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Birdwatching and a birthday in Playa Larga, Cuba

My last trip was a family trip organized around a big birthday… and when I had to pick somewhere to celebrate it, Playa Larga was the obvious choice! This family was really interested in birding and nature. Playa Larga is in the Zapata Swamp region, a great place to enjoy Cuba’s natural beauty. So we spent some time with a local naturalist and looked for…

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A street performer moves through the streets during the Carnavales celebration of Santiago de Cuba.

News Roundup: Race in Cuba and Obama’s visit

I’m always interested in race and racism. Cuba isn’t exactly the same as the US – but it’s not that different, either. So in Cuba I see a lot of the same racial dynamics I’m used to in the US. My first glimpse of this was police harassment of a Black Cuban colleague, who was presumed suspect when the rest of us (including a bunch…

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A Perfect Day at the Bay of Matanzas, Cuba

So last month I took a group of four to the Bay of Matanzas. We were hosted by a band I’m friendly with and their families, who threw us a big pig roast! It was their idea, and I gave them free rein. That’s a little risky, just because none of us knew exactly how it would go – but the risk paid off. One…

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What today’s changes mean for Cuba travel

Big news today! As reported all over the place, and as documented in a new update on the Treasury Department’s Cuba Sanctions page, the Obama administration is relaxing some of the Cuba regulations. The biggest change for my purposes involves People-to-People trips, the kind I lead. Here’s a breakdown of what’s changed legally, and what it means for all practical purposes. The legal: (Disclaimer: I’m…

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Cuban Dance: Casino and Rueda de Casino

A few months ago, one of my travelers was excited about Cuban salsa. This meant two things: One, I incorporated a lot more dance into the trip than I normally would. We hung out with some dancers I’m friendly with, got expert instruction from them, and found fun places to go out dancing. And two, I was confronted with the sad state of my salsa…

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A man looks at colorful posters on the wall

Upcoming trip: Cuba Pride 2016, May 6 – 15

TO INQUIRE OR REGISTER FOR THIS TRIP: email me! I’m happy to announce a trip this May 6 – 15, timed to coincide with Cuba’s Pride celebrations! “Pride” isn’t what they call it in Cuba. It’s officially a month of events celebrating the Cuban Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17. But it’s the cultural equivalent of Pride. This trip will be similar to…

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How crazy is Cuba travel right now?

Very crazy. This keeps coming up lately. People often come to me thinking that going to Cuba is way easier than it is. So I’m posting about it again. (I wrote a few months ago on similar themes: Traveling to Cuba These Days.) Here’s the deal: This is a tricky time to visit Cuba. Too many people are trying to go, Cuba is over capacity,…

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Explore Cuba with Yale GALA itinerary front cover

Upcoming trip: Explore Cuba with Yale GALA! (everyone’s welcome)

This May, I’ll be leading a trip for Yale GALA, the LGBT alumni association of Yale University! It’ll be a very special trip… in part because we’re so well connected there. You don’t have to be a Yalie, or LGBT – everyone’s welcome. You’ll find all the print information below: The condensed brochure with reservation form, plus a larger brochure with more detailed itinerary. To…

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A row of water tanks each is painted with one letter, spelling out Viva Cuba

Favorite Cuban quotes

I often hear a Cuban say something memorable – whether because it’s funny or because it’s somehow revealing of Cuban culture. Sometimes these are so memorable, they’ve stayed with me ever since. Here are some of my favorites… 1. Mmm… sin chicharro In Cuba, there are two ways to buy coffee. You can buy a package of high-end coffee in a fancy shop for several…

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pride flag at Cuba's 2015 march

Being gay in Cuba

Someone just contacted me who’s writing an article about LGBT Cuba. He asked for my perspective on the LGBT community there and how it is for LGBT travelers to visit Cuba. After I talked with him, I realized others might also be interested in what I have to say. So here it is! First off: My experience is that of a gay man, bilingual in…

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