Yesterday, Peggy and I had a video conference with Elizabeth Sayre of MEDICC, our travel partner for the INANE/Cuba Educational Exchange planned for January 15-22, 2017. We have 22 people who interested in this trip, which allows us to begin planning in earnest. While there are many details that need to be finalized, I think it is safe to say that INANE will be going to Cuba in 2017!
The format of the trip will be an educational exchange, which means that we will meet with Cuban healthcare providers, faculty, or leaders in different locations, have a presentation, time for questions and answers, and a tour. An exchange lasts 2-3 hours and two are scheduled each day, which allows time for lunch and travel. We can request exchanges that are of particular interest for our group and we have begun this process. Some of the sites on our current “wish list” are:
- Visit a nursing school/meet with nursing faculty; visit the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) and meet with faculty and US students;
- Meet with nursing leaders/nursing and healthcare journal editors; collaborate around COPE membership for Cuban journals;
- Visit clinical sites, including a maternal-child health center; diabetes center; consultorio and polyclinic;
- Visit the AIDS sanitarium at Santiago las Vegas, perhaps facilitated by Dr. Jorge Perez, director of the Khouri Institute for Tropical Diseases.
We also added some non-clinical sites to the list, including the Alamar Organic Farm, Jose Fuster’s home and gallery, Cuba Libro English language bookstore; Museum of the Revolution, and National Museum of Fine Arts.
Details that are not final, but I know people are curious about are hotel and cost. MEDICC has put in requests for hotels for all of its trips in 2017–nothing has been confirmed yet. Two hotels that are on the potential list for INANE are the Melia Cohiba and The Presidente. Both are in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, which means they are close to restaurants, shopping, and evening entertainment. The Cohiba faces the Malecón and Bay of Havana.
Cost: Again, many variables are in flux, including the possible resumption of commercial flights to Cuba from the US, which could have a large impact. For planning purposes, a reasonable “guess-timate” is $4200 to $5000 per person which would cover: round-trip airfare from Miami to Havana; seven nights hotel (breakfast included); five lunches; ground transportation for the week with driver; tour guide and interpreter. Individual expenses would include transportation to Miami; accommodations in Miami (if needed); meals not included as part of the trip (primarily dinner each night); entertainment expenses; souvenirs; tips.
Timeline: There will be a 3 month registration period, from May 15 to August 15. Once registration is finalized in late August, travelers will be asked for a deposit ($300 to $500) which will become non-refundable after 30 days (approximately October 1). Final payment will be due a few weeks before departure.
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I look forward to sharing more information about this exciting trip in the coming months!
Con mis mejores deseos,