Combining the best of our Learn Spanish, Dance & Culture program with meaningful volunteer placements – conservation and community work in Playa Giron, AND volunteering in Havana. These volunteer placements will help you connect with Cuban people, understand their culture and history, and give you an opportunity to make a real difference!
- Based in the heart of Old Habana - you will stay in the best, most exciting/vibrant/fun neighbourhood in Habana!
- Our programs include 42 nights accommodation, meals, Spanish lessons, professional dance lessons, cultural tours and activities, volunteering... everything to help max your time here.
- All your questions answered about Cuba's history, how Cubans live today and what the future may hold - and how we can learn from Cuba!
- Program includes a long weekend in Vinales and mid week volunteer placement in Playa Giron to give you an all round view of life in Cuba
- We also run a 2 week volunteering program based in Habana - start date every month. See listing.
What to Expect
Our most ambitious Cuban program! This is a 6 week program that comprises 4 weeks in Havana and 2 weeks on Cuba’s south coast. Two weeks in Havana learning Spanish, dance tuition and cultural excursions are followed by a two week placement at a beachside ‘Campismo’ on Cuba’s south coast. Finally you return to Old Havana to enjoy a final two weeks learning Spanish and volunteering in the city.
Upon arrival Havana International Airport you will be picked up for a transfer to your Casa Particulares*. You will be staying in ‘Casa Jakera’, a licensed Casa Particulare, sharing a dorm room with other student clients OR upon payment single room supplement you have the option to stay in another nearby Casa with your own room and en suite bathroom. Either way breakfast and lunch are served at Casa Jakera and this will be the hub of program activities, as this is also where Spanish lessons are taken as well as group discussions, planning meetings and impromptu social gatherings.
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. Lessons are held from 09:00 sharp, Monday to Friday at Casa Jakera.
There are 2 dance classes per week – each approximately one hour duration, during which you will be taken through your paces learning Salsa, Son, Rueda de Casino, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, and Rumba and perhaps a few moves you haven’t heard of… The lessons are delivered a 5 minute walk from your Casa at 'La Casa del Son' by a licensed dance instructor, and in the evenings there are MANY free live music venues where you can do your homework!
VOLUNTEER IN PLAYA GIRON
After two weeks enjoying the sights and sounds of Havana its time to head out of town to our residential volunteer placement. Playa Giron is world renowned because of the ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion in April 1961 that led to the first US military defeat in Latin America. It is in the heart of the Zapata Swamp, the largest wetlands of the Caribbean islands and one of many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cuba. There is an abundance of plant, bird and other wildlife, many of them endemic to the area.
You are now in a small quaint local community, where everyone knows everyone and everyone has time for each other; never an air of rush or stress. It feels like you are living in a real Cuban community with a great opportunity to get to know real Cuban people. Tradition is everywhere and the local people appreciate and value it.
You will be staying in Casa Particulars and will have the opportunity to interact and learn about Cuban life in the countryside. Your Spanish language skills will be put to the test too, with constant opportunity to practice and improve your conversational skills.
VOLUNTEER IN HAVANA
In week 5 & 6 it’s back our familiar surroundings in old Havana. You will apply skills developed working as a team in Playa Giron to volunteer projects. Spanish lessons will resume during these final two weeks in Havana – see first two weeks for format of these lessons – while at the weekend we will take another trip to a nearby beach to top up your tan before returning home!
We have several volunteer projects underway in Havana and the specific project for each start date will be selected 4 weeks before commencement program start date (= 8 weeks before project start). Generally speaking we focus on upgrading infrastructures for educational, sports and other recreational facilities.
- Dorm-style accommodation at Casa Jakera
- Breakfast and lunch
- Intensive Spanish lessons, dance classes, and cultural excursions
- Volunteer placements and support
- Two beach excursions
- Two-night trip to Viñales Valley
- Airport Transfer
What's Not Included
- International and domestic flights
- Travel insurance
- Visa fees
- Museum entry fees
Housing & Meals
Havana is an exciting city with many interesting neighbourhoods. However, to experience the ‘real’ Havana you need to stay in Habana Vieja. From here you are a very comfortable walk to the best bars and nightlife, and during the daytime you will be living among the real Habanos working in shops, bars, art galleries and going about their daily lives in this atmospheric part of the city.
You will be staying in ‘Casa Jakera’, a licensed Casa Particulare, sharing a dorm room with other student clients OR upon payment single room supplement you have the option to stay in another nearby Casa with your own room and en suite bathroom. Either way breakfast and lunch are served at Casa Jakera and this will be the hub of program activities, as this is also where Spanish lessons are taken as well as group discussions, planning meetings and impromptu social gatherings.
During your volunteer placement at Playa Giron you will be staying in Casa Particulars and will have the opportunity to interact and learn about Cuban life in the countryside. Your Spanish language skills will be put to the test too, with constant opportunity to practice and improve your conversational skills.
Breakfast and lunch are provided daily at Casa Jakera.