Info for Brigadistas

An annual study trip to Cuba

The Information Booklet is essential reading for the brigade. Please read this document carefully as it explains many aspects of the brigade and addresses frequently asked questions.

Registration

To secure your place on the brigade, please fill out this registration form and return it to the Lead Brigade Coordinator, Lia Weitzel at southerncrossbrigade@gmail.com before 31 October.

The information you give in this form must be the same as appears in your current passport. Please call Lia on 0413 753 115 if you need any help filling out the form.

You will also need to pay a non-refundable* $AU250 registration fee. It is important that you advise the Lead Brigade Coordinator by email or phone of your payment once you have completed it, so that we can ensure that your registration is matched to your payment. The registration fee can be paid by:

  • EFT, using your name in the reference, e.g. 'Brigade A. SMITH’

    BSB: 062-003 (Commonwealth Bank)
    Account number: 00801160
    Account name: ACFS Sydney

  • Cheque, payable to ‘ACFS Sydney’, sent to:

    PO Box 764
    Ashfield NSW 1800

*Subject to usual consumer rights laws.

Cost and Money

The brigade costs approximately $AU1200 in total, per person, paid in two parts:

  1. This includes a non-refundable* registration fee of $AU250 by 31 October to secure your place on the brigade.
  2. On arrival at the camp in Cuba you will need to pay a further 685 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) in cash, which equates to approximately $AU950.

This cost covers all accommodation, food, travel and activities as described in the program for the duration of the brigade, as well as a group t-shirt and cap for each member of the brigade.

This cost does not cover international flights, visas or travel and health insurance. These aspects of your travel must be arranged separately.

Each brigadista must also budget for personal spending money. The cost of the brigade covers all basic necessities, however the Southern Cross Brigade recommends that each brigadista bring a minimum of $AU600 spending money in a suitable currency for snacks, drinks, toiletries, souvenirs, personal outings and optional activities. Please bring enough extra cash to suit your travel style – for many, $600 will not be enough. We have found that most brigadistas spend approximately $1000 on extras.

Please ensure you arrive with Euros, Canadian Dollars or Mexican Pesos. The Australia Cuba Friendship Society recommends that you avoid bringing US dollars, as these incur an extra surcharge to exchange in Cuba. You cannot use or change Australian or New Zealand currency in Cuba. Please follow the guidelines for money in our Information Booklet.

*Subject to usual consumer rights laws.

Flights

We advise booking your flights as early as possible, as flights to Cuba around the Christmas period can be expensive and fill fast.

We recommend that you do not travel to Cuba via the USA, due to the ongoing US blockade on Cuba. It’s possible that you could be delayed at immigration in the USA due to unwanted attention from US officials.

Visas

Australians and New Zealanders who wish to travel to Cuba must obtain a visa from the Cuban Embassy in their respective country. As a brigadista, you are being invited to Cuba by ICAP (The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples), a Cuban government body. However, you will still have to apply for a Tourist Visa. Minors must have their own Tourist Visa.

The Tourist Visa can be used within one year of issue. However, once you enter Cuba, the visa is valid for a stay of 30 days.

For Australians: For more information, please phone the Cuban Embassy on (02) 6290 2151 or visit their website at http://misiones.minrex.gob.cu/en/australia and find the application links for the Tourist Card on the right hand side of your screen.

For New Zealanders: For more information, please phone the Cuban Embassy on (04) 464 2210 or visit their website at http://misiones.minrex.gob.cu/en/new-zealand and find the application links for the Tourist Card on the right hand side of your screen.

Please also remember that you may need a transit visa for the country you will be travelling through on your way to Cuba. This is the case for those travelling through Canada, the USA and a selection of other countries.

Travel and Medical Insurance

Since 2010, it has been a requirement of entry into Cuba that all travellers, both foreigners and Cubans living abroad, have medical insurance. To ensure that you comply with this requirement, you will need to have a travel insurance policy with a non-US company that covers medical expenses in Cuba.

Information Sessions

Information sessions on the brigade are run in many regional centres across Australia and New Zealand throughout the year. Please contact us to get in touch with your regional brigade coordinator, who can tell you more about the brigade and let you know about any upcoming information sessions.