Heading Back to Havana

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After a successful group trip to Cuba a few months ago, I’ve decided to organize just one more. This time, we’ll be taking no more than 22 people, and I just heard over the weekend that 25% of the spaces are sold already. We depart October 29 and come back November 5. I realize Cuba is not a food lovers’ destination the same caliber of Japan or Thailand (working on trips to both those countries later this year), but everyone should experience Cuba once in their lives, and frankly, the longer you wait, the better chance you’ll have of seeing Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Taco Bell. I’ve been to Havana twice, and I can tell you that the people are as wonderful as can be, generous of spirit (and most definitely entrepreneurial – taxi drivers make more than doctors). The architecture is devastatingly decrepit and yet stunningly beautiful; the cars are right out of “American Graffiti,” and yes, the food has potential too.

After two trips to the island, I’ve put together an ambitious, food and drink-focused itinerary with Earthbound Expeditions, the company that has the permits allowing legal travel to Cuba. We’re staying at the historic Hotel Nacional, where the mob held some infamous meetings in the 1950s, and I’ll even get behind the stick to lead you through a few cocktail demos. We’ll visit a cigar factory (one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen), get a coffee roasting lesson and smoke cigars with our espressos, check out a local art co-op, see a typical bodega, tour Hemingway’s home, drink daiquiris, visit a number of interesting paladares for a real taste of Cuba and cruise the Malecón in some 50s convertibles. For all of you who’ve said “hey, I’m coming with you on your next trip…” now is the time to sign up.

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