Cuba on a budget tour
Description of Cuba on a budget tour
Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all - or just part - of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetDuring this trip to Cuba, the itinerary consists of you staying in locally run casa particulares throughout the trip. This prioritizes accommodation with low environmental impact due to only having small family-run B&B like accommodation. This is better than using a hotel as there is only a few rooms per accommodation.
We provide each of our customers with a 'How to be a Responsible Traveler' document before they travel. This includes advice and tips on how to buy locally, protect wildlife, and how to make a genuine difference to the country they’re visiting.
Travelling by hire car is not always the most environmental way to travel but it does allow our customers the freedom to independently travel and can have less of an environment impact than travelling in a larger group. We always advise our customers that hitch hiking is common in Cuba and is a fantastic way to get to know some locals – and get some directions on route! Do exercise caution but revel in the opportunity to make some new friends.
Although there is hire car travel, there are also some more sustainable ways included such as buses, walking/hiking, bici-taxi etc. so we do encourage our customers to use other means of getting about!
You’ll also be visiting a few of the more unusual destinations, away from the usual tourist trail. This is good because then it will help out the locals and ensure they get the provisions they need to keep their crops growing and environmental awareness in these areas gets improved. Exploring two of Cuba’s relatively undiscovered colonial gems during a few nights in this itinerary, and take a break from the bustle of the bigger cities and tourist hot-spots whilst gaining an insight into everyday Cuban life. First, Remedios and secondly you’ll then travel south to Sancti Spiritus. Sancti Spiritus gives you an insight to how this central Cuban province fulfills environmental strategies to address climate change, such as those dedicated to the preservation of coral reefs, and the protection of sandy beaches. This improves the environmental awareness in these kinds of areas.
We encourage travellers to reuse/recycle their water bottles or use refillable bottles as opposed to continuously purchasing more and wasting them. We also encourage our travellers to minimise their impact on the environment during their trip by following the tips provided in the 'How to be a Responsible Traveler' guide. To give a further example, bottled water can be found at small shops, hotels and petrol stations. We tell tour customers as a tip to purchase 5 litre bottles of water (costing around 2 CUC or £1.50 from petrol stations) and use these to fill up smaller bottles. This is a cheaper and less wasteful way to use the water and their water bottles.
As a company we ensure to use suppliers who have the same values as us - especially when it comes to the environment. To further this statement, one of the suppliers we use comply with our environmental values by focusing on small-scale tourism (not mass-tourism), stimulating the promotion of Ecotourism with flora and fauna and cultural heritage. As stated before, they use Casa's on a small scale which lowers the impact tourism has on the environment and local culture.
Most hotels will also have reminders in place to make sure the guests are being responsible with the electricity and water while staying there. For instance, asking to change the towels when it's needed rather than on a daily basis to save water and energy. We also enforce this to guests within our guide as mentioned. There is a section in which it makes customers aware that in Cuba they often have no water and black-outs and that it is a normal occurrence here. We make them aware of this and to ensure they follow the procedures. Also in Curacao, one of our suppliers enforces special light bulbs within this area due to energy being very expensive. This ensures that no electricity is wasted if necessary.
Our responsible travel journey starts at home, from our Brighton based paperless office, where we reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible. Each and every day a healthy lunch is provided to our staff and any leftovers and food waste are composted. We’re committed to sustainable travel and are proud to have received the thumbs up from Travelife by achieving their Better Places Partner criteria.
PeopleAs stated above, by staying in the locally Casa Particulares throughout this trip, you are giving money directly to the locals who need it the most, instead of a chain run business/hotel. Due to there being only a few rooms per Casa, this will hugely decrease the impact tourism has on the local culture. This means that it will be better preserved for the best experience for our customers and the locals!
We work with local partners in Cuba who care just as much about the community as we do. As well as supporting initiatives to promote Cuban culture (such as organizing workshops, tours and courses to promote Cuba culture), they ensure that their employees are paid a living wage. They also offer flexible working hours to their staff to make it easier to fit their work around other commitments and responsibilities such as family.
We also ensure that the local guides really do come from the area they’re working in. We believe this ensures that a meaningful, truthful insight is given about the area our customers are visiting, and means that our guides can continue to work and live near to their families. This helps avoid the migration of people to larger towns seeking employment and opportunity.
Also, you’ll be visiting a few of the more unusual destinations, away from the usual tourist trail. This will help out the locals in this area as they are getting more tourism into these more rural destinations. Also having walking tours through these areas means that you have more time to check out all the local markets. Purchasing locally made goods/souvenirs/food means that the money goes straight into the locals pockets meaning they can earn a living for them and their families.
We ensure to include in the itinerary trips to cultural/local attractions so our travellers will be visiting these during their trip with us to Cuba. This supports the local cultures and ensures that it's all learnt and respected by our customers. The cultural/local attractions that we support are places such as Che Guevara monument and mausoleum. Within Sancti Spiritus we will be supporting local 'unusual' museums and natural parks. Also Trinidad was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. So we will be supporting many places in this community such as schools, tobacco and cigar factories and local outlets. There are also many art museums and local craft markets that we will be getting our customers to visit - which will also support these places.
We also encourage our customers to purchase the local communities crafts and products and we make sure that they visit the places in which these are found. This supports the local communities cultures and products, ensuring that it all goes straight to the community.
We provide each of our customers with a 'How to be a Responsible Traveler' document before they travel. This includes advice and tips on how to buy locally, the local cultures and some useful tips for meeting the local community. It includes some useful phrases as well. This will ensure they get the warmest welcome locally.
As well as supporting local projects in all of our destinations through support from our customers, we also do a little fundraising at home for local and international causes. As music is such an important part of Cuban culture, we’ve chosen to support Music fund for Cuba, a UK based charity that was established in 2001. They support education and development of music and performing arts in Cuba. The project provides much needed support and equipment for children and young Cuban musicians, dancers and artists through the island.
We believe in putting people first, not just in the destinations we offer but also here in the UK. We believe that happy staff lead to a happy working environment, so with this in mind we offer a wide variety of staff rewards at our office in sunny Brighton. This includes ethically sourced daily lunches, a ride to work scheme and one paid charity day per employee.