Cuba
Mission Trips

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AGE GROUP:
Jr. High & Up
TRIP SEASON:
Year Round
COST:
$755/person (7-Day Trip)

Community Overview   Video

Cuba mission trips allow you to see beyond the history books and headlines to a place where the local church is vibrant, passionate and rapidly growing under the rule of an anti-religion, communist government. Step into the real Cuba, interacting with Christians from a wide range of denominations who are part of a thriving house church movement actively meeting needs in their community. Your team will be inspired by local people and challenged to come back home and live out your faith more boldly.

The history between the U.S. and Cuba is dramatic, difficult, and fraught with tension. Because of this, Americans know little about Cuban culture and may still believe they are not allowed to travel to Cuba. But this perception is untrue—and changing rapidly! Humanitarian trips through non-profit organizations (like short-term missions) are allowed by both the U.S. and Cuban governments, opening the door for meaningful relationships and ministry. Will your group embrace the unknown and encourage Christians who are thriving amidst so many obstacles?

Watch the video below to hear from other leaders and volunteers who asked the same questions and shared similar concerns before embarking on their own mission trip to Cuba.

Want to preview Cuba Mission Trips? Check out EM Vision Trips for team leaders.

Details & Logistics

Activities & Opportunities

Cuba is an island located in the Caribbean Sea, 90 miles south of key West, Florida. In the early decades of President Fidel Castro's revolution, Christian churches were suppressed. Most of the pastors left the island, and those who stayed endured months, and in some cases, years, of “re-education.” Not many Cuban Christians faithfully attended church during these difficult years, but In the '80s, after what seemed an eternity of desperate prayer, Cuban Christians suddenly experienced a powerful revival. Attendance in the existing churches exploded, thousands of new churches were formed, and many group leaders and pastors were called into the ministry. Today Cuban Christians still have the church buildings that were established before 1959, and they are turning as many house churches as possible into regular, recognized churches. This is the spiritual environment that mission trip teams step into in Cuba.


Agricultural Production Ministry

In 2007, our partners purchased six acres of land. Visiting teams have played a huge role in building a fairly large open pavilion and are now adding a series of rooms and additions that will facilitate both farm and ministry activities.

For two years, several tons of fruits and vegetables were coming out of this farm to help those who needed it, and the farm was allowed to operate a roadside stand that sold enough to meet some of the operating expenses. After the hurricanes of 2008, when many farms were decimated, this farm was one of the first in the area to bounce back and start producing. Recently, less-productive fruit trees were replaced with excellent varieties of mango, guava, and papaya trees. Within two years, they hope the farm will be self-sufficient while giving large amounts of food to those in need. This farm not only supplies an enormous amount of fruit and feed, but also serves as a meeting area for continuing education conferences, women's and youth events, and other ministries. Teams will have the opportunity to work alongside community members and show God's love through serving together in many ways.

Outreach Ministry

Due to the unique nature of this community, the opportunity for relational ministry may take place directly at your teams worksite as you come along side and encourage those you have come to serve. There may be additional opportunities to serve in various types of people ministry if the need arises. These types of ministry could include things like visiting the elderly, gardening, cleaning etc.

Mental & Physical Disability Family Ministry

Our partners lead a "practical help" and evangelistic ministry to families with children with physical and mental disabilities—in many cases both at the same time. The families of these children are, for the most part, on their own in Cuba. Mission teams visiting Cuba will be able to visit with families and facilitate a Kids Club for these amazing kids. Our partners are eager to share what this ministry is all about as well as their visions for the future. As resources come in, our partners will be able to expand their ministry and serve more families.

Kids Club

In this community, connecting with the local children through children's ministry is an important part of what we do. Teams coming to this community must expect to participate in Kids Club. Experience Mission will provide the curriculum for your teams use. This Kids Club curriculum will be sent out to Team Leaders in the spring via email. Your team may be asked to participate in multiple Kids Clubs and avenues of ministering to children.

Teams will be responsible to bring the craft supplies needed for their specific crafts and should budget appropriately. While we do our best to make sure the craft materials are cost effective, teams may feel free to augment any materials to make them more suitable to their budget. Experience Mission will supply scissors, staplers, paper hole punches and rulers. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with the local children through games like soccer or Frisbee. Tuck in a hackysack, soccer ball or jump rope as they are sure to come in handy.

**Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs within the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day. Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific activities until your team arrives.

Typical Schedule

Below is a basic schedule for the week, but we approach this with flexibility because our ultimate focus is on relationships.

Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage everyone to spend it with God journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold.

Our staff will lead a time of debriefing and a short devotional in the evening (what we call "Evening Gathering") and it is always a great addition to have musical worship. Our programming does not include musical worship as we can't guarantee that our our staff will have this ability. Please let us know if you have anyone who sings or plays guitar on your trip so that we can help to coordinate the musical aspect of worship when able. If teams aren't able to help in the area of music, it may not be a part of the trip.

AVERAGE DAILY SCHEDULE

Day One
Groups Arrive
5:00 - Leader's Meeting
6:00 - Dinner
7:00 - Orientation Meeting
8:30 - Team Time (a time for your group alone)
10:00 - Lights Out

Day Two
7:15 - Breakfast
7:45 - Devotions and Quite time
8:30 - Team leaves for church
9:30 - Divide group & distribute between churches to learn about "The Church in Cuba"
12:00 - Lunch
4:30 - Arrive at Housing site
5:00 - Leaders Meeting
6:00 - Dinner
7:00 - Evening gathering
10:00 - Lights Out

Day Three - Five
7:15 - Breakfast
7:45 - Devotions and Quiet Time
8:15 - Group Prayer
8:30 - Teams leave for Kids Club/ Work day
12:00 - Lunch
3:30 - Finish Work for the day
4:00 - Break and Clean-up
5:00 - Leaders meeting
6:00 - Dinner
7:00 - Evening program (as a whole group)
8:30 - Team time
10:00 - Lights Out

Day Six
7:00 - Breakfast
8:00 - Visit La Habana
12:00 - Lunch
5:00 - Leaders meeting
6:00 - Dinner
7:00 - Evening program (as a whole group)
8:30 - Team time
10:00 - Lights Out

Day Seven
7:15 - Breakfast
8:00 - Cleanup/ Pack
9:00 - Pictures and Good-Byes

Lodging & Food

Lodging

Your team will be staying either at a church with comfortable housing or a guest house in Central Cuba. Each option has bunk rooms with multiple beds per room. Most rooms also have A/C or fans. Showers are also available and have warm running water. Flushing toilets are also available. We also have custom housing for large teams.

Food

Food will be prepared by EM staff and community partners. You will have the opportunity to eat delicious Cuban dishes. Please be prepared to eat the same thing each day as there is not a lot of variety. There will be safe drinking water at the sleeping facility and at ministry sites.

Due to a limited variety of foods available in Cuba, EM can not accommodate any nut or seafood allergies. Please inquire with an EM staff member for more details.

Travel to Cuba

Flights

Please book your tickets into Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport (VRA), formerly Varadero Airport. If tickets are much cheaper into Havana it is an option for you to fly into Havana however you will be charged an additional $25 per person to cover transportation.

Exit Fee

When you leave Cuba, you will be charged an exit fee at the airport for each individual. This will be approximately $30 USD per person, and you should bring cash for this payment. You will not be permitted to leave the country until you pay this fee.

Visas

It is a requirement to have a Visa to enter Cuba. While some airports o er the ability to purchase a visa at the gate when you check in, it is not guaranteed that all airports will have this ability so we recommend that teams purchase their visa's prior to their trip at cubavisaservices.com at least 30 days prior to their trip. The Visa is $50 with a $35 processing fee.

Cuban Medical Insurance

Cuba requires all Americans to have Cuban medical insurance. This cost is included in most plane tickets. Please verify with the airline you choose to make sure this is included. During your stay in Cuba your boarding pass usually serves as your medical insurance so be sure to keep this on hand.

Exit Fee

When you leave Cuba, you will be charged an exit fee at the airport for each individual. This will be approximately $30 USD per person, and you should bring cash for this payment. You will not be permitted to leave the country until you pay this fee.

Passports

Each team member must carry a valid passport. If you do not have a valid passport, it is of the utmost importance that you apply as soon as possible. The processing time for a Passport can take several weeks once your application has been submitted. An expired Passport is not considered valid.

Notarized Letter of Parental Consent

All team members under the age of 18 must carry a written, notarized letter from their parents giving them parental permission to leave the country. They must carry the original notarized copy of this letter. It cannot be a photocopy of the letter.

1) If the minor is traveling without parents, both parents must sign the letter.
2) If they are traveling with one parent, the parent that is not traveling with them must sign this letter.
3) If their parents are separated or divorced and both parents do not want to sign the same letter, they must have a notarized letter from each parent giving them permission to go.

Experience Mission can provide a sample copy of a permission letter or you can create your own letter that must include the following:

1) The full name of both parents and their formal signatures
2) The full name of the child
3) The full name of the Adult Chaperone serving as the Team Leader
4) The specific traveling dates for each country
5) The destination country
6) The reason for travel to the destination country (example- "youth group function")
7) The Airline itinerary (if applicable)

If you have further questions regarding required travel documents we advise you to contact the US State Department: www.travel.state.gov

Ground Transportation

Upon arrival to Cuba, all transportation during your mission trip IS INCLUDED.

Registration & Payment

Experience Mission has specific policies regarding registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.

View Registration & Payment Policy

INDIVIDUALS

All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EMs IMMERSION program.

Health & Safety

EM's Health & Safety Plan:

Staff certification: All Summer Staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.

Medical kits: Medical kits that include first-aid supplies for general accidents and ailments are provided for each site. In international locations, we will also carry a Trauma Kit or First Responder Kit. In these remote locations we will have medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl and Imodium on hand. We make these available to adult team leaders for their sole discretionary use with their team members. EM Staff will not dispense any medications. In our domestic and international locations, we ask that teams supply their own medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benadryl and Imodium as they deem necessary.

Emergency response plan: Based on the severity of each emergency, EM has a plan for appropriate response.

- If a team member becomes seriously ill, they will be taken to a local doctor to receive appropriate medical attention and medications. If they are a minor, their Team Leader along with our staff will accompany them to the clinic. If needed, their parents will be contacted. Their recovery will be carefully monitored by our staff.

- If there is an accident that requires a doctor, but is not life threatening and does not have the potential to cause permanent damage, Experience Mission staff will locate the Team Leader, contact parents or guardians (providing the injured is a minor) and provide safe but quick transportation to a local clinic.

- In the event that an accident occurs which is life threatening or has the potential for permanent damage, emergency medical care will be secured and arraignments will be made if necessary, to transport the injured person to the United States as quickly as possible providing they are serving in one of our International locations. In our domestic locations, local 911 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted immediately to assist in guidance for appropriate response.

All medical care is the sole responsibility of the team member. Experience Mission requires every team member to be covered by domestic medical insurance and recommends that team members traveling abroad carry additional international travel insurance to cover any medical needs their domestic medical insurance may not cover.

Cuba Trip FAQs

Wondering what all goes on during Cuba mission trips? Youre not alone! Heres a list of frequently asked questions about this trip.

Is the place where we are staying safe?
Yes. While there is always a risk when traveling abroad, we make certain our housing facilities are safe. In every community where we work, we partner with trusted local people who are responsible to ensure team safety.

How will I know where to go at the airport? Who will I meet?
You will have access to specific instructions on how to go through customs and where to meet our staff at the airport once you register for your trip. We will also provide you with the phone number of our staff on the ground to call should you get lost. You can expect a call from this person the week of your trip to communicate any special details.

Will there be clean water to drink?
Yes. Purified bottled drinking water will be provided for all team members at the lodging location and during the day at the worksites and ministry sites.

What will we be doing on our mission trip?
Mission trips in Cuba typically consist of a mixture of construction projects, farm work, spending time with families with members who have disabilities, and Kids Club. There is also an educational component to the trip where we spend time learning about the local church, as well as spending a day in Havana learning about its history. Be sure to check the details for your specific trip because individual trips may vary.

What shots and immunizations do I need to get before my mission trip?
In addition to being up-to-date on all childhood vaccinations and boosters, we strongly recommend all participants check with the Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) as well as their local physician and closely follow their directions for recommended shots and immunizations.

Will I need to purchase additional travel insurance on my mission trip?
We strongly recommend that every team member have personal medical insurance. All volunteers should check with their personal medical insurance provider regarding international coverage. If your personal insurance will not cover you, we strongly recommend purchasing additional travel insurance. Short-term travel insurance can be purchased separately through a local insurance company.

If you cannot obtain travel insurance through a local provider, upon team registration, we will direct you to a link for "Travel Insurance" on our website. This link will connect you and your team members to "Group International Travel Solutions," a trusted travel insurance company.

Are there any extra fees I should be aware of?
During our day in Havana, we ask that you provide lunch for your team as a separate cost (usually $7-10/person). Also, upon arrival, you will pay for Cuban medical insurance if you do not have valid travelers insurance ($5/day), or if your flight price did not include it. Many airlines include insurance in the cost, so please look into your airline upon purchase. Finally, booking and paying for your visa is not included ($85).

How much do Cuba mission trips cost?
Mission trips to Cuba are $755/person. This fee covers ground transportation, lodging, all of your meals, trip-related expenses, and funds to support local staff who will be leading your trip.

What seasons do you offer Cuba mission trips?
Trips are offered in Cuba year-round! Dont see a date that works for you? Contact us about planning a custom trip.

Do you offer spring break trips in Cuba?
Yes! Cuba is a popular destination for spring break mission trips. Teams for spring break typically arrive on a Saturday and return home the following Friday.

Will we work with children in Cuba?
Yes! You will work with children in a variety of settings. Most teams will have the opportunity to lead a Kids Club.

What paperwork is required for this mission trip?
Each team member will need to fill out a team member registration form and liability waiver and all adults are required to pass a background check. Additionally, each team member will need to have a valid passport that expires at least six months after traveling to Cuba.

Will I need a visa for a Cuba mission trip?
You will need to apply for a travel visa ahead of time. We will provide you with all the resources you need for this prior to your departure.

Where will my team stay in Cuba?
Teams will stay at a local housing facility that was formerly a seminary in Cuba. There is access to beds, bedding, running water, air conditioning and electricity.

Are meals provided for Cuba mission trips?
Yes! All meals will be prepared by local Cuban staff! This is a unique opportunity to try local Cuban cuisine.

When can I arrive in Cuba?
We ask that teams arrive between 11am and 2pm on the first day of their selected trip. If you are unable to arrive in this window of time, please contact your mission trip support person prior to booking airfare so that we can ensure that you will have transportation available upon arrival.

Is airfare included in EM trip fees?
No. Airfare is a separate expense, and you will book this on your own.

What local culture will we experience on our Cuba mission trip?
Teams will experience authentic Cuban culture and hospitality by local guides. All meals will be prepared by local cooks, and you will have the opportunity to learn about the complex history from local people.

How does this trip impact the local community?
All work projects are focused on community development and decisions about what the projects will be are left almost entirely up to local leadership. As a result, real community needs are being met and projects have a lasting impact.

Does EM offer any other mission trips to Latin America or the Caribbean?
Yes! We offer trips to Jamaica, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Puerto Rico.

Have more questions about Experience Mission trips? Check out our general FAQs, or call our support team at 888-475-6414.

Upcoming Trip Dates: Cuba

Interested? Start here!

If you still have questions about this community after reviewing Details & Logistics or you want to take the first step toward bringing your team on an EM mission trip, Fill out a Mission Trip Interest Form and someone from our staff will be in touch with you shortly!

Fill Out An Interest Form Register Now

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Partner with EM on a Mission Trip

1

Fill out an Interest Form for a mission trip

2

Let us help you find the best trip and Register your team

3

Serve on a life-changing mission trip

Need to know more?

View our FAQ or Registration Policy. If you have additional questions or don't see the dates you're looking for listed above, please call us at the EM Service Center at 888-475-6414 or Fill Out a Group Interest Form.

Partner with EM on a Mission Trip

1

Fill out an Interest Form for a mission trip

2

Let us help you find the best trip and Register your team

3

Serve on a life-changing mission trip

Need to know more?

View our FAQ or Registration Policy. If you have additional questions or don't see the dates you're looking for listed above, please call us at the EM Service Center at 888-475-6414 or Fill Out a Group Interest Form.

 
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