Gay Cuba

Author: , April 17th, 2016

Cuba

We all have been reading the buzz around visiting Cuba. The questions we all have are:

Cuba

  • Is it really legal to go?
  • Can I go with my lover/partner/spouse and feel comfortable traveling as an LGBTIQA couple?
  • Can I travel single and have a great time?
  • Is it still affordable to visit Cuba?
  • Is Cuba safe?

The answers are all a definite yes!!!!

IMG_1891Thanks to the new loosening of travel restrictions from the USA and the recent advances in LGBTIQA equality…now is the time. To experience the architecture and energy of Havana is amazing. Music comes at you from ever cafe and corner. The architecture is both crumbling and being restored and is amazing.

The best and most secure way to visit is to have a Gay tour guide to show you around. Be sure to book a hotel or ” Casa Particular” that is gay welcoming. A “Casa Particular” is usually someone’s home that they have restored to rent to people from outside of Cuba. Not only are you living with and having breakfast with locals but they can also offer you all kinds of ideas on travel through out the Island.

Cuba - Sydney

Photo by Sydney Coatsworth

If gay politics and issues are your thing then Outincuba also employs one of Cuba’s most active LGBTIQA activists that can show you how the great strides in equality are happening today. Below you will find a list of some great resources for info on traveling to Cuba. Remember that you are not going to lay around on the beach… you are going to experience and learn about one of the worlds most vibrant and interesting cultures.

Working with a gay owned tour and travel company is the best bet that you will find all the rooms you have reserved and also find the best gay welcoming locations to spend your hard earned free time and money.

Charles Kimball of www.OutInCuba.co has Cuban family in Cuba and has spent time there vetting guides and locations that are LGBTIQA friendly and welcoming. The tour guides will meet you with a smile and welcome at the Havana airport and walk you through changing money and off you go in an old 50s taxi to your new home in Havana. Your guide and new friend will take you on a walking tour of Old Havana. If you would like to see “Gay Havana” by night then go out and experience the LGBTIQA culture from a Gay perspective.

Last photo by Sydney Coatsworth

Cuba, The New Gay Paradise?

Author: , April 1st, 2016

Cuba - Photo by Kevin Slack

My father left Cuba in June of 1962. The revolution was intensifying and as part of “Operation Peter Pan,” a program developed by the Catholic Church of which the church still denies ever existed, my grandparents placed him on the last Lufthansa flight out of Havana one morning. A young boy, my father wouldn’t see his parents for years to come. He has never returned. After decades, I became the first of my family to return to the island nation and left to my desires, I would have stayed. I’ll get to that in a minute.

My father is proud, PROUD, of his homeland in the same way that I am PROUD of being a member of the LGBT community. Pride runs deep with Cubans and with us Verdugos. Over the last several years my father has opened up about the Cuba he once knew more than 50 years ago, and often shares his memories of Camaguey, the town in which he grew up. He spills stories about our cousins, but mostly he speaks of the beauty of this massive island. The crystal waters, the undisturbed beaches, the fishing, the music, and la gente. Our people.

I grew up in Miami (aka Little Havana) surrounded by the vibrant and colorful, musical, passionate, sexy cultura of my people. However, something didn’t click for me. My parents divorced when I was two and so I had very little knowledge of my Cuban heritage at home. While soulfully drawn to it, it felt equally foreign. Something was amiss. There was a disconnect.

By Chris Verdugo – Full Story at The Advocate

Cuba Gay Travel Resources

Gay Havana

Author: , January 27th, 2016
Photo by Dennis Dean

Photo by Dennis Dean

In old Havana there is a tree that’s said to be older than the city itself. It was here, though it was very young, when the Taino people would worship, venerate, and respect her as Ancient Mother. It was here too, though a little older now, in 1519 when the Spanish first established a settlement. The land was claimed, right beside her growing roots, as San Cristobal de la Habana. She provided shade for the first mass and bestowed a breeze for the first council meeting. And as she reached toward the heavens, so did a city. Becoming resilient and strong, prosperous and wealthy, devout and ideological–she soon had a home overlooking churches and plazas, statues and mansions that rivaled those of Europe. She felt the breeze of independence and briefly felt it taken away from her. As times changed, though, she witnessed the plight of the Cuban people under a dictatorship and felt the mumblings of revolution brush through her leaves. Then, in 1959, as winter drew to an end she was here still to feel the rumbling of a tank shake her roots to usher in spring and a new hope for her land. More than half a century later, the wind again sways her branches and one of her leaves falls in 2014, twirling like a Sky Dancer, landing flatly on my head.

I am about to visit Havana, Cuba for a whirlwind three-day trip, and I decide before boarding a charter flight from Miami to Jose Marti International Airport, to drop the veil on my parochial American upbringing, to observe and reflect on a country that has persevered through difficult times, and embrace (not criticize) its convictions. Of course, actually being in Havana, exploring, and meeting the people, I am forced to modify this original declaration. Havana lends itself to open-minded tourists who should be curious about the political system, who want to question the state of the city, and who will dig deeper into the country’s modern-day ethos while understanding its past. And once you find yourself sharing a mojito with a local, you may be surprised to see just how open and honest they are about their lives and their country. As my journey unfolds, I find the city to be a living testament of its history and ideals, and I meet a proud people who have the strength to overcome obstacles that the modern-day traveler may not realize still exist.

I am able to visit Cuba because of loosened travel restrictions on citizens of the USA thanks to a recent change in policy encouraged by President Barack Obama. Now, tour companies are allowed to operate in the island nation as long as they are licensed through the juggernaut education-based travel program called People to People. My trip is booked through Pride World Travel, a member of the IsramWorld portfolio of brands, which is beginning their LGBT-focused tours of Cuba in 2015. Because these are educational trips, Americans are still at the mercy of the Cuban government that works to organize specific itineraries for each group. If you don’t feel like going along with the plans, too bad. As long as the official government itinerary is in play, you’re required to be with your group. But as I learn during my trip, there is a leniency depending on your guide. Luckily, my itinerary is relaxed and filled with a steady stream of good food, fascinating people from the LGBT community (including my guide), and even time to relax at the gay beach.

By Joseph Pedro – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Cuba Gay Travel Resources

Commercial Flights to Resume to Cuba Soon

Author: , December 21st, 2015
Cuba - Sydney

Photo by Sydney Coatsworth

A new agreement between the governments of Cuba and the United States have agreed to resume commercial flights between the two countries for the first time in more than a half a century.

According to the State Department: “This arrangement will continue to allow charter operations and establish scheduled air service, which will facilitate an increase in authorized travel, enhance traveler choices and promote people-to-people links between the two countries,” according to the announcement.”

That doesn’t mean just anyone will be able to hop on a flight to Havana. The United States still will bar people from visiting the country if their sole reason is tourism. Proper visas will still be required. It does mean, though, that airlines can submit US-Cuba service proposals to the department of transportation, and eventually schedule commercially available flights.

By Joseph Pedro – Full Story at Passport

Cuba Gay Travel Resources

Keep Calm & Wander: Vadarero Beach

Author: , August 3rd, 2015

Keep Calm and Wander - Varadero Beach, Cuba

Varadero Beach in Cuba is well-known as a tropical destination for Canadians during the freezing month in the Great White North. People who usually go here for the sun, sand and sea are those who are in all-inclusive vacation packages, staying in 3 to 5 star hotels which abound the beach side but far from the main town.

Varadero is a small town on the north of Havana, which is almost a three-hour ride by bus. The main street has a lot restaurants and pubs where they come alive at night. If you’re tired of staying at your hotel bars at night, going here would be a good option.

However, be warned: drinks and foods here don’t come cheap. And based on my experience, it’s a bit more expensive than Toronto. It’s way more expensive for backpackers / solo traveler, like me.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander | LOCATION Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Reporting Back From Gay Cuba

Author: , June 3rd, 2015

Michael K. LaversThe prospect of passing through customs at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport on May 19 with several interviews of LGBT rights advocates in Cuba who openly criticized their government saved to my phone was something that made me anxious ahead of my scheduled departure. A picture of a poster declaring Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro who has publicly spearheaded LGBT rights on the Communist island, a “fraud” that I had uploaded to my laptop several days earlier only exacerbated the anxiety.

I discreetly placed my phone with the potentially suspect interviews into my bag before I walked up to the customs booths. I took a couple of deep breaths before approaching a young agent.

She quickly examined my passport before stamping the paper press visa that had allowed me to work as an “authorized” journalist for an LGBT publication in her country. She said “buen viaje” and within 10 minutes I was sitting in a small restaurant on the other side of the security checkpoint where I ordered a cheese sandwich, a Cuban coffee and one last shot of ron blanco. I then transcribed an interview with a transgender woman who told me her government wants to “destroy us.”

By Michael K. Lavers – Full Story at The Washington Blade | Cuba Gay Travel Resources

LGBT Travel to Havana

Author: , May 25th, 2015

Havana - Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers

The dance floor of Humboldt 52, a gay bar near the Hotel Nacional and Havana’s oceanfront promenade known as the Malecon, was packed around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Rum and Blue Sky, the drink special, were flowing freely as the DJ played Cuban reggaeton and American and European pop songs.

It was not at all clear to me what to expect once I arrived in Cuba, especially since I had never been to the island before and everyone seemed to offer their solicited and unsolicited insight as to what things are actually like on the ground. No es facil (“It’s not easy” in English) is a phrase that has already come to define my experience thus far in Havana.

I have yet to obtain a cell phone to communicate with local sources because the state-run telecommunications company wants more than $180 for a phone that I will use for a week. The slow wifi network at the Hotel Nacional prevents me from logging onto the Washington Blade’s website and I was nearly doused with something resembling stewed carrots that someone threw from their balcony in Old Havana as I walked underneath it.

By Michael K. Lavers – Full Story at The Washington Blade | Cuba Gay Travel Resources

Image by Michael K. Lavers

Lesbian Travel: The Perfect Cuban Resort Vacation

Author: , April 2nd, 2015

Cuba - CarThe Caribbean island of Cuba lies about 90 miles south of the state of Florida. Yet, as a tropical getaway, it’s lands away to many people. For those who have the opportunity to take advantage of the Cuban culture, it’s fertile cultural, beautiful and unspoiled beaches and warm climate beckons many returns.

From the moment you land, you’ll see the Cuban culture is something different entirely. Complimenting their simple lifestyle is a vibrant and hot-blooded history – that they’re still living- with roads filled with cars from the 50’s and 60’s (still running) and Cuban dance clubs – and let’s not forget their renowned Cuban cigars (Cohiba’s, Montecristo’s and Romeo y Julieta’s).

This winter, the GoGirlfriend team booked a last minute getaway direct from Toronto and spent a week on the beautiful Cayo Santa Mario to relax, sun ourselves and do a little research. What we found might help you book your next Cuban getaway.

By Stacy Rosien – Full Story at Go Girlfriend | Cuba Gay Travel Resources

Six Gay Tours to Cuba

Author: , March 2nd, 2015

Cuba - CarThanks to President Obama’s recent initiative to thaw relations with Cuba, our geographically near (yet ideologically distant) neighbor, it’s now a little easier to go. But don’t expect to hop on a plane, grab a hotel and hit the beach on your own just yet.

HAVANA Gareth Williams smallerThere are still restrictions in place, specifically with respect to pure leisure tourism — it’s still not legal for Americans, who must travel under a general or specific license (i.e., visa). Check out this comprehensive Q&A in the New York Times and visit our blog for further information.

So how exactly do you go gay to Cuba?

There are quite a few gay tour operators running fantastic trips to get you to Cuba safely and (mostly) legally. Our friend Matt Smith has a licensed group for Cuba’s Pride Week May 4-10, 2015, and a license to do custom People-to-People trips if you’re looking for something customized. As a Canadian company, Out Adventures presents the most leisure-oriented of all the LGBT tours, with departures scheduled March 7-15 and December 27, 2015-January 4, 2016. (U.S. citizens may join at their own risk and in six years of running tours, they’ve brought a number of U.S. citizens without a problem — inquire directly with them for details.)

By Ed Salvato – Full Story at Towleroad.com | Cuba Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Exploring Gay Havana

Author: , November 26th, 2014

Cuba - CarIn old Havana there is a tree that’s said to be older than the city itself. It was here, though it was very young, when the Taino people would worship, venerate, and respect her as Ancient Mother. It was here too, though a little older now, in 1519 when the Spanish first established a settlement. The land was claimed, right beside her growing roots, as San Cristobal de la Habana. She provided shade for the first mass and bestowed a breeze for the first council meeting. And as she reached toward the heavens, so did a city. Becoming resilient and strong, prosperous and wealthy, devout and ideological–she soon had a home overlooking churches and plazas, statues and mansions that rivaled those of Europe.

She felt the breeze of independence and briefly felt it taken away from her. As times changed, though, she witnessed the plight of the Cuban people under a dictatorship and felt the mumblings of revolution brush through her leaves. Then, in 1959, as winter drew to an end she was here still to feel the rumbling of a tank shake her roots to usher in spring and a new hope for her land. More than half a century later, the wind again sways her branches and one of her leaves falls in 2014, twirling like a Sky Dancer, landing flatly on my head.

I am about to visit Havana, Cuba for a whirlwind three-day trip, and I decide before boarding a charter flight from Miami to Jose Marti International Airport, to drop the veil on my parochial American upbringing, to observe and reflect on a country that has persevered through difficult times, and embrace (not criticize) its convictions. Of course, actually being in Havana, exploring, and meeting the people, I am forced to modify this original declaration. Havana lends itself to open-minded tourists who should be curious about the political system, who want to question the state of the city, and who will dig deeper into the country’s modern-day ethos while understanding its past.

By Joseph Pedro – Full Story at Passport | Cuba Gay Travel Resources