NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Set your watches. History has set the stage for a new era in travel to Cuba. This time, the stage is Old Havana, where half and full marathon runners are invited to race side by side with their Cuban counterparts, long prohibited for more than 50 years. InsightCuba was the first to send an organized group of American runners in 2014 to participate in the Marabana Havana Marathon's history, and they are resuming as host in 2015. Runners can legally participate on insightCuba's authorized Havana Marathon 4-Day Tour and the Havana Marathon 8-Day Cool Down Tour.
"Last year's runners were amazed. Across the board the feedback was it was the best organized marathon, and to be able to run through Havana was a dream come true," says Tom Popper, president of insightCuba. "This year runners will make history again and carry 'the torch' of renewed U.S.-Cuba relations. It's a moment in time not to be missed," continues Popper.
InsightCuba, the leading provider of authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens since 2000, has created two exclusive tours surrounding the November 15th event: the Havana Marathon 4-Day Tour (Nov 13-16) and the Havana Marathon 8-Day Cool-Down Tour (Nov 13-20). InsightCuba has also established a companion tour under its people-to-people authorization, for companions not planning on running in the race.
"Tom and I started dreaming about the possibility of Americans running in the Marabana Havana Marathon more than 11 years ago. This year will be very special as we open up our hearts, our country, and the race course to Americans runners. To see Americans and Cubans running side-by-side in Havana, well I often wondered if I would ever see it in my lifetime," says Carlos Gattorno, race director of the Marabana Havana Marathon since it's founding in 1987.
This year, the Plaza Hotel, a historic property located in Old Havana will set runners right in the heart of the action, only one block from the start of the race. As they prepare for the momentous run on November 15, as well as after completion, the old city will be right at their fingertips, available to explore by foot.
Marathon runners will also benefit from the guidance and expertise of Marathon Ambassador and running coach, Jenny Hadfield, accomplished author, columnist in Runner's World, and trainer. "The Havana Half and Full Marathon is a Must-Run bucket list event. From start to finish, you will journey into the heart of Cuba and explore the mystery, the magic and the passion," says Coach Jenny. Leading up to the trip and while in Havana, Jenny will provide runners an introduction to the unique racecourse, as well as special marathon training tips tailored to prepare runners for the big race.
On the day of the half and full marathon, runners will make their way through Havana's colonial and contemporary architectural history in a memorable race shared by two nations reunited. As the circuit continues through the UNESCO World Heritage city, runners can take in the sight of notable places of interest - the famous Malecon esplanade and seawall, overlooking the Florida Straights, the legendary Hotel Nacional de Cuba, the expansive Revolution Square, and Havana's Capitolio (modeled after the U.S. Capitol). Contributing to an infectious, festive atmosphere, city residents will join in and cheer every step of the way.
During the Marathon, runners' companions will participate in insightCuba's exclusive people-to-people encounters with local residents and Cuba's inspiring communities, providing unique access to people and places the average tourist rarely sees.
On the Havana Marathon 8-Day Cool Down Tour, following the four days centered around the Marabana Havana Marathon and half-marathon, runners and their companions will have a reason to celebrate their feat by embarking on a people-to-people journey outside the island's capital. Guests will explore some of Cuba's virgin natural treasures, in the Western province of Pinar del Rio, known for its undisturbed, red-earth pastures, rustling tobacco fields, and Vinales National Park, often referred to as the Yosemite of Cuba.
Tour prices range from $1,895 to $3,495 per person per registered runner (double occupancy), and from $2,295 to $3,895 per person per companion. For single-occupancy pricing, add $250 for the Havana Marathon 4-Day Tour, and $400 for the Havana Marathon 8-Day Cool-Down Tour.
Both InsightCuba Marathon Tours include:
- Standard accommodations at the Plaza Hotel in Old Havana, one block from starting line
- InsightCuba exclusive-guided programming, including insider access to Cuba's famous and those rarely seen, and private visits and lectures with Cuba's renowned experts (companions only)
- Experienced insightCuba tour leader
- Expert Cuban guide
- Marathon coaching by Jenny Hadfield
- Private Cuban driver (companions only)
- All meals while in Cuba, except for two paladar evening dining experiences on your own
- U.S. Department of the Treasury travel certification
- Marabana Havana Marathon and half-marathon entry fee and bib (runners only)
- Optional medical check-up (runners only)
- All entrance fees to scheduled activities and events
- Flight package (cost additional) including round-trip charter air from Miami to Cuba, all ground transportation, and airport transfers in Miami and Havana as part of the tour
- Fresh bottled water while touring (companions only)
- Travel health insurance, emergency medical evacuation, and trip cancellation coverage (up to $1,000)
- InsightCuba travel guidebook
- 24-hour emergency customer service hotline
- Gratuities for luggage handling, restaurant service, and programmed activities throughout tour
- Standard accommodations in Pinar del Rio
- All in-country ground transportation (companions only) and airport transfers via luxury motor coach (runners and companions)
Flight package for both tours comes at an additional cost of $645, including round-trip charter air from Miami to Cuba, priority check-in at Miami International Airport, Cuban visa and baggage fee for the first checked bag, and Cuban airport departure tax.
For more information on the Havana Marathon tours and other insightCuba tours, visit www.insightcuba.com or call 1-800-450-CUBA (2822).
InsightCuba is the leading provider and pioneer in legal people-to-people travel for Americans to Cuba. Since its inception in 2000, the organization has sent more than 12,000 guests to Cuba and has crafted hundreds of custom group tours. InsightCuba offers six, regularly scheduled Signature Cuba tours with more than 125 departures annually, a series of Specialty Cuba tours, and dozens of custom group tours each year.
SOURCE Insight Cuba