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school group going to cuba, destination final :)

London, United...
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school group going to cuba, destination final :)

Hi all,

After hours in brainstorming meetings and too many destiniation changes, we have finnaly come to our decision that our annual school trip will be to Guardalavaca this year :) Not your average school trip , however a colleague has done this trip at his previous school and has itenary ideas etc.

Letters went out last week and the deadline for them is tommorow. I'm now expecting around 50 students as 38 have already given permission slips. I've been in contact with first choice (not a fan of thomson group but I'm not paying so hey ho) and looking to stay at the brisas guardalavaca, is this a sutaible hotel for a school party .

Thanks Tom

Montreal, Canada
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31. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

Mid-March is the peak for school holidays in Canada and the U.S.A. It is the highest season, expect to pay bigger bucks and expect lots of crowds. As well, American hotels expect several hundred dollars per person as a deposit for breakage. I felt kind of funny paying for myself in San Francisco and Texas but in many locales, they automatically expect these charges tacked on and returned upon inspection of each room. In that case, take photos of each room upon arrival. You should also check when Easter is so you don't get into even larger crowds.

Montreal, Canada
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32. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

I think if you get a good travel agent who has knowledge of Disney World Orlando that with that many students you could get some good prices on a package and Disney plan dining is usually included free with a package.

Not all restaurants in all the theme parks are included in the dining plan, but there are enough included for a very nice choice when travelling with minors and the food is good.

Yes it will be more expensive than Cuba. Disney Parks in USA have been affected by the USA slumping economy so there are good prices out there.

I would not want to suggest a hotel. Research well with a good TA.

Canada
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33. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

I think that school trips can be fabulous experiences! My daughter took her first school trip to Italy, France, & Monaco when she was 15yrs old. The following year she went to Egypt, and the year after that to Honduras on a mission trip. Now, mind you her trips were packed with educational experiences and tours, they also had down time to just enjoy the experience.

Not all teenagers/school kids are out of control holligans! Out of each of these trips that my daughter participated in, there was not one single incidient of trouble - AND they were from CANADA :p

My daughter gained invaluable experience in other countries, airports, and about travelling without her parents, etc. - none of which we could have provided her if not for these school trips. Both of her siblings (@ 17 & 16) have each also travelled to Honduras on school trips.

I commend the teachers who take on such a daunting task, and know from our experience that they do not take the responsibility lightly.

The OP's original question was with regards to whether or not his choice of hotel was a suitable one - not whether or not we all agreed that the trip should be allowed.

As for the hotel, I am not familar with the Brisas, but I would think that you might want a resort which is somewhat close to something so that the chaparones/teachers can easily take the group off the resort for a different experience. I know my teens all enjoyed purchasing souvenirs for mom & dad at the local markets of the countries they travelled too, as well as seeing something (homes, country-side, whatever) of the country that they were visiting.

When my family travelled to Guardalavca for Christmas 2010, our resort offered a short trip into a local fishing village which was a highlight of our trip and SO educational. It only costs $5 CUC each, which included the bus and one of the resort's entertainment staff as guide. We walked around the fishing village, saw the school, the medical building, the store where the locals exchange their ration cards for food/supplies with explanations of how every day life in the village was and then actually got a tour through the inside of our guide's friends home. It was a fabulous experience which gave us a glimpse of how the villagers live day to day.

I do not know how large the Brias is, but I think a smallish-sized resort might be easier on the caperones;)

Sorry for such a long post: Safe travels to you and your students!

Consett, United...
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34. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

Dotcanada, where is the like button when you need one ?

Fredericton, Canada
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35. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

@ 30... in shock! Everyone please send senor radar a bar of soap... he needs to wash out his mouth...(and to those who may not know, this is entirely met in jest)

totally agree Dot, wish we had provided more opportunity for our daughters during their growing years.....when our daughters were 5 and 7, a family moved in next door with girls similar ages, and they were from Finland. What a great educational/language and cultural experience we had during the time they lived next door. They are still such great friends even though they live a distance away.

Picton, Canada
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36. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

Please do. I can then take the extra soap and give it as tips on my next trip. :)

Fredericton, Canada
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37. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

that Senor Radar... he really is a good guy! He has such caring and respect and volunteers his time for the animals in Cuba... You know Tom-Tom wouldn't it be great if your students could do a comparison study around "animal care" between London and Cuba! I am volunteering Senor Rador's time around an initiative such as this.... it is his penance for my need to travel and just lay on a beach !!

Edited: 13 September 2012, 22:05
Picton, Canada
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38. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

I'm game. Who's paying for my flight to London?

Anyone experienced at grant writing?

Bear River, Canada
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39. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

I feel sorry for the OP. Planning a trip, asking if the Brisas was a good choice of resort and being bombarded with stories of kids out of control would scare off anyone from being involved in a school trip. There were some good alternatives for resorts given, SRLM would be the most isolated, although if someone wanted to wander off, they could. If Cuba is the destination of choice, and they have all the chaperones and rules and they are gifted, intelligent students as the OP says, let them have their trip and fun.

Funny nobody suggested taking them to Quantanamo instead of Guardalavaca.

Edited: 13 September 2012, 23:34
Cardiff
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40. Re: school group going to cuba, destination final :)

#39 I do think that is a very sensible post