A two week ‘cultural immersion’ program to help you enjoy and understand what’s happening in Cuba right now! Our volunteer placements will help you connect with Cuban people, understand their culture and history, and turbo charge your Spanish language tuition.
As with all our programs, this program includes accommodation, breakfast & lunch throughout, plus Spanish language tuition, meaningful volunteer placements and other activities. Start and end date is usually a Sunday, though clients are welcome to arrive early or extend – we are open 365 days a year!
This program (14 nights) can be combined with other programs to make longer duration and more varied experience, to give you an all round view of Cuba.
Accommodation is a licensed Casa Particulare in the atmospheric heart of Old Havana; shared single sex dorm rooms with other program participants OR upon payment of a single room supplement you have the option to stay in another nearby Casa with your own room and private en suite bathroom. Either way breakfast and lunch are served at our main Casa and this is the hub of program activities. This is also where Spanish lessons are taken as well as group discussions, planning meetings and impromptu social gatherings.
This is a busy program and offers the possibility of a full immersion into Cuban life – past and present – and the opportunity to really understand what makes this amazing country so special.
Upon arrival Havana International Airport you will be picked up for a transfer to your Casa Particulares, your home in Havana. Our main Casa which doubles as our language school was opened at the end of 2015 and features shared bedrooms, separate shower and toilet facilities, dining rooms and lots of comfortable indoor and outdoor space (including spacious roof terrace). Here you can enjoy hanging out with new friends or chilling on your own to enjoy the cool breezes and great views of the streets below. As with most of Havana you will enjoy taking in the atmosphere in this central location which is truly unique.
While in Habana during Monday to Friday’s intensive Spanish lessons will take place shortly after breakfast. Tuition is delivered by an accredited and licensed Cuban teacher and on day one you will receive a short test to establish your level and objectives. Lessons will take the format of 3 x 45 minute lessons each morning, with 15 minute breaks to refresh, making approximately 3 hours of Spanish lessons each day – 15 hours per week (total 30 lessons 2 week program). Lessons are held from 09:00 sharp, Monday to Friday.
The help you understand the context of volunteering placements, and to start to understand the history of Cuba including how people live today, we have scheduled time for some walking tours. These will include, on your first Monday, a visit to the volunteer placements we will be spending time with – to say ‘hello’ and also to help with planning.
Cuba is a beautiful and complex country. People are super friendly and its a very safe place to explore independently. However, volunteering in Cuba brings unique challenges and its important to understand some of the issues, so we can feel confident and happy with our interactions with local folks and the positive contribution we hope to make.
Volunteering – Habana
When you start packing we ask you to consider bringing something to donate; such as any sports items, children’s toys… and arts & crafts items. We’re not asking you to go shopping or break your budget, just ask around and see if there are unused or under used things lying around yours or friends houses that might be put to more productive use here. Cuba is still subject to heavy hitting sanctions and a trade embargo imposed by her next door neighbour! For more details about or main volunteer partners, see below;
Arco Iris & Barrio Habana Vieja Community Centre’s
We work with kids, and support volunteer organisers with maintenance and kids activities in Habana Vieja & Centro. The kids include those from broken and troubled families and our focus – in addition to creating a fun filled environment – is to give its members better preparation for adulthood and parenthood. A variety of classes are given, but focus always remains on social skills and confidence building. Activities include acting, dancing and singing classes and we often make presentations with our volunteers.
The sports complejo has been the main sports facility for all the schools in Habana Vieja for generations. It is a very established facility but lacks basic facilities. Sports run at this location include; baseball, volleyball, athletics, wrestling, basketball and judo in the near future.
We support sports in Cuba whenever possible, the benefits sports bring to society are well known to Cubans and we follow their lead. Improving facilities and donating equipment are where our support is most required.
El Gimnasio Boxing Gym
Following the work we have over the last 2 years at the legendary ‘Rafael Trejo Gimnasio’ – including rewiring, painting and a huge amount of donativo – we have now found another, younger, boxing gym that is in need of our help.
The facilities are very poor and in a desperate situation, and equipment is almost nonexistent. The coaches are passionate and therefore have a large following of kids, with ages ranging from 5-21 years old.
Escuela y Instituto de Musica Cubana Popular
This is the only official institute for music and dance in Habana Vieja. Established pre-revolution the institute gifts theory classes to local Cubans on the all-important history and evolution of Cuban music and dance. Practical dance and music classes are also given. Folkloric Afro-Cuban music and dance is its main focus but mainly dance owing to a shortage of instruments and other equipment.
Our volunteers are helping to restore the facilities and theater. This is also a wonderful place to bring donativos and spend time learning this magical and vibrant form of music and dance.
Cost of 2 week program USD 800 / EURO 725
Program Start Dates 2020: 05-Jul, 02-Aug, 06-Sep, 04-Oct, 01-Nov, 06-Dec
Start Dates 2021: 03-Jan, 07-Feb, 07-Mar, 04-Apr, 02-May, 06-Jun, 04-Jul, 01-Aug, 05-Sep, 03-Oct, 07-Nov, 05-Dec
Price includes accommodation, breakfast & lunch plus 30 intensive Spanish lessons, three cultural excursions, volunteer placements & support described, and weekend escorted trips to the beach.
Cost of extra night – accommodation & breakfast USD 30 / EURO 25
Cost of airport transfer – each way USD 35 / EURO 30
For weekly timetable see below;
|12:00-13:00||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch||Beach||Paseo del Prado|
|14:00-17:00||Volunteer (into walking tour)||Volunteer||Discover Cuba||Volunteer||Discover Cuba|
Program Start Dates 2020: 05-Jan, 02-Feb, 01-Mar, 05- Apr, 03-May, 07-Jun, 05-Jul, 02-Aug, 06-Sep, 04-Oct, 01-Nov, 06-Dec Start Dates 2021: 03-Jan, 07-Feb, 07-Mar, 04-Apr, 02-May, 06-Jun, 04-Jul, 01-Aug, 05-Sep, 03-Oct, 07-Nov, 05-Dec
NOTE : though program start date is Sunday you are welcome to arrive early and pay for extra nights bed & breakfast. We are open 365 days a year!
To book now or learn more about this program, please send us a message today. We will usually get back to you within 24 hours.
We have fixed start dates (please note limited start dates for 6 week program indicated * thus) but you are welcome to arrive a day or so early, or extend after program ends, if this helps to optimise your travel plans. We look forward to hearing from you!