Month travel ideas

Dec 9th, 2016, 02:18 AM
  #1  
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Month travel ideas

My family(husband and 2 kids middle school and high school) have.a month or so to spend this summer on an island. Looking for ideas. We are Spanish speaking and have spent time traveling around Caribbean, & central America over the years. We've been focusing on South America the past couple of years so a bit out of touch with Caribbean and CA. Will likely look for 2 rentals, each for two weeks. Would like some amount of small surf(my husband & kids could spend hours body surfing. Will rent a car so we can explore the island. Would love Spanish speaking. Have considered Cuba, but would love other ideas. Thanks!!
izzyandash is offline  
Dec 9th, 2016, 06:02 AM
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Spanish is widely spoken in Puerto Rico. Lots of good surfing in Ricon, Aquadilla and Isabela areas.
RoamsAround is offline  
Dec 9th, 2016, 07:57 AM
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Coming from where? Direct flights to Cuba from the US could be ended soon, and travel would then be through a third country.
Cuba could take the whole month to see one end to the other.
I've heard rental cars are getting harder to get. Bus service is quite good though.
SambaChula is offline  
Dec 10th, 2016, 03:42 AM
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If US citizen can't go vacation in Cuba freely (at least beaches and body surfing)

What time of year? Can make a difference with the waves

Why not try something completely different, beaches in Mediterranean or Bali, or Thailand?
blamona is offline  
Dec 12th, 2016, 06:59 AM
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"US citizen can't go vacation in Cuba freely (at least beaches and body surfing)"

Please stop posting this. While that may technically be true, right now and for quite some time in the past, no US government agency has been checking to see what your schedule is in Cuba. If you never go over the speed limit for fear of being found out breaking the law, maybe this trip is not for you. Otherwise....
SambaChula is offline  
Dec 12th, 2016, 10:06 AM
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Some people prefer to post suggestions that are legal.
suze is offline  
Dec 13th, 2016, 01:57 PM
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If you speak Spanish, Puerto Rico would be great. Lots of interesting stuff there, especially in the country. Surfing on the west coast, Old San Juan, El Yunque, lechon, Arecibo Observatory, and then there are the islands of Vieques and Culebra...
eastenderusvi is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 06:35 AM
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Samba, body surfing, vacationing is not a defined reason to go, and is against the law. Wether caught or not, on public forums not going to promote illegal activity.

Before you judge what we say, you should know I worked for Fodor's for 10 years

So your bashing of Users making things legit is not welcome
blamona is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 09:23 AM
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How is body surfing and exploring supporting the Cuban people?
suze is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 09:34 AM
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Perhaps by spending money at private enterprises, such as casa particulares, bares, restaurants, souvenir shops, which put money into the pockets of entepreneurs and showing them that capitalism works for them. Perhaps by discussions with Cubans, maybe even the ones next to you on the beach, about their lives and yours, to give them more information about your way of life under your style of government.

If you find a detailed US government definition of that particular category of travel that precludes this type of "support", please post the source, blamone and suze.

Again, IT IS NOT illegal to go to Cuba from the US under certain categories of travel, so those saying otherwise are not "putting things right" (unless of course you mean right wing), and nothing illegal is being promoted by saying so.
SambaChula is offline  
Dec 14th, 2016, 11:18 AM
  #11  
 
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<<"US citizen can't go vacation in Cuba freely (at least beaches and body surfing)">>


US citizens are free to go wherever other tourists go in Cuba - it's the US government that imposes regulations on how they spend their time there, not the Cuban one.

I can see no reason why a competent traveller, particularly one who speaks Spanish should not put their own trip together that falls within one of the twelve categories and make a record of it, in order to satisfy the US authorities in the most unlikely event that they are interested.

Welltravelledbrit did just that - here's her TR:

http://www.fodors.com/community/cari...rt-finally.cfm

[as her DH is from the US the rules did apply to them]
annhig is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2016, 02:12 AM
  #12  
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Barbados is the best, for such a small island. Miles of beaches almost empty.
DGR is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2017, 02:20 PM
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We just returned from Cuba and I would highly recommend it - a foray into another world that will be provide a different cultural perspective, a living history lesson and extraordinary memories for the kids. You will have plenty of people-to-people encounters with musicians, artists, campesinos, etc...especially because you speak Spanish. We would have loved to travel all the way from Havana to Santiago and with a month you will have plenty of time to do that.

The posters on this thread seem to be mistaken about the US requirements. The aid to the Cuban people option is not the one chosen by most independent US travelers - in fact, it is 'educational' or 'people-to-people' - easily fulfilled by just living and interacting with Cubans, even in beach areas.
crosscheck is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2017, 02:39 PM
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And that "people to people" category is the one whose criteria most travelers would not meet, given the activities usually described, should OFAC ever decide to check. "Just living and interacting with Cubans" does NOT qualify, according to specific and detailed examples posted online by OFAC. The "support" category mentioned above is not defined in detail however.
SambaChula is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2017, 12:33 PM
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Hmm, Samba, I'm not sure where you're getting your info. We mimicked much of what our friends did on the organized tours - meetings with organic farmers, botanists, artists, musicians...but without the overscheduling you find on the pricey tours (an economist at 8am, an architect at 9am). All the local tour companies are hip to the people-to-people rules and are happy to set up encounters with athletes, artists, educators, etc. And if OFAC checks (which they won't) they will just ask for a diary of your experiences.

In our case, we visited three rural families at their farmhouses to learn about the coffee and cigar process, met a sculptor who creates in a spectacular open-air workshop at a Viñales national park, attended a Chanukah party in the same Havana synagogue our sister-in-law frequented in the 50s, went to an exclusive salsa event at Havana's epic recording studio, etc., etc. We also brought over-the-counter meds for a community pharmacy, pens for a middle school and bass strings for a music conservatory. The other independent US travelers we met were doing similar activities, many with guides. About 25% of our our events were pre-planned and the others spontaneous.

For the OP, the other islands are lovely (I've been to over 10) but for an other worldly cultural experience for the kids, nothing would beat Cuba.
crosscheck is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2017, 06:32 PM
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Your activities sound great, crosscheck, and very much in keeping with the "people to people" ethos.

IMO by travelling independently and staying in casas you are far more likely to interact with locals than those who are on organised tours staying in hotels.
annhig is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 07:37 AM
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Yes, we regret not staying in a casa in Viñales. We thought we would want a pool - thus, the hotel. But alas, the pool was empty.
crosscheck is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 08:02 AM
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that's a shame, crosscheck, though a hotel sans swimming pool would have been far preferable to the first casa we stayed in in Vinales, from which we did a [daytime] moonlight flit.

but it was all part of Cuba's rich pageant!
annhig is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 08:20 AM
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There are pretty explicit descriptions of what qualifies for "people to people" and what does not. "Ethos" id not part of any definition. The trip descriptions that I read online most often do not correspond to what an organized tour which has qualified for a license offers.
"Much of what our friends did on the organized tours" might not constitute the "full time" schedule required to fulfill the category you chose, nor do you know if "mimicking" fulfills the type of activities allowed. (Luckily, no one's personal schedule is getting put to the test, though---so far--but that could change on/after the 20th and until then, no individual can say from experience.)
As mentioned, the "support" category is much less defined.
SambaChula is offline  
Jan 4th, 2017, 04:13 PM
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ann,
I'm going back to read the report of your mishap! Can't wait.

Samba,
Have you visited Cuba? I realize that we're in new territory here and I'm sorry that you're having an issue with people's travel reports. But that doesn't qualify you to dispense legal information.

I have now been there twice - once as part of a month-long cultural exchange in the late 80s and once last week. I find it disturbing that you're doubting my planning/research skills and spreading misinformation on a traveler's forum.

Since the US airlines started full schedules, there have been many of travel articles for US citizens about how to arrange their own Cuba trip and most recommend choosing 'educational activities' as the category for travel, with 'people-to-people' as the subcategory. Here is Cheapair's advice:

https://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel...-8-easy-steps/

"Step 1
Qualify yourself for travel. Review the 12 permitted reasons for travel to Cuba and determine which license allows your visit. For most people, #5 “Educational Activities” in which you will have a full schedule of activities designed for people-to-people contact with Cuban citizens fits the bill."

And this, from the NYT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/tr...blue.html?_r=0

"Americans may also organize their own people-to-people trips without depending on an organization — a much cheaper option that Collin Laverty, founder of Cuba Educational Travel, believes leads to more “organic” interaction with Cubans."

-----

'Support for the Cuban people' works as a category too, and seems to be the fave of the posters on Tripadvisor. But that is preferable for those staying in casas, which we weren't doing. Because the US government is requiring only a travel diary as proof of activities (they won't contact our tobacco farmer to find out if we really taught him the conditional tense in English), I don't think anyone has anything to worry about. Yes, our new leader is a loose cannon, but we're resting easy that he won't send us a threatening tweet about the Advil we gifted.

When we returned a few days ago, although everyone in our family has global entry, one of our sons was randomly flagged to speak to a customs agent. The agent asked just one Q: "Did you have a good time?"
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