Our Cuba Project
We promote responsible travel, ecotourism, and sustainable social projects in Cuba. We aim to decrease the negative environmental footprint tourism can cause through innovation, reduction, reuse and recycling.
When you travel with Cuba Explorer your dollars support crucial island projects such as architectural preservation, environmental conservation, and healthcare and education programs, to name but a few.
Established in 1997, we are based in Miami, Florida, with offices in Havana, Cuba.
Our staff, entirely Cuban, works tirelessly to promote friendship and understanding between the peoples of Cuba and North America. We stick up for the Cuban people who have, for nearly six decades, suffered cruel privations as a result of the U.S. government blockade and embargo of their nation. And, because we believe, as do the Cubans: A better world is possible.
When you join a Cuba Explorer tour, you travel with peace of mind. We collaborate with many island organizations and institutions to provide rich social content for our island guests. A portion of your travel dollars help sustain the following non-governmental membership-based organizations.
Casas de Orientación a la Mujer y la Familia [Orientation Houses for Women and the Family] is a Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) sponsored island-wide program providing a variety of services, including AIDS prevention, psychiatric assistance, domestic violence services, and self-esteem workshops. The organization also offers various leadership and training programs designed to facilitate economic independence for women through classes ranging from hairdressing and French and English language courses to computing, marketing and management.
Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC) [Workers' Central Union of Cuba], founded in 1939, is the national federation of all unions on the island. Among its many activities, it processes individual and collective grievances, works to improve occupational health and safety, ensures gender and racial equality in the workplace, and accommodates the needs of disabled workers. The CTC also advances wage and incentive programs, and oversees the role of labor unions and management in setting production goals. The structure of the CTC consists of the Congress, National Council, National Committee, National Secretariat, national unions, branches, committees, provincial Labor Bureau at the enterprise level, and union sections. The CTC is comprised of 19 industrial unions representing three million workers.
Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (CENESEX) [Cuban National Center for Sex Education] combats homophobia, provides advocacy for transsexuals and transvestites, and promotes safe sex among young people. CENESEX works for the development of “a culture of sexuality that is full, pleasurable and responsible, as well as to promote the full exercise of sexual rights.”
Comité de Defensa de la Revolución (CDR) [Committee for the Defense of the Revolution] are voluntary non-governmental organizations, existing on nearly every block, that finance activities through annual dues paid by their members. From a North American perspective, they are similar to a combination of a block watch committee, community center and neighborhood enhancement project.
Consejo Mundial por La Paz (CMP) [World Peace Council] was formed in 1949 in order to promote peaceful coexistence and nuclear disarmament. Its presidency is currently based in Havana held by the esteemed Cuban statesman Orlando Fundora López, former president of Movimiento Cubano por La Paz y la Soberanía de los Pueblos – MOVPAZ [Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of Peoples].
Convento de Nuestra Señora de Belén [Convent of Our Lady of Belén] is a humanitarian health care project in Old Havana. The project began in 1991, under the direction of Director Nelson Águila, and continues with amazing results. Today the Office of the Historian, local Public Health authorities and the Order of the Sisters of Charity jointly manage the Belén Convent. It is home to fifty elderly people and provides physiotherapy and ophthalmological services to hundreds more seniors in the community. Other activities include exercise classes, board games, cognitive rehabilitation, films, crafts workshops, and “love among the elderly” lectures. The project also includes a daycare center and pharmacy.
Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) [Latin American School of Medicine]. Established in 1999 and financed by the generosity of the people of Cuba, ELAM is the largest medical school in the world with a current enrollment of over 12,000 students from over 29 countries. All its students are from outside Cuba and mainly come from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. The school also accepts disadvantaged students from the United States. Tuition, accommodation and board are free, and a small stipend is provided to students. Upon graduation young doctors are expected to return to their homelands and provide medical services to the poor for a period of three years.
Facultad de Lenguas Extranjeras Universidad de la Habana (FLEX) [Faculty of Foreign Languages of the University of Havana] offers renowned foreign language training to Cuban students preparing them to be among the world’s best translators and interpreters.
Federación Cubana de Béisbol (FCB) [Baseball Federation of Cuba] is the governing body of the sport of baseball within Cuba. It is part of INDER (National Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Recreation of Cuba), which positively elevates physical health and sportsmanship to the level of patriotic values and national identity.
Federación de Mujeres Cubanas (FMC) [Federation of Cuban Women] was founded in 1960. This mass organization has a membership of over 3.6 million, or 82% of all Cuban women over the age of fourteen. The FMC is active in all parts of Cuban life, from increasing representation of women in the National Assembly to promoting breast-feeding and sex education. It has scores of admirable and innovative programs focused on raising the status of women in Cuba.
Federación Estudiantil Universitaria (FEU) [Federation of University Students] is a national organization of college and university students who advocate for quality education and the needs of students on the island.
Instituto Cubano de Amistad con Los Pueblos (ICAP) [Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples] was founded in 1960 to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the peoples of the world. Since its founding, ICAP has helped coordinate the International Brigades which come from around the world to support Cuba through aid in agriculture, construction and other parts of the economy. The Casa de la Amistad, or Friendship House, run by ICAP, organizes social and cultural events and exchanges. ICAP also receives and distributes humanitarian aid from international solidarity groups.
Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) [Institute of Superior Arts] was created in 1976. The school is a center for advanced studies in the fields of theatre, dance, music, visual and communication arts. It offers courses at the undergraduate, graduate, MA and Ph.D. levels.
Museo de la Alfabetización [Museum of Literacy] exhibits relics of the 1961 literacy campaign. Prior to the Revolution a quarter of adult Cubans were illiterate and another million were semiliterate. Ten thousand teachers were unemployed and 70% of the rural population had no schools. After 1959 all private schools were nationalized and education became free and universal. Former military garrisons were turned into schools. In 1961 all schools were closed for eight months and some 250,000 students and teachers were sent to rural areas to teach reading and writing, laying the foundation for Cuba’s stellar literacy rate today. This campaign brought tens of thousands of city youth into contact with the country people, breaking down racial barriers and instilling a spirit of national cohesion.
If you have any questions about our tours or the island organization with which we collaborate, contact us toll free at 1-888-965-5647 or via email.