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Thanks to President Obama’s recent initiative to thaw relations with Cuba, our geographically near (yet ideologically distant) neighbor, it’s now a little easier to go. But don’t expect to hop on a plane, grab a hotel and hit the beach on your own just yet.
There are still restrictions in place, specifically with respect to pure leisure tourism — it’s still not legal for Americans, who must travel under a general or specific license (i.e., visa). Check out this comprehensive Q&A in the New York Times and visit our blog for further information.
So how exactly do you go gay to Cuba?
There are quite a few gay tour operators running fantastic trips to get you to Cuba safely and (mostly) legally. Our friend Matt Smith has a licensed group for Cuba’s Pride Week May 4-10, 2015, and a license to do custom People-to-People trips if you’re looking for something customized. As a Canadian company, Out Adventures presents the most leisure-oriented of all the LGBT tours, with departures scheduled March 7-15 and December 27, 2015-January 4, 2016. (U.S. citizens may join at their own risk and in six years of running tours, they’ve brought a number of U.S. citizens without a problem — inquire directly with them for details.)
Coda International Tours — March 8-15 — explores the art and food scene of Havana before heading to Cienfuegos; HE Travel's April 14-19 trip focuses on the life and work of Tennessee Williams with an elegant reception at the National Museum of Fine Arts; Detours With Matt, during Cuban Pride Week from May 1-11, includes Old Havana and encounters with Cuban nationals, plus a Pilgrimage to La Guarida, a restaurant based in the apartment where Strawberry and Chocolate was filmed; and Zoom Vacations takes their third trip to Cuba, from December 28-January 2, where guests can ring in the New Year at a beachside all-inclusive resort with white sand beaches to experience all the art, culinary and culture Cuba has to offer.
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Image credits: Top: Luis Guillermo Pineda Rodas; right: Gareth Williams bottom: Thomas Leuthard