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There are plenty of options for a special-interest or theme vacation to Cuba. Popular themes include cigars, Ernest Hemingway, classic cars, bird-watching, diving, fishing, and Latin dance.

  • GAP Adventures (tel. 800/708-7761 in the U.S. and Canada, or 0870/999-0144 in the U.K.; www.gapadventures.com) is a major international adventure and educational tour operator with a full plate of theme tours to Cuba.
  • Global Exchange (tel. 800/497-1994, ext 242; www.globalexchange.org) is a nonprofit organization working to increase international understanding by conducting small-scale tours that emphasize educational or social aid themes.
  • Paradiso (tel. 7/832-9538; www.paradiso.cu) is the tour agency arm of the Cuban arts and cultural organization ARTex. Paradiso organizes theme tours and escorted trips, including tours based around most of the major festivals and cultural events, as well as participatory learning trips with instruction in a variety of arts.

Language, Music & Photography Classes

The University of Havana (www.uh.cu) offers language classes from CUC$100 a month starting on the first Monday of every month. A 60-hour Cuban culture class is offered every second month. The University of the Oriente in Santiago de Cuba (www.uo.edu.cu) also offers Spanish classes from CUC$231.

Caledonia (tel. 0131/621-7721; www.caledonialanguages.com) offers Spanish courses in Havana and Santiago from £160 per week. Caledonia also offers fantastic music and dance trips to Cuba with prices starting at £1,995 for 2 weeks. (It is also possible to combine these activities with language classes.) Caledonia is tied to the Cuban Music School (www.jazzsummerschool.com/cuban_music_school). Caledonia is listed as a responsible travel operator by www.responsibletravel.com.

Cuba Direct also offers a variety of dance class options (www.cubadirect.co.uk/holidays/salsa-default.aspx).

If you're interested in photography, check www.trinidadphoto.com for workshop tours with British photographer Keith Cardwell. Tours are run in conjunction with Cuban photographer Julio Muñoz based in Trinidad. An 11-day tour costs £1,350 per person, excluding food and flights.

Volunteer & Working Trips

The Cuban Solidarity Campaign (tel. 0208/800-0155; www.cuba-solidarity.org/brigades.asp) runs international work brigades twice a year for up to 22 days from £945 per person, including all flights, accommodations, and food. See also Global Exchange.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.