With R-Evolution Cuba, we invite you to discover the island of Cuba. Its people and its unique culture make our trips deeply human and immersive. We will take you to discover this place, where wonder and emotion punctuate this Cuban discovery.
The foundation of R-evolution Cuba is the result of an exciting and long discovery on the island.
It starts with the professional trip of Bruno Menu, one of the founders of R-evolution Cuba. In 2003, and for the first time, he discovered Cuba, Havana, the Cubans and this society very far from the western stereotypes. It was then that he “fell into the Cuban pot”. Of all his trips abroad, he even admits that Cuba is “the only (country) that gave him the shivers”.
(Street of La Havane, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
He then joined forces with his wife Monia Menu and others to found R-evolution Cuba in 2006. Five years later, with all the necessary authorisations in place, R-evolution Cuba was able to establish itself in Cuba.
Since then, we have been taking travellers to discover this emotional island. Before Covid, we employed 10 Cubans on site to guide our travellers. I also spent 5 to 6 months a year in Cuba.
(The Malecon of La Havane, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
Cuba is not the most beautiful country in the world, but it is the only country that gave me the shivers. You can’t explain it. It’s an emotional country.
For example, it is possible to have to wait 15 days to get ink. And yet, apart from the notable difficulties, Cuba remains a true travel experience.
(Street Musicians, La Havane, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
A whole micro-environment exists in Cuba. Following the embargo imposed on the island, a very different society was built. Isolated from the world, Cuba has had to face many problems, especially material and agricultural ones. This is also why the term solidarity is so important in Cuba. Isolated on an island, with no outside support, you have to be united and resourceful to (over)live.
In this Cuban bubble, culture and education are nurtured and developed through human interaction. Education is free, as well as health care, and several languages such as French, English, Russian and Italian are learned.
(Young Cuban students, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
It is wonderful, Cubans speak on average two to three languages. They are a highly educated people with a special cultural attraction to learning and curiosity.
Far from the international starification of artists, we discover an artistic teeming, a real breeding ground of artists on this island. Musicians, singers, actors and painters that R-evolution Cuba takes you to discover during their trips. You will discover the Cuban culture as close as possible to those who make it: its inhabitants, its workers and its artists.
(Cuban trumpeter, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
(Boat in the cuban waters, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
(Cuban landscape, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
Cuba is therefore not a country like the others. Between the difficulties in obtaining supplies of certain everyday products and the lack of infrastructure, setting up a tourist activity in Cuba is a difficult undertaking.
“The example I often give is that of the train. Il existe des rails à Cuba, et le pays possède 3 trains. Cependant, depuis quelque temps, les 3 trains sont en réparation, et cela pour un durée inconnue. Ces problèmes rencontrés existent et nous contraignent notamment dans les choix des transports ou des itinéraires. But it doesn’t matter, we find alternatives, solutions”, Bruno concedes.
When I’m there, I miss a lot of material things, comfort. But when I’m in France, I miss many things from there. Coming to Cuba is necessarily the result of a choice, and this one is driven by something that cannot be explained, perhaps a love affair with this very special island
(Trinidad, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
In Cuba, we can talk about the existence of two types of tourism. Le premier, c’est le tourisme de masse, celui des hôtels all-inclusive et des plages de sable blanc.
Le second est un tourisme plus intimiste. It is the “à la carte” trip with a driver-guide, nights with local people in the famous casa particulares and participation in local socio-cultural projects. This is the type of tourism that R-evolution wants to develop.
So what is an authentic Cuban experience? In reality, there are as many authentic experiences as there are travellers. For some guests, the most memorable moments of the trip are actually the simplest things: tasting unfamiliar fruit at the street vendor along the road to Trinidad, striking up a conversation with a Cuban on the side of the road, etc.
(Fruit sellers, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
Finally, to be a tourist in Cuba is above all to be an actor of your trip, to keep an open mind to open up to Cubans and their culture.
(Farmer ploughing his field with his oxen, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
The uniqueness of a trip to Cuba is also the experiences that you can’t get anywhere else.
Cuba is a world of its own.
Bruno tells us about the particular case of permaculture tourism on the “village island”. If in our country, organic agriculture and “better eating” have been popularized for a few years now, the reasons for their development are ethical and ecological. A Cuba, leur origine est bien différente. From 1990 to 1994, the fall of the USSR provoked the period known as especial in Cuba, to designate the economic crisis and famine.
The inhabitants, forced to look for food and without oil for tractors, developed a permaculture system, notably through the reuse of ox carts, the introduction of compost and the creation of urban gardens on the roofs of Havana’s houses. The collectivist spirit led to the creation of cooperatives which flourished in the four corners of the island.
(Visit of a cuban farm on horses, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
Then, with the development of agrotourism and the glamourisation of these “eco-friendly” practices, Cubans gradually opened these farms to tourism in order to meet the new expectations of travellers.
Today, it is therefore common to visit these cooperative farms, these fincas, where the market gardeners explain to you how this socialist agriculture unique to Cuba works.
Besides permaculture, there is no shortage of authentic experiences in Cuba. Bruno reveals his favourite addresses to visit Havana differently.
Indeed, the Cuban capital is not only about classic American cars, the tobacco factory and the Capitol.
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(Cuban Restaurant, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
(Horseriding tour, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
(Sunset, Cuba, ©R-evolution)
Cuban culture is not only Buena Vista Social Club, pink Havana taxis, cigars and colourful houses.
At R-evolution, if we had to define Cuban culture in three words, they would be: mutual aid, openness and education.
Thus, the living conditions linked to the country’s history and socio-economic situation have put solidarity at the centre of human relations.
Cuba is therefore an opportunity for rich human encounters. But to discover it, Bruno explains the importance of the attitude to adopt by trying to put aside one’s ethnocentrism, although natural, for the duration of a trip.
It is natural to analyse the culture of others from one’s own culture since it is our model of representations. However, Bruno explains that in Cuba in particular, in order to enjoy human hospitality and all that this culture has to offer, it is important to put aside one’s prejudices without trying to understand and compare everything. If we remain closed-minded, Bruno tells us, we can miss the country completely.