Julio Travieso

Tour Leader

Julio fell in love with his native Cuba as a child, fishing from the pier and watching the sun rise over the bay of Cojimar. In 1956, as the island nation began undergoing dramatic change, Julio's family immigrated to Miami—where few Cubans lived at the time. Julio earned a track scholarship and graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in mathematics.

As soon as he could afford to, he purchased SCUBA equipment—which led to 25 years of part-time work as a PADI SCUBA instructor. He traveled widely around the Caribbean and dove many of its reefs. But diving in Cuba remained a dream.

In 1998, a friend invited Julio to run Cuba’s Marabana. A few years later, Julio would find himself escorting groups of runners to the famous race.

He has led more than a dozen groups to Cuba, and loves to show visitors his hometown of Cojimar and introduce them to many of its interesting citizens. He also provides sports equipment to the area's children.

Julio lives in Ocala, Florida. He is married, and has three children and seven grandchildren. Julio’s family in Cojimar often jokes that if Julio is speaking to a stranger for more than a minute, he is telling them about Cuba.

Although not as fast as in his days at the "U," he averages 50 miles of walking or jogging weekly, plays tennis regularly, and SCUBA dives when conditions are right. Julio's remaining goals include mastering the rumba and diving "Los Jardines de la Reina."