Get stuck into a combination of culture, adventure, conservation and community projects across Cuba, taking place in Havana, Trinidad and the Caribbean coast.
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'.
A typical 6 week program will include all of the following:
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,
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Airport pick-up and drop off. Transfer to and from the projects.
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.
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.
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.
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.