This 15-year-old got a Cuba trip for his birthday – from his grandma!

Cuba trip

How would you like to go on a Cuba trip for your 15th birthday? Few teens have such luck, but thanks to Kathleen G., she and her grandson celebrated by traveling! Their pick: “A Celebration of Arts & Culture,” one of our most popular Cuba trip options.

So, welcome back to Cuba! Last month, we shared with you a Cuba trip through the eyes of Gina, an adult Discover Corps traveler. Now, it’s time you “met” Kathleen (and her 15 year old grandson).

After the jump, take a look at Cuba through Kathleen’s eyes – and learn why she chose Discover Corps (in her own words)!

World’s coolest grandma? We think so.

Cuba trip


Why did you choose Discover Corps  versus any other travel company?

I found Discover Corps online when I searched ‘volunteer vacations.’  I called and talked to Alex and he had just been to Cuba and was very positive, with an abundance of information. It was impressive with the small group and actually ended up with a group of six, including my grandson and myself. I booked a trip to the Galapagos even before I took the Cuban trip – and plan on taking more through Discover Corps because I am so pleased with my first experience!”  (Editor’s note: If you’d like a free catalog, you can request one here.)

What made you choose this Cuba trip in particular?

I promised my grandchildren a trip for their 13 birthdays and my oldest grandson was turning 15 and hadn’t picked out a place he would be interested in going with me. He loves jazz and is very musical and when Cuba was opened for U.S. travelers it seemed to be a fascinating place for us to visit. I remembered the Cuban Missile Crisis and was interested in their history, and the mystery behind the embargo.”

Cuba trip

Is this trip something you’d have gone on if left to plan each activity on your own?

I probably would not have taken this trip without a guide, especially since I was responsible for my 15-year-old grandson. I was very nervous about having to carry all the cash we needed but did feel very safe on the street, even late at night. We were assured by the guide that their streets are safe.”

Cuba trip


What was the most memorable experience from your Cuba trip?

I absolutely loved experiencing Cuba through Discover Corps. We had an excellent guide and driver, wonderful restaurants and all the information about their beautiful country that we wanted. Our itinerary was beyond interesting, and we experienced tons of local music and a variety of arts. We went to dance performances and successful community art projects that were outstanding. Trinidad was my favorite city to visit, very colonial and had a small town feel to it.”

Cuba trip

What were you most surprised to learn about life in Cuba?

The people are very gracious and happy and was surprised to learn that there are no homeless people. Their government funded health care is working for them. Also, very surprised to learn that there are government funded art and music centers in every city, no matter how small.”

Cuba trip

What did you think of your guide?

Our guide was excellent, answered every question we asked and more. He just couldn’t have done more for us.”


What is one thing you wish you’d known before traveling to Cuba?

I was very apprehensive about going to Cuba, but felt totally safe there. Just wasn’t sure what to expect because of our political situation.”

What other volunteer vacations would you consider going on?

I already have the Galapagos booked and would like to go to India through Discover Corps.”

Are there any clothes/shoes/toiletries/camera equipment items you’d say are must-brings on this trip?

It is advisable to bring everything you need – we didn’t see stores with toiletries. The guide told us we could go to a government pharmacy if we needed drugs. I was in one grocery store and the selection was very limited.”

Cuba trip

Perhaps you don’t have 13 grandchildren. Heck, maybe you don’t have any. Whether you do or don’t, Cuba is ready to show you the time of all of your lives. You won’t find a friendlier, more vibrant vacation destination anywhere else.

And look, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Cuban food is second to none. You’ve gotta get down here and try this!

Cuba trip

“The local seafood was delicious and the fruit was wonderful, too. Reminded me of the fruit in Hawaii and not very many vegetables. My grandson is vegan and the restaurants were very accommodating.”

– Kathleen Gotti, Discover Corps Traveler

Have you been on a Discover Corps trip? How was your experience? Tell us in the comments below!

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