Travel to Cuba with First-Hand Aid
Volunteering with First-Hand Aid isn’t like volunteering with most other organizations. We provide a different sort of experience and our travelers play a vital role in the services that we provide to children and families in Cuba.
We travel to Cuba about four times a year. Our next trips are tentatively scheduled as follows:
January 21 – 29 2017
April 8/9 – 16 2017
Approximate cost for the trip (including everything except spending money and lunches) is $3200.
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Volunteer Travel Program
What are your volunteer needs at First-Hand Aid?
We have a variety of volunteer opportunities including helping with mailings and assisting with special events.
Our biggest need – and the most rewarding experience for our supporters – is people who are willing to travel to Cuba with us to transport and deliver supplies to the families and hospitals we work with.
I am interested in transporting supplies to Cuba. What are your requirements to participate?
To travel to Cuba with First-Hand Aid, volunteers must have:
- Flexibility with travel dates
- An open-minded perspective to this very unique travel experience and the circumstances that exist in Cuba
- A valid passport
- Good health
- No criminal history (misdemeanors or felonies)
- An interest in helping the children and families of Cuba
I thought the American government had an embargo and travel restrictions relating to Cuba. Is it legal to travel to Cuba and distribute supplies?
First-Hand Aid is certified as an aid organization by both the American and Cuban governments. We are licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Commerce Department.
Our volunteers are able to legally travel to Cuba as humanitarian aid workers under our license with the U.S. government.
Why don’t you ship the supplies to Cuba instead of hand-delivering it?
At First-Hand Aid, we never ship supplies. By traveling with the supplies, we are able to ensure that everything reaches the people who need it most.
What should I expect as a volunteer traveling to Cuba with First-Hand Aid?
Volunteers travel with luggage that contains the supplies that we transport to Cuba. While in Cuba, our volunteers visit the hospitals, clinics, and individual homes to deliver the aid. As a volunteer, you get to meet the people who receive the aid, talk with them, and learn more about their families and their lives.
Volunteers with First-Hand Aid have established and maintained meaningful relationships with the families they have met in Cuba. Getting involved at a personal level is a hallmark for our organization.
Who manages the travel arrangements?
First-Hand Aid coordinates all travel arrangements for volunteers.
Because there are no flights from U.S. cities to Cuba, our volunteer groups drive to Toronto and fly directly from Toronto to Havana.
While in Cuba, our volunteers stay in casas (peoples homes). This is not only the most inexpensive way to stay, but it is the best way to dive into the Cuban culture.
Typically, breakfast is provided by the Cuban families with whom our volunteers stay. Other meals are arranged by First-Hand Aid.
Finally, First-Hand Aid handles all travel clearances that must be obtained by the U.S. and Cuban governments.
Do I need to be able to speak Spanish to travel to Cuba with First-Hand Aid?
No. Translators are available as needed.
What level of commitment do you expect from your volunteers?
Our volunteers are expected to spend about a week in Cuba. After volunteers return, we hope that they will continue to support First-Hand Aid financially.
What is the cost for volunteers who travel to Cuba?
Volunteers pay travel costs which include airfare, meals, and administrative fees. The cost can vary significantly based on a variety factors like the cost of airfare and the number of people traveling in the group.