Cuba: Connecting To People And Culture

Creating People-To-People Connections

One week cultural discovery or two-weeks of cultural discovery and volunteering.

No risk and no obligation. Get started today!

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Overview

Cuba is rightly famed for being the most musical nation on the planet. The decaying neo-classical buildings and vintage American cars make Havana a constant joy to explore on foot. The fact is – Havana is the safest city in the Caribbean and South America. What’s not to like?  And the best way to travel to Cuba right now is on the People-To-People Exchange visa with GeoVisions.

Due to the change in travel restrictions to Cuba by the Trump Administration, this program is now a group volunteer travel experience for one or two weeks. You will still choose one of 12 reasons to go to Cuba, and you will be accompanied by a group leader, as required by the new travel guidelines from the US to Cuba. Discover Cuba through cultural outings each weekday morning. There are Spanish language classes each weekday afternoon.  We provide dance classes to better enjoy your evenings out and to have contact with the locals.  The dance lessons are provided from Cuban dance instructors and you would be surprised how many locals take part.  And feel even more a part of the Cuban culture with some cultural evenings out!  Cuba, you just have to quickly learn to “go with the flow.

Fee

$1,309 one-week, $1,999 two-weeks. Double occupancy. If you prefer a single supplement, please add $150 per week for a private room.

Duration

1-week or 2-weeks

Visa

A tourist visa (visa card) is required prior to your departure.

You may travel from the U.S. if you meet one of 12 approved reasons.

Check with your airline about where you will collect your “travel card.”  Sometimes they are provided at the gate before you board and sometimes they are handed out before you land in Havana.  Call your airline in advance and find out their particular way of doing things.

Start Dates

2018 start dates: June 3, July 1, Sept 2
2019 start dates: March 10, June 2, June 30, Sept. 1

Sign up for 1 week or 2 weeks (same start dates)
Arrival Date is always on the Sunday.

What's Included

  • Each morning Discover Cuba with walking tours of Havana.
  • After lunch, Monday to Friday, you will receive Spanish language instruction, comprising 2 x 45 minute lessons spaced with 15 minute breaks. Classes are delivered by an accredited and licensed Cuban teacher. On the first morning there will be a short test to establish your level and requirements.
  • Accommodation Monday to Sunday in a shared room with en suite bathroom.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Twice each week, there are Salsa lessons in the afternoon.
  • 1-3 times each week, there are evening cultural activities.

For those signed up for a two week program, the extra week includes:

  • a trip to Vinales.
  • Visit to a tobacco farm.
  • Horse back tour.
  • A sunrise hike.
  • Horse drawn buggy tour and a visit to an eco-farm.
  • On the Sunday afternoon of that weekend trip, there is an optional trip to the beach, based on weather and timing.

Airport transfers are included in the cost of the program.

Video

Costs

$1,309 one-week, $1,999 two-weeks. Double occupancy. If you prefer a single supplement, please add $150 per week for a private room.

GeoVisions-4cprocessThe fee you pay to volunteer in Cuba goes to our 501(c)(3) non-profit company, The GeoVisions Foundation.  The program donation for this experience covers our costs of placing you on the program in a safe host family or hostel and neighborhood. The fee helps our non-profit to provide your accommodation, meals, insurance, pre-departure & in-country support. We provide 24/7 emergency service, manned by real people. We update our tutor materials and tutoring aids constantly and provide a real ESL Teacher who is here via email to give you personalized assistance if you feel you need ideas. You are supported from the moment you contact us to the time you return … and beyond, through our active Alumni Community.

Be sure to speak to your tax preparer to see if any of these fees can be deducted as a charitable donation.

Volunteer Program

This is a volunteer program, and as such, you will need to factor in not only the program fee above, but your airfare and if you live outside the US, your insurance.

It is hard to calculate your spending money requirements, so think about any additional meals and travel during your time in Cuba.

What's Included

  • Each morning Discover Cuba with walking tours of Havana.
  • After lunch, Monday to Friday, you will receive Spanish language instruction, comprising 2 x 45 minute lessons spaced with 15 minute breaks. Classes are delivered by an accredited and licensed Cuban teacher. On the first morning there will be a short test to establish your level and requirements.
  • Accommodation Monday to Sunday in a shared room with en suite bathroom.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Twice each week, there are Salsa lessons in the afternoon.
  • 1-3 times each week, there are evening cultural activities.

For those signed up for a two week program, the extra week includes:

  • a trip to Vinales.
  • Visit to a tobacco farm.
  • Horse back tour.
  • A sunrise hike.
  • Horse drawn buggy tour and a visit to an eco-farm.
  • On the Sunday afternoon of that weekend trip, there is an optional trip to the beach, based on weather and timing.

Airport transfers are included in the cost of the program.

What's Not Included

Lunch and dinner – there is a restaurant boom going on in Cuba with Parladares and Peso Café’s opening to visitors for the first time. Cuban’s and long-term travelers on a budget are the target market, so there are lots of characterful, good value eateries to choose from.

Dinner out can cost between $2 and $4. A really nice evening out runs around $8 to $10.

FAQ

Please call us on +1 (203) 453-5838 if you have questions.

We are asked the same questions each day, so we hope this page of Frequently Asked Questions will be helpful to you. Anyone in our office can answer your questions anytime you call. We want you to made informed decisions and we will be happy to talk to you anytime.

Can My Friend Come Too?

This is a fantastic opportunity to travel with friends. You can live at the same Casa in fact and if you like, share a room. It might be fun to learn Cuban Salsa, Tango, and Conga with your friends.

Is there a formal orientation?

Yes!  Orientation is held after your arrival in the local office after you check in.  This includes your welcome briefing and ensuring that you know how to buy and spend local peso’s, take local transport and generally feel at home and comfortable with your new surroundings.

What should I bring with me? Is there a packing list?

  • Luggage. A day pack is necessary for every day use.
  • Clothing. The following list is not exhaustive but please bear in mind that most items can be purchased locally so try to travel light and leave room for goodies to bring home with you!
    • Shorts / T’shirt / lightweight long trousers / long sleeved shirts / fleece / rain jacket / good walking shoes / cap or hat / swimwear / towel / shades / flashlight / dry bag
    • Sandals/comfortable shoes. For evenings and time off.
    • Long sleeve trousers and shirt. As in all subtropical areas, insects can be a nuisance, especially in the evenings. Long sleeved shirts and trousers are recommended to offer the best form of protection in the evenings.
    • Sun Glasses. A GOOD quality pair of sunglasses is essential. Make sure they offer 100% UV protection.
  • Other Items: 
    • Camera. If bringing a digital camera bring a number of memory cards.
    • Stationery. Bring pens, pencils, notepads and notebooks.
    • Flashlight.
    • Spare batteries for any electrical devices.
    • Photocopy of passport. Please bring a copy of your passport. Travel tip – email yourself a copy of your passport and other important documentation.
    • Sun Cream / Aftersun. You will be spending a lot of time in the sun so please bring adequate sun protection. We recommend a higher block than usual.
    • Medical Kit. It is always useful to carry a small personal medical kit. This should include items such as: Band aids, wound dressings and bandages, personal medication to last the duration of the expedition, anti-histamine cream/ tablets, fungicidal foot power/cream, antiseptic cream/solution, Immodium tablets (x30) and rehydration (e.g. dioralyte) sachets, mild pain killers (eg. Paracetamol), tweezers, scissors etc). Emergency travel kits can be purchased at most pharmacies and outdoor pursuit shops. They contain sterile and sealed equipment, such as syringes, needles and suture materials. Make sure you have sufficient identification papers to accompany these kits to ensure compliance with Customs. The Kit should not be opened unless required and it is inadvisable to carry loose needles or syringes.
    • Insect Repellent and Afterbite. Insect repellant is recommended. If you are allergic to repellents seek advice before leaving your home country.

Isn’t Cuba a dangerous country?

Actually, Cuba has the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere! You will be surprised by the visible police presence in Cuba. They are there specifically to protect and help tourists. Foreign currency and/or convertible pesos (CUC) are vital to their economy, they bend over backwards to make sure everyone has a safe and pleasant stay. Although, be aware of your belongings in cities like Havana and Santiago de Cuba just like in every capital city.

Do they have Internet & E-mail access in Cuba?

It is rare for ordinary Cubans to have internet access. Almost all hotels have at least 1 or 2 computers to go on the internet for foreigners. In the touristic areas there also are internet “cafés” from Etecsa the Cuban telephone/internet provider. Forget about uploading pictures because the Cuban internet is very slow, about 56 Kbs if you are lucky. Also using USB sticks is 99% not possible.

What is the best time to go to Cuba, and what is the cheapest period?

March, April, October and November are the months with the nicest weather and less rain.
 The high season in Cuba is July and August. Peak Season is December, January and February
. Hurricane season is from June 1 till November 30.

Do I need a Visa and a passport?

Yes and yes! Cuba will give you a visa / tourist card, however, you must acquire the visa before you arrive if you live outside the United States. Ensure that your passport has at least 6 months left till it expires, calculated from your departure date.

Yikes!! I don’t speak Spanish … !!!

Cubans are very patient, don’t worry, they will wait for you to find the right word.  But to get around and to communicate you will need a good understanding of Spanish.

What about electricity?

Cuba has 110 volt, some more luxury hotels also 220.

What about money? And can I use my credit card?

This is slowly changing.  For now, cash only for Americans.

I hear many prescription drugs are not available in Cuba … what if I get sick?

Cuban doctors are known throughout Latin America as the best trained doctors in the region. However, they do lack many of the bare necessities that we expect. “Tourist Pharmacies” DO stock many prescription drugs. Nevertheless, we suggest bringing with you antibiotics, aspirin, band-aids, anything you may need for personal hygiene, etc. just in case. Besides, they make great gifts for the Cubans when you leave.

I’m a woman traveling alone. Is Cuba a safe place to travel for me?

Yes! No problem … but don’t fall in love smiley face! And don’t go down dark streets at night, the same streets you wouldn’t go in in your own hometown. Take a taxi when you go out at night – they are safe and reliable but remember to ask for the fare before you set off! Smaller towns like Trinidad or Vinales are safe at night time for female travelers, you can just walk home.
 Use you female instinct!

Spanish Classes are Included. Why?

With over half a billion speakers worldwide, Spanish is one of the most prominent global languages.  Indeed, there are over 52 million Spanish speakers in the United States, making the USA the second largest Spanish speaking country on Earth behind only Mexico.  Therefore, for those looking to enhance their skills and cross-cultural sensitivity in an increasingly globalized world, the ability to speak Spanish is incredibly important.

This essential training increases your ability to communicate in a meaningful way as well as enhancing your overall cultural experience.  Culture and language are two sides of the same coin.  By focusing on language training, GeoVisions participants come away from their experience with more than a simple appreciation of Cuban culture by being an active participant in it. 

If you already speak Spanish, taking the time to learn the Cuban variant will be very rewarding.  The Cuban accent is quite distinct and like many Caribbean countries it employs debuccalization (a sound change or softening of consonants).  In Cuba this can be heard in different ways including the lack of rolling “R’s” as well as the softening of the stress at the end of words.  This can have the effect of making the language sound quite “fast” to those unfamiliar with it. Of course, these subtle linguistic changes are in addition to the use of slang and phrases unique to Cuban Spanish.  Ultimately, understanding these differences will help GeoVisions participants be truly impactful in their program as well as more meaningfully engaged in the culturally rich experience that is Cuba.

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INTERNATIONAL  HEADQUARTERS

Guilford, Connecticut USA

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