Conservation, Community & Culture

Get stuck into a combination of culture, adventure, conservation and community projects across Cuba, taking place in Havana, Trinidad and the Caribbean coast.

About Cuba

From the outside Cuba seems to be a nation frozen in time with its decaying, neoclassical buildings and vintage cars.  But scratch beneath the surface and you'll find a changing landscape allowing Cubans to engage in private enterprise and even talk to visitors...No-one knows where this will take Cuba, but for now it means their doors are open to volunteers who are prepared to roll up their sleeves and make a contribution to development.

About The Program

During a 6 week program you will help renovate boxing stadiums and holiday camps, conserve marine life in the Caribbean sea and assist with street art projects in Havana.

Whilst volunteering is the main goal, you will also receive Spanish lessons and will be taken on cultural tours and adventures around Havana and Trinidad with local guides who will show you 'life off the tourist trail'. 

The Schedule

A typical 6 week program will include all of the following:

Havana: Weeks 1-2
Your base for the first 2 weeks is in the heart of Old Havana – a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will get involved in a mix of cultural exchange, exploration, Spanish lessons, dance and a contribution to the arts and crafts initiative on the Paseo del Prado Boulevard.

Every morning, in Havana, Monday to Friday, you’ll receive 3 hours of Spanish tuition and during these first 2 weeks, you can attend 2 x hour long, dance classes.

After lunch, you’ll head off with one of our amazing guides Yoel or Leonel, for cultural exchange and exploration. With their contacts and knowledge, you’ll have access to parts of Havana way off the tourist trail.

At the weekends, you’ll have the chance to get involved with the arts and crafts initiative on the Paseo del Prado Boulevard where artists set up workshops to teach children for free. 

Playa Giron: Week 3                                          
After your cultural fill, it’s time to head to the seaside town of Playa Giron, which contains the largest wetlands in the Caribbean. Here your time will be split between marine conservation and refurbishing local sports facilities. 

Red Cross and International Dive Centre (20% of time)

You’ll help clean up the reef and beaches which are prone to wind blown rubbish. You’ll also participate in underwater surveys to log endangered species and to examine the Lion Fish epidemic that is becoming  a problem across the Caribbean.

Sports Facilities (80% of the time)

Local sports facilities are so important to the community spirit of the area but as you can imagine they are tired and run down, so there is plenty for you to do from painting to buying new equipment.

Punta Perdiz: Week 4
We have negotiated a special status for you all to stay in the Punta Perdiz ‘Campismo’ (a campsite to you and I). Bearing in mind that this is it for Cubans, with regard to taking a holiday, it’s a pretty neglected place.
  Here we aim to renovate the sport and recreational facilities with a good lick of paint and with new sports equipment.

Trinidad Adventure: Week 5
Trinidad is one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved examples of a town from the Spanish colonialism era.
During this week you will get involved in a mix of adventures which will include: cycling, sailing, snorkelling, hiking, swimming and dancing.

Havana: Week 6
In week 6 it’s back to Havana to volunteer on one of our community projects. 

‘Arco Iris’ is a community centre in a particularly run down area between Old Havana and Centro. The centre is a ‘home away from home’ for kids whose domestic circumstances are difficult. You will help with hands on renovation to make this building fit for purpose, as well as helping to pack the centre with activities.

Rafael Trejo Boxing Gimnasio
Here Hector Vinent Charon (a 2-time Olympic gold medallist) trains the kids with the underlying belief that boxing teaches the kids valuable life skills. However, the Gimnasio looks pretty gloomy so with the help of Vianko, our Director of Arts, you'll paint a colourful collage on the outside of the building.

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Groups

Typical day

Every day will be different but expect to be busy for about 6- 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday with the evenings and weekends free to explore.

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:30 - 16:00

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Cuba? Volunteer World directly connects you with The Leap

Conservation, Community & Culture Arts and crafts project Refurbishment Project in Havana Conservation on the Caribbean beach. Campismo Project Campismo Beach Accommodation Street Music in Havana Boxing Stadium Project Refurb Project Havana

Free-time activities

Generally, projects take place 5 days per week and your weekends are free. On your weekends, you’re welcome to stay put but many choose to explore some of the fantastic destinations across Cuba, a few of which we’ve listed here.

Baracoa
On the eastern tip of Cuba within Guantánamo Province, Baracoa is the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba and was its first capital. Remote, unique and arguably one of the most beautiful places in Cuba, Baracoa has a wealth of natural gems to discover.

Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the island’s second largest city with a revolutionary history and an exciting mix of cultures, which results in a vibrancy in the air and an artistic flair in the streets.

Watching a Baseball Game in Havana
Professional sport is outlawed in Cuba, but that doesn’t stop Cuban’s embracing “America’s pastime” as its own. Baseball has long been considered as Cuban as hand-rolled cigars. The Cuban national baseball team has won gold or silver in the past five Olympic games.

Scuba Diving
You can learn to scuba dive in Havana and it costs 35 CUC for an introduction dive and 350 CUC for the full certification PADI course (1 CUC = 1 USD).

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Hiking
Museum/Opera
Sports

Services

What's included?
Includes:
Selection and briefing on all aspects of the program.
Leap T-shirt.
24-hour emergency back-up, management and support by UK team and in-country Program Manager.
Safety and induction course on arrival.
Airport pick-up and drop off. Transfer to and from the projects.
Accommodation and food - apart from dinners in Havana, Playa Giron/Punta Perdiz and breakfast in Trinidad.
Donation to the project communities – currently £80, will go directly towards materials for the projects.
Spanish lessons.
Adventure activities as described.
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

Airport pick-up and drop off. Transfer to and from the projects.

Accommodation

Casa Particulare, Old Havana
This is a large Cuban apartment in a neoclassical tenement building in Old Havana. Like most of Old Havana, the architecture, exterior and communal stairs, are safe but in an overall dilapidated condition (shabby chic). Inside however, the apartment is very comfortable with a spacious, nicely furnished living room to the front, with third floor balcony and 2 large terraces. You’ll sleep in dormitory style bedrooms of six, that have individual showers and western style toilets and balconies.

Playa Giron
When staying in Playa Giron, you’ll be accommodated in ‘Casa Paticulares’, homestays taking 2-5 volunteers per house. They’re comfortable with breakfast and lunch being cooked by the families. Dinner will be altogether in a local restaurant in the centre of town.

Punta Perdiz ‘Campismo’
The accommodation consists of a series of block work cabins with concrete floors and en suite (cold water only) showers, western style toilets, bunk beds and an open kitchenette.

Please note
Water for showers/toilets is quite scarce in Havana and can occasionally run out, the hosts plan for this by providing buckets of water and trapping rainwater but please be careful to have short showers.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Two meals per day – breakfast and lunch in Havana, Playa Giron and Punta Perdiz.
Only breakfast is included in Trinidad (Adventure week).
All meals are traditional Cuban style so expect lots of rice and beans.
Budget about $5 per meal for those not included.
You may be able to use the kitchen in Havana to cook your own supper if you don’t want to eat out.
If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know.
Safe drinking water, tea, coffee and squash will be provided at meal times throughout but soft drinks, beers etc. are extra – a large beer is approx. $1.50.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
Costs
6 weeks (min. stay)
$3260

You can volunteer at the project site in Havana/Cuba between 6 weeks and 6 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Leap will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$543/week
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Leap during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Cuba

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Cuba. Please check the visa regulations for Cuba.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Cuba.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Jose Marti International (HAV) in Havana. We assist you to find cheap flights to Cuba.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Cuba provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Cuba you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Cuba.
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Cuba upfront.
Hostel Jakera, La Habana Vieja, Lamparilla 311 Havana, Cuba