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FEATURED DESTINATION: Cuba

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Cuba Best Discovered Person-to-Person

Thursday, April 24, 2014

When Cuba travel restrictions for Americans were relaxed a while back, we at Gate 1 Travel rejoiced in the news. If you've traveled with us before, you know that we love opening new doors of discovery for our guests. So we got to work determining how we could help you explore this enigmatic country.

We learned that travel to Cuba had to be built around people-to-people contact. In other words, visiting Cuba just to see the sights was not enough. Authentic, rewarding cultural exchanges were absolutely required. And that was fine with us.

Connecting Americans and Cubans

Our travel planners got to work to create the ideal cultural exchange for our sister company, Discovery Tours. After all, there's no better way to forge personal bonds than in a small group. To our delight, our Cuba Face to Face has been a huge success. In fact, David C. of Baltimore, Maryland, called it

fabulous and full of surprises. It's like an unspoiled paradise for American tourists... It's such an opportunity, and actually kind of an emotionally moving experience, not only based on the beauty of the country and its cities, but also the spirit of its people, who clearly love Americans.

And there we had it. After a strained relationship that lasted half a century, Americans and Cubans were sharing their cultures with each other during unique people-to-people Discovery Tours events-long walks with Cuban architects in Old Havana, a visit to The Literacy Museum, and discussions with mural artists who have beautified barrios with vibrant and fanciful wall art. This is just a sampling of the deeply personal connections that have stayed with Americans long after they have returned home. It has been a glorious and, indeed, moving thing to witness.

A Journey Back to Traditional Family Values

Istanbul: One City, Two ContinentsFrom Cuba's scintillating cities like Havana, dripping with Old World culture, to its rural reaches dotted with farms, you're sure to witness the common thread that connects all life here: Close, personal relationships form the mortar that holds Cuban culture together. And when we tap into them, the result is magic.

As in any country, the foundation of Cuban relationships begins in the family. In rural Cuba, families are united in very traditional ways. It is not uncommon, for instance, to find several generations living under the same roof or in the same village, sharing sit-down meals, chores, and child-rearing. As a result, a sense of selflessness is instilled in Cubans from a very early age. They look out for each other. They act in the interests of the family rather than of themselves. They spend much of their time together and, with other tight-knit families, form a strong community.

In some cases, families remain this close out of economic necessity. Even the educated young man or woman who grew up in the countryside but went off to university in the city might return home to raise a family in their own childhood home so they can minimize their own expenses or support their aging parents. To many Americans-raised in a culture that often prioritizes success over family-this might seem a bitter sacrifice for young people to make. But remember: Cubans are apt to make choices that benefit the family. It's a way of life that they happily embrace.

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Cuba Deal

Cuba, Face to Face - $3409 from $3309* - Save $100 with promo code CTCU100
All prices are per person based on twin occupancy. Prices are valid as of April 24, 2014 and subject to change without notice. Book by May 8, 2014. Not valid on existing reservations.