This trip is authorized by the US Government under the category of Support for the Cuban People.
Experience Cuba with the locals in three of the island’s most iconic sites… Havana, Viñales and Trinidad. Cuba’s frozen-in-time stage-set backdrop lends a twilight zone ambiance that Hollywood couldn’t dream up if it tried. It guarantees superb photography. But Cuba’s real magic isn’t its crumbling architecture, one-of-a-kind revolutionary icons, or spruced-up vintage cars. It’s the seemingly mundane, quintessential experience a lo cubano that provide for the most authentic grass-roots photography and which you’ll forever cherish as favorite take-aways.
We will start in Havana, with its world-class street shooting and so much more. We will organize photo shoots, such as the most important boxing gym in Cuba, Afro Cubano dancers in an old colonial building, and ballet dancers from the Cuban National Ballet posing in an old mansion. We will be assisted local Cuban photographers, and everywhere we go we will meet and photograph the friendly people of Havana. Next we will explore the tobacco-growing region of Vinales – with its stunning limestone cliffs, or Mogotes. Vinales would be an important photo destination just for the scenery alone, but it is the traditional farmers that make it so great. We are friends with many of the farmers in the area, and they will invite us into their homes, affording photo opportunities that the typical group will never have. Also we’ll be working with a local photographer who was born and raised there.
Finally we will journey to the colonial city of Trinidad. Many consider this Unesco World Heritage site the most beautiful city in Cuba. With the backdrop of the perfectly preserved colonial buildings, we’ll photograph cowboys riding horses and pulling horse-carts through the cobblestone streets, along with the classic American cars. We’ll meet a local photographer there and visit a cowboy ranch outside of town, where we’ll be served an authentic country-style lunch. Trinidad also hosts a thriving local live music scene, and we will have the opportunity to photograph local musicians there.
Day 1 (Jan 24):
Arrive on your flight to Havana. You’ll be picked up at the airport and transported to our B&B in Old Havana. We’ll have an introduction and orientation meeting and go do dinner at a private restaurant. We’ll spend the night in Havana.
Day 2 (Jan 25):
Walking in Old Havana with our local photographer/guide in morning, learning the history of the city, and meeting every-day Cuban entrepreneurs along the way. We will witness firsthand some of the privately owned small businesses springing up since the easing of the laws against such ownership in 2011. In the afternoon we’ll take an excursion in classic American cars places such as Revolution Square, the famous Hotel Nacional, and the El Morro fort, which guards the entrance to the harbor. We’ll spend the night in Havana.
Day 3 (Jan 26):
In Havana we’ll have an optional early morning photo walk. Later in the morning we’ll visit a boxing gym where some of the top boxers in Cuba train. After lunch, we visit more of Old Havana, and perhaps photograph a dance performance. In the late afternoon, we’ll meet at the malecon for sunset time and then walk through the streets of Centro Havana as the light changes to dark, to our dinner restaurant. We’ll spend the night in Havana.
Day 4 (Jan 27):
In the morning we’ll go with a Cuban photographer for a model shoot in a gorgeous old mansion or other beautiful location. In the afternoon there will be free time for optional activities and dinner on your own. That evening we will have an optional excursion to the famous Tropicana floor show. Final night in Havana.
Day 5 (Jan 28):
In the morning we’ll drive from Havana to Vinales, arrive for lunch at a private restaurant with an amazing view over the Vinales Valley with its dramatic limestone cliffs, or mogotes. We’ll make stop at a tobacco farm, and get a cigar rolling demonstration, check in to our hotel and have the late afternoon to meet the locals in the town, through sunset time. We’ll spend the night in Vinales.
Day 6 (Jan 29):
We’ll get up early and visit tobacco farmers and photograph them in the morning light. We’ll have lunch at a beautiful restaurant where all of their organic vegetables are grown in their adjacent farm. In the afternoon we’ll visit more farmers and photograph them in and around their homes and barns. They will invite us into their homes, where we will learn about their daily lives. We’ll have dinner at a tobacco farmer family “restaurant”. Final night in Vinales.
Day 7 (Jan 30):
We’ll drive from Vinales to Trinidad, with a lunch stop on the way, arriving in time for the last light in the colonial town. We’ll check into our rooms in a boutique hotel in the historic city center. We’ll have dinner in a private restaurant, or paladar. We’ll spend the night in Trinidad.
Day 8 (Jan 31) :
We’ll have a morning walk with a local photographer from Trinidad. We’ll spend the day in and around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad, meeting the local people and learning about their lives. We may visit local ranchers and farmers, watching the colorful cowboys, and having lunch at a farmhouse. We will get a look inside the homes of many Cubans. Free time to wander the streets and photograph in the afternoon. Dinner will be on your own, then go to the colonial home of a Trinidad photographer for image sharing. We’ll spend the night in Trinidad.
Day 9 (Feb 1) :
We’ll have the whole time to photograph in the colonial gem of Trinidad, some time with the group, and some of the time on your own. That evening you may visit one or more of the thriving live music venues in the center including the famous outdoor Casa de Musica. We’ll spend the night in Trinidad.
Day 10 (Feb 2) :
After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Santa Clara for your flights home.