With the relaxation of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba, the country has become a culturally rich, historically important destination for American groups. Cuba is experiencing an awakening, a newfound fervor of religious freedom. And Cuba’s church—no matter the denomination—is an important part of society. This is an opportune time to bring American faith-based groups to the country to connect with Cuba’s faithful, learn of their struggles and participate in their spiritual journey.
“The people of Cuba, which number over 11 million, struggle to survive,” says Peter Sanchez, CEO of Cuba Tours and Travel, an agency that specializes in religious travel to Cuba. “As change takes place, a religious group from the U.S. can be a catalyst for encouragement and help for them.”
A food shortage is one of the country’s greatest challenges as the Cuban government provides fewer ration books to the people. “The social fabric is unraveling and people are turning to religion to gain a sense of community,” Sanchez says. “They are also looking for information and are like sponges when it comes to talking with Americans.”
This cultural exchange goes both ways. Americans are drawn to the unknown of Cuba. This curiosity is a big driver in wanting to travel to a country that hasn’t been accessible for 50 years.
“Cuba is a luxury destination in terms of people and culture,” says Collin Laverty, founder and president of Cuba Educational Travel. “Americans will find incredible music, dance and ingenuity of the people.”