• Iceland

    Can WOW's demise lead to more POW for travelers to Iceland? Here's HOW...

    The <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a> just published an engaging article titled <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">“Iceland’s Purple Planes Are Grounded, and With Them, Its Economy”</a>. In it, Peter S. Goodman and Liz Alderman artfully illustrate the rollercoaster ride that Iceland’s economy has been on over the last decade, how WOW helped to bring the country out of the 2008 recession, ushered in budget travel and Instagram tourism to the island, and how the airline’s bankruptcy may drag the economy into another recession as the number of visitors drops from historic highs.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><b>Classic Journeys Founder, Edward Piegza, pictured in the middle with two of our most-loved local Icelandic guides.</b><br><br>And yet, at Classic Journeys where we consider ourselves huge fans of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a> and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/heritage-travel/" target="_blank">pour over our 23andme results to find any trace of Viking in our ancestry</a>, we wondered if that was the end of the story for <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/Iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. Or, does it have another (or many more) chapters still to write about its economy and tourism in general? To make sense of it all, the Classic Journeys editorial staff sat down with frequent traveler and company founder, Edward Piegza, to get context on the rise and fall of WOW and what it means for the people of Iceland and travelers to the island nation.<br><br><b>Classic Journeys editorial staff: Why was WOW so instrumental in pulling Iceland out of the 2008 recession?</b><br><br>Edward Piegza: “Let’s set the stage for our conversation with a bit of recap. Founded in 2011 by billionaire Skúli Mogensen who fashioned himself as a sort of Icelandic Richard Branson, WOW was a budget airline that grew quickly and successfully as it brought throngs of tourists to Iceland on cheap flights from the United States, more than doubling the number of tourists visiting Iceland between 2011 and 2015, to 1.3 million. The success story continued and by 2018, the number of tourists increased to 2.3 million.”<br><br><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span><span style="font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZ9z" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span><br><br><b>CJ: That’s amazing growth in the number of tourists to Iceland, but it couldn’t have all come from WOW, did it?</b><br><br>EP: “You’re right. This growth of tourism resulting from cheap travel options to Iceland reflected the same exponential growth curve in social media. Cinematic Instagram posts of filming locations from popular shows like “<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/5-classic-journeys-destinations-on-the-game-of-thrones-shot-list/" target="_blank">Game of Thrones</a>” and YouTube videos of Justin Bieber’s 2015 hit “I’ll Show You” filmed in Iceland burst on the scene. Tourist arrivals reached new heights as visitors continue to fight for the perfect Instagram photo with Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes acting as their no-filter-required background.”<br><br><b>CJ: The NY Times article notes that after WOW’s short-lived success and recent failure, projections are that visitors overall will drop by 16% in 2019, and American tourists arrivals will fall even steeper, by 20%. Is Classic Journeys seeing a decrease in travelers that mirrors the drop in the number of tourists visiting Iceland? </b><br><br>EP: “Not at all. In fact, Classic Journeys is actually seeing an increase in interest and bookings for our trips to Iceland. Our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking</a> program are averaging 10% more guests in 2019 and our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Multisport trips</a> are averaging 3% more than in 2018. While those numbers are not a huge increase, they certainly buck the overall trend of double-digit decreases for tourists in general to Iceland.”<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZA4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>CJ: Why do you think Classic Journeys is seeing an increase and continuation of guest interest in traveling to Iceland in spite of WOW’s demise?</b><br><br>EP: “There is a terrific quote in the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/business/iceland-economy-wow-air.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a> article, ‘When the people who are coming are more about getting Instagram posts, and everyone goes to the same spots, then it’s overcrowded,’ said Hordur Mio Olafsson, 32, whose family business leads tourists through lava caves near Húsafell.’ WOW certainly had a successful niche in that it brought – literally – planeloads of budget tourists to Iceland. It was good for WOW and good for the budget passengers WOW carried, as they might not have gotten to Iceland any other way. But in a country of only 340,000 people in total on the whole island, the massive influx of travelers put tremendous pressure on the environment and the tourism infrastructure as everyone ran to the same few spots to take their Instagram photo. But that sort of tourist is not the Classic Journeys traveler. Our guests want so much more than an Instagram post.<br><br><b>CJ: How does a trip to Iceland with Classic Journeys differ from that of the average tourist visiting Iceland?  </b><br><br>EP: “Classic Journeys guests want the experience and engagement behind the shot. They want immersion into the culture, the people, the places that you cannot find on your own. And that’s why all Classic Journeys trips — whether it&#39;s one of our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking</a> programs, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Multisport Trips</a>, or <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-family-adventure-tour/" target="_blank">Family Journeys</a> — are led by super well-connected local guides. In fact, our guides are so local that they are actually descended from 9th century Vikings! That means that they can get you to that perfect location for a photo, but you’ll be there by yourself without the madding crowds, you’ll learn the backstory behind the location, and you’ll get to know the real people who live in that fantastical landscape.”<br><br><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span><span style="font-family: Calibri,sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a></span></span></span><br><br><b>CJ: How does the Classic Journeys offer a sustainable alternative to the travel patterns of budget-friendly tourists that WOW initially introduced to Iceland?</b><br><br>EP: “There is a large American company that operates tours in Iceland and they import their guides from Spain and Portugal. They pay the guides 10% of the Icelandic guiding wage and tell them to work for tips. It’s gotten so contentious that the Icelandic parliament has actually taken up a bill to outlaw this sort of tourism. In contrast, Classic Journeys takes the sort of farm-to-table or zero-kilometer approach that has become so popular in culinary circles and applies it to everything we do in every corner of the world, including <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/Iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>. So, what that means is that our guides are all Iceland, all the time. Through them, we have deep and rich connections with the ranchers, shark fishermen, naturalists, glacier guides, chief of police (True! In one of the villages we visit.), hoteliers and restauranteurs all over the island. And we use those connections to our guests’ benefit, but also to the benefit of partners. We stay in boutique hotels that are often on farms that have been in the same family for several generations. We don’t have to take you to just one waterfall that is accessible to busloads of tourists just off the ring road. We can take you up a canyon to an even more impressive one that only the locals can find and where you can walk behind the cataract all by yourself. Most tourists will explore the same two or three ice caves. Our glacial guides know our guests are looking for something much more authentic, so they will take us way up the tongue of a glacier to a cave only they know for a transformationally better experience. It all sums up in that our guests get a more authentic experience, the footprint of tourism gets spread out in a much more sustainable and thoughtful way, and the money they pay us goes directly into the hands of local people. It’s a win-win-win.”<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000001vy9H&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000zZAJ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>CJ: Some people in the industry are suggesting that the dip in tourism may be healthy following the mass amount of people overwhelming the island. What are your thoughts? </b><br><br>EP: “To go back to that quote in the Times article, Hordur the lava cave guide mentioned, ‘What people are seeking here is pristine nature in this strange country in the North Atlantic, full of mystery. Now, we have a chance to do things properly.’ We couldn’t agree more. There is more service now to Iceland on Icelandair, American, Delta, and other airlines than there was before WOW burst on to the scene which means there is plenty of capacity in terms of airplane seats to get to the island. And the bubble certainly was a cautionary tale for everyone in the tourism industry as to the type of sustainable tourism they want. I was just with one of our hoteliers in Iceland recently and they were gushing about the quality of Classic Journeys guests. So it seems the word is out and there is this confluence of engaged travelers looking for an immersive experience in a place and people poised perfectly to provide it. To paraphrase the cheer Icelanders shout for their beloved soccer team, ‘Huh-Huh-Huh!’”<br><br><b>For a chance to see Iceland in Classic Journeys style, take a look at our upcoming <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Culture + Walking tours, Multisport </a><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">and Family</a> options!</b><br> 

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  • Ponte Vecchio over Arno River, Italy

    Top 10 Destinations for 2019

    <p>You have travel in your blood. And so, you know that the anticipation is a big part of the fun. With the announcement of Classic Journeys <a href="http://cl.S7.exct.net/?qs=4a925b30984d919c4c7b77a82d679a4f10f0e7893fd87126f3246a62454234509f5e3e5bd71b4af5e5280c380cf8e9f651bb1d176c52a6b2" target="_blank">2019 departure dates</a>, you can begin dreaming now... and to help, we&#39;ve rounded up the 10 most sought-after destinations in 2019. So the question is... where to next?<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank"><b>#10 COSTA RICA </b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jdtc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank">Costa Rica </a>blends adventure and nature like nowhere else. A quarter of the country is protected paradise for everything from anteaters to orchids. The best part is how easy and exciting it is. You don’t just look at the cloud forest canopy. You stroll through it on suspended bridges or glide through on a zip line. You can high-five a monkey from a kayak or slalom down a colorful tropical jungle river by raft. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/costa-rica-tours/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank"><b><u>#9 JAPAN </u></b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jdth" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Japan </a>is a land where ancient tradition and modernity blend and blur into an unforgettable and utterly unique cultural experience. Our itinerary begins in the clamor of Tokyo, slips into the serene forest of Hakone in the shadow of Mount Fuji, and culminates in sophisticated, historic Kyoto. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more. <br><br><b><u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank">#8 BRYCE, GRAND CANYON &amp; ZIO</a></u></b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><b><u>N</u></b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jdtr" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Three of America’s most spectacular—and coolest—national parks without a single are-we-there-yet moment? You can do it on our <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyonfamily/" target="_blank"><u>Family </u></a>and <u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/grandcanyon/" target="_blank">Multisport</a></u> trips to Bryce, Grand Canyon &amp; Zion. We take care of all of the logistics. Mountain bikes? Check. Mule rides into Bryce Canyon? Check. Timing visits perfectly to canyon rims for sunset, hiking through waterfalls, and great inns with swimming pools? Absolutely! <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bryce-tours/" target="_blank"> Click here</a> to learn more. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank"><b><u>#7 NORWAY</u></b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jdtw" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>There is no finer place to celebrate summer than the fjords of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank">Norway</a>. Whether you’re cruising the bright blue waters...walking on glaciers that carved the mind-boggling fjords...or exploring remote villages that cling to the shores, you will gain a wonderful sense of how climate and topography influence history, culture and daily life. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more. <br><br><u><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">#6 PERU </a></b></u><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jdu1" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/peru-tours/" target="_blank">Machu Picchu</a> is actually in a jungle. Travel by foot along the Inca Trail to the lost city, you approach from above. And the stupendous blocks of stone in its walls are so finely carved that you could barely slip a piece of paper between them. Believe us, Machu Picchu retains the ability to startle and inspire you no matter how many years you’ve thought about visiting. Plus you&#39;ll have leisurely exposure to the rest of the country as you&#39;re immersed into Peru&#39;s conquistador-tinged history, indestructible Inca architecture and spectacular geography. <br><br><b><u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">#5 TUSCANY &amp; THE CINQUE TERRE</a></u></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jduB" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Florence, a decadent stay in a Chianti villa, and scenic walks among the seaside villages of <a href="http://cl.S7.exct.net/?qs=a8c7e161f2a3469aed5c12e5e2d25d547ae7447393379bdb27069a802daa405b212aff3bd6f67a2300cee52d65aed0bbed6903f8edf81864" target="_blank">the Cinque Terre</a>. Italy doesn&#39;t get better than this! <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><b><u>#4 MOROCCO</u></b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jduG" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Oasis walks, overnight in a luxury Sahara encampment, palace hotels, the exotic <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><u>Medina of Fés</u></a> and much more. It&#39;s an all-time guest favorite trip. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more. <br><br><u><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">#3 GALÁPAGOS </a></b></u><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jduf" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Get a real feel for how it is to have giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies outside your back door. Naturalist-guides will lead you to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/galapagos-tours/" target="_blank">extraordinary wildlife experiences</a>, minus the flocks of tourists. You’ll have abundant chances to walk, kayak and snorkel up-close to marine iguanas, Galápagos penguins and other creatures found nowhere else on earth.<br><br><b><u><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">#2 ICELAND</a></u></b><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jduk" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>We love traveling to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland </a>because it’s still a land of chaotic, supremely beautiful nature. Whether you’re marveling at an endless colony of cartoonish puffins or watching the clouds turn shades of sherbet at sunset, you’ll experience this place with remarkable intensity. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><b><u>#1 PORTUGAL</u></b></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnBg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jdup" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal </a>also has more hours of sunshine a year than any other European country, perfect for exploring. So, we taste the country’s treasured port wines on walks in the mountainous vineyards where they’re born. On a glorious coastal trail, you’ll face the churning surf that Henry the Navigator conquered to explore Africa and the New World. And we’ll come face to face with the Portuguese people from salt-panners to winemakers. </p>

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  • Edward and Jack Piegza with Classic Cars in Havana, Cuba

    The Amigos Effect: Why I Keep Going Back to Cuba

    <p>In a million years, I couldn’t have predicted how much Cuba would mean to me. When we began the long slog to become one of the earliest companies to get U.S. government approval for travel to Cuba, I didn’t have a personal connection. My closest brush with the island came from the stories my in-laws told about their visits decades before I ever met them. It was a surprise to me that my connections with Cuba would turn into an all-out mission to help Americans see Cuba at this inflection point in history.</p> <p>What I now think of as The Amigos Effect—the benefits of deep, sustained and unselfish friendships with the Cuban people—means that <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys can offer a $1,000 savings per person</a> on every trip to Cuba until March 17, 2017. With friends like ours, we’re able to make Cuba more affordable even though we have hands down the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/guides/?utm_campaign=the+amigos+effect&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog/" target="_blank">best guides</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">best hotels </a>and best interpersonal experiences of any company that you may consider for your visit.<br><br><img alt="Bar in Cuba" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7kx&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m8c" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Gaining access to Cuba started for me as a business proposition. My company, Classic Journeys, is built around the thrill of immersive cultural travel. Being part of the movement to open up Cuba and explore life there was a natural fit. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">Wherever we go on Classic Journeys</a>, we’re all about meeting the local people, and the stated objective of the U.S. government was to establish people-to-people connections between Americans and Cubans. It was a match made in heaven.<br> </p> <p>It was also obvious from the get-go that we needed feet on the ground if we were going to succeed. Though the country now permits some private enterprise, government Bureaucracy with a Capital B is impossible to avoid. Phone calls get through better now than they used to. Emails have always been a little hit or miss. Face time (the kind with actual people in the same room) has been our operative mode from the start. Bureaucrats are people too. Their jobs are to toe the line, but they are not immune to people who find judicious ways to make their work easier. We’ve always sought to do that. The biggest bonus was that our measured approach to officialdom put us in connection with the everyday people of Cuba. At first, overwhelmed by demand, the authorities directed visitors to the limited organizations and places that could handle the traffic. In a typical scene, a stoic director of such-and-such a community project stood beside a translator who dutifully relayed the party line on tobacco production, education policy, or whatever topic was at-hand. We’re told that plenty of that still happens, but we’ve moved on!<br><br><img alt="School children in Cuba" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7kx&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m91" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>On our repeated visits we kept scratching at the surface. The directors warmed up. They introduced us to the tobacco farmers who gave us their own versions of the quota system. We focused on becoming a regular, respectful and responsive presence in their lives. The teacher in a rural school realized we didn’t want to be just spectators in her third-grade classroom, but that we wanted to hang out for a while with her and her students. Most importantly, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/guides/?utm_campaign=the+amigos+effect&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog/" target="_blank">our local Cuban guides</a>—truly some of the most exceptional pros you will ever meet—saw that Classic Journeys and our guests were consistently sincere in our desire to really understand their lives. That’s opened doors that I never even dreamed of on my first few trips. These days, our amigos are free with their time and enthusiasm. There’s nothing mechanical about how our favorite salsa teachers use their eyes and their smiles to get you moving. (My own hips remain resistant to the beat, but that doesn’t stop them from trying!) When we open the door to the workshop where our friends Julio and Nidialys operate Cuba’s premier classic car-restoration business, the reception always blows us away. You instantly realize that they couldn’t be happier to see us all. It’s a your-friends-are-my-friends moment, a greeting that is completely unlike the professional greetings you’ve probably received at plenty of touristic spots.</p> <p><br>Beyond the intimate entrée we get into Cuban life, our friendships have yielded some terrific advantages that are crucial to the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">value you get from traveling with Classic Journeys.</a> For instance, we’re regular customers at some of the country’s best paladars. These privately owned restaurants are probably the greatest free-enterprise success story in these parts. As regulars, we’re never shut out, and you might notice that we’re seated at some of the best tables.<br><br><img alt="Friends at dinner in Cuba" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7kx&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m8r" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>You may have read about the scarcity of top-level accommodations in Cuba. The stories are true. Many properties are, to put it gently, rudimentary. Demand for the best of the best is stratospheric. Fortunately, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hotels/" target="_blank">we’ve been staying at many of those preferred hotels for years now</a>. A Classic Journeys trademark (and this is true all over the world, not just in Cuba) is our fair, above-board relationships with hoteliers. Behind the scenes, we put a tremendous amount of energy into respectful business practices that aren’t always the norm. While other companies struggle to find adequate space, we can confirm access to great accommodations.</p> <p><br>And all of this is why I keep going back to Cuba. First, because the friendships that have blossomed there are so satisfying and the new ones are a constant delight. To walk into Mailin’s paladar in Trinidad and see her face light up in recognition before she smothers me with a hug is a gift beyond words. But, as I said at the start, the other terrific benefit is that these friendships allow us to fulfill a mission that we hold near and dear. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">We can show you the Cuba we love </a>at an extremely important moment in history…we can do it in style…and we can offer you exceptional value at reasonable cost.</p> <p>After you compare your options, I hope you will allow <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/cuba/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys to show you the Cuba we know and love</a>. Because that’s what amigos are for.<br><br><img alt="Woman riding in classic car in Cuba with arms in the air" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7kx&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m8w" style="height: 344px; width: 500px;"></img></p>

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