In recent years we have heard more and more the words eco-friendly trips or sustainable travel and probably the first thing that comes to mind is that to make an eco-friendly trip you have to stay at a campsite, not travel by plane or try getting around the destination by bicycle or public transport, but eco-friendly traveling is much broader and includes so many smaller yet still “green” activities that are all a part of what it means to be an eco-friendly traveler.
Today we want to propose small changes that you can do on your trip to Cuba to have the most Eco-Friendly trip. Traveling to Cuba in an Eco-Friendly way does not mean having to compromise on the quality or enjoyment of your trip. In Espíritu Travel we believe that by choosing to travel in a more sustainable way your will enhances the experience of getting to know the people and culture of Cuba.
Is Cuba and Eco-Friendly destination?
Cuba is still essentially a third world country and environmentally friendly ventures, like recycling and researching alternative forms of energy, are yet not a visible priority in contemporary Cuba but the destinations keeps improving on developing more sustainable policies.
That said, Cuba has an excellent network of nationally protected natural areas, such as the Parque Nacional de Humboldt, the Viñales Valley or Las Terrazas. While traveling in these preserved areas, respect the environment by not dumping garbage, sticking to trails, and travel with local guides.
In Cuba, where basic goods are hard to come by and often extremely expensive, a policy of make-do-and-mend prevails. Furniture is continuously reupholstered and re-stuffed, mattresses are re-sprung, clothes are mended, electrical goods are re-wired and shoes are re-heeled. They are expert in implementing a circular economy.
How to plan an Eco-Friendly tip to Cuba?
While some people take green travel to the extreme, no matter what decisions you make during your travels, as long as you try your best to be more environmentally conscious, you’re doing your part. The best and easiest phrase to remember when traveling is to leave no trace. This concept means to leave nothing behind but footprints, no matter where you go.
Choose staying in a Casa Particular
Unlike other Latin American destinations, in Cuba there are two different types of accommodation, hotels and casas particulares. These are private houses licensed by the government under strict conditions to rent en-suite rooms to foreigners. A sort of micro bed and breakfast that has been set up in people’s homes. It is the best way to learn and share about Cubans community!
Staying in a casa particular is without a doubt one of the best recipes to get to know Cuban’s way of life, while helping the local community. You will not only invest in the local community but you will also participate in a cultural exchange that will enrich you and your hosts.
Eat at Cuban local restaurants: Paladares
What better way than to know Cuba than through the gastronomy? Avoid eating in the large chain restaurants that you can find on your hometown, try local products that are produced in Cuba and consume in the local restaurant.
In Cuba you will find private owned restaurant by Cubans almost everywhere, they are call Paladares. Do not hesitate to ask your local guide for a good Paladar to have lunch. I assure you that your gastronomic experience will be more authentic!
Use local guides and small group or private activities
Who better to show you the country than the local people? Try when possible to book activities in small groups or private to minimize the impact of carrying out the activity in the environment.
Also a private visit allows travelers to learn more and talk with local people. You can share your points of view, listen to the guide’s comments on certain historical or current events and educate each other about their respective cultures and traditions.
Consume Cuban local products and services
By consuming products or services locally made, you will help strengthen local entrepreneurs and the profits will be reinvested on the local population. When you buy any good or service, buy only what you really need and do it at a fair price.
Contributes to the conservation, protection and regeneration of Cuban ecosystems
We all love visiting natural landscapes and living with animals, but as Responsible Travelers we must make sure that the ecosystem is not damaged. On the contrary, tourism should serve to protect it, regenerate it and help it grow.
Do not participate in activities where animals are removed from their habitat. Do not swim with the dolphins or pick flowers or plants from the parks you visit.
Respect Cuban diversity and do not encourage discriminatory activities
If our impact on nature can be dangerous, the impact on other people is even more so. Especially with the most disadvantaged groups. In Espíritu Travel we provide monthly donations to AniPlant, an independent membership organization dedicated to the protection of domestic animals in Cuba.
Read more about the benefits of planning a Eco-Friendly trip to Cuba.
Espíritu Travel eco-Friendly trips to Cuba
In Espíritu Travel we want to ensure that not only each of our customized trips to Cuba provides a truly enriching experience for travelers but that every trip contributes to local economy and reduces the negative environmental impacts. To become a more sustainability company we have partner with CCC’s Carbon Neutral Checkout, a program that measures the greenhouse gas emissions associated with every trip with Espíritu Travel.
As an example, one of our eight-day trips to Cuba supports a number of entrepreneurs/small businesses and their families as well as the subsequent indirect linkages with other sectors. Over the last five years we have maintained working relationships with a plethora of small businesses, from casas particulares, family-owned restaurants to local guides and shop owners.
You can read more about Espíritu Travel Eco-friendly trips and policies here.
Eco-Friendly Travel Apps
Oroeco: As you travel simply input what you purchase, consume and the algorithm will show you the impact of your decisions on the environment. You can compare it to those around you and your friends to see who’s the greenest among you. It’s a great way to understand your impact and find ways to lower it.
HopStop: is an awesome choice for understanding the best environmentally friendly transportation options to get you to where you’re going. HopStop will recommend travel options to the nearest train, bus, ferry, subway, or by foot/bicycle depending on the distance. It’s an easy way to get around while remaining environmentally conscious.
All apps are free and available on IOS and Android devices.
Have I convinced you to do an Eco-friendly trip to Cuba? It’s not that difficult right. We can all reduce our footprint when we travel by performing actions as simple as not feeding the animals or using a reusable bottle.
At Espíritu Travel we design trips to Cuba that create jobs, help local families, collaborate with locals, and endorse real connections between countries and people. Our biggest challenge is to offer real experiences planning an Eco-Friendly trip to Cuba.