Group Chango!

Greetings from beautiful Portland, Oregon, the home base for Carpe Diem. Liz and I hope you are as excited to meet us as we are to meet you. During our Overseas Educators Orientation we obtained some great information and fun stuff to transition into Cuba. The first 4 days we camped in the beautiful Milo McIver Park with 22 other Overseas Educators. It was great to swap stories and hear… Read More

Adiós de Amanda y David

Just as the 40-minute flight was too short of a transition away from Cuba, so were the quick goodbyes at the Miami airport. We (David and Amanda) just missed our connecting flight out of Philly, so we’re in limbo before the next one down to VA, which perhaps is a good reflection of the internal limbo we feel… not quite ready to depart from the unique sensación de Cuba. We… Read More

David’s Vignette, Amanda’s Cuentito, and a farewell to Cuba at the airport in Cienfuegos

David’s Vignette “Papito, Dame algo” A long, gorgeous Sunday afternoon walk through the Playa and Miramar neighborhoods of Havana. Looking for a meal, Amanda and I come upon two very different establishments on opposing sides of the street. An open, haphazardly arranged Cafeteria (national currency) on the right, and a closed off, posh CUC (“tourist” currency) place on the left. We opt for the CUC joint, in the mood to… Read More

Tess’s Vignette

I grew accustomed to seeing dogs speeding along the road with soda cans tied to their tails. Or the daily incident in which four dogs were intertwined with one another post intimacy. The four remained stuck to each other like the cartoon “Cat Dog” as more dogs would attempt to join in. This was typically followed by numerous voices shouting “dale dale” to the pack of conjoined dogs attempting to… Read More

Billy’s Vignette

So after our first week in Viñales we moved to the more rural part called Los Jasmines. This was for our farming portion of the trip. We had amazing food for every meal and Anni, our host mom, was always so gracious and had this super infectious laugh that got everyone around her laughing, regardless of if we understood her or not. She would always serve Nina and I tea… Read More

Julia’s vignette

We were in Viñales and everyone was geared up for a relaxing day on the beach. When we all went to meet up to head out on said adventure, Grant decided to smash his head into an AC unit while frantically looking for his phone, the momentum of which caused his front tooth to skyrocket out of his head. This caused a radical change of plans due to the fact… Read More

Bryan’s Vignette

BK ‘barracuda’ Kohler presents: a Vignette We were at a restaurant outside Bayamo, experiencing ‘Cuban time’: Two hours of waiting and still no food. I felt fine as I had eaten a breakfast fit for some tottering creature from the Jurassic period, but others weren’t so lucky. The stagnancy of the whole thing assured that a fair amount of voltage was coursing through our veins come meal time. We had… Read More

Zoe’s Vignette

Coming to Cuba I had no idea how intertwined dancing is in the culture here. I’ve yet to meet a single Cuban who can’t girate their hips like a professional. So naturally I was pretty intimidated when it was decided that we were going out dancing with the Café Caliente dance team that we were working with in Santiago. We had learned a few moves from the classes that we… Read More

Nina’s Vignette

A week of stomach sickness, homesickness, and heat had drained me emotionally. It was Los Jazmines, smack dab in the middle of the trip, and I was getting in my head. I came home stressed out and upset after a trip to the hotel to try to call my mom proved unsuccessful, and I was feeling pretty down. I sat down all alone to drown myself on pity as I… Read More

Grants vignette

In Playa Larga, one of the last cities (towns) we visited, the contrast between old “Hemingway Cuba” and the modern Cuba involving casa particulars and restaurants was incredibly visible to me. I was sitting on a rickety old pier under the stars, gazing at the old wooden fishing boats bobbing up and down with each passing wave. Off in the distance I could hear the booming stereos playing reggaeton and… Read More

Sean’s Vignette

I’d say my most memorable experience was the one that came to mind when asked the question. It’s not very crazy or incredibly interesting but it has value to me. So, we were hiking in the sierra maestra, visiting places where both Fidel and Che had established a “centro” or headquarters in English. The group separated into squads by pace, as most hikes devolve to, and I found myself without… Read More

Kemper’s Vignette

For those who don’t know, Cuba has been experiencing a severe drought over the last few years which makes it very challenging for farmers to grow crops. One afternoon during our stay in Los Jasmines (a small farm town), a few group members and I were relaxing quietly on the back patio of our Casa Particular. The sun was beaming brutally against the dry soil as it had done everyday… Read More

Ally’s Vignette

On our first solo day in Havana, I ventured out by myself to go and walk around the city for a while. My goal this afternoon was not to go out and explore the city or to practice Spanish, it was to finish my college housing application. I walked down the Malecón and ended up on a bench at the back of the Hotel Nacional, with a beautiful view of… Read More

Exploring La Habana

Blog by Tess Dreizen Our first week in La Habana was full of many exciting things. We began our week by visiting the largest amusement park in Cuba. The park is situated in Cuba’s very own Coney Island. However, to our surprise the park was not designed for people our age and many of the rides did not work.Yet it was very interesting to see and helped us to further… Read More

Las Terasas!

Blog by Sean and Colin Hola, Hello, and welcome to our 7th (I think) blog! This week we began our retreat in Las Terasas, named for the terrace like system of agriculture established to create a sustainable ecosystem. We were each placed in our separate bird houses and have enjoyed it so far. Each bird house is 9 feet above ground and requires super human strength to enter. We have… Read More

Viñales, Español, y Cuevas!

Blog by Ally and Julia We’ve spent this past week farming, speaking Spanish, and relaxing in the beautiful town of Las Jazmines right outside of Viñales. During our mornings here we’ve been helping out on local farms, doing jobs such as planting lettuce, moving soil to beds, harvesting tomatoes, and prepping beds. The farmers here had difficulty finding jobs for us to do because of the drought that has been… Read More


After being introduced to the beautiful town of Viñales, the group was excited to learn about sustainable agriculture hands on! On our first day, we arrived at a farm – little did we know this was soon to become a regular thing. We were greeted with a tour of the farm: goats, pigs, chickens and more roamed about. (Including a seven-hundred pound pig, that wobbled and snorted to our delight)… Read More

Cuba – from Bayamo to Viñales

It felt like we were only back in Bayamo for a split-second before we were on a bus to a new city. A new place to explore, a new group of Cubans who can share their lives with us! The buses in Cuba have been surprisingly comfortable. Chinese made, they have reclining seats and AC consistently cranked down to below freezing…allowing us to finally make good use of our Patagonias,… Read More