Last updated: 05:00 AM ET, Thu April 23 2015

InsightCuba Offers Havana Marathon Tours

Tour Operator | David Cogswell | April 23, 2015

InsightCuba Offers Havana Marathon Tours

PHOTO: The route of the Marabana Havana Marathon will run by Cuba's Capitolio, designed to emulate the U.S. Capitol. (photo by David Cogswell)

There are thousands of ways to experience Cuba. For some, the best way is to see, hear and feel it while running.

“The Havana Half and Full Marathon is a Must-Run bucket list event,” said Jenny Hadfield, Marathon Ambassador, running coach, author and columnist in Runner’s World.  “From start to finish, you will journey into the heart of Cuba and explore the mystery, the magic and the passion.”

InsightCuba is providing the opportunity for Americans to participate in the Marabana Havana Marathon for the second year. In 2014 the tour operator obtained the first license ever from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to allow Americans to run in the marathon.

Insight is offering two tours for marathon runners: the Havana Marathon Four-Day Tour and the Havana Marathon Eight-Day Cool Down Tour.

“Last year’s runners we’re amazed,” said Tom Popper, InsightCuba’s president. “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. 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.”

The marathon will take place Nov. 15. InsightCuba’s four-day program is scheduled Nov. 13-16. The eight-day program is Nov. 13-20.

The tour group will be stationed at the Plaza Hotel in Old Havana only a block from the starting point of the race. The race will start in the historic district of Old Havana and pass through more contemporary developments of Havana, along the Malecón esplanade and seawall, past the historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Revolution Square, and Havana's Capitolio.

Jenny Hadfield will join the InsightCuba tour and coach participants.

The introduction last year of marathon tours that allowed Americans to run in the Marabana Havana Marathon was the culmination of 11 years of a joint effort between Insight’s Popper and Carlos Gattorno, the race director of the marathon since its founding in 1987.

“Tom and I started dreaming about the possibility of Americans running in the Marabana Havana Marathon more than 11 years ago, said Gattorno. “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.”

The price of the tour ranges from $1,895 to $3,495 double occupancy per registered runner, and from $2,295 to $3,895 per companion. The single supplement is $250 for the Havana Marathon Four-Day Tour, and $400 for the Havana Marathon Eight-Day Cool-Down Tour.

Both tours include the people-to-people encounters with locals required by the U.S. government on every tour taken under the people-to-people provisions of U.S. law.

The longer of the two tours includes a trip into the Cuba countryside beyond Havana after the race. Participants will head to the western province of Pinar del Rio.

All meals are included, except two dinners taken by participants on their own. Also included are the entry fee for the race; entrance fees for all included activities and events; an optional medical check up; all transportation in Cuba; an InsightCuba guidebook; 24-hour customer service hotline; fresh bottled water while touring; travel health insurance and cancellation insurance; gratuities for restaurants and baggage handling.

The air for either tour costs an additional $645. The air package includes 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, call 800-450-CUBA.

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