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LGBT tourism

Cuba quickly becoming a hotspot for gay travel

Helena Tzioti - 18 March 2013, 09:35

Cuba's gay culture has expanded notably in recent years, and since U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba were loosened in early 2011 - for just the third time in 50 years, more and more gay travelers are taking advantage of the opportunity to visit the island.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Cuba, the all-but-forbidden country now legally open for Americans, has been attracting a growing group of savvy travelers: those from the LGBT community. From April 14-21, Insight Cuba, the leading operator of licensed, people-to-people travel to Cuba, is offering an exclusive seven-night trip to Havana and Cienfuegos in partnership with luxury gay travel operator Coda International Tours. Limited space is still available.

Cuba's gay culture has expanded notably in recent years, and since U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba were loosened in early 2011 - for just the third time in 50 years, more and more gay travelers are taking advantage of the opportunity to visit the island, with its vibrant arts and music scenes, welcoming locals, and current status as a must-visit hotspot.

"Gay travelers are usually on the cutting edge – they are the first to establish trends, not just follow them; they're going to places before they're flooded with the average tourists," said Jim Smith, founder of Coda International Tours. "Cuba is a very warm and friendly destination and a big draw right now, especially for the gay market."

"We always love crafting custom itineraries for groups with varied interests, and are thrilled to offer this particular program for the LGBT market," said Tom Popper, president of Insight Cuba. "In addition to our signature people-to-people activities fostering touching exchanges with locals, participants will also be able to experience the thriving gay community in Cuba as the country propels towards more democratic ideals."

The custom itinerary begins with five nights in Cuba's colorful capital city of Havana, followed by two nights in the port city of Cienfuegos and a day trip to colonial Trinidad. Highlights include:

  • Engaging with resident musicians and artists at Callejon de Hamel, a street rife with art displays and public music performances.
  • Walking through Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Visiting and meeting with Cuban artists in their homes and workshops.
  • Learning about organic farming at Organopoico Vivero.
  • Meeting with representatives from CENESEX, an LGBT advocacy program.
  • Visiting the artist Jose Fustar, dubbed the "Picasso of the Caribbean."
  • Exchanging ideas at Muraleando community project.
  • Attending a dance session of Ballet Folklorico de Trinidad.

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