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Road Trip + Vounteering + Culture


Itinerary Options

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Discover Cuba

Enter the time warp and practise your salsa.

We are so excited to open up this program after 2 years ... you are going to be welcomed with open arms.

Cuba maybe a nation frozen in time with its pretty, decaying, neoclassical buildings and vintage American cars, but this country rocks. Dance, music and mojito's literally flood the streets of Havana making it one the most exciting places to step into and covid may have dampened their spirits but not for much longer as the country opens it's borders once again.

This unique 4 week road trip will show you Cuba's highlights - from the meandering streets of Havana to the tobacco filled valleys of Vinales, to the glorious Caribbean beaches. We promise to get you off the beaten track and immerse you fully by volunteering in community centres, teaching you to dance and roll a cigar.

Venture out to this Caribbean paradise to explore, contribute and immerse yourself into their culture whilst on an awesome road trip of Cuba's finest hidden gems.

Program Itinerary

This 4 week program provides the opportunity to explore this historic island whilst heading off the tourist trail on an exciting road trip to explore and contribute.

The following is a sample itinerary.

Days 1 - 28

Cuba Culture, contribution and exploration

Welcome to Cuba

Rightly famed for being the most musical nation on the planet and home to stunning old neoclassical buildings, an abundance of vintage American cars and a fascinating history to get your teeth stuck into.

We have worked with our Cuban team here for a number of years and are so chuffed to be able to get leapers back out there to resume work and support the projects once again. The Jakera team in Cuba are hugely respected and go about making small changes sensitively to the communities whilst supporting the culture and chaos within this incredible country. You are going to love it.

So, step back in time, hop into a vintage car and enjoy this jam packed 4-week itinerary we have planned for you.

Wk 1

Old Havana Volunteering + Exploration + Dance

Old Havana

Your main base will be in the heart of Old Havana, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site BTW due to its utterly stunning shabby chic architecture. You’ll live in the Jakera House right in the centre of a myriad of gorgeous neoclassical buildings, buzzing with music, bars and impromptu dancing. Utter heaven.

There is so much to do and see here that we are mixing it up and interweaving volunteering, cultural outings and of course dancing...so take your strictly shoes.


Pre-covid the Cuba team supported three main community initiatives: The Arco and Barrio Vieja Community centre, the El Gimnasio boxing gym and the Escuala y Instituto de Musica Cubana – all iconic centres which supported the well being of families and children.

Sadly, everything came to a grinding halt in March and is only just beginning to open up again.The Cuban team are slowly working their way round to re-order their focus. Closer to your arrival time we know what your project is going to be, but it will involve a refurbishing element in one of these centres.


There is so much to see and do here and so much to learn about the history. Our local guides will steer you off the beaten track to lots of interesting places, but this week will focus on the Plaza de la Revolution and the walk on the Malecon.


Ok, for all those familiar with Strictly Come Dancing – this is your moment to get in tune with your inner self and let your hair down whilst learning to Salsa, Rumba and Merengue!

Your evenings will range from grabbing a bite to eat in one of the many cheap and cheerful eateries in your neighbourhood to chilling along the Malecon with local Habeneros or a trip to Vedado to enjoy the music and nightlife of this incredible city.


You will live in a large Cuban apartment in a neoclassical tenement building in Old Havana. Like most of Old Havana, the architecture, exterior and communal stairs, are safe but in an overall dilapidated condition (call it shabby chic!). Inside however, the apartment is very comfortable, with views across the neighbourhood from the terraces where you can chill.

Expect dormitory style bedrooms sleeping six, with bathrooms providing hot and cold water showers and western style toilets.


Breakfast and lunch included.
Dinner is extra and can be in one of local cafes or you can cook in the Casa kitchen.

Wk 2

Trinidad History + Dance

Colonial Masterpiece

This week starts off with a few days in Trinidad, which is one of the Caribbean's best-preserved examples of the Spanish colonialism era. Expect to find lots of pastel coloured houses, pretty churches and cobbled streets but it has a big music vibe to it – cool open-air bars and salsa dancing on tap.

On one of the days you will be taken to explore the Valle de los Ingenious (Valley of the Sugar mills) which is another World Heritage Site.

Back to Havana to keep going with the volunteering.

Week overview:

Day 1: Travel to Trinidad / guided night tour of colourful plazas and salsa bars
Day 2: Guided historical walk of Old Trinidad / dance class.
Day 3: Full day tour of the Valle de los Ingenious (Valley of the Sugar mills) / beach time.
Day 4: Travel back to Havana. Volunteering in the afternoon.
Day 5: Volunteering


You'll live with a local family, in a ‘Casa particular’. Expect 2-4 Leapers per family.


Breakfast and lunch included in the house.
Dinner will be extra at one of the local cafes.

Wk 3

Vinales Tobacco Culture + Adventure

Roll yourself a cigar

Another little road trip out to explore Viñales, (another UNESCO World Heritage Site!) owing to the stunning karst valley landscape and rolling tobacco plantations.

Whilst here we will take you into the valley to see the tobacco drying houses where you will learn about the art of curing tobacco and rolling cigars, along with an early morning hike to see the spectacular sunrise.

You will also visit the ‘Cueva del Indio’ and take a boat trip learning about the ‘Guanajatabey’ Indians who built primitive homes hollowed out of the limestone mogotes.

Week overview

Day 1: Travel to Vinales/welcome walk around town
Day 2: Sunrise hike to local farmstead / guided visit a tobacco farm
Day 3: Guided visit to Cueva del Indio and Muro Prehistorico
Day 4: Travel back to Havana. Volunteering
Day 5: Guided Tour of Tobacco Factory


You will stay in a ‘Casa particular’, essentially translating to a government approved ‘individuals house’ where foreign guests can stay. This gives you the opportunity to live with a Cuban family for a full cultural immersion. Expect about 2-4 Leapers per house.


Breakfast and lunch included.
Dinner will be out in a local cafe - please budget about $10 per meal.

Wk 4

Old Havana Volunteering + History + Culture + Dance

Back into Havana

Your last week will be back in Havana to continue your exploration, dance moves and history lessons whilst completing your project.

Week overview:

Day 1: Volunteering / guided tour of Castillo El Morro
Day 2: Volunteering / dance class
Day 3: Volunteering / visit to War Museum to learn about Fidel and the Cuban Revolution
Day 4: Volunteering / dance class
Day 5: Free time to go souvenir shopping / final night out


Breakfast and lunch only in the Casa.
Dinner will be extra at one of the local cafes.


Covid Protocal

The Social Bubble
The Leap team and staff in the camp will create a social bubble.Handwash and cough and sneeze protocol as stipulated by WHO will be respected. There will be foot baths and handwashing stations around the Casa, plus lots of alcohol gel.

Any staff members not living in the Casa will be considered outside the bubble and will have to socially distance and wear facemasks when addressing those inside the bubble. They will also have clean / work clothes to change into after washing and disinfecting themselves upon arrival at the Casa.

When outside the Casa everyone will have to respect the social distancing rules and wear masks when they are shops, cafes and supermarkets.


Add on Independent Travel

Combine with Guatemala and Costa Rica

What we are finding is that our teams never want to come home post program and choose to add on a phase of independent travel with their new found friends - certainly making the most of their gap year. We can easily support this through our Leap VIP travel resource which every leaper has access to.

Cuba is perfectly placed to fly on to Costa Rica and Guatemala afterwards, or even Jamaica. Want to get the most out of your gap year? Call us and chat through your ideas.


Options and costs

This is going to be awesome - dancing, exploring and contributing on this historic island.

Whats included?

Social Life

The Casa in Havana can accommodate up to 25 Leapers, who come from all over the world, so it's busy and fun.

Cultural Exchange

Through local contacts you will experience so much more than the average tourist.


Learning and perfecting the samba is integral to experiencing the heart and soul of this culture.

Road Trip

Your journey will take you from the Caribbean beaches, to the tobacco covered hills of Vinales and beyond.

Monday to Friday

You'll be busy 5 days a week and for the majority of the day, BUT your weekends and evenings are your own to let your hair down – we’re in Cuba after all.


Weekends will generally be free time. You’re welcome to stay and chill at the Casa or head off for a change of scene.

Backpacker favourites:

Watch a baseball match - baseball is as Cuban as hand-rolled cigars.
Head out on a road trip to Baracoa, Cuba's oldest city and first capital.
Visit Camagüey, built to stop on-going raids by pirates, the maze-like streets are slightly confusing, but nevertheless an amazing place of colour and culture.
Day trips to some of the best Caribbean beaches.
A night out to the Parisienne Cabaret Show at the iconic Hotel National – apparently this has to be seen.
Guided nights out to the salsa clubs.


Yes, Cuba has opened it doors once again to step in and soak up the glorious decaying neo classical buildings, classic American cars in mouth watering colours, salsa (compulsory) and all the Caribbean heat and sounds you can muster…come on ... it's awesome and should be on everyone's bucket list.

Our Cuban team led by Leonel, are passionate about their country and want to see it fly once again, they want to show you the best bits, the troubled bits and everything in between.


Need inspiration and direction?

Get in contact with the gap year travel specialists.

Here at The Leap we can help both team traveller through our programmes and/or the backpacker.

Jot a message below or call us on +44 1672 519 9222

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