More significantly, they also negotiated for travel to the island on what were called viajes de la comunidad — for the first time, trips by exiles to visit Cuba. Mayra was born and raised in New York to a Cuban family, with very strong ties to the island. She began traveling to Cuba as a young child with other children of Cuban parents, nourishing a love of her culture, which began at home. Mayra began traveling to Cuba alone in her teens, before beginning to work at Marazul, following in the footsteps of her parents, who themselves were active members in the solidarity movements. Having started at Marazul by filing travel brochures, to becoming their receptionist, she then later began working with the Cuban American community.

Jorge Martinez and his team at Marazul were invaluable assets and collaborators in helping us to launch our first People-to-People kayaking & adventure tour in Cuba in the fall of 2015 and into the spring of 2016. By the end of our first season, we had succeeded in helping 250+ guests experience Cuba for the first time, and Marazul was critical to that success. We plan to send many more guests to Cuba next season and we look forward to partnering with Marazul in that effort once again.

Marazul is bombed for the first time — It would happen again in 1989 & 1996. Many other Cuban travel agencies would unfortunately experience that same fate as well. Traveling to Cuba from the United States would have not been possible without the assistance of Marazul Tours and the dedication and hard work of their employees who were instrumental in helping me with my trips. Their professionalism and caring gave me the confidence that all requirements for traveling were being met.

Giselle was born in Cuba and recently came to the United States. She has been involved in the Cuban tourism industry and has extensive experience and knowledge of her native country. While working in the Havanatur Celimar office in Havana, she was directly involved in creating and operating the various Marazul programs. Each of these programs represents her most vibrant memories that she wishes for everyone to experience on their travels to the island. Working in Marazul gives her the opportunity to assist more people from the US to appreciate Cuba and for both countries to exchange and learn from each other.

She has worked primarily in the Individual Travel department before recently moving on to become the Head of Marazul Operations. This fall, she will be continuing her education towards her Bachelor’s of Science in nursing degree. Shayra enjoys spending time with her three kids, and traveling to the Caribbean, which three initials comprised the distress call prior to sos? where most of her family resides. OFAC under the direction of President George W. Bush, eliminated the People to People travel category, the 2nd largest category after family visits. Marazul applied for specific licenses for all remaining categories of legal traveled and continued sending groups to Cuba.

Cuban officials thought large American companies would jump in to book passage to the island — much like they did before the 1958 Cuban revolution. Marazul Tours is the most knowledgeable travel agency providing services to and in Cuba. They have knowledge of the Cuban country, its institutions and its people that is unmatched. They are held in high regard by all sectors of Cuban society. Their knowledge of Cuba is matched only by their knowledge of United States law regarding Cuban travel. Marazul is attentive to my needs in both the United States and Cuba.

I thank Marazul for their dedication to supporting people in the United States to go to Cuba. Marazul has led the industry in pursuit of the freedom of Americans to travel & the right of Cuban-Americans to reconnect with their families. As the leading Cuba travel provider, we have provided excellent service for clients & groups for almost 40 years. Travel to Cuba remains legal, and it has always been one of the safest destinations for US travelers in the world. “We are going crazy,” said Armando García, president of Marazul Charters, a travel agency with offices in Miami and Weehawken, N.J.