Dallas ladies who lunch were in for an informative treat when Caroline Rose Hunt welcomed them to the Crescent Club to introduce Conscious Cuba, a passion project for her granddaughter, Francis Harrison. With her new endeavor, Harrison will take groups to Cuba for trips she describes as one-of-a-kind, culturally enriching experiences.
"I first studied at the University of Havana in 2009," she said. "Since then I have been so blessed to build life-long friendships with Cuban artists, musicians, professors, private collectors, tobacco farmers and restaurant owners. Conscious Cuba embodies all of my personal experiences and relationships. These unique relationships allow us to offer the most authentic trips to Cuba."
Guests — including Capera Ryan, Laura Reeder, Dedie Leahy, Ann Barbier-Mueller and Barbara Womble — had the opportunity to chat one-on-one with Harrison about traveling to this not-so-common destination. Harrison said the first question people ask is how to legally travel into the country.
All groups travel on a people-to-people specific license given to Conscious Cuba by the United States Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). These licenses are issued based on the validity of a tour's cultural exchange, and total participation in the activities is required to fully comply with OFAC regulations.
Conscious Cuba provides all travelers with tourist visas, copies of travel licenses and an invitation to travel on Conscious Cuba's license. Each traveler simply presents these documents to United States customs upon arrival in Miami en route to Cuba.
Once there, guests can partake in activities arranged by Harrison, including traveling to Robaina Tobacco Farm in Pinar Del Rio to witness cigar rolling; viewing private art collections; listening to live Cuban music; and visiting La Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway's home.
Tours are available in both weekend ($2,500 per person) and week-long ($3,500) adventures and start as soon as the week of September 24. Private tours are also available, which allow travelers to create unique itineraries that reflect their passions and interests.