Special Programs

  • Look here for upcoming Special Events, Special Tours to join, and Special Pricing

Announcement

March

May

June

  • A great month for gardens, celebrations, and all of our tours

November 2013

  • Bi-annual International Choral Festival. Calling all choristers and music lovers – international choirs invited. Non-competitive festival.

Two Week Island Tour

July 10 to 25 – Exploring Cuba, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Sierra Maestras, Camaguey, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, Playa Giron, Vinales, Soroa, and Habana.

Small group tour – Limited group size

Week 1 Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Sierra Maestra, Camaguey
Week 2 Santa Clara, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Playa Giron, Vinales, Soroa and Habana.

Expert led tours in all locations, these tours are much, much more than museum visits. Learn the history, culture, and heritage of Cuba.

Participants accepted for either week or a combination of days. Limited space available

Prices on request.

Contact Us for More Information

Gardens of Western Cuba

Cuba Beyond the Beaches brings you an exciting tour of the gardens of four delightful areas of Cuba. This is orchid country. The mountains of Western Cuba receive rainfall all year round – in winter brought by cold fronts from the continent, in summer from the tropical lows passing from the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico. Ideal conditions for endemic and exotic orchids.

Our lecturers are internationally recognized Cuban experts whose lifework has been their gardens and the search, protection and propagation of the indigenous species of Cuba.

Your tour starts and ends in Habana, fast becoming the orchid capital of Cuba, thanks to the interest created by the International Orchid Festival held in May.


Day 1 – Habana, City of Orchids

We start our day in the city of Habana. High on the cool slopes of hillsides where once the wealthy summered, we visit a private collection of orchids of outstanding merit.

Our host is the vice president of the Habana orchid association. He has an outstanding collection of fine orchids and is currently involved, with a group of friends, in building a small en vitro fertilization lab for breeding wonderful new orchids.

Lunch in his home

After lunch time to study – propagation, care and showing orchids. Time to ask all your questions.

(For non-aficiandos we are happy to arrange on of our cultural/heritage tours for the afternoon)


Day 2 – Garden Projects – Feeding the city and disaster recovery

By the late 1980’s Cuba was in the uncomfortable position of having two thirds of its food come from outside the country. Its basic foodstuffs – milk, meat, rice, coffee (in Cuba a basic food) and most of its vegetables, came from outside nearly all from the USSR but a great deal from Europe. With the collapse of the USSR this flow of cheap and reliable food stopped. Rice went from 5 Pesos for a pound to 35. Cuba was starving. No oil for tractors, or trucks, or fertilizer. The solution was to grow food locally. Empty lots, parks, and wasteland was converted to productive organoponico gardens. Fertilizer was made from compost and manures, soil was built up, and vegetables flourished. Slowly local seed was developed. Most apartment buildings had large gardens from where residents purchased their vegetables. Producing 5 to 7 million tons of produce these gardens and tiny farms encircle cities and infiltrate the most upmarket residential areas.

Social gardening seems to be a peculiarly Cuban form. We visit someone who turned a disastrous salt water flood into a green movement for his street, his block and his barrio. Not content with his lovely garden he planted in the street, and then encouraged his neighbours to tend trees he supplied


Day 3 – More orchids

Today we leave the city to head out to the mountainous provinces of Artemisa and Pinar del Rio. On our way out of the city we make two stops to enjoy more orchids.

A private garden started in 2008, now has a collection of 240 orchids (this is the home of the local orchid association).

Then on to a commercial grower, selling cut orchids for arrangement since 1987.

Lunch at one of these stops.

Your homestays are on the outskirts of Soroa. Many of them have beautiful and interesting gardens, backdropped by the Sierras, and with the cool air of the mountains refreshing after the heat of the city.

Dinner in your homestay.


Day 4 – More orchids and more about orchids

The orchid gardens of Soroa are world famous. Our local guide has worked in them for nearly 30 years. We get a glimpse of the propagation and experimental work going on behind the scenes, and projects to preserve the wild orchids which used to abound in the mountain forests.

After lunch we visit two outstanding artists known for their work with orchids. And other artists nearby.

Dinner in your homestay.


Day 5 – A different kind of nursery and a project

High on a hill overlooking the northern shore is a nursery devoted to preserving heritage fruits. After 20 years this gardener’s work has attracted the attention of the government and he is now part of a national group working to make fruit mean more than mangos!

After a nursery tour, lunch on many of the fruits and vegetables of this wonderful garden.

Many of the palms in this part of the island are unique to Cuba and endangered. The Jardin Botanico has a preservation project which we are privileged to visit.

Dinner in your homestay.


Day 6 – Vinales Mogotes and Gardens

The huge limestone outcrops of this part of the island have been made famous by artists for hundreds of years. The sheer sides of the isolated hills are the result of water erosion on the oldest rocks of the island. The isolation of each mogote has led to endemic and unique insects, snails and plants. Rivers run through subterranean caverns which are still being explored. Cave paintings are in abundance. Access is restricted.

Vinales is home to a couple of interesting gardens. We visit a miniature Jardin Botanico with many species of endemic and exotic trees and plants, and then on to a natural sculpture garden.

Lunch in Vinales.

As we turn back to the highway and Pinar del Rio we will visit the provinces Jardin Botanico. Newly restored this garden is slowly recovering from years of being abandoned

Dinner in your homestay in Habana


Day 7 – Jardin Botanico de Cuba

This 600 acre site was developed between 1969 and 1984 and parts are constantly under renewal. Despite the ravages of the Special Period, the long time director was able to maintain the collections which are now expanding and filling newly defined spaces. There are fine collections of palms, archaic forest plants, and collections of orchids, epiphytes and bromeliads. The centre of the garden is The Japanese Garden – a gift to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Revolution. This garden has recently been restored to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Revolution.

Lunch in the garden – the Jardin Botanico promotes vegetarian food and healthy eating.

Visits with some local gardens

Dinner in your homestay.


Day 8 Departure Day

Additional tours are available for this day. Ask us about visits to individual orchid growers, and our cultural and heritage programming in Habana


Extend Your Tour

Extend your tour with all or part of our Gardens of Central and/or Eastern Cuba

Tour availability – small groups, individuals – continuously available – CONTACT US FOR PRICES

Garden Groups: CONTACT US FOR PRICES

  • February 2nd week
  • March 2nd week
  • April 2nd week

Click for Further Information – Accommodation, Meals, Transport

Accommodations

Accommodations are quoted as Homestays throughout the tour. All are in carefully selected and licensed Cuban homes. Most accommodations offer private baths, air-conditioning and fans. Your hosts may speak a little English but gestures, smiles and genuine kindness make the stay a truly memorable experience. Our bilingual staff is always available.

Alternative accommodations are available in hostals (converted colonial or republic era buildings which are now tiny hotels complete with restaurants and bars, most are in the colonial, neo-colonial areas of the city centres and are rated 3/4/5 stars), or in a variety of hotel accommodations (hotels not resorts in the city)

Eastern Cuba – Mountain Eco-Resort

The mountain resort is a true eco-resort high in the Sierras about 100 kms of winding roads from Santiago. Waterfalls and pools enhance a valley of tropically lush vegetation, while alpine-type meadows and small farms make the mountain slopes above a wonderful contrast.

Read more about Gardens of Eastern Cuba.

Central Cuba – Spa-Resort


The spa-resort is a newly restored and renovated mineral spa-hotel. There are pools of beneficial mineral water warmed by subterranean hot springs. Massage and other remedial activities are available. Or just relax by the pool and soak up the peace and quiet of this off road hotel.

Read more about Gardens of Central Cuba.

Meals

Homestay Accommodations are booked with Breakfast and Dinner.

Hotel Accommodations are booked with Breakfast only, unless dinner is requested.

Lunch is included in all full tour days. Lunches are on farms, in studios, in private homes – all integral parts of the tour.

Special diets and vegetarian food are available. Please let us know when you book. We recommend homestay accommodations for people with special meal requests.

Transport

Group and individual transport for the day tours is by government licensed, air-conditioned vehicles, with a very few exceptions. We use the same chauffeurs for our tours as much as possible as they know how our clients like to be driven.

For individuals and very small groups we recommend intercity bus transportation except where the journey is part of the tour. The intercity buses are clean, on time, air-conditioned, they carry two chauffeurs. For large distances they provide a very economical solution. Depending on where you are travelling we try to select journeys for the late afternoon and evening, to leave your days free for our tours, and your own explorations.

Accessibility

Please let us know if standing or longer walks are difficult for you – we try to make all tours accessible. Some of the gardens are partially wheelchair accessible; we provide well-trained assistance for people in wheelchairs or those with limited mobility.

After Tour Accommodation Options

For those of you coming for two weeks to Eastern Cuba and wishing a beach stay we offer several alternatives:

A small all-inclusive resort, about 75 kms from Santiago. Here you will find peace and tranquility in an idyllic setting. Perched above a small town, with breathtaking seascapes from every room, this is an ideal place to start enjoying the warmth and friendliness of Cuba, and to relax after a busy week of gardens.

A wonderful beach house, with an interesting history, has a limited number of rooms. Perched on the terrace above a small private cove and near a lovely little beach, this house offers tranquility and a lazy tropical atmosphere, with welcoming chairs on deep verandas, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and marvelous food. A completely off the track hideaway.

A quiet property close to a safe beach. This alternative is ideal for a family or small group of friends. The small property is in the process of being transformed from arid pastureland to a productive tiny farm – fruit trees, honey production, vegetables for home and local sale. Self catering with housekeeping, or international standard catering. For those of you coming for two weeks to Central and Western Cuba and wishing a beach stay we offer the full range of hotels in the major resort areas of Varadero, Trinidad, Cayo Coco, Santa Maria. Please note that many of the smaller islands are connected by ferry with one journey each way per day. Larger islands are accessible by flights from Habana.

General Information



 We recommend travel insurance You must be able to show Health Care Insurance coverage on entry to Cuba Visas – visas are provided with your flight or can be purchased at check-in. For MOST tourists it is not necessary to request a visa from the Cuban Embassy. CHECK WITH YOUR AIRLINE

Money

Because of the embargo US dollars carry a surcharge of 10% before exchange. Please bring Euros or Canadian dollars. Not all places change all currencies. Please check with us concerning exchange problems.

PLEASE CONTACT US WITH YOUR FURTHER QUESTIONS.

Tours in and around Habana

One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Habana is a unique mixture of centuries of building and rebuilding. Step out into 16th, 17th, or 18th century in the heart of Habana Vieja. Elegant streetscapes of Spanish urban life; magnificent city homes, apartments and office buildings; all finding new life as hotels, restaurants, artists’ studios, galleries and bookstores. Vibrant colours, and bright sunlight bring a lightheartedness to all adventures.

Habana entered the 20th century prepared for the modern age. Railroads, automobiles, telephones were more common in Cuba than in many parts of Europe and North America. Rich beyond belief, the owners of sugar mills, mines, railroads, banks and expanding businesses built homes, businesses, financial centres, department stores and places of entertainment. Goods poured in from Europe and the United States, the latest automobiles, fine laces and linens. This was the age of enormous public works, of King Sugar, Casinos, Mafia, and above all Money.

Join our day-long tours of exploration. All our tours are led by local experts accompanied by experienced translators. Lunch is included.


Architecture tours

The riches of 500 years of architecture are like a confectioner’s window – a bit of the 15th century, here the 16th, and over there a street from the 19th.

Join us for an exploration of the built environment. Explore how people lived and the continuing importance of those buildings as part of the city’s living and working space.

1. Habana Vieja

This splendid walking tour of Habana Vieja takes you through the 4 principal squares of the old city and some of its principal streets, into projects and private homes. The story of Habana Vieja and its growing financial capability, the preservation of the social integrity of the old city, and the continuation of the preservation of buildings in face of hurricanes and floods is fascinating. For tourists and residents alike there are street performers, theatre, music and art.

2. Architecture of the Republic Period

Habana’s architects joined the rush into the future – creating a new form of architecture, peculiarly Cuban. Homes, hotels, apartment and commercial buildings were created in the new flexible materials of the age – ferro-concrete, galvanized steel, neon, and early plastics. This was the age of Art Deco and Eclectic architecture, the age of Cubism and Realism.

The period of the Republics was one of enormous growth in the city and its suburbs. Palatial mansions, sparkling apartment buildings, hotels and country clubs were all fed by the frenzy of money making – both legal and not. The mafia ran Habana and much of the rest of the country. With the reputation of the prettiest girls and the crookedest tables, there was money to splash around.

Money laundering took the form of hotel and casino investments and the deep luxury of tropical style homes in a lush country where help was cheap and willing to work. Sugar, tobacco, coffee, banking, ranching and mining all contributed to a feeling of wealth limited only by the time you devoted to it.

Republic Tour 1

The part known as Centro de Habana was the first part of the city to feel the change. Houses from previous centuries were replaced by hotels and apartment buildings, the Capitola and other public buildings. Next came Vedado, smaller houses on large lots were replaced by large two and three story homes with marble entries, decorated ceilings, enormous stained glass windows, garages, and swimming pools.

The tour takes you to mansions now converted into office buildings, hotels, and even private homes. This is very much a “behind the scenes” tour, with special access granted by the proud inhabitants of these enchanting and exciting buildings.

Republic Tour 2

Until the 1910’s the suburbs of Playa and Marinao were principally farms. With the expansion of roads, the use of the automobile and the building of a bridge across the Almendares River, the whole area west of Habana became open for development.

This was virgin territory – and the rich built structurally fascinating homes. This was the time of the great modern architects, absorbing the modern, world styles and creating architecture that was quintessentially Cuban.

This tour explores significant buildings from this period; private homes and clubs, public and religious spaces,. Buildings full of sunlight and graceful stairs, homes with quiet contrasts and elegant outdoor spaces, splendid avenues and quiet treed streets which make these some of the most beautiful suburbs one could encounter. The heritage of turbulent times, undisturbed for decades.

Arts in Cuba

From the earliest works of the artisans through to the explosion of work in the 20th century, Cuban artists have contributed to the lively debates, the civil and religious life of the country, and the interpretation of our understanding of society.

The tour begins with a survey of the fine Cuban collection in the Fine Arts Museum and continues on with visits to galleries and collections and finally through some of Habana’s striking murals both past and present.

Studio Tour

This tour takes you into the tremendous arts scene in Habana. Established artists, collectives, and young artists open their studios, talk about their art and their lives as artists.

Government support for the arts at all levels is enormous. Children are encouraged at every level to draw, paint, sing, dance, and enjoy participating. Special Arts teachers are being graduated to continue this strong tradition. Cuba’s national hero, Jose Marti, is most often portrayed on a white horse leading his troops into the battle which cost his life; but his true legacy is poetry, literature, and learning; and a perception of the importance of all arts in the culture definition of a country.

The artists you will meet are the products of this support and encouragement. Some may have participated in assisting hurricane victims in recovering from the trauma of losing homes and communities; others may have been on mission to other countries to encourage the growth of indigenous arts; others may participate in community development. Whatever they do as an artist is an expression of the validity of artistic expression.


Other Programming

History of Immigrant Peoples of Cuba

1. History of the Jews in Cuba

Jews arrived in Cuba early in its history. The stories say that one of Christopher Columbus’s crew was a Jew. They arrived little by little from the Ottoman Empire as it slowly disintegrated, and from the Pale of Russia as life deteriorated into poverty and pogroms. Immigration received a large impetus as the Turkish Empire changed the rules of military service, sending young men from all walks of life off into the world. The revolution in Russian and the persecution of Jews in Germany and later Austria served as further impetus.

Spend two days visiting the old city, the several synagogues, and the two cemeteries. Visit with people whose families came more than a century ago to find a more tolerant land.

Your guide is, herself, a descent of one of those Sephardic families from the Turkish Empire, a Master of Arts with a specialty in Jewish arts, culture and history.
For those of you with time – visit Santiago de Cuba to meet with the Jewish community there. The synagogue in Santiago de Cuba was built in 1936 – a year not noted elsewhere for the building of new synagogues.

2. African Symbolism in Cuban Art, Music and Dance

The African religions are an important source of folklore and symbolism which informs and defines much of Cuban art, music and dance.

This tour includes some of the more important museums, religious sites, public and private spaces of several of the more common African belief systems. Understand the connections between Christianity and Yoruba religions, between masters and slaves, between Africa and the New World, and enjoy a deepening appreciation of the multi-cultural society which is Cuba.

Eastern Cuba

Tours by City/Region: Santiago de Cuba / Guantanamo and Baracoa

Culture & Heritage

History, Art, Architecture, and much more. 
Petroglyphs, pottery shards, castles, palaces and barooms trace 500 years of immigrant history, 3000 years of aboriginal settlement. Poets, warriors, mafiosos and slaves, the romantic, heroic, tragic history of Cuba lives on. Immigrant traditions blend to form the new art, music, dance and culture of a nation. 
Architects, curators, artists, historians and those who have lived the history bring Cuban culture and heritage alive.

Please see the following Tours which explore Cuba’s rich culture and heritage:

Regional Tours

Themed Tours

  • History of Cuba
  • Arts in Cuba
  • Architecture of the Colonial Period
  • Architecture of the Republics
  • History of the Immigrant Peoples
  • Sugar and Slavery
  • History of Coffee

Every Day Life in Cuba

Stay With Us

Santiago de Cuba

Hostal Atardecer – The best of both worlds; a neo-colonial home in the heart of the city with 2 modern guestrooms. Both rooms have private baths, air-conditioning, double or single beds, centralized hot water system 24 hours, TV and refrigerators. To relax there is a quiet, shady patio, and terrazzo with magnificent view of the city.

This house offers a wide variety of international cooking (some of the best food in Cuba so our guests tell us). Vegetarian and modified kosher (no meat) meals, and special diets catered.

Rates are available upon request (seasonal and longstay discounts).

In addition to Hostal Atardecer we can offer bookings in several pleasant colonial and newer homes… Many rooms available all close to the center of the city. All rooms have private bath, hot and cold water 24 hours, air-conditioning, double and/or single beds. Excellent locations, welcoming hosts, beautiful facilities in peaceful homes. All houses offer meals – excellent food.

Looking to get away from it all:

Beach

Small house at a local beach – 2 bedrooms, bath, kitchen and sitting room. TV, hot water shower. 15 mins walk to sand beach with services. Housekeeping services available, or independent stay.

Farm stay

Spend a couple of nights on a farm in the mountains, pick coffee, and learn to toast it, milk a cow, collect eggs, hoe a row. Great hosts, great food.


Elsewhere in Cuba

Bookings available in the following cities and towns:

  • Baracoa – 2 blocks from centre
  • Holguin – center of the town
  • Camaguey – center of the city
  • Santa Clara – center of the city
  • Trinidad – center of the city
  • Cienfuegos – center of the city
  • Soroa – 3 km from the orchid garden

Habana:

  • Habana Vieja – old Habana
  • Vedado – near Melia Cohiba and the Malacon
  • Miramar – 2 streets from beach
  • Suburban Habana – 15 mins from Habana Vieja

Minimum stay in any location 2 nights.

Bookings with breakfast
Prepayment

Map of Cuba

Travelling Distances

Havana to Santiago: 884 km (550 miles)
Santiago to Camaguey: 326 km (200 miles)
Havana to Trinidad: 350 km (217 miles)

Jardin de los Helechos

Jardin de los Helechos

Jardin de los Helechos is a remarkable place. Situated just outside Santiago this acre of tropical splendour, is a fern and orchid garden, research and study centre. Once a family home, and still lived in by the original family, it is a salute to the passion and persistence of its Director Manuel Caluff.

Manolito fell in love with ferns. The result 30 years later is the most complete collection of tropical ferns in the Americas, and a growing collection of orchids.

The Institute’s collection of 3000 tropical ferns requires constant attention. Watering, tending the beds, keeping plants free from disease consumes the work of 5 people. Research students from the university and other countries, visiting botanists and other fern cultivators value and use the resources of this centre constantly.

As many of our clients know this wonderful garden is one of the highlights of our tours.

The Jardin de los Helechos has several major projects for which it is seeking your assistance:

  1. A New Upper Irrigation System For The Garden. Maintaining the ambient humidity of a tropical fern garden is difficult in the best of times, and when the garden exists in one of the driest areas of Cuba, it is a constant battle with two waterings per day. The deep morning watering is important to maintain the humidity of the soil and to spot any problem areas. For the afternoons when it doesn’t rain, the most important thing is an aerial spray of water to provide a misting. This would minimize the amount of water used, the time taken for the second watering, and control the danger of water left overnight when temperatures can drop precipitately to 10 or 12C and with the wind chill much lower.

    The total cost of the system including installation of all pipes and sprinkler heads, electric pump, and connections to water supply is 4500 CUC (6300 Canadian).

    1 meter of installed pipe costs 10.00 cuc (14.00 Canadian)

    The electric pump costs: 200 cuc ( 280.00 Canadian)

  2. Alarm, Light and Intercom System. Unfortunately because of its solitary nature, Jardin de los Helechos has been raided on several occasions by thieves, who not only stole large and valuable plants in their hand made pots, but also did extensive damage to others which they were not successful in removing from their plant beds.

    Budgetary constraints will not permit the Institute to provide the necessary manpower to patrol the grounds during the hours of darkness.

    The best alternative solution will be a system of solar powered security lights coupled with an alarm system which will ring both externally and internally. A gate intercom system would allow the gates to be locked most of the time, to discourage vandals.

    The estimated cost of such as system is 3000 CUC

  3. Perimeter Wall. The garden needs to be enclosed by a wall to increase its internal humidity and to provide more space and more appropriate positioning of some of the ferns. The wall constructed so far is of limestone rocks placed to provide the ideal growing conditions for a wide variety of ferns.

    Estimated Cost 5000 CUC

  4. Cascade. Many ferns enjoy a habitat of constant water spray. To provide a natural setting as part of the overall enhancement of the garden a cascade built as part of the wall would complete the general ambience of restful calm, and eliminate the problems of still water pools which currently house the collection of primitive and aquatic ferns.

    Estimated Cost 1000 CUC

  5. Education Room. Jardin de los Helechos provides seminars, lectures, and talks to an incredible assortment of groups, ranging from visiting dignitaries to school children. All are attended by the knowledgeable staff of the garden. Education is part of the mandate of the Institute and would be greatly enhanced by a video room. The room would require: television, DVD player, VHS player, air-conditioning etc.

    Estimated Cost 1500 CUC (donations of used equipment can be accepted – especially of DVD players, air-conditioners and flat screen TV’s)

All donations will be acknowledged by the Director and will be held in a designated account in Cuba for use for these projects only.

Please contact us by e-mail for account information for deposit in Canada. Direct deposit to Cuba is possible but is very expensive – please contact us.

Expedition Clothing And Equipment

In addition to the above Jardin de los Helechos is in urgent need of expedition clothing, and equipment. The search for new species of orchids and ferns takes place during the summer months in the most rugged of conditions. Cuba receives most of its rain during the months of July through October. This is when most of the ferns and native orchids are flowering. Cuba’s mountains are precipitate, with narrow trails and often dense bush. These are the conditions in which the Director and his research team must live for several weeks to accomplish their research, collection, drawings etc.

The clothing and equipment required are:

Boots – high boots with studs, camouflage type pants, jackets and shirts, hats, mosquito netted hats, tents, sleeping bags, water purification pumps, backpacks, etc. (donations of used equipment and clothing can be accepted – and will be gratefully welcomed)

Dentists

The Dental School in Santiago de Cuba trains dentists and hygienists for the Province of Santiago and also many foreign student dentists for other Caribbean and Central American countries.

Basic Equipment:

  • Photocopier
  • Fax Machine
  • Pens, Pencils, Office Materials

Professional Equipment:

  • Professional Shoes
  • Professional Clothes
  • Masks
  • Gloves
  • Treatment Trays
  • Floride Treatments
  • Acrylic for Dentures – Powder and Liquid
  • Acrylic for teeth for dentures
  • Amalgan
  • Dental Impression Material
  • Resin for Plastic Tooth Repair

Supplies for Patients:

  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss

Schools

We are in regular contact with several schools in Santiago de Cuba.


 

CIRCLO

The circlos are part of the school system and provide day care and education for children from a few days old up to Junior Kindergarten. The teachers are ingenious and create toys from plastic bottles, toilet rolls, scrap paper, scrap fabric. But there is a limit to what can be created from nothing.

They need – crayons, poster paints (dry), pencils, coloured pencils, children’s scissors, glue (dry to make up), paint brushes, puzzles, educational toys, classroom aids, chalk, stick pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, blackboard paint, toys, teachers note books, calendars.


 

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS – Senior Kindergarten to Grade 8 or 9

Cuba places a high priority on education (approximately 98% literacy). All schools are critically short of supplies. In the past teachers have been very careful with donated supplies – pencils are often given out at the beginning of each class and collected at the end, coloured pencils are shared by the whole class.

They need – pencils, pens, notebooks, coloured pencils, children’s scissors, geometry sets, rulers, chalk, stick pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, coloured chalk, teachers notebooks, teachers registers and mark books, calendars, educational toys and teaching aids (in Spanish), reading books (in Spanish), blackboard paint and erasers, classroom aids and decorations, scissors, glue, poster paints, felt tip markers, coloured markers.


 

SPECIAL SCHOOLS

1. For children with speech and hearing difficulties

They need – pencils, pens, notebooks, coloured pencils, children’s scissors, geometry sets, rulers, chalk, stick pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, coloured chalk, teachers notebooks, teachers registers and mark books, calendars, educational toys and teaching aids (in Spanish), reading books (in Spanish), blackboard paint and erasers, classroom aids and decorations, scissors, glue, poster paints, felt tip markers, coloured markers.

Any specialized aids which you may be able to provide – in Spanish

2. Arts School

The Arts School is one of Cuba’s special schools. Students come from all over Santiago de Cuba province and live at the school. Along with their regular studies they specialize in music or dance, many are accomplished musicians and dancers by the time they are in their early teens. Many go on to professional careers.

They need – Video tapes, music recording tapes, violin strings, guitar strings, piano wires, violin bow hairs, musical instruments, ballet shoes, fabric for costumes, leotards. VCR’s, studio recording equipment.

Pencils, pens, notebooks, coloured pencils, geometry sets, rulers, chalk, stick pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, coloured chalk, teachers notebooks, teachers registers and mark books, calendars, educational toys and teaching aids (in Spanish), reading books (in Spanish), blackboard paint, classroom aids and decorations, scissors, glue, poster paints, felt tip markers, coloured markers.


 

TEACHERS’ COLLEGE

The Teachers’ College provides teacher education for all levels and specialties including daycare/kindergarten, elementary and high school, language schools, arts schools etc.

They need – pencils, pens, notebooks, coloured pencils, rulers, chalk, stick pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, coloured chalk, teachers notebooks, teachers registers and mark books, calendars, educational toys and teaching aids (in Spanish), blackboard paint, classroom aids and decorations, scissors, glue, poster paints, felt tip markers, coloured markers.

All Educational Institutions need cleaning supplies, which can be purchased in Cuba.