Many travelers want to immerse themselves in the social reality of Cuba and want to get involved in community projects that allow them to live with its people and in some way contribute to helping them, what are commonly known as solidarity trips and travelers.
There are different ways to be a solidarity tourist in Cuba and contribute your little grain of sand. It is not about collaborating directly with an NGO or bringing humanitarian aid, which of course you can also do it, but there are much simpler and also rewarding ways.
As a travel agency specialized in organized trips to Cuba, we highlight three collaboration formulas: visiting socio-cultural community projects, strengthening private entrepreneurship and supporting an NGO.
Visit one of the many socio-cultural community projects that exist in Cuba, simply include them in the route of a city-tour to see how they benefit its inhabitants and buy some of their products, artistic and quality, by the way, or participate in one of their workshops.
They are also very picturesque places that are well worth a guided visit. For example, San Isidro Distrito de Arte Urbano, Callejón de Hamel, Fusterlandia, Colón Cultural, Proyectongo, Muraleando or ArteCorte.
Another simple way to help the Cuban people directly is to contribute to their economy strengthening Cuban entrepreneurs, what they call the private entrepreneurship or the self-employed. We give you 6 clear examples below.
In the end, there is always a common denominator: all travelers count the experience as an unforgettable trip and recognize their human and personal growth..1
Stay in a private house
Instead of staying in a state hotel you can stay in a cuban private house. Some travelers send us their doubts and we always recommend them.
Today these houses are small charming hotels, some of them authentic boutique hotels. They have the added attraction of sharing experiences with wonderful and hospitable families. You will also be helping them directly to generate income.
They are accommodations with total comfort and privacy, to give you an idea, like the Bed and Breakfast in the United Kingdom. We have our network of private houses throughout the island and we advise you according to the budget of your trip.
Hire a local guide
This issue is somewhat controversial. Many Cubans work as guides without an official license, but it is a way for them to generate additional income and the Government knows this and allows it.
As an agency, we cannot hire this type of service, we only hire official guides, although we can recommend excellent professionals from all branches of knowledge who will prepare you themed and specialized tours and will put all their effort so that you make the most of your stay in Cuba. You can hire them on your own at the destination.
Buy in private stores
In Cuba many of the souvenir shops and typical Cuban products are state owned. Actually in them you always find the same type of articles, there is little differentiation.
If you are looking for originality, some enterprising artists are designing and manufacturing 100% Cuban products.
You find them of all kinds, stationery, soaps, crafts, goldsmiths, art, fashion and design, etc. Made in Cuba style is now developing its own character. You can read here a guide on Cuban fashion brands who successfully market their own creations.
Visit socio-cultural community projects
Visit collective initiatives such as the 5 that we have just told you and do your little bit.
For example, you can leave a donation or simply buy any of the products that the community puts on sale or participate in one of the workshops they teach.
From CubaUnique we will design a trip which fits you and we will put you in contact with interesting and diverse cultural initiatives according to your interests.
Collaborate as a volunteer in a local development project
For example, it could be a day trip to an agroecological farm, collaborating in the planting and maintenance of the crops in exchange for a copious peasant-style lunch. This can be a very attractive option for example if you travel to Cuba with your family and you want to enjoy some nature activities in western Cuba.
Likewise, you can collaborate on a development cooperation project, joining existing communities and projects, while you soak up Cuban culture and forge new friendships. In this sense, you have to take into account the limitations of tourist visas, since a cooperator visa is required.
Deliver humanitarian aid to Cuba
Pack your suitcase with material to donate (school supplies, toiletries, medicines, clothes, footwear...) and collaborate through an NGO or association in Cuba that knows the channels to deliver the humanitarian aid among the different Cuban groups.
From CubaUnique we collaborate with the little Spanish NGO Hombre Nuevo, Tierra Nueva, who we totally trust.
You have several formulas to collaborate with them, they always try to favor the comfort of the traveler, so either you bring your own essential material and once there the NGO collects it for distribution, or even if you are even more generous with your space, you can leave free kg in your suitcase to carry medicines and other materials.
The NGO would send the material to your home for later collection in Cuba. You have up to 24 kg of weight in your suitcase, how many kg would you be willing to give them?
In addition, once there, we can make an appointment with them so that you can see first-hand the good work they are developing in places like Havana, Sancti-Spiritus or Santiago de Cuba.
Be supportive and support an NGO
Support a sponsorship program (€ 12 per month) or become a donor member (€ 40 / year) of an NGO involved in Cuba: from sponsorship programs for children, the elderly or the disabled, to monthly or annual donations.
From CubaUnique we are very proud to collaborate in both programs with the Spanish NGO Hombre Nuevo, Tierra Nueva. In addition, if you travel to Cuba later, you will be able to meet the sponsored family, which will generate enormous satisfaction.
So, if you are thinking of organizing a trip to Cuba, either for travel as a family , with your group of friends or with your classmates , with your partner or even in honeymoon , on your own or in one of our tailor-made trips , be sure to follow our recommendations for travel to Cuba without complications and to know the evolution of the Covid-19 situation in Cuba.
We suggest some of our most popular organized tours , and, if it is not what you were looking for, we will design your personalized trip, and above all, we suggest that you follow our tips to live the authentic Cuban culture while showing your most human and supportive side in Cuba.Article written by Gabriela Rodríguez, (independent Cuban guide). 0