You will learn how Cubans conserve their natural resources and enjoy the beauty of the country’s pristine parks, forests, and coasts. Rustic Pathways has developed various long-term partnerships with communities and local organisations in Cuba. Some of our service projects that you could support include:
Conservation and environmental rehabilitation: Work alongside local farmers and learn about Cuba’s long-term sustainability and conservation projects and challenges as the country moves from an agricultural to tourism based economy.
Projects with local rangers at a national park: This could include planting tree seedlings, monitoring wildlife, or other reforestation projects.
Sea turtles: Aid sea turtle conservation efforts in María la Gorda.
Education and Cultural Exploration
Our immersive and interactive programs are designed to teach you about the country through a local lens. Experience iconic landmarks and build relationships with the Cuban people who will help you understand their culture. Travelling with our local staff will provide students with first-hand insights into life in this country. You may like to incorporate some of the following experiences into your Journey:
History of Cuba: Learn the history of Cuba as you explore the streets of Havana and Trinidad with local guides.
Dancing in Cuba: Interact with Cuban culture during salsa and rumba dances, regional music performances, and engaging camp activities.
Fidel Castro: Witness the hide-outs where Fidel and his rebels waged guerrilla war for nearly two years.
Explore the main cities of Cuba: Wander the streets of Havana, Trinidad, and Santiago de Cuba and marvel at Cuba’s extensive diversity that spans more than five centuries.
Adventure and Challenge
Explore valleys, beaches, and forgotten villages… Adventure and challenge is inherent to every Journey, however,
if you are looking to physically challenge your students through a specific activity, you may opt to include:
Trek: Throw on the backpack and trek through the Lomas de Banao ecological reserve to see incredible waterfalls and camp under the stars.
Discover: Wander through Cuba’s natural protected areas and witness the beauty of its incredible karst formations.
Swim: Take a dip in the beautiful pristine coastal keys.
Hike, camp, horseback ride, and climb: So much adventure awaiting you in the Valle de Viñales, Guanahacabibes and Sierra Maestra National Parks.
Snorkel: Enjoy the underwater world in the infamous Bay of Pigs.
Hotels: A variety of 3, 4 & 5 star hotels in cities and towns.
Guesthouses: Rustic Pathways uses this accommodation style in some of our smaller towns we visit.
Tents: Camping in shared tents when in remote places is a great way to experience the Cuban countryside.
Day 1 Travel Day
Fly in to Havana. Your Rustic Pathways staff will greet you upon arrival and take you to a privately owned B&B for an introduction and to get some sleep before your real Cuban adventure begins.
Day 2 Salsa Dancing and BarrioHabana Exchange
In the morning, join your group for a salsa dancing lesson in La Bosque de La Habana. In the afternoon, you will return to Havana Vieja to participate in a cultural and sports exchange with students from community partner BarrioHabana.
Day 3 First Hike and Trinidad
Wake up early and head to Trinidad stopping for an amazing hike to the Javira Waterfall in Cubano National Park. Afterward, you’ll have lunch and continue for Trinidad. You’ll explore this remarkable 500-year-old colonial city that is without a doubt one of Cuba’s most picturesque. At night, lose yourself to the rhythm of salsa and son as you listen to a live music performance at the Casa de la Música.
Day 4 Trinidad & Camaguey
Stroll down the cobblestone streets, taking in sights of horse-drawn carriages, colorful facades and have lunch at one of the town’s many paladares (private restaurants). Continuing along your journey, you will visit Cubas third largest city, Camaguey. Get lost in the towns Medina-like streets and explore baroque style, colonial cathedrals. Ride a cycle taxi around town and learn of the importance and abundance of the tinajones.
Days 5 – 7 Explore the Sierra Maestra
Set off on an exploration trip to one of Cuba’s most isolated areas that once served as the hideout to Fidel and his rebels. You will arrive at Villa Santo Domingo, the gateway to the Sierra Maestra National Park and an ideal base to begin your trek to Comandancia de la Plata, Fidel’s camp and rebel headquarters. Get lost in history as you marvel at the guerrilla camp that has been kept much as it was left in the late 1950’s. Today you are able to visit 16 simple wooden building including a museum, Casa de Fidel, and rural hospital. Spend time in the rural village of La Platica and participate in service work, relax and cool off swimming at a stream and enjoy cultural exchanges with locals.
Day 8 Santiago de Cuba
Depart for Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second largest and most important city. Spend the day exploring the city’s Casco Historico (“old town”) with highlights including visits to the infamous Moncada Barracks, Casa de Diego Velazquez (the oldest house in Cuba), and the San Pedro Fort. In the evening, join your fellow travelers and a local folkloric dance group for a dance or percussion lesson.
Day 9 Travel to Havana
Today you’ll take to the sky as you return to the capital city, Havana, where you’ll have the opportunity to visit the local market to barter for souvenirs. Head back to your hotel where you’ll present your best photos to your group and freshen up for one final dinner out on the town filled with lots of music and dancing.
Days 10 – 11 Sea Turtle Conservation at Guanahacabibes National Park
Departing La Guabina, you’ll continue west as you head to Guanahacabibes Peninsula National Park, an area declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1987. The peninsula is one of Cuba’s most untouched natural areas. During your stay you will aid environmental researchers with local conservation efforts as they monitor, observe, and protect the eggs of nesting loggerhead and green sea turtles.
Day 12 La Guabina
Upon arrival to Havana, you’ll travel to La Guabina, an ecologically responsible horse ranch tucked into the hills of Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s westernmost province. Here you’ll have an orientation and introduction with your group and experience your first taste of Cuban cuisine.
After lunch, you’ll explore the former Spanish horse farm that you’ll call home for the next few days and begin to enjoy the peaceful guarijo life.
Day 13 Viñales
Today you will head out on an adventure to the Viñales Valley National Park. Entering the park, you’ll witness unbelievable views of the area’s limestone outcrops called mogotes. Then explore the valley below where most of Cuba’s world-famous tobacco is grown. Work alongside farmers and learn about traditional techniques that are used to grow the area’s local produce at one of the many organoponicos (organic urban gardens).
Day 14 Horseback Ride and Exchange at La Guabina
Explore Rancho La Guabina on horseback and have a cultural exchange with the local community in the afternoon.
Day 15 Last day in Habana
Start the day off by exploring La Habana in a 1950s classic automobile. You’ll then visit the Revolutionary Museum before exploring La Habana Vieja on foot, visiting its four main plazas and learning about the city’s colonial and more recent history in your last day in country!
Day 16 ¡Adios Cuba!
Today you’ll say goodbye to your Program Leaders. Return home with many memories to share.
Please chat to us if you have any special requests that you would like included in your Journey. There is nothing too big, small, or out-of-the-box that we can’t handle.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start designing your Journey! We would be delighted to partner with your school to support the global education of your students.