Over the years traveling to Cuba has become easier and cheaper, which translates into a constant rise of tourists entering the island. According to official sources, every year around one million people visit Cuba. Even though tourism undeniably has a positive impact in the country, there is also a negative side that comes with it.
As the world is more and more aware of global warming and climate change, terms such as “responsible tourism”, “ecotourism”, or “sustainable travel” have become important. From the beginning, at Espíritu Travel we have embraced these values. We only promote sustainable tourism in Cuba, in fact, we have a dedicated page on our website where we explain everything about our compromise with ecotourism in Cuba.
But, what does responsible tourism mean?
Some of the most common negative impacts of tourism are economic leakage, damage to the natural ecosystems or overcrowding. Responsible tourism aims to minimize these effects while maximizing more positive ones like job creation, heritage preservation or wildlife protection. Ecotourism has several benefits and the potential to be a sustainable engine of economic and social development.
In case you are wondering, choosing ecotourism in Cuba does not necessarily mean compromising the enjoyment or commodity of your trip. There are many ways of having the best of both worlds and in Espíritu Travel we know them all!
Why should I choose ecotourism in Cuba?
We have no doubts that your trip to Cuba will be an unforgettable experience. By choosing to practise sustainable tourism, you are protecting all the things that make this country special.
- Preserving natural areas. Over 20% of the Cuban territory are protected natural areas. Ecotourism prevents further damage in the ecosystems and funnels money to help with the preservation.
- Protecting cultural heritage. The Cuban culture is unique. In fact, there are several World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO not only in Havana, but all over the island. Sustainable traveling means being respectful with the heritage of Cuba while making the most out of it.
- Helping local communities. As responsible tourism becomes more prominent in Cuba, locals will have the opportunity to access more jobs, increase their earning potential and develop new skills and training.
How to practise sustainable tourism in Cuba
Sadly, in a place like Cuba, sustainable tourism is practically unheard of. At Espíritu Travel we are working to be part of the change of mindset on the island. Throughout the years we have developed the knowledge and the relationships with different communities and organizations to promote responsible travel in Cuba. These are some of the areas that Espíritu Travel focuses on:
Renting a Casa Partitular
A Casa Particular is a private house licensed by the government under strict conditions to be partially or fully rented to foreigners. This type of accomodation is cheaper than hotels, but also great to have an authentic experience, promote the Cuban heritage and help the local communities! You can read more about Casas Particulares here.
Using local guides
Espíritu Travel only works with local guides. Firstly, because there is nothing like hearing everything about the history, culture and traditions of Cuba from a local. But also because when you use a local guide the money will be reinvested in the community!
Promoting more than just Havana
Cuba is a treasure with a lot to offer. At Espíritu Travel we know that, for that reason we offer a variety of trips that cover different sides of the island. You can check out the Espíritu Travel trip ideas on our website. You can also read more about traveling to Cuba and enjoying the island here.
Encouraging tourists to consume local products and services
Cuban gastronomy is a delicious mix of flavors from different cultures. By eating at local cafes or markets, you will find a different way to get immersed in the culture of the country and also strengthen local entrepreneurs. Do you want to know more about the local cuisine in Cuba? Check out this article.
Contributing to preserving ecosystems
To name some of our initiatives in this area, Espíritu Travel offers carbon neutral travel for all trips to Cuba. In addition, we provide monthly donations to AniPlant, an independent organization that aims to protect domestic animals in Cuba.
If you are interested in practicing ecotourism in Cuba, you can contact us. At Espíritu Travel we will be more than happy to help you organize your perfect trip to Cuba!