, Small Ship or River Cruise.

a) The responsibility of Company in connection with your tour is strictly limited. Company makes no warranty, either express or implied, regarding the suitability, safety, insurance or other aspects of any Supplier and any transportation, tours, services, products or facilities provided by Suppliers. We are not liable for any claim for loss, damage, injury, death, misrepresentation, delay, inconvenience or disappointment, arising from any action by a Supplier, including but not limited to any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any Supplier or of any other third party. We will not be liable to you for any claim unless the occurrence was due to our own gross negligence or willful fault. You agree that in no event shall we be liable in any claim for other than compensatory damages, including but not limited to any indirect, consequential, punitive special or exemplary, or incidental damages, however caused, and whether sought in contract, tort or under any other theory of liability, and regardless of whether we have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Operator’s liability for compensatory damages hereunder shall in no event exceed the amount actually paid by you to Operator for the trip giving rise to the claim. The foregoing limitation of liability shall not apply to liability for death or personal injury to the extent applicable law prohibits such limitation.

b) Company makes no warranty, either express or implied, regarding the suitability, safety, insurance or other aspects of any Suppliers or other such contractors, transportation, tours, services, products or facilities.

c) Company is not responsible for any injury, loss, or damage to person or property, death, delay, disappointment or inconvenience in connection with the provision of, or failure to provide, any goods or services occasioned by or resulting from—but not limited to—acts of God or force majeure, acts of war or civil unrest, insurrection or revolt, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind, mechanical or other failure of vessels, airplanes or other means of transportation or for the failure of any transportation mechanism to arrive or depart on time, or for any other cause beyond the direct control of Company.

d) Some tours include visits to shops and merchants. Company is not responsible for any purchases you make during your tour, whether or not that merchant is part of the scheduled itinerary.

e) You agree that Company’s liability for loss or damage to baggage or personal property is limited to U.S. $500 per bag. Passengers are strongly urged to keep valuables, irreplaceable items and medicines in their possession at all times and not to pack such items in baggage or suitcases handled by others. Company shall not be liable for any loss, theft or damage to valuables left unattended in your hotel room, on any bus or other mode of transportation or any facility or location during your tour, nor for any valuables lost, damaged or stolen. For purposes of this Subsection, valuables include but are not limited to cash, jewelry, electronic devices (including laptops and tablets), cameras, cellular phones, medical equipment/devices, eye wear and medications.

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4. NOTICE CONCERNING SAFETY AND SECURITY

You agree to assume responsibility for your own safety, and we cannot guarantee your safety at any time. Local conditions, including infrastructure, road conditions, medical care, safety and security, may differ significantly from those found in the United States. At any given moment there are also likely to be “trouble spots” in the world in terms of war, terrorism, crime, Acts of God, civil commotions, labor trouble, and/or other potential sources of harm. The United States Department of State and other governmental and tourist organizations provide information on foreign countries, including details of local conditions in specified cities and countries according to such agency’s perception of risks to travelers. We strongly recommend you obtain and consider such information when making travel decisions. We assume no responsibility for gathering such information or providing it to you.

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5. MEDICAL CARE; TRAVEL PROTECTION

You recognize and agree that we are not in the business of providing medical services and/or operating medical facilities. You acknowledge that the medical benefits in Cuba (see Air Arrangements subsection “e”) are not provided by us. You therefore agree that we are not responsible for the provision of, or adequacy of, any medical care provided to you.

During your tour the availability of medical care may be limited or delayed. You acknowledge that all or part of your tour may be in areas where medical care and evacuation may not be available. You agree to indemnify and reimburse Company in the event Company elects to advance the cost of emergency medical care, including medical care provided ashore as well as transportation and/or lodging in connection therewith.

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6. AUTHORITY TO DECLINE PASSENGERS OR REMOVE PASSENGERS FROM TRIPS

We reserve the right to accept or reject any person as a tour passenger. We reserve the right to expel any passenger from a tour or disembark a passenger from a vessel if we deem this necessary for the comfort, convenience or safety of the tour participants, including if your behavior is deemed to cause or be likely to cause danger, distress or annoyance to other passengers or if we reasonably determine your condition would adversely affect your health, safety or enjoyment or that of other passengers. If we remove you from a trip in progress or disembark you from a vessel, you will not be entitled to any refund, payment, compensation or credit of any kind for unused or missed services or costs incurred resulting from the termination of the travel arrangements and you will be responsible for your travel costs to return back home.

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7. RESERVATIONS AND PAYMENTS

A deposit of $500 per person is required to secure your reservation. To secure reservations on a trip departing within 90 days, full payment is required at the time of booking.

Final payment is due at least 90 days prior to departure. Grand Circle Foundation reserves the right to cancel reservations that are not paid in full at any time after final payment is due. Cancellation charges may apply

Every effort has been made to produce pricing information accurately. Operator reserves the right to correct promotional or pricing errors at any time, or to increase the tour price in the event of cost increases due to changes in airfares, currency fluctuations, fee increases instituted by the Cuban government, taxes, or fuel surcharges, or other reasons, unless you have paid for your tour in full prior to the cost increase going into effect.

For your benefit, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel protection to protect against loss or damage to baggage and personal effects, trip cancellation and interruption, emergency evacuation, accidental death or injury, illness and medical expenses sustained or incurred in connection with your Cuba tour.

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8. CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

If you must cancel your reservation on the Cuba program, you may do so by calling 1-855-423-3443, or by letter. Send letters of cancellation to Grand Circle Foundation, 347 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210. Cancellation charges will be calculated as of the date we receive your cancellation. Any applicable refunds will be returned to you in the manner in which payment was made, and processed within 30 days of receipt of your cancellation.

Cancellation Charges for the Cuba Program:

Prior to departure
65 days or more
64-35 days
34 days-departure

Charge
No Charge
$1000
100% of the program price

If you are a no-show, if you cancel your trip after the departure date, if you do not have a valid passport or are not able to obtain a valid Cuba Visa or if you leave a trip already in progress, you will not receive any refund for all or any unused portion of your trip.

Cancellations made within 21 days after booking will be subject to the cancellation charges, unless the reason for canceling given at the time of cancellation is your rejection of these Terms and Conditions prior to acceptance.

If you reserved a double room and are sharing with a friend or family member, and that person cancels prior to departure, you will be subject to an additional single supplement fee.

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9. RESERVATION CHANGES

a) We reserve the right to modify tour itineraries and substitute hotels and accommodations without liability to Company. Included features may not be available for all departures.

b) If you make changes to your program date or air city, it will be treated as a cancellation and the relevant cancellation charges will apply. Name changes are considered reservation cancellations and are subject to the above cancellation charges. All traveler requests are subject to availability and are not guaranteed.

c) In certain circumstances, Grand Circle Foundation may change the departure date of your program or consolidate any departures that do not reach a minimum level of participation or are overbooked. In this event, you will be offered an alternative departure date. If we are not able to agree upon a suitable alternative, you will be entitled to cancel your reservation and receive a full refund of your program price.

d) Grand Circle Foundation reserves the right to cancel or shorten a program’s departure without notice, in which event your sole remedy shall be a prorated refund for any unused portion of the trip, calculated in accordance with the Company’s typical business practices.

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10. SINGLE TRAVELERS

The Cuba program dates offer a limited number of single rooms. There will be an additional charge for single occupancy of accommodations.

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11. PASSPORTS AND VISAS

A valid passport is required, and must be valid for six months after the completion of your Cuba program. Non-U.S. citizens who are residents of the U.S. are eligible to travel on this program. Non-U.S. citizens who are not residents of the U.S. cannot reserve this Cuba program.

The cost of a Visa for Cuba for non-Cuban born participants is included in the program price. Information about the Visa will be sent to all participants, and the participants will receive the Visa in Miami, prior to departing for Cuba.

There is a supplement, currently $200 per person, for a Visa for Cuban-born participants. No Cuban-born person will be allowed to make a reservation if they have previously applied for a Cuban Visa and were rejected. If any Cuban born person knows of any reason why their Visa application may be rejected, it is strongly recommended that they not make a reservation, as they will be subject to full cancellation penalties if the Visa application is rejected and they are unable to travel on the program.

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12. AIR ARRANGEMENTS

a) Grand Circle Foundation offers two choices for your air travel arrangements: Land Only and Standard Air as described below. If you make your own domestic flight arrangements in connection with either of these options, Grand Circle Foundation and its affiliates will not be responsible for any loss resulting from cancellations or changes in air itineraries including without limitation changes in gateways or travel dates or times. If you are unable to make your departure, it is your responsibility to work with the airline on which you are ticketed to reach your destination. Grand Circle Foundation and its affiliates are not responsible for any additional expenses you may incur prior to joining your trip. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the costs of the overnight stay (including hotel and meals) are at your expense. If you change your return reservation after departure for the trip, you may be charged a higher airfare or a penalty by the airline. If your new return reservation is made directly with the airline, it is your responsibility to pay any such additional airfare and/or penalty directly to the airline. If your new return reservation is made through Operator, then it is your responsibility to pay any such additional airfare and/or penalty to Operator.

b) Land Only: If you purchase the Land Only package, you will be responsible for making all domestic air travel to/from Miami. We recommend that you do not purchase tickets with high penalty charges for changes.

c) Standard Air: With this option, we will make the reservations for the U.S. domestic air arrangements that are included in your trip. Grand Circle Foundation has made arrangements to purchase your air tickets from Overseas Adventure Travel. We reserve the right to choose the air carrier routing, and city airport from each departure city. Changes to your departure city or tour date up to 65 days prior to departure will not incur any penalty fee. All other reservation changes or cancellations in connection with Standard Air are subject to the Reservation Changes terms and Cancellation and Refunds terms as outlined above.

d) For all air travel arrangements between Miami and Cuba, you will receive a final package approximately fifteen days prior to your departure date that will include your air information, and you will receive your air tickets at the airport.

e) Please note that your airline tickets and other trip documentation must bear your first and last names exactly as they appear on your passport. It is your responsibility to check your travel documents when you receive them to make sure they are correct. If they are not correct, please contact Grand Circle Foundation immediately. For all air travel arrangements made by Grand Circle Foundation, you will receive a final package approximately fifteen days prior to your departure date that will include your airline tickets.

Cuban government regulations require all travelers to Cuba to have travel medical insurance coverage during their stay. The following coverage is provided by the Cuban government and is included in the cost of your charter air tickets:

  • Maximum of $20,000 to cover emergency medical costs incurred in Cuba. (Note: This does not cover any pre-existing conditions.)
  • Maximum of $7,500 for emergency medical evacuation provided only if a Cuban doctor states that you need to be evacuated in order to receive adequate treatment.

Grand Circle Foundation and its affiliates are not responsible if an airline cancels or delays a flight, including your flights in and out of Miami and the flights in and out of Cuba for any reason (including weather). Grand Circle Foundation and its affiliates are not responsible for and will not provide any refund for portions of trips missed due to cancelled or delayed flights. Air routings are subject to availability. Routings are not guaranteed, and are subject to change at any time.

g) Frequent Flier Programs. Frequent flier programs are operated solely by the airlines. We are not responsible for any mileage accrual you fail to earn by traveling with us

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13. MEDICAL ISSUES AND SPECIAL NEEDS

a) You are encouraged to report any disability requiring special attention to us at the time the reservation is made, including requiring the use of special equipment. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the special needs of tour. Such participants, however, should be aware that the Americans with Disabilities Act is inapplicable outside of the United States and facilities outside the United States for disabled individuals are limited.

b) The Cuba program is not wheelchair-accessible. If you are unable to travel without assistance, you must be accompanied by an able companion. If you have a condition which requires special equipment or treatment, you must bring and be responsible for all necessary items related to your condition. Grand Circle Foundation cannot accommodate motorized scooters of any kind. Grand Circle Foundation cannot accommodate women past their sixth month of pregnancy and cannot accommodate service animals.

c) If you are unable to travel without assistance, you must be accompanied by an able companion. It is strongly recommended that persons requiring assistance be accompanied by a companion who is capable of and is completely responsible for providing the assistance. Neither Company nor its personnel, nor its suppliers, may physically lift or assist passengers into transportation vehicles. If a traveler thinks he or she might need assistance during a trip, he or she should call us to determine what assistance might reasonably be given. The Company cannot provide special individual assistance to passengers with special needs for walking, dining or other routine activities or personal services.

d) If you have a condition that requires special equipment or treatment, you must bring and be responsible for all necessary items related to your condition.

e) If you have a condition as contemplated herein, you travel at your own risk. Operator is not liable for any injuries or damages you may suffer relating to such a condition, including without limitation loss of special equipment, lack of assistance with or accommodation of special needs, and unavailability of medical assistance or treatment.

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14. PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO

We reserve the right to take photographs and video during your trip. By traveling with us, you grant to us the absolute and irrevocable right and unrestricted permission to use and publish your image, or likeness, without compensation, for commercial, advertising, editorial, or any other purpose; and in any manner and medium, whether now known or hereafter devised; and to alter and composite the same without restriction and without your inspection or approval. You hereby release and discharge us from and against any and all claims, liabilities, costs, damages and expenses of any kind arising out of or relating to the use by us of your image or likeness. If you prefer that your image or likeness not be used, you must advise us in writing, no later than 30 days prior to your departure date.

Photographs and video of your trip may be submitted to us by you or by third parties such as (but not limited to) other travelers, tour guides, crew, or staff members. By submitting such photographs or video, the party making the submission is representing and warranting (a) that the photo is their original work created solely by themselves and does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any party; (b) that they have obtained any and all necessary releases from subjects depicted in said original work; (c) that they grant to us a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable right and license to use, in any and all media whether now known or hereafter devised, in perpetuity, anywhere in the world, with the right to make any and all commercial or other uses thereof, including without limitation, reproducing, editing, modifying, adapting, publishing, displaying publicly, creating derivative works from, incorporating into other works or modifying the photo and (d) that they hereby release and discharge us from and against any and all claims, liabilities, costs, damages and expenses of any kind arising out of or relating to the use by us of any photo submitted.

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15. TIME LIMITATION; ARBITRATION; CHOICE OF FORUM AND LAW; CLASS ACTION WAIVER

a) Time Limits for Legal Action: Any claim or legal action whether based on contract, tort, statutory, constitutional or other legal rights, including without limitation bodily injury, illness to or death of a passenger, alleged violations of civil rights, discrimination, consumer or privacy laws, or other statutory, constitutional or legal rights, or for any losses, damages or expenses relating to or in any way arising out of or connected with this Passenger Contract or your tour against Company must be commenced within one (1) year from the date of injury, illness or death or the date the incident giving rise to the claim occurred or else shall be irrevocably waived, notwithstanding any provision or law of any state or country or international convention to the contrary.

b) Agreement to Arbitrate; Forum: You agree that any claim or dispute whether based on contract, tort, statutory, constitutional or other legal rights, including without limitation bodily injury, illness to or death of a passenger, alleged violations of civil rights, discrimination, consumer or privacy laws, or other statutory, constitutional or legal rights, or for any losses, damages or expenses relating to or in any way arising out of or connected with this Passenger Contract or your tour against Company, with the sole exception of claims brought and litigated in small claims court, shall be referred to and resolved exclusively by binding arbitration to be administered by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) using one mutually selected arbitrator according to the then existing rules of the AAA. The arbitration shall be held in Boston, Massachusetts to the exclusion of any other forum, and you consent to jurisdiction and waive any objections to arbitration proceeding in Boston, Massachusetts. You agree that the costs of the arbitration shall be split between the parties The arbitrator, and not any federal, state, or local court or agency, shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, conscionability, or formation of this contract and the arbitration agreement, including but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this Passenger Contract is void or voidable. Any action to enforce the arbitrator’s decision shall be brought in the state or federal courts in Boston, Massachusetts. In the event the arbitration provision is deemed unenforceable by an arbitrator or court of competent jurisdiction for any reason, then and only then, the provisions of subsection (c) below governing forum shall exclusively apply to any lawsuit involving claims described in this subsection.

NEITHER PARTY WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL OR TO ENGAGE IN PRE-ARBITRATION DISCOVERY EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN THE APPLICABLE ARBITRATION RULES AND HEREIN, OR OTHERWISE TO LITIGATE THE CLAIM IN ANY COURT. THE ARBITRATOR’S DECISION WILL BE FINAL AND BINDING. OTHER RIGHTS THAT YOU OR WE WOULD HAVE IN COURT ALSO MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE IN ARBITRATION.

You and we further agree to permit the taking of a deposition under oath of the passenger asserting the claim, or for whose benefit the claim is asserted, in any such arbitration.

c) FORUM FOR ALL OTHER CLAIMS: ANY AND ALL CLAIMS OR DISPUTES RELATING TO OR IN ANY WAY ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED WITH THIS PASSENGER CONTRACT OR YOUR TOUR AGAINST COMPANY AND NOT SUBJECT TO ARBITRATION UNDER SUBSECTION (b) ABOVE SHALL BE LITIGATED, IF AT ALL, IN AND BEFORE THE COURTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, U.S.A., TO THE EXCLUSION OF THE COURTS OF ANY OTHER STATE AND COUNTRY. ANY AND ALL CLAIMS OR DISPUTES RELATING TO, ARISING OUT OF OR CONNECTED WITH YOUR TOUR AGAINST A SUPPLIER SHALL BE BROUGHT, IF AT ALL, WHEREVER SUCH ENTITIES MAY BE PROPERLY SUBJECT TO JURISDICTION.

d) Choice of Law: Any claim or dispute relating to, arising out of or connected with your tour and provision of services, whether subject to arbitration or otherwise, shall be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without regard to conflict of law principles.

e) WAIVER OF CLASS ACTION: THIS PASSENGER CONTRACT PROVIDES FOR THE EXCLUSIVE RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES THROUGH INDIVIDUAL LEGAL ACTION OR ARBITRATION ON YOUR OWN BEHALF INSTEAD OF THROUGH ANY CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION. EVEN IF THE APPLICABLE LAW PROVIDES OTHERWISE, YOU AGREE THAT ANY ARBITRATION OR LAWSUIT AGAINST US WHATSOEVER SHALL BE LITIGATED BY YOU INDIVIDUALLY AND NOT AS A MEMBER OF ANY CLASS OR AS PART OF A CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION, AND YOU EXPRESSLY AGREE TO WAIVE ANY LAW ENTITLING YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION. IF YOUR CLAIM IS SUBJECT TO ARBITRATION UNDER SUBSECTION (b) ABOVE, THE ARBITRATOR SHALL HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO ARBITRATE CLAIMS ON A CLASS ACTION BASIS. YOU AGREE THAT THIS CLASS ACTION WAIVER SHALL NOT BE SEVERABLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FROM THE ARBITRATION CLAUSE SET FORTH IN SUBSECTION (b) ABOVE, AND IF FOR ANY REASON THIS CLASS ACTION WAIVER IS UNENFORCEABLE AS TO ANY PARTICULAR CLAIM, THEN AND ONLY THEN SUCH CLAIM SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ARBITRATION.

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16. SPECIAL CONDITIONS

This Cuba program will operate based on the Specific License granted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Department of Treasury. This is a structured program. Participants are required to attend each visit and event as detailed. Failure to comply with the structured program may be reported to U.S. officials.

We caution that although Cuba is a very special destination, we urge each participant to respect the laws and customs of this nation as the U. S. government does not maintain full diplomatic relations with Cuba. Grand Circle Foundation will assume no responsibility and will not be held liable due to inappropriate actions or activities of any participant while in Cuba.

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17. MODIFICATION; TRANSFERABILITY; SEPARABILITY

No person, other than one of our authorized representatives by a document in writing is authorized to modify, add or waive any term set forth in this Passenger Contract.

This Passenger Contract and the corresponding reservation cannot be sold, assigned or transferred by you.

Any provision of this Passenger Contract that is invalid, illegal, or unenforceable will be ineffective only to the extent of such invalidity, illegality or unenforceability and, except as provided in Sections 15(d) and 15(e) above with regard to the arbitration clause and class action waiver, shall be severed from this contract without affecting in any way the remaining provisions of this contract which shall remain in full force and effect.

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