Join us for our latest photo workshop in Cuba, where we photograph the Cuban people during their day-to-day lives. We do not believe in canned photo ops, preferring instead to make real connections with some of the friendliest people we have ever been priviledged to meet.
We will be spending time and exploring four, UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cuba — Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Valle de Viñales, and Old Havana, all beautiful, historic areas. While our time will not be limited to those four, they will be focus of our sixth adventure in Cuba, a place we love and where we have made some good friends, local artists, some of whom will be with us.
We will have two bases, the first in the beautiful, historic Trinidad, one of the oldest cities in Cuba. Trinidad is a small, colorful city sandwiched between the mountains and the sea. The ravages of time are not so evident here as they are in Havana, and you will love exploring the back streets and alleys in search of photographs and meeting local people. You will likely find you are engaged in conversation with many whom you will meet.
One day, we will head to a small village with working fisherman. We will also take time to explore Cienfuegos, another old city with colorful buildings and grand architecture.
Our second base is in the heart of Habana Vieja (Old Havana) with easy access to the sights and sounds we want to share with you. La Habana is not only the capital of the country, but its commercial and cultural center since colonial times. Here, we will experience the wonderful, photogenic charm of a city whose glory has faded over the last 50 or so years. In spite of this, the Cuban people have remained amazingly resiliant and welcoming. We will wander the back streets as well as take in the beautiful Plazas, or squares, and the incomparable Malecón, that eight-kilometer/five-mile long seawall that is one of the social centers in the city and a place where lovers gather, musicians practice, boys swim andfisherman cast their nets or jig lines.
From Havana, we will take a day trip out to Valle de Viñales, the heart of tobacco and now organic farming. This geologically amazing landscape never ceases to delight, and as we walk in the campos (farms), we meet the locals, perhaps sample some fresh, sweet pineapple, and learn about the process of growing tobacco.
The Cuban people have learned to be resourceful, and they treasure their family, friends, and neighbors, as well as their cars, family members in themselves. We will learn about daily life both in the cities and in other areas to which we will travel to see different slices of life in Cuba.
Along the way, we will meet dancers, musicians, photographers, and other artists. In the evenings, at many restaurants, we will enjoy some of the local Cuban music and even get up and dance to it. This is an ideal trip for your non-photographing spouse or significant other, as there will plenty for them to do, see, and learn about this amazing Caribbean island nation. The caveat, of course, is that they make doubly sure they don't stand in the way of the paying participants.
We will be going under the umbrella of Cuba Cultural Travel, an organization that has specialized in travel to Cuba since 1998. The Obama administration passed an executive order making it easier for Americans to visit Cuba. OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control, a branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury) has issued licenses to a select number of tour companies to operate what are known as People-to-People trips, and Cuba Cultural Travel is one of them. We have worked with them to tailor our people-to-people, cultural exchanges to the cultural and visual interests of our group.
This is a workshop that sells out quickly, and because of the added challenges of making reservations, we need your preliminary application right away to secure airline reservations and rooms. Acceptances are, of course, on a first-come/first-serve basis. As soon as you hear from us that you have been accepted, you will need to fill out the official, Cuba Cultural Travel application (that we will e-mail to you) and send in your $1,000 deposit/per person (credit cards are not accepted because of US sanctions). Check the Click here links at the top and bottom of this page for more details.
Everyone will meet in Miami at 5:00 Sunday afternoon, the day before our departure. This is both a meet-and-greet and a very important introduction to what to expect on our adventure to the island nation of Cuba. Once we land in Cuba, we will be on the go, so there will be no time for this type of informative gathering.
As the trip gets closer, you will get a detailed itinerary that has to be approved by both the US and Cuban governments. Please note, however, that we need this itinerary in order to get permission to travel to Cuba, and all that is listed may not be seen. There may be substitutions, depending upon schedules and other unforseen events. That said, if there is something that is on your must-do list, you can always walk or take a taxi to the location with the help of our guides.
Know that we will be on the go most of the time we are in Cuba. For most people, this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and we want to maximize your experiences and photographic opportunities, even though the itinerary may be worded according to certain guidelines. Also note, this is a people-to-people photo workshop designed to give you the most interaction with the Cuban people. As noted above, "Spousal units" are always welcome, but they may want to do separate things on their own, such as visiting museums.
Our People-to-People, Cultural Exchange
Cuba has a rich and varied cultural heritage. Since the revolution (the current government was put in place in January of 1959), there has been an aggressive program of cultural reforms that has promoted artistic talent on the island. The result is a highly respected collection of art, music, and dance institutions and academies that have gained international acclaim. Even in the face of economic difficulties, Cuba continues to place a high value on artistic creativity and maintains its cultural integrity.
During our stay, we will be hosted by a variety of local scholars and artists who will offer in-depth commentary on art, music, dance, photography, architecture, history, and/or religion. Throughout our adventure, we will enjoy the type of intimate, personal exchanges that build lifelong relationships.
This trip will not only bring us together with the wonderful, friendly, open people of Cuba, but will enable us to develop friendships and a new understanding of the rich and varied cultural fabric of this unique island nation. A true people-to-people exchange! Our previous workshops in Cuba were all amazing, and we cannot wait to return, reconnect with our friends there, and introduce you to them.
Included (subject to revision as arrangements firm up):
3 hotel nights in Casa Particulares (B&Bs) in Trinidad
4 hotel nights at Hotel Sevilla or similar hotel in Havana
All breakfasts (tips are NOT included)
3 lunches and 3 dinners
(tips are NOT included)
A HavanaTur guide
A HavanaTur driver on a bus (with A/C) dedicated to us for the week
2 professional (and very talented) Cuban photographers who act as our assistant instructors
Excursion to Valley of the Sugar Mills
Airport transfers to hotel and back
Fees related to several cultural exchange events on our itinerary
Pre-trip-departrure travel-tip booklet
Compliance with US Treasury Department
Excluded (details upon acceptance):
Transport to/from Miami
Hotel stay in Miami night of February 25 (group rate at contracted Crowne Miami hotel will be provided)
$400+/- for round trip airfare Miami/Santa Clara and Havana/Miami on chartered airline with Cuban Insurance (health and evacuation) included in airline ticket, and Cuban tourist visa
Airline baggage fees (individuals pay $20 per bag up to 44 lbs., $2.00 for each pound thereafter)
Tickets for events not listed on the itinerary (we may sometimes have the option to add events outside the regular itinerary)
Individualized hotel expenses (mini bar, room service, laundry fees, etc)
Fees for some cultural events (details
Fun tour of Havana in 50's-vintage convertibles
Recommended gratuities for HavanaTur guide (7 CUC/person/day)s, driver (5 CUC/person/day), and meals (1 CUC/person/breakfast, 1-2 CUC/person/lunch (depending on how fancy), 2 CUC/person/dinner
If you have not already done so, be sure to check our FAQs for
questions you may have as well as for equipment and installed downloads you need
to bring to the workshop including, if necessary, the free, 30-day, trial versions
of Adobe and other imaging products.
Because of the nature of running workshops in Cuba, we need to plan early to secure rooms, airline reservations, etc. We have had late-comers that were disappointed, because our workshop was closed.