Immerse yourself in the vibrant history and local culture of this island jewel, newly opened to experience. The Cuban countryside, its notable national heritage and its pristine white sand beaches offer an array of diverse authentic cultural experiences. Antique cars and preserved colonial cities provide a fascinating backdrop to Cuba’s distinctive Afro-Cuban musicality and dance, dynamic art communities, and delicious and varied cuisine. Cuba is a destination truly unique to the world.
A Day in the Life: Visit a local Cuban neighborhood and immerse in the vibrant history and local culture as Cubans tell you what “a day in the life” looks like for them. Learn about healthcare, food shopping, government, and private businesses as you gain an understanding of what many Cubans do for work on a daily basis.
Visit the home of Fuster: When life gets tough in Cuba, the art continues to rise above all else. Visit this local artist’s home – it has changed over the years from a small community project to a complete masterpiece. Fuster’s artwork truly brings spirit, light, and energy to his town.
Engage with La Colmenita: La Colmenita, meaning “the little beehive,” is a theater program for social change – they use their music and dance to spread joy all over the island. Get to know this amazing company through cooperative games, language exchange, and performances.
Experience the Organopónicos: Experience one of Cuba’s unique organic farming communities. The organopónicos value a positive, healthy, and local approach to farming and are pioneers in creating environmentally friendly and sustainable practices to provide food for their country. Learn how they are changing the way food is thought about in Cuba.
Immerse yourself in the Orishas: Take a step outside and learn about ancient Afro-Cuban folklore and traditions of many Cuban communities. Afro-Cuban experts tap into the past and present by demonstrating how everything on Earth and beyond is interconnected. From meeting Yemaya at the ocean to greeting Oshun at the river, these Orisha encounters allow many generations to stay connected to their cultural history.
Take a walk back in time: Visit the vibrant historical Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Practice the local language and absorb this amazingly preserved piece of history through all your senses. Options for activities include guided walking tours tailored toward your interests and a driving tour in an antique car.
Connect with Cuba’s burgeoning entrepreneurs: Through extensive daily interaction with business owners, artists, and scholars, you will deepen your understanding of how this neighboring island. Enjoy thought-provoking presentations by Cuban experts and interactive people-to-people exchanges with locals who are shaping Cuba’s promising future.
*Please note: Exact activities will be determined by the collective interests of your Quest group and local availability at the time of your Quest.
Musical theater show: Cuba is world-famous for its artistic productions. Take this opportunity to see world-class shows rivaling Broadway!
Night out salsa dancing: Accompany Cuban hosts from a local dance company for a night of salsa dancing!
Attend a concert: Salsa, jazz, Cuba alternative, based on availability.
Historical show with cannon firing: Experience Cuba’s version of the Changing of the Guard.
Spend the evening with local hosts: Wander the streets of Old Havana, eat dinner in a local restaurant with live music, and experience the Malecon.
**The activities above will be available for a fee during evening free time. These experiences provide an authentic look at Cuban culture that you would not be able to find on your own. You can easily book them with your host once in Cuba.
United Planet Quests are designed to be immersive, authentic, comprehensive and provide you everything you’ll need to succeed. The program elements allow you to engage fully with a new culture, forge strong relationships, and challenge yourself.
Due to travel regulations in Cuba, please know that your exact schedule of in-country activities and particulars of your Quest (such as accommodations) are subject to change once you have enrolled. A flexible attitude is key for this program, as the situation in Cuba is constantly evolving!
United Planet provides emergency travel and medical insurance for all volunteers. All Cuba staff members participate in extensive health and safety training, and are available at all times by 24-hour phone line. We register all of our volunteers with US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). We recommend booking a doctor’s appointment or visiting a travel health clinic a few months out to update your vaccinations. Read more about health and safety.
You are responsible for purchasing and arranging your own flight to Miami the day before your scheduled flight to Cuba. It is your responsibility to give yourself enough time to arrive before your flight to Havana, accounting for possible delays. Due to strict travel regulations, United Planet will arrange all flights to and from Cuba for you; however, due to varying airline prices, we do not cover the cost of flights. Your flight to Cuba will be be $650-$750. Please contact us for more information on how we arrange flights.
Start by completing our online enrollment form and submitting the $650 program deposit. This deposit will be credited toward your full program fee. After we receive your form and deposit, one of our staff will contact you to walk you through the process of getting you ready for your time in Cuba! You are always welcome to email us or call us to discuss your options and the programs before you enroll.
Currently, flights to Cuba from the United States are available only on chartered flights, so you cannot book on your own. We highly recommend you add on United Planet’s flight and visa package and we will handle your flight booking and visa enrollment for you. This package costs between $650-$750 – we will send you more information upon your enrollment.
You are responsible for purchasing and arranging your own flight to Miami the day before your scheduled flight to Cuba. It is your responsibility to give yourself enough time to arrive before your flight to Havana, accounting for possible delays.
While technically you may explore Cuba on your own in the evenings, we do not recommend it. Getting around Havana requires excellent Spanish and an understanding of the transportation system. There is no 4G or Google Maps to help you get around. You will be limited to places for tourists which cost more and are not as authentic. In addition, taxis will cost more for foreigners.
We highly recommend choosing from our list of optional evening activities instead. By choosing these activities, your hosts will be able to navigate transportation for you and take you to truly local places. And it is another chance to deepen the relationship with your hosts! More details and pricing will be available upon your arrival and you can sign up for these activities throughout your program.
We are excited to offer small, personalized programs to Cuba – our groups are capped at 10 people. That said, we only need one person in addition to you to run the program! Should you be the only person to enroll in a program, you will have the choice to join another Cuba program or receive your deposit back. As soon as we have at least one other enrollment, we begin planning your Quest and the deposit is not refundable.
There is no Spanish requirement for this Quest. You will be accompanied by local translators for all program-related activities.
You can extend your stay in Cuba after your Quest, but extensions must be booked before you depart for Cuba due to strict travel regulations.
Orishas in Nature
Explore the natural side of Cuba with your local hosts. Visit mountains, a river and the ocean while learning about the orishas who live in each place.
1 day Orishas in Nature extension: $280*
2 day Orishas in Nature extension: $560*
*If you want to explore further outside of Havana, an additional transportation fee may also apply.
Visit Cien Fuegos
Explore the beautiful culture and architecture of the historical city of Cien Fuegos.
2 day Cien Fuegos extension: $560 plus additional transportation fee
If you would like to visit other areas of Cuba, let us know and we can provide package and pricing options.
We require a $650 deposit to secure your placement in the Cuba program of your choice. Your deposit goes directly toward your program fee. Your remaining payments will be due in installments.
The second installment is due upon confirmation of your housing, about one month after your enrollment. Your third payment is due 8 weeks before your departure.
You will bring your final payment in cash with you to the airport in Miami and give it to your group leader. This payment covers on-the-ground expenses in Cuba, due to the difficulty wiring money between the United States and Cuba.
Please see individual program sample itineraries for complete payment information for each Quest.