Austin Adventures has identified alternative destinations for travelers to experience the sights, sounds, cuisine and culture of Cuba without going to the country itself. The active tour company is offering vacations in places where one can source their own piece of Cuba across the globe.
“There is a lot of uncertainty regarding travel to Cuba at the moment and this makes a lot of American travelers wary. So as we look forward to the day that Americans can move more freely through Cuba, we’ve come up with other travel suggestions that won’t disappoint,” said Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures.
For a similar cultural experience, Austin Adventures recommends Peru. Similar to Cuban culture, Peruvians express a culture through music, dance, clothing and celebrations. On Austin Adventures’ Peru trips, guests meet women in traditional dress at Awanacancha where the art of traditional textile weaving is kept alive.
Guests can also visit the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and uncover mysteries of an ancient culture by trekking the Inca Trail through the “Sun Gate” into Machu Picchu.
If guests want history older than Cuba’s Spanish occupation and Castro’s revolution, look to France and Normandy’s beaches where in 1066 William the Conqueror crossed the channel and on D-Day soldiers changed history.
Travelers looking for high quality cigars they try Nicaragua’s Oliva cigars. Melanio Oliva first grew tobacco in Cuba in 1886 and generations continued until the pressure from the Communist-run government forced Gilberto Oliva, Melanio’s grandson, to Nicaragua.
For similar beaches, Austin Adventures says Belize is the place to go. As of November 2017, hanging out on a Cuban beach doesn’t meet the license requirements for “People to People” engagement. As an alternative, travelers can go on Austin Adventures’ Belize Adventure where the last three days of the itinerary are on Ambergris Caye in shallow Caribbean waters.
If guests want the nightlife, Colombia’s Bogotá is comparable to Havana, says Austin Adventures. In this high-altitude city, Austin Adventures’ guests stay at Cité Hotel, a short walk from Zona T, the nightclub district.
For travelers looking to discover a new cuisine, Croatia, like Cuba, has a food culture driven by resourcefulness in response to scarcity, according to Austin Adventures. On an Austin Adventures Croatia tour, guests learn to cook traditional Croatian specialties.
If guests want UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Cuba tops the list and on an Austin Adventures trip here guests visit four of nine sites in eight days. However, Southeast Asia also has 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in nine countries. On Austin Adventures’ Laos/Cambodia trip, guests visit Luang Prabang, Laos’s most sacred town, and Angkor Wat, the grand temple complex of Cambodia. A visit to Vietnam takes guests to Ha Long Bay’s limestone karst pillars, the ancient town of Hoi An and the Complex of Hue Monuments.
Travelers looking for activities less focused on people-to-people and more on the great outdoors, they can try one of Austin Adventures’ U.S. national parks programs. Activities on these trips include hiking, biking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip lining or swimming.