The Educational Adventures Company

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The Educational Adventures Company is founded on the principles of environmentally and socially responsible tourism. We are a small group of dedicated and creative women who are passionate about what we do. Our ability to create cross-­cultural experience has grown out of our own personal travels and passions for the world. We offer you the opportunity to discover the world while immersing yourself in the culture and community. We personalize each experience to give you the educational adventure of a lifetime.
Member since: 21 Feb 2018

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

In our own community, we donate to local charities annually including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Adaptive Sports, the Durango Film Festival, and many other non-profits. Because charitable giving in Cuba is often thwarted by the government and also can create unwanted inequitable consequences, we engage in economic exchanges for services at a variety of levels with local people. We hire local guides and lecturers, stay in locally owned accommodations, and employ locals and small businesses for logistical operations. Our guides and lecturers are local and self employed so that profits go back to them and their families rather than the Cuban government and state agencies. Many of our guides and lecturers are working toward saving earnings to make improvements on or purchase their own casas, that they will then live in or rent as casas particulares. We continuously recruit and train new guides and lecturers to carry forward with building a growing group of Cubans independently employed and committed to their local economies. Our carefully selected casas are owned by local Cubans rather than foreign investors or state run hotels. We arrange dining options for our travelers with locally owned restaurants that are not state or government run. These restaurants are called Paladares and we arrange many of them in conjunction with cultural visits, like a meal at the house of an artist outside Havana, or a meal at an organic farm in the Valley of Vinales.

Environmental responsibility

We educate travelers in pre-departure documentation how to travel with environmental sustainability and avoid any tourism that does not respect and protect plantlife and wildlife. As a policy, we do not organize or support interactions with wildlife in captivity like swimming with dolphins, pony and horseback riding (due to poor treatment of horses in general in Cuba), and consumption of endangered species.
For example, we recommend travelers bring solar camping lights to use as flashlights (and in case of blackouts) and to then leave them as gifts in their casas. We also recommend bringing a travel filter water bottle or water filter to avoid purchasing plastic water bottles in excess. We are in the process of purchasing water filter bottles that we will send to our travelers with their pre-departure documentation. Additionally, we provide extensive on-site orientation to remind travelers to be extremely conservative with use of AC and showers.
We work with our guides and casas to provide them water filtration bottles to set the right example and to make sure they also encourage our travelers to practice water conservation including minimal shower times, extremely conservative use of AC and use of water filter bottles instead of purchase of plastics.

We organize visits to local urban gardens to purchase local produce directly from the farmers without government markups and unnecessary packaging.

Options for environmentally friendly transportation in Cuba are scarce. Travel around the island is done using buses and private cars with carbon emissions. We plan our itineraries based on the most effiient way to use transportation around the island and encourage our clients to walk as much as possible on their trips. We are also looking into safe bicycling tours we can structure and are working on a program to donate bicycles to partners in Cuba. To offset our carbon emissions, our company plants trees through Carbonfund.org annually.
We work out of our homes so there are no carbon emissions for a commute, and have group and client meetings in the Smiley Building, which is 100% functional on solar energy.

Social responsibility

We use local guides and lecturers to educate and foster cultural exchanges and avoid venues that engage in cultural appropriation. One of our initial orientation lecturers, Lily, worked for the Cuban government in the 1980s as a Czech interpreter. She is now approaching retirement from a government insurance administrative job and conducts her “Coffee and Conversation with a Cuban” lecture as a self-employed “expert” on living through the Cuban revolution and Special Period. Lily works with each group to provide an on-site social and political overview of Cuba with specific examples from her own life. A visit we encourage in all our itineraries is to the Cuban Literacy Museum where we set up a conversation with individuals who were tutors during the campaign of 1961 to eradicate all illiteracy across the island. One community project we like to visit is called the Callejon de Hamel. It is a neighborhood project in Centro Habana designed to celebrate and educate about the Cuban Santeria. There is a Rumba that takes place there on Sunday afternoons that draws large tourist crowds. All our tours avoid visiting the neighborhood at this time because there is more of a voyeuristic dynamic with selfies and facebook posts, pickpockets, and begging than a cultural exchange at that time. Rather, we set up a visit and tour with individuals engaged in the school on the premises and Salvador Gonzalez art projects on different days of the week so our travelers can truly understand the cultural significance of this important project.
In our pre-departure orientation we discuss our top five practices we encourage of our travelers to engage in environmentally, socially, and economically responsible tourism. We will include our pre-departure documentation that outlines that along with this application. Our phone orientation expands on these principles to prepare our travelers for the social and political realities in Cuba.

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