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Cuba is not out of reach

Cuba is NOT out of reach!

Travel with Globe Aware on a people-to-people license and explore this amazing culture at this critical time in history!

The whole world is buzzing about Cuba ever since President Obama and President Castro announced their intention to normalize relations between their countries for the first time in over 50 years. All this time the US embargo/blockade has effectively meant a travel ban denying U.S. citizens the right to travel to Cuba. Now is the opportunity to witness this historic moment by traveling with us to the Island with us on an incredibly unique program! Join us as we explore the real culture and beauty of an often misunderstood island and its government.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Cuba

Although home to more than 11 million people, Cuban culture has been shrouded in mystery to most North Americans because of prolonged economic and political strain between the United States and Cuba. The Care for Cuba program pulls back the curtains on this Caribbean culture and gives volunteers a clear look at the beauties, struggles, and determination of the Cuban people. Cubanos are proud, educated, and often quite happy to share opinions. Isolated for years due to the “blockade” (as Cubans refer to the embargo the US imposed against the Communist state), their culture has been influenced by m cultures, none perhaps as heavily as Spain, Africa and the United States. Full of music, derelict buildings, joy and sorrow, the country offers few material pleasures but immense humanitarian rewards.

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There has never been a more exciting time to take part in volunteer travel in Cuba! Imagine a culture where everyone is literate and has access to free medical care, no starving people. This is the Cuba of today. In stark contrast to North America, its southern neighbor also offers almost no material consumer goods. Experience this now, before long anticipated change comes with the passing of the Fidel Castro generation. Open music in streets everywhere, hardly any car traffic, smiles, most visitors are enchanted with a world unlike any they could imagine. The embargo has meant severely restricted commerce, and access to affordable food, but has also preserved and insulated a culture unique in the world.

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Globe Aware’s mission is to promote cultural awareness and sustainability. Cuba itself, due to its low infant mortality, high life expectancy, access to education, medical care, and human resources, generally takes the view that they are not in need of volunteers. The official stance of the Cuban government is that their economic issues stem from the embargo, which they refer to as “the blockade.” Hence unlike most Globe Aware programs, while we engage in three work projects throughout the week, we focus more time than usual on the people-to-people cultural awareness part of our mission. You will get fantastic insight into how social issues are being addressed in terms of education, medical care and the like, and get a deep understanding of the real beauties and challenges of the Cuban culture.

Accommodations*

Located in the historic center of Old Havana, a 2-minute walk from the capitol and 10 minutes from the Plaza Vieja is your casa, in a neo-classical building from the 1920s, still retains the original floors, doors and windows, air-conditioned rooms and private bathrooms, kitchen, living room and balcony overlooking Old Havana. A typical Casa Particular room consists of two beds and an attached bath. Volunteers can expect to share their room with one other volunteer.

If you would prefer a single room, this can be arranged for an additional cost of $275.

*Because of the extraordinary interest in Cuba, we cannot guarantee the exact Casa particular where you are staying. The sooner you book, the more likely you will be housed at the main, central casa particular where our operations are based. The later you sign up, the more likely you be booked at a nearby casa particular with very similar standards.

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Work projects

In Cuba, volunteers can expect to participate in the three following areas during their week:

Elderly Center: The elderly in Cuba generally have housing, food and healthcare provided, but otherwise do not have much offered to them. Globe Aware works with one of the government elderly centers to help provide activities that fall into one of these categories: rehabilitation, cultural or general amusement. They are eager to interact with our participants and visiting the center has been the highlight for many program participants.

Club de Madres: There is a group of about 15 mothers of children with Down Syndrome that meet on a regular basis. We meet with them to engage in a variety of activities, from working side by side at our other project sites to doing recreational and physical activities such as parachute games. Art is something that brings the group together and a project that we try and incorporate with our time together during your volunteer week.

Environmental: This is a community project that was founded by a villager across the channel from Havana. He brought the entire community together to first stabilize the hillside above their village by planting various trees after a damaging landslide. He noticed how this brought the community together and started to expand the project by planting many medicinal plants, cooking herbs, fruit trees, etc. They now host educational sessions for students and villagers to learn about the benefits of all the different plants and encourage and teach them about urban/backyard gardening. Volunteers join this site and help with a variety of different projects. At the moment, we are working on building up the infrastructure to help the project become self-sustaining. We have built a coconut stand where they can sell coconuts to tourists and volunteers; built pathways to explore the hillside, constructed shaded areas and benches when hosting classes and are currently working on setting up a small kitchen to sell fresh meals. The funds go directly back into the project and helps Mr. Rojas continue to provide classes and community events at the project site.

Click here to see video for bit of background on Cuba

Itinerary

The below itinerary constitutes a full-time program of activities undertaken in Cuba pursuant to the “People to People” license of the United States Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control.  
You may also travel to Cuba under a specific license issued to you or your educational institution through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  If you are a U.S citizen, you are responsible to understand how you can legally travel to Cuba.. You can also consult the US Department of the Treasury.

This program is situated amongst beautiful, but out of repair cobblestone streets. Old Havana has not been updated to accommodate ramps and elevators, therefore participants should be able to walk uneven surfaces, up a ramp of stairs, and be able to walk for 10 to 15 minutes at a time several times throughout the day. Because it is a tropical environment, some volunteers may find this overly strenuous. We have had 7 year olds on the program who loved it and we have had an instance of a teenager who felt it was too much, so it is worth gauging the personality and fitness of any participating children. At the end of the day it can be akin to how one might feel after spending a half day at an amusement park or fair, in terms of walking.

The below itinerary constitutes a full-time program of activities undertaken in Cuba pursuant to the “People to People” license of the United States Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control. 

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6 Nights/7 Days

$1,590 each; single supplement: $275

Arranging Your Airfare

As you may know, travel to Cuba underwent many changes under President Obama’s administration. Many directives may change when the new administration takes over in 2017, though none are yet certain. If you are interested in booking this program, know that you will have several options should new policy affect travel to Cuba. You may choose to transfer your entire program fee to any other program of your choice OR pay the increase in fees to cover any new required permits or required change in accommodation. Call our office to talk this over in more detail.


We can give you suggestions on how to arrange your airfare, which will be an added expense.

Day 1

  • Arrival in Havana, your coordinator will greet you at the terminal
  • Transfer to your private “casa particular”
  • Greetings/Overview
  • Dinner at the Casa

Day 2

  • Breakfast (at casa every morning)
  • Calle Obispo Havana Vieja cultural overview
  • Lunch at private palador inlcuded
  • Overview of work project and facility, learn about economic changes underway in Cuba
  • Free time (coordinator will go over optional cultural activities for free time throughout the week such as baseball, museums, salsa, etc)
  • Dinner at the Casa
  • Canonazo colonial ceremony officially closing Havana port

Day 3

  • Breakfast
  • Walk to project site
  • One on one English training for specific vocations with students
  • Lunch at private palador included
  • Malecon and free time
  • Return to casa via bicitaxi
  • Cooking lesson – platanos, moros & cristianos, ropa vieja
  • Dinner at the Casa

Day 4

  • Breakfast
  • Repair and maintenance projects of educational facility
  • Lunch on your own at one of Cuba’s many new private restaurants
  • Cocotaxi to Afro-Caribbean mural art project at Callejon de Hamel
  • Revolutionary Museum/Paseo del Prado
  • Free time
  • Dinner on your own at one of Cuba’s many new private restaurants

Day 5

  • Transport to Vinales Valley, unique landscape of “mogotes” (karst formations), one of Cuba’s most fertile agricultural areas to learn about the role of tobacco in Cuba’s economy
  • Lunch included at private home
  • Boat tour on river through Vinales caves in Pinar del Rio “Cueva del Indio”
  • Las Terrazas Orchids Eco project visit, part of Cuban government reforestation project
  • Transport return to Havana
  • Dinner on your own at one of Cuba’s many new private restaurants

Day 6

  • Breakfast
  • Muraleando Community Art Project (Trash dumps converted into found art, art and music workshops for the community)
  • Lunch on your own at one of Cuba’s many new private restaurants
  • Vedado architecture and city rehabilitation tour
  • Set up community activity for elderly rehabilitation
  • Dinner on your own at one of Cuba’s many new private restaurants

Day 7

  • Breakfast
  • Transport to airport for flight back to United States

The above itinerary is subject to change, depending on availability and/or program scheduling. Unlike the majority of our programs, some meals are on your own. From years of experience we have learned that participants greatly prefer this option because of the huge and safe variety of meals in paladores that are available. Your on-site coordinator is always happy to make recommendations should you want them.

Please note: We are not able to offer minor or group discounts for this particular program.

 

The Price Includes

  • Administrative fee People to People license
  • All confirmations in the program
  • Double room accommodations in private home in Havana Vieja with hot water, flushing toilets, access to electricity, kitchen with second story balconies overlooking the city
  • Ground transportation by private, air-conditioned motor coach as well as transfers for group as appropriate
  • English speaking, tour guide to accompany the group throughout the touring period.
  • Preparatory reading materials
  • Admission and fees to museums and program activities
  • Honoraria for speakers and donations to organizations
  • All breakfasts, 2 dinners, 2 lunches. Coordinator can provide you with lots of recommendations. Havana has plentiful options for safe, healthy, clean, tasty restaurants and private paladaors within walking distance of your ‘casa.” Many options from $2 to $20 per meal.

 The price does not include the following:**

  • Any flights to/from Cuba, Miami, Cancun, Nassau or Toronto
  • Expenses of a purely personal nature
  • Room service charges
  • Conveyance fees used for private purposes
  • Cuban airport taxes ($25 CUC)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Internet access (there is hourly internet for purchase at a hotel 2 very short blocks from your casa)
  • Extra Beverages
  • Tips for Bellmen, restaurants or guides and drivers. (We suggest that you budget $25 to $30 from each person for the guide and the same for the driver.)

The price herein contained may be subject to increase by reason of an external event or set of circumstances not reasonably foreseen when the contract was agreed and beyond our control. Such circumstances may include but are not limited to unannounced airplane ticket price rises, which affect travel or availability of travel to the host country.

We cannot accept any responsibility for such increases that may occur but will endeavor using all reasonable efforts to mitigate any such increases as is possible.

Any changes to a final signed contract including the itinerary, may result in a price change

Subject to approval, you will be traveling under a general license to travel to Cuba from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department.

Cancellations
We reserve the right to cancel this tour in the event that our participants’ and staffs’ safety and security is in jeopardy.   In the event that we decide to cancel the tour for reasons beyond our control (which term will be defined as any acts of government, war, revolution or natural disaster in the destination country, which as agreed between the parties herein will prevent us from organizing a tour consistent with our program standards at any time prior to the departure date, we will refund to each participant all payments received, but cannot accept responsibility for any losses incurred to any participants by this cancellation although we will make every reasonable effort to assist the passengers in recouping their losses.

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