Cuba is a mystery to many. American travel to Cuba remains shrouded in red tape, but Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation is honored to be able to legally take our travelers to the very heart of the country and its people. What allows us to do so is a license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) section of the US government called a “People to People License”. Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation (CCJF) has been taking people to Cuba for a total of 16 years, being amongst one of the first organizations to be granted this honor.
A People to People license abides by the standard that the licensed organization will provide educational based travel to Cuba adhering to promoting cross-cultural exchange between American and Cuban citizens. One of the most common inquiries we receive are from those who want access to Cuba, yet who do not want to staying on a daily itinerary. Our license does not allow an American traveler to enter the country with their friends or family, letting them loose to explore on their own. And although this may sound constricting to some, traveling on a People to People itinerary is anything but!
Activities can be tailored by CCJF to the interest of those traveling as long as the activities fall under “People to People” exchange. Over the course of these many years in Cuba, we have built relationships with organizations and people allowing us to procure incredible trips!
For example, last year CCJF was approached by an African-American group interested in Afro-Cuban culture in Cuba. Later this month, The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture will be departing on a journey exploring the history, art and culture of the African societies in Cuba, meeting with principal players in the Afro-Cuban community including artists, musicians and historians.
Sometimes, our travelers voice their apprehension in traveling with others. Yet, our group size (if you join one of CCJ’s open registration trips) is relatively small. We take up to 20 people on our trips but most average around 12. For our private trips, we have planned journeys for groups of 10 to even a group of 100 who went to Cuba in 2013!
Further more, we have found we attract like-minded individuals, those who are educated, curious and above all want to see the world in the company of others who respect it.
Group travel can be some of the most rewarding travel you will do in your life whether you share it with a group of friends or total strangers. To share in the exploration of new areas of the world is bridge-building. While traveling within your association allows for people with a common tie to enter various foreign lands, joining a group of unknown individuals can create lifelong friendships with those who were strangers before arriving at your destination.
We are proud of those we know both in Cuba and around the world and we consider it a blessing and honor to be able to unite people on a global basis.