Voluntary work in Cuba

Information & guidance about volunteering projects in Cuba

Voluntary work in Cuba has been extremely limited for over half a century due to a US trade embargo that resulted in nothing going in or out, meaning opportunities for volunteers from the US may be more limited than volunteers from other locations. Voluntary organizations are slowly beginning to introduce more programs in Cuba, and despite relations still being strained are improving. An incredible culture and atmosphere engulfs the country, and is particularly stirring in Havana, Trinidad, Remedios and Camagüey where grandiose squares and cobbled streets hint at past opulence.

Where to volunteer in Cuba

Havana is the most popular city for voluntary work in Cuba, as it truly reflects the preserved Cuban culture where the streets are full of decaying yet colorful colonial architecture, tasty food and friendly locals. Five hundred years of history are proudly on display in the old district of Havana, Habana Vieja, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to the art and food culture it cultivates.

Matanzas is a small city on the northern coast of Cuba, called ‘The City of Bridges’ due to the seventeen bridges that can be found along the three rivers that intersect the city. Matanzas has a small population of around 150,000 and has earned a reputation as an artistic hub, meaning voluntary work here often involves working at vocational art schools or museums.

Varadero is located on the 20km-long Hicacos Peninsula in northern Cuba, and serves as an incredibly popular tourist destination and location for voluntary work in Cuba including nature and conservation projects. With over 60 hotels and shops, it is the most commercialized destination in Cuba, due to boasting an uninterrupted 20km stretch of blond sand that is undoubtedly one of the Caribbean’s best.

Volunteering projects in Cuba

Much of the available voluntary work in Cuba is related to education; Cuba already has an accessible healthcare system so a volunteer’s role is to provide insight and create environments where Cubans and volunteers can meet and learn from each other.

Voluntary work in Cuba can include agricultural placements in either rural or urban setting, which focuses on researching and developing sustainable projects, and helping small local farmers who grow a range of fruits and vegetables. Animal conservation is a great volunteering project in Cuba for animal lovers; volunteers help to protect endangered species and discover ways to properly balance the animal populations with the increasing tourist footfall.