Cuba

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As part of International Expeditions' people-to-people Cuba travel experience, guests visit the eco-community of Las Terrazas, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. While in the planned community, we make a stop at Cafe de Maria for a cup of locally grown coffee. From the outdoor terrace, guests can gaze on the Cuban countryside while sipping cappuccino with a famous face or a signature iced coffee drink.

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In January, Jim Smith joined IE to travel to Cuba. Jim commemorated his experience with a series of poems, which he has graciously agreed to share. Read other entries here.

flitting branch to branch
sipping nectar ceaselessly
rare “bee hummingbird”

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Jim Smith, a guest who joined IE to travel to Cuba in January 2013 commemorated his experience with a series of poems, which he has graciously agreed to share. Read his first piece here.

creatures of the night
hanging bats’, screech owls’ abode
cavern depths disclose 


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Jim Smith, a guest on IE's people-to-people Cuba travel program in January 2013 commemorated his experience with a series of poems, which he has graciously agreed to share.
 

February 14, 2013

Cuba: Feel the Beat of Bolero

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While traveling to Cuba during IE’s people-to-people journey, music will be an ever-present companion. If you hear melodic guitar, a romantic tune and a beat that makes you want to sway your hips, there's a good chance that you're listening to bolero music, a genre of song and dance that originated in Cuba.

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Participants on IE's people-to-people Cuba experience travel to this orchid garden in Soroa. Through our interaction with the garden’s keepers, guests not only learn about endemic species, but more importantly, the relationship between Cubans and land. The most interesting story of course, involved the story of how Cuban women once used the national flower – mariposa – to relay secret messages. During the Cuban fight to overthrow the Spanish, Cuban women would wear the mariposa in their hair.

December 10, 2012

Cuba's Bee Hummingbird

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Who said birds had to be big to be spectacular? There is a wide variety of flying creatures in Cuba, but one of the best is so small that you might mistake it for an insect. The bee hummingbird is only slightly heavier than a paperclip, and at just over two inches in length, could perch comfortably on your thumb. The male claims the title of the smallest bird in the world.

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Cuba has two endemic species of woodpecker, but the one you're most likely to see on International Expeditions’ people-to-people Cuba travel program has a rather royal look. The Cuban green woodpecker dons a crown of red feathers atop its head, and its eyes are striped with white. The rest of its body is cloaked in green feathers, with bright, vibrant yellow coloring underneath. It's smaller than most species of woodpecker, and has a shorter bill, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in its gorgeous coloring.

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Imagine you're walking through the thoroughfares of Havana, gazing over tobacco crops in Vinales valley, rumbling along in a vehicle on the way to Topes de Collantes. In any of these scenarios, you're likely to hear the traditional music of Cuba. The sounds may prompt you to move your feet to the beat, or bring you to a performance of a traditional dance group. There are many different kinds of music in Cuba, but one of the most popular is Rumba.

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A guest on People-to-People Cuba program wrote some poems about his experience and graciously agreed to share them—all are accounts of Cuba seen through the eyes of birds. James Blackburn's poetry includes stars of Cuba's endemic bird species: the Cuban emerald hummingbird, the limkin, the Cuban tody and the red legged thrush.

 

The Cuban Trogon
by James Blackburn

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