The important stuff
Are you offering travel experiences during the pandemic?
We will not travel until this pandemic is stable. However, since our tours take a year to plan, we are offering a number of tours for 2021. If a vaccine is available and becomes safe to travel again we will be able to return to our favorite destinations. We want you to have something to look forward to after a long quarantine and there couldn’t be anything better than experiencing new flavors, sounds, scenery, and make new friends after a year of isolation in our homes. If the virus is still not under control we will cancel the tours and give full refunds. So we encourage you to join one of our 2021 trips while there is still space. Either you’ll get to be the first person to travel or you’ll get your money back so there is no risk. Please see the Terms & Conditions on each trip flyer for more details on how our travel and refund policy works.
Why is a boutique tour operator better than a large one like Abercrombie & Kent or National Geographic?
Boutique tour operators like Project Por Amor usually emerge out of a very personal and extensive network of relationships and on-the-ground knowledge that individuals have with a specific part of the world. They provide meaningful tours built from the bottom up. Life-changing travel experiences happen when you can connect directly with the people and discover the secrets that are otherwise inaccessible.
Large operations that offer tours all over the world take a top-down approach. Since they have to cover dozens of countries and languages around the world it is impossible to establish and maintain the profound level of access to any place. They rely on internet research and corporate channels that happen on a much more transactional level.
The two business models are fundamentally different. Boutique tour operators put all their work into offering the best possible experience of one or two places rather than putting their work into opening more tour destinations so that they can have the next product to sell.
I like to receive expert advice when I travel. Do you provide traveler orientation?
We have detailed trip-tips, information on how to prepare, suggested reading. and in-country concierge service for each of our destinations which we will share once you join one of our tours.
I want to go on one of your trips but none of the dates listed will work for my schedule.
In addition to the open trips that are announced on our website, we can create custom designed trips for you and your friends or organization. We can plan ahead for the dates and itinerary that most interests you. To get started, please contact us.
I want to go to Cuba or Iceland but I don’t want to go with a group. Is this possible?
We design custom trips and itineraries around your interests for you and a small group as long as the trip adheres to the professional research or support for the Cuban people guidelines. These trips however tend to be more expensive given the nature of the many fixed costs of the trip.
What is the situation with Covid-19 in Cuba?
Cuba has proactively implemented contact-tracing and testing along with COVID-19 precautionary measures recommended by the WTO. They have been enforcing strict social distancing and face mask requirements. This has significantly decreased reported active cases of COVID-19, and is expected to continue seeing numbers of active cases decrease. They are leaders in development for a Covid-19 vaccine. Cuba has reopened its airports to international travelers.
Can I travel to Cuba under the Biden administration?
Our freedom to travel to Cuba as US citizens was greatly limited by the Trump Administration. Biden’s administration promises to build more bridges of travel and exchange. Currently, to travel to Cuba legally, all U.S. citizens must travel under one of 12 general license categories defined by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Project Por Amor designs all of our itineraries to fully-adhere to the guidelines and takes care of all the complicated paperwork and planning so that your trip is easy, successful, legal and worry-free. The titles Project Por Amor travels under are listed below.
Support for the Cuban People
Supporting Cuba’s private sector of small business owners is a great way to travel to Cuba, support their independent economy, and interact with some their most interesting people. Unlike the other licenses, anyone can travel to Cuba this way. We offer Support for the Cuban People open trips throughout the year or you can also design your own private tour. Our knowledge and friendships on the island open unique doors into parts of society that aren’t otherwise attainable.
Project Por Amor develops custom trips for professionals to explore Cuba within their field. This General License for Professional Research requires that you fulfill a full-time itinerary that we will help you design. Our specialty is in delivering groundbreaking research trips for US creative organizations to engage with Cuba’s professional artists and institutions including music, dance, theatre, literature, film, and visual arts. We design custom itineraries around your goals that can include forums with Cuban arts organizations, workshops for artists, participation in festivals, private performances, tours, lectures, dinners, studio visits, and networking parties. We hope you will take us up on our offer to extend this service to your professional community.
We also produce performances in Cuba for US music, theater, and dance companies. Our long-time relationships with Cuba’s Ministry of Culture, the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, Instituto Cubano de la Música, the National Council for Performing Arts, the UNEAC, the ICAIC, the Instituto Superior de Arte, and many arts festivals give us a unique access to connect US artists with the right administrators in Cuba finding venues to perform in. Cuban audiences are very interested in what is happening artistically in the United States so providing opportunities to connect you and your work with the Cuban artistic community is extremely valuable for all sides.
Contact us to initiate your own research delegation or performance in Cuba. Or, if you would like to join one of our upcoming support for the Cuban people trips, please visit our Dates section, select the one that looks best to you, and sign up online today!
Will my phone work in Cuba?
Your U.S. cell phone will work in Cuba to make calls and stream data but you must call your carrier to make sure it is turned on for international roaming in Cuba before you travel. The cost of using your U.S. phone in Cuba are very high, around $1 per minute and 30 cents per text message so probably will want to use it for emergencies only. Make sure to keep it on airplane mode when you are not using it so that you don’t accidently rack up an expensive bill without knowing it.
If you want to set up a phone with a local temporary Cuban line (Cubacel), you can bring an “unlocked” phone with a SIM card. You can buy a line at the airport for $3 CUC per day and buy minutes with phone cards. We recommend getting a local temporary line only if you plan on communicating frequently within Cuba. But getting it set up is a lot of work and waiting in lines so only attempt if necessary.
Can I connect to the internet in Cuba?
Internet is available in Cuba but it is very slow and expensive. Depending on the hotel there is WiFi as well as internet stations. We make sure that each place you stay you will have access to the internet. But because it is so slow and hard to send even a few KB of data, don’t plan on doing a lot of emailing.
What kind of money should I bring to Cuba?
Money is a confusing situation in Cuba, especially for Americans. Almost everything you buy in Cuba will be in CUC (convertible pesos) which equals $1 USD = .873 CUC. Cuba has a second currency, CUP (pesos cubanos) but they are only for Cuban citizens so you most likely won’t ever use them. You will not be able to use or access any of your US credit cards or US bank accounts while in Cuba. Travelers checks are also not possible to use in Cuba. U.S. citizens need to bring cash as the only way to have money there. Cuban currency is not worth anything outside of Cuba and cannot be acquired in the US so you need to change money once you arrive. Cash can be conveniently changed in small portions at the hotels that all have the same exchange rate as Cuban banks. People frequently ask if it’s better to bring euros instead of dollars but we recommend bringing US dollars. They are just as easy to change as euros are. There is an extra tax that is imposed on US dollars but it cancels out when you lose exchange rate from USD to euro to CUC…especially when you come home with extra euros that needs to be changed back into dollars. Since what you bring in cash is all you will have while you are on the island, we recommend you bring more than you’ll need to spend just in case of an emergency (or some art that you really want to buy). People naturally get nervous because we’re not used to carrying around so much cash and then getting completely stranded if anything happened to it. All the hotels have safes in them and furthermore, Cuba has one of the lowest crime rates of all countries in the world. We’ve never heard of anyone getting their money stolen of the hundreds of people we’ve met who have gone to Cuba.
Should I bring gifts to give away?
Yes, especially if you are traveling under the Support for the Cuban People category. There is a scarcity of international products, equipment, and information in Cuba. Anything from pens to laptops to musical instruments and clothes, USB flash drives, violin strings, external hard drives, books, magazines, music scores, smart phones will be very well appreciated and used for years. If you are going on a professional delegation we recommend you bring the tools of your trade to give away to your professional counterparts. We will help you find the right people to give it to.
What kind of clothes should I bring?
Dress comfortably. Cuba is a casual country so you will only need one outfit that is dressy in case we go to a ballet or symphony concert. It will most likely be humid and in the 80s (during winter months) so you won’t need many warm clothes but bring one warm outfit in case there is a cold front. Cuba is a great country to wear the color white. And make sure you have good shoes as there will be a lot of walking on sidewalks that are in dire need of repai
What is the food like?
Cuba has become a “foodie” destination with the burgeoning paladar industry. We will be eating in Cuba’s best private and state-run restaurants so be prepared for a great culinary creole experience. Vegetarians should be well prepared with a stash of Cliff bars, granola bars, or other supplements. The water in Cuba is much cleaner than most of Latin America but should not be drunk from the tap. Bottled water will be provided throughout the trip. Ice that comes in the drinks at the places we will be eating is purified and need not be avoided. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Why do I need a Cuban tourist visa if I am not going as a tourist?
The US and Cuban governments categorize US citizens differently. The US embargo prevents you from visiting Cuba as a tourist and requires strict qualification and adherence to professional research, people-to-people educational travel, and other authorized categories. Unless you are visiting for long-term work purposes, the Cuban government categorizes US citizens as tourists. It’s confusing but we guarantee to have the paperwork handled on both sides of the border to ensure safe traveling.
What is the situation with Covid-19 in Iceland?
Iceland was amongst the most effective countries in the world to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. They took extensive measures of social distancing, testing, tracing, and treating and successfully reduced the spread of infections to zero. They have a website that updates their Covid-19 statistics in real-time. See here for the latest information as of today. https://www.covid.is/data
Is Iceland letting foreigners in?
Iceland is allowing many people from around the world to enter the country with mandatory testing upon entry at the airport with quarantine. Since the U.S. public health is not under control, U.S. passport holders are currently not allowed into Iceland until further notice.
What should I bring to Iceland?
Outdoor clothing from REI, Patagonia, North Face, Uniqlo, etc. is perfect for Iceland. Wear warm layers, casual and comfortable, and weather-proof clothes. Long underwear is great to have in Iceland. Wool or fleece garments are recommended. Cotton is not safe because it’s dangerously cold when wet. Iceland is very windy so umbrellas usually don’t work very well. Gore Tex shells are better for the rain.
Weatherproof hiking boots with gripping lug soles at all times is best. Icelandic terrain is very rugged lava: rough, tough and loose. Moss and lichen grow on lava, and both are slippery, especially when wet – which is most of the time. We probably won’t be walking on glaciers and if we do it will be with proper equipment and guidance.
Always travel with a bathing suit in Iceland. No matter how bad the weather might be, or precisely because of the bad weather, there is always a geothermal hot pot and heated swimming pool nearby.
Chap stick and skin moisturizer will come in handy. Bring a water bottle because the tap water is the most pure and mineral rich glacial run off water you will ever drink so no need to ever buy bottled water.
What kind of plug adaptors and Voltage requirements will I need in Iceland?
Iceland uses 220 volts at 50 Hz, like the rest of Europe and much of the world, except for Great Britain which is 240 and the U.S. which is 110. The wall sockets in the hotel are for standard Schuko European plugs or adaptors that look something like these:
Check the power supply of your appliance. It is usually written in fine, almost unreadable, letters underneath if it is multi-voltage. For example: 110~240V. That means anything from 110v to 240v is OK, everywhere in the world. If not, then you need a transformer. They come in different sizes, depending on where you are coming from and how much power your device uses.
What is telecommunications like in Iceland?
Iceland is one of the most technologically advanced places on earth. There is fast and free WiFi at almost every building we will go into, even in the most remote locations. It is easy to stay connected through your phone’s WiFi if you don’t want to pay for international roaming fees. Most U.S. carriers will give you an international roaming calling plan if you want to use your phone while traveling in Iceland.