Rustic Pathways | Cuba
94% Rating
(5 Reviews)

Rustic Pathways | Cuba

In a country that has just recently opened for US travel, Rustic Pathways is thrilled to now have programs running in Cuba. This Caribbean nation’s vibrant colors and rich culture will be sure to catch your eye. In Cuba you will have the opportunity to learn about the history of Havana and Trinidad, work with farmers and park rangers on issues such as sustainable farming and reforestation, and learn the traditional dances of the island, including the salsa and rumba.

“My time in Cuba has been full of dancing, laughter, and changes in perspective. It’s our closest neighbor in the Caribbean, yet has been isolated from us for years. Cubans want to know us as much as we want to know them, and time has finally brought that to fruition. I’m excited for students to learn from the Cuban people and share experiences.”
--Harry Alvarez, Cuba Country Director

Locations
North America » Cuba
Timeframe
Summer
Accommodation
Hotel
Language
English
Currency
USD

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Growth
    92%
  • Support
    96%
  • Fun
    98%
  • Housing
    92%
  • Safety
    94%

Program Reviews (5)

Default avatar
Alex
Female
18 years old
Massachusetts
Other

Viva Cuba! Culture and Conservation

10/10

During my second trip with Rustic Pathways, I chose to go to Cuba. As the country is relatively new to United States tourism, I was very interested to see what it would be like. During my trip, I learned so much about the history of Cuba and its relationship with the United States. I believe that so many people have a skewed view of what the country is like, and I would highly recommend going there to experience it for yourself. Cuba is a gorgeous country and everyone I met was so kind and willing to share their life experience. My guides were amazing, especially my native Cuban guide Ycel.
For our service, we mainly focused on preserving the environment and sustainable farming. Because of the embargo, Cubans had to learn how to do sustainable agriculture so that they could produce enough food without ruining their environment. It was amazing to me to see how much everyone cared for their homes, especially while we were staying on farms and learning about their practices.
I think my favorite memory from my trip was the last few days we spent in Havana. Havana is one of the most beautiful cities that I have been to. It was incredible to work with a local organization called Bario Habana, which provides children with opportunities to play games like chess or soccer, as well as works to benefit the neighborhood as a whole. Seeing the work that this organization does and the love that it has for its neighbors has given me hope that there are always going to be good, kind people in the world.
After this trip, I am definitely going to be sharing my amazing experiences in Cuba and informing people about what I learned. I think that many people believe that Cuba is stuck in the mid 1900s, yet after going there I know that it is a very modern country.

Default avatar
Thomas
Male
14 years old
Cuba
Other

A great experience, a little lacking on the rustic. Would recommend

8/10

Overall, I loved this program. Off the Map: Cuba offered a great tour of Cuba, stretching from west to east. Highlights included a natural pool carved into a rock, working with sea turtles, playing soccer with Cubans in Old Havana, a night tour of Camaguey, and a 9km hike in the Sierra Maestra. I did wish we stayed in more "rustic" accommodations- hotels were standard most of the time. Staying in a lodge in the Sierra Maestra was by far my favorite, and I wish we had more of that. Our program leaders were amazing- some of the coolest people I've ever met. Everything on Guanahacabibes Peninsula was also awesome. I would, however, have added some more community service. Overall, I'd recommend it for sure.

Things to know:

-Hope you like rice and beans- you'll eat A LOT of it.
-Bring lots of bathing suits. I only brought one, and it was a big mistake.
-A day pack and some water bottles can be VERY useful.
-Realize that schedules are VERY flexible.
-Bring books and cards- they're useful during free time.

How can this program be improved?

Add more "Rustic" - more out-in-the-woods and more community service.

Default avatar
Jonathan
Male
16 years old
Fort. Lauderdale, Florida
Other

Innovation in Action

10/10

Traversing through Cuba was a completely unique, one-of-a-kind experience. Although much of the world has a more negative preconceived notion of this country, going and seeing it yourself is an experience one cannot take for granted. A few of my favorite experiences occurred in the more rustic-style areas like Lomas de Banao and Charco Azul, where we participated in ecological activities such as reforestation and farming. Besides the community service, Rustic does a terrific job of having a jam-packed itinerary chock full of incredible experiences that just can't be replicated anywhere else in the world. Ziplining and visiting the waterfall, Cascada de Bella, were both highlights of the trip. Also, the friends I made on these trips are people I will forever cherish and hold dear to my heart. These are lifelong experiences you share with them and you form a unique bond with these people over the trip. After my experiences in one Rustic Programs in the Dominican Republic, I couldn't wait to sign up for a brand new adventure in Cuba, a place few people ever get to see, especially Americans. To all prospective participants, don't miss out on these once in a lifetime experiences, these are moments and adventures that can never be replicated and Rustic does a particularly commendable job of making it a safe, exhilarating, and meaningful stay, no matter the country. I'm already trying to sign up for next year and this summers' programs haven't even ended yet! The memories I have made in my past Rustic programs have made me into the person I am today and have given a new outlook on life, as I have gained a newfound sense of appreciation for the little things. Coming from a very materialistic Western lifestyle, I was so happy to take a break from that and see how a huge portion of the world truly lives and what I take for granted every day, be it clean, running water, or a guarantee of food on the table every night, we take these things for granted that other parts of the world are not close to being guaranteed. Rustic Pathways is an incredible program that has indisputably changed my outlook on life for the better.

How can this program be improved?

There is little that this program should or could change to improve. The group dynamics were incredibly strong and the group leaders knew exactly what they were doing. As a returning Rustic-goer, I did not feel as though I was going through the whole tutorial again but rather I felt a fresh adventure coming on. I had this sensation as though this were a new season of a reality TV Show, with a completely new cast of characters and in a new location, and I was the sole returning member. It was an unforgettable experience and there is little I would change, if anything at all.

Default avatar
Margaret
Female
17 years old
Pittsburgh PA
Other

Viva Cuba: Culture and Conservation

10/10

Traveling to Cuba is an opportunity many Americans do not have. I was lucky enough to travel to Cuba and learn about their rich culture. Everything about the trip was great the staff was excellent and the local guides were very knowledgeable. It was a great experience being able to learn about a forbidden land. Traveling to Cuba has allowed me to understand the complexity of our relations with the Cuban government. I highly recommend this trip and program to all who are interested in traveling abroad.

How can this program be improved?

The amount of community service could have been increased, but overall it was excellent.

Default avatar
Jordan
Female
17 years old
New York
Other

Cuba- innovation in action

9/10

This was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I met people who I would consider to be lifelong friends. I loved doing this type of program through Rustic because I've done travel programs through other organizations that have been nowhere near as awesome as Rustic is, which I have done two trips with. Besides the wonderful people I met, the activities we did were also really cool. I got to learn so much about Cuba through actual natives and experience something anybody would be lucky to do. Rustic is is just a wonderful company and it completely changed my life. I'm still in touch with my best friends from the trip. Even though not everyone on my trip was my closest friend, it was still really great to meet people from around the country and world.

How can this program be improved?

The leaders were kind of strict sometimes, i.e. we weren't allowed to be in the same bedroom of the opposite gender when we wanted to hang out even when it was buggy outside and there was nowhere else to go, and there were multiple people there.

About The Provider

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Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on purposeful community service projects, and expand

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