This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Tailor made holiday
This trip is run by a company which specialises in only Central and South America holidays. It can be tailormade to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. The length of stay, standard of accommodation and even the itinerary can all be amended and tailored to suit your preferred style of travel and budget. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips.
Responsible tourism: Cuba family holiday, culture, nature and beaches
Travel and tourism can both benefit and damage the environment, the economy, the social structure, culture and communities in any country. We know how mass tourism, unrestricted hotel building, poorly devised tours and environmentally destructive activities can bring money flooding in and governments have, in a spirit of short termism, been tempted to accept them. But experience teaches us that in the long term this sort of uncontrolled activity can be detrimental to the country's development, and we endeavour to do nothing to encourage it.
Cuba is an ideal family destination, but not just for lying on a beach in one of the many all –inclusive hotels, in many cases owned by multinationals. These do provide employment but much of the profit is syphoned off back to the chain’s home country and does not filter down to the community. The buildings are also frequently huge edifices designed without any reference to the natural or urban environment and without demonstrating any attempt to complement the landscape. The popular beach resort of Varadero was for many years virtually off-limits to Cubans, and tourists inhabited a sterilised ghetto. We don’t stay there on this holiday. Instead, you will travel to lesser known corners of the country, where your financial contribution to the local economy will be most welcome.
Some of the accommodation we have chosen for this economical family holiday is locally run and has plenty of character; the Hotel Sevilla in Havana is a refurbished historical property rescued from a neglected state. In the interior, La Moka Ecolodge is perhaps the epitome of responsible tourism and a great example for others to follow. It is situated in the experimental community project established by the Cuban government at Las Terrazas in an area of forest declared a UNESCO Biosphere reserve in 1985. The project’s aim is to develop a sustainable rural economy based on the rational use of its natural resources for tourism. The property is hugely respectful of the environment, to the extent that a tree has been allowed to survive within the building. There is a healthy relationship between the hotel and the local community which benefits to a large degree from the presence of visitors. Your family can safely engage in a number of activities to learn about the natural environment, including walking nature trails.
You will visit the wildlife-packed Serra del Rosario Biosphere reserve and the Rancho Curujey where you will learn about the area’s sustainable development project.
One of the exciting outdoor activity options is to climb the flat-topped el Yunque, a distinctive mountain situated in the Cuchillas del Toa Biosphere Reserve. Your entrance fee will help the programme of conservation here, with initiatives to preserve endangered species as well as to promote sustainable practices in the forestry and agricultural activities which take place within its limits.
As a family travelling to Cuba you will inevitably end up educating not just your own kids but the Cuban youngsters whom your children meet. The majority of children in Cuba know little or nothing about life outside the country. By encouraging your family to interact with local people and their children we hope in some way to be helping the next generation have a better understanding of different cultures and their respective ways of life, which will be crucial as Cuba enters a new phase following the thawing of relations with the USA.
Many companies offering tourist services in Cuba are established in and work out of Havana. Not only are they less familiar with other parts of the islands, they send their guides and transport out from the capital. Our operator has close connections with local communities, and recruit guides and other staff within the towns and regions which you will visit. This has the added advantage of helping in a small way to put a brake on the flight of talent to Havana, means that much needed revenues stay in situ, and breadwinners can stay close to their families. A further beneficial result is that we are able to offer a broader range of excursions and activities outside the capital, which is very innovative.
Several of the guides we work with are working in the state-supported Arts sector the additional income from their work with us helps to sustain their other professional activities. Our guides will also take you to see small private craft and retail initiatives - where you can buy products not specifically targeting the tourist market - using Cuban pesos, the local currency. For example, our salsa guide in Trinidad is personally involved with the arts sector. She will introduce you to the best places to dance and listen to Cuban music.
We also encourage you to eat in paladares, family run restaurants in private homes. Happily the standard of cuisine will often be higher than at a formal restaurant.