Engage with the Caribbean with Educational Travel Collaborative, L.L.C.
From sun-kissed islands to frigid peaks, international financial hubs to bastions of international communist solidarity, the Caribbean offers profound diversity, natural beauty, and a wealth of unique scenarios worth exploring from any angle.
Beyond the beaches - the cays and summits of adventurers
Just over 700 islands, islets, and cays make up this diverse, superlatively beautiful, historically significant, and economically complex region.
The Caribbean - for far too many it is exclusively the place of all-inclusive "fly in fly out" resorts. While resorts offer the comforts of home, the real glory of this region lies outside of such spaces. From rural hospitality to rugged mountain terrain, from carnival season to a quiet day at the beach, and from communist enclave to capitalist tax haven, the Caribbean offers every end of the spectrum in so many ways for those willing to embark on a voyage. Whether you visit one island or ten, we are ready to guide you through a journey that helps you get to the soul of your destinations.
Spotlight: Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia Ferry Route
Geographically Close, Historically Isolated
Colonized by France and Britain, and in the case of one island, both, these paradisiacal islands were largely cut off from one another throughout the era of European colonialism. Fortified and fought over until the modern era, these diverse islands are now the best connected in the region, accessible via high-speed ferry. Stunning beaches, exceptional tropical hikes, snorkeling, and diving are available across this stretch of the islands, but cuisine, culture, and communities are profoundly different. If you want to get an understanding of real Caribbean life across some of the smaller islands, this is an amazing place to start
Beyond Beautiful Beaches
While far from the region's largest islands, the rugged peaks, river ecosystems, reefs, and isolated coves of Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and St Lucia offer challenges for all types of adventurers. Guadeloupe and Martinique are a part of mainland France today, while Dominica and St Lucia are independent nations. Issues of development, governance, representation, disaster readiness, sustainable food supply, as well as restitution and reconciliation for the unspeakable legacy of the Afro-Caribbean slave trade loom large on these islands and offer our travelers an opportunity to expand their horizons and see the world from a new perspective.
A Caribbean and Global Giant
Cuba is known around the world as a land of romance and revolution - of radical politics, superpower standoffs, and literary legend. Travel to Cuba is complicated, especially for US passport holders, but education and person-to-person interaction are two of the legitimate reasons for permitted travel to the island. People underestimate the sheer size of Cuba - it would take over 24 hours of continuous travel to navigate it from East to West without stopping - and that would be a waste. Culture, art, and a profound internationalism augmented by the nation's history of involvement in crises and conflicts around the world combines with the isolation inflicted on it as a result of US intervention to create a country, and a community, like no other.
The Cold War and Modern Geopolitics
The Cuban Revolution of 1959 changed the world and continues to impact the life of every Cuban. Academically and theoretically there is so much to explore on this island - resilience, issues of sustainability, urban agriculture, the impacts of heavy industry and monoculture, as well as successes and failures of decolonization. Cuba has been colonized by Spain and the United States and has been subjected to dominance by the Soviet Union and economic dependence on Bolivarian Venezuela. As the country changes currencies and shifts away from Venezuelan influence, and with shifting administrations in the US potentially opening up new opportunities for normalization - Cuba is at a crossroads - the study of which connects to countless disciplines. Let us help you develop connections to this special island!
With any area of the world, there are particular planning notes that you should be aware of - the Caribbean is no exception - especially when it comes to logistics. Here are a few tips to help you begin thinking about your navigation of the region!
One of the things we find ourselves supporting aspiring travelers through most often is the adjustment of their expectations around how much they should attempt to see and do in a set amount of time. We want you to have the time to soak up the culture and engage in your travels, and that requires the time to make real and meaningful connections. With that in mind, we wouldn't advise less than two weeks on any of the larger islands, or four days on any of the smaller - go significantly below that and you could be making some serious sacrifices!
Culture and Safety
The Caribbean can be surprisingly complicated when it comes to planning for a safe and secure trip - although most outsiders' mental images of the islands is a land of tropical fruits and beautiful beaches (and, let's be clear - this is true in many places) poverty and crime remains a significant issue for the region - think of the lyrics of any of the music you know from this part of the world if you need more evidence. We use our unparalleled knowledge of real life in the Caribbean to help you create an itinerary and take appropriate precautions to ensure a safe and immersive experience in the Caribbean - wherever your destination may be.
In terms of planning, figuring out how to get from place to place can be the most difficult thing for a visitor to the region - this is actually how the "all-inclusive" idea gained so much traction here. Infrastructure can be minimally developed and fuel is generally expensive, but that's where our expertise comes in - we've navigated this time and time again for individuals, institutions, and ourselves, and we will work with you to create an itinerary that fits your travel style to make use of public transportation, taxis, car rentals, seaplanes, ferries, and whatever else is necessary and available to bring together an itinerary you are truly passionate about.
Estimated Costs and Pricing
Every itinerary is different, tailored to what you want to do and see, and your speed and style of travel. That said, these ballpark figures provide a solid estimate of what all-in costs would look like, including our fees, international airfare, and day-to-day meals and expenses. Estimates are for one traveler, see our pricing page for more information on small groups, and pricing differences for gap year travelers versus shorter-term travel. Do note, however, that prices in the Caribbean tend to drop more than average with multiple travelers.
Cuba, San Andres, Providencia, and the Corn Islands
21-day Excursion from: US$ 5680
1 Month of a Gap Year from: US$ 4872
Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic
21-day Excursion from: US$ 6100
1 Month of a Gap Year from: US$ 5480
21-day Excursion from: US$ 8200
1 Month of a Gap Year from: US$ 8525