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the Palate

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from past travelers

  • Having never taken a tour before, this trip was a wonderful entry to such travel. Cuba Cultural Travel is exceptional. I was so impressed with the effort that was made to create an agenda that was educational, cultural, informative and plain old fun. It was clear that each speaker devoted serious time to preparing for our group as reflected in the content of their lectures. The speakers were all very smart; of course everyone in Cuba is very smart. Mike, Duni and Alexis, each incredibly smart with wonderful senses of humor, provided us with a wealth of knowledge too. The logistics were as seamless as possible and our hosts always accommodating. At our last dinner I asked my table mates what was their favorite activity. We each struggled given that all of the activities were so stimulating. But I have a favorite; the Flamenco Dance Troupe was unlike anything I have seen. The dances (and dancers) - beautiful and emotional. It was a real high. I have been singing our hosts' and guides' praises since our return. My husband and I feel privileged to have been a part of the group. We learned a lot and enjoyed ourselves immensely. While there are contradictions in the country (but what nation does not experience them) one can feel a wonderful spirit among the people. Havana is simply beautiful. Thank you again for making this trip possible.

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  • It was exciting and colorful and full of surprises. Our [escort] was sensational and so were the other guides and the bus driver. We loved the art and music and especially talking to the people. I purchased a beautiful plate from one of the art students and look at it every day bringing back fond memories. Thanks for the hard work putting the trip together. It was certainly worthwhile and I learned a lot. I wish I had a picture of the group we were with. We shared a special experience and have other pictures we could send them to prove it. Thanks again!

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  • I'm not even back yet but wanted to let you know that the Gage Academy trip to Cuba was an unparalleled success, one of the most enriching, intensive and wonderful ways to discover a country as unusual as Cuba. The itinerary was packed with so many different ways to get an understanding of the culture, history, politics and people of this beautiful island. At first the itinerary seemed overwhelming, but then we started to realize how great it was to use these different lenses, voices and perspectives to get a really deep picture of Cuba in just five days. Your speakers were top flight, and the venues were perfect. The care that you all put into creating this itinerary and then crafting it to fit the Gage needs was so evident and so appreciated. And the art.... it's almost impossible to recount how many wonderful ways we were able to experience the artists and art organizations of Cuba, from studio and gallery to school and alleyway to museum and late night contemporary scene, meeting the faculty, artists and other collectors along the way. Friendships were formed (I've already been in touch with the Flamenco artist, and [our Atelier Instructor] made a special friendship with with the ISA professor), work was purchased, stereotypes were broken down, and we all walked away feeling like we had just scratched the surface. Many of our artists told me that they expected this visit to deeply impact their work. Truly stunning. But most of all, the Cuban culture was brought to life by Duni, and his wonderful associate Lazaro. Without them, I don't think our group would have fallen so deeply in love with the rich history and developed such a passion for the amazing future of Cuba - and I definitely know that we're all a little heavier after sampling the incredible spectrum of paladars. Duni and Lazaro were charming, informed, warm, ready to handle the occasional odd situations that cropped up, and seemed to know virtually everyone wherever we were. I know many people would basically sign up again for a trip just based on having those two as guides. Gage has done many international and domestic trips prior to this, all organized internally. This marked the first time working with a travel agency, and I think it was largely a fear of getting a generic-feeling experience. Nothing could have been farther from the reality of working with CCT. I just want to say thank you from all of us, and I hope that we will work together again very soon.

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  • If you are ever interested in traveling to Cuba, I highly recommend Cuba Cultural Travel. They have been operating tours in Cuba for almost 20 years. They are highly organized and will take you to some of the best places and people in Cuba. My favorite aspect of their company is that they always give back to the people of Cuba by encouraging their travelers to bring needed supplies.

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  • This should have been written much earlier. It is written with much gratitude and respect for your work. Three in my family traveled with the Gershman Y in February. I chose this trip at your suggestion. It seemed to fit our interests, was individualized, and distinct from other travel group offerings. I would say to my friends that it did not seem to be a cookie-cutter tour. I didn't realize how much my expectations would be surpassed. We thoroughly enjoyed the expertise and kindness of our guides, Duni and Lazaro. The tour highlights, the paladars, the artists, the architects, the lecturers, and the musicians were carefully chosen and provided us thoughtful insight into Cuba. Our only concern was that it ended and we had to leave behind a beautifully orchestrated week in a country that endeared itself to us. We look forward to our next trip. With best regards and appreciation.

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  • My wife and I joined a small group tour put together by Cuba Cultural Travel. We spent most of our time in and around Havana, with one night in Viñales. In short, it was a great time. Cuba is fascinating. So fascinating in fact, that a visitor spends all day asking questions trying to figure it out. Not only is CCT an inexhaustible source of first-hand Cuba knowledge, the people they arranged visits with are thoughtful, well informed sources in their own right. Our emphasis was on art and music so CCT had us meet a variety of artists and musicians who ran the gamut from young up-and-comers to very well established pros. We would do it again in a minute.

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    WilhelmPrivate Journey
  • I wanted to write and tell you how much we enjoyed our recent trip to Havana. I want to commend you and all your people; they were unfailingly kind, spirited, knowledgeable, flexible, and — most of all — fun to be around. [Our escort], in particular, is a real gem. I also want to tell you and Mr. Romero how much we enjoyed being with Yuri. He displayed all the qualities mentioned above; in addition, we appreciated his willingness to handle endless questions and respond in a thoughtful and intelligent manner. His knowledge of all things Cuban was impressive, but more than that, he always emphasized when his information was incomplete or based on limited information. Most of all, though, he was willing to share his perspectives with us without insisting that his views were correct. I can only hope we came across the same way.

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    MitchPrivate Journey
  • Over the last ten years, the Beverly Hills Bar Association has organized four trips to Cuba with the help of Cuba Cultural Travel. All of our trips to Cuba generated strong interest from our members and resulted in memorable experiences and strengthened relationships within our ranks. Our time in Cuba was a fascinating mix of enlightening lectures from scholars and legal professionals, intimate interactions with musicians and dancers and fascinating tours of the city by historians and architects. All of the trips were fantastic and I highly recommend working with Michael Sykes if you are considering a trip to Cuba.

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  • The week we spent in Cuba was just spectacular. Just as you had predicted, we absolutely loved Juan and have to thank him for making our experience so special and meaningful. From the first moment when he found us at the airport, he took such good care of us. He paid such attention to every detail, worked out every step of our journey with us and was charming, delightful and flexible throughout. We found ourselves totally comfortable and the joke became that we did not know what we would do without him when we had to leave Cuba! We found Juan to be a fabulous font of knowledge and were able to learn so much just from his discussions about the country, the politics and the economic and social situation. It was a joy to talk, to question and even to present alternate points of view during our time together. Our driver, Igor, was wonderful as well. He was incredibly lovely, patient and caring and made us feel as though we were always in good hands. The experiences we had were superb. We loved the lecture and musical performance of Prof. Alberto Faya, the many galleries and studios we visited, the museums and experts who led us through them, the architectural tour around the city, the visit to hear about Santeria and the influence of African culture in Cuba and to the Escuela de Taller to learn about the restoration project in Havana as well as the students who study the art and craft of all this. We loved walking around Havana Vieja, visiting an old synagogue, seeing the malecon, National Hotel and Colon Cemetery. We so enjoyed our experience at Lazaro Salsita's Children's Art Project and at the home and neighborhood of Jose Fuster to see the unique work he has led there. We enjoyed our foray to the Viñales Valley and learning about the tobacco farmers and tobacco production as well as our journey to Hemingway's home and environment. Every place and experience helped us to begin to understand and certainly appreciate the country and the people. Being able to talk to the subject experts you arranged was a major highlight of the trip. The artists and gallery owners were most interesting as were Nelson Ramirez at the Fototeca, Nelson Herrera who led us through the Museum of Cuban Art and Pedro Vazquez Rodriguez who so ably explained the various forms of architecture in the city. We loved our discussions with Marta Nunez Sarmiento at lunch and Marcelino Feal at dinner, feeling as though we would want to spend many more hours with both. The hotel was lovely and we cannot say enough about all the paladars in which we ate. Each was beautiful and the food was delicious at every meal. We want to thank you and the group at Cuba Cultural Travel who created such an exceptional experience for the four of us. We loved the fact that we could travel just as our own family group and found that to be the perfect way to go. It was a most meaningful, memorable and wonderful trip.

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    SusanPrivate Journey
  • After a busy week of "re-entering", I am finally settling down to write to all of you. You are the best. Thank you so very much for organizing a stellar tour. Each "docent" was better than the last - starting with Lazaro to the curator of the Art Museum, the architecture tour guides, the cemetery tour guide, etc. etc. And how about all our fabulous surprises: the Cienfuegos choir was as good as I have heard ANYWHERE; the male singing group was fantastic; the art gallery/home art was first-class, etc etc. Oh… and I had heard the food was not good in Cuba ---------- Wrong… You set us up in the most lovely paladars with delicious food and plenty of mojitos… yes, I evolved from wine the first couple of nights to mojitos and straight 11 year old rum! There was nothing not to like on this tour! Thanks for everything. And best wishes to everyone for a healthy and happy New Year. Please be sure to let us know of future tours.

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    SusanPrivate Journey
  • We are just back from our trip with Duni to Cuba, and I wanted to write immediately to let you know how things went. I travel a lot, especially now that I am no longer working. So it really means something when I say that our trip with Cuba Cultural Travel was unique, inspirational, educational and the most fun I of any I have ever taken. Our guide, Lazaro, was informative and entertaining. He communicated with wit and intelligence. The hotels were beautiful, perfectly located and provided excellent service. Every destination was extraordinary, and every person we met through the tour added to the experience. Of particular note was our visit to the National Museum, with the commentary provided by the curator, Ayelet. Our meals were tasty, and the settings all reflected the culture and people of Cuba. Most of all, of course, I must commend Duni. [...] His brilliant attention to our trip, the service he provided every moment of every day, his enthusiasm, hospitality and sheer joyous presence was really what made our experience so fantastic.

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    NeilPrivate Journey

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Yes, it is legal for U.S. Citizens to travel to Cuba! All of our custom designed programs include meaningful, cultural, people-to-people activities.

Now is your chance to experience the warmth and culture that is Cuba. Every aspect of our programs are hand-picked based on our travelers' interests. Our experienced Program Developers have spent countless hours procuring the very best in everything Cuba. We offer programs with something for everyone. From bar associations to families, our custom designed itineraries are tailored to each group. Some highlight experiences may include artist studio visits, dance and/or music performances, community projects, festivals, and various visits and introductions with Cubans who will share their experiences and knowledge of the culture.
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private
journeys

Any group of two people up to a family of 10 can travel together on a private journey.

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affinity
groups

Groups of 10 or more sharing a common interest or activity can experience Cuba together.

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student
groups

All grade levels and colleges are welcome to explore Cuba with our student programs.

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professional
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From bar associations to corporate groups, we have extensive knowledge in professional travel.

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