Cuba Photo Tour
DATES: March 21-30, 2017
TOUR SIZE: minimum 5, maximum 10
REGISTRATION: This tour is run through Strabo Tours. Visit the Strabo website for complete tour details and registration information.
Americans are now able to travel through a new 'people-to-people' program, which includes daily activities, immersing you into the heart and soul of Cuba. Designed as a cultural and historical program, it will also provide dramatic photographic opportunities each day. From the hustle and bustle of Old Havana, to the slower paced countryside of the Pinar del Rio and Zapata Provinces, includes an overnight stay on the southern coast beach at Playa Larga, on the Bay of Pigs. Visualize the appeal of this country that has been closed off to Americans for decades. Allow Corey Hilz to assist you in capturing the allure of this amazing place and its people through your lens.
You will be introduced to the rich culture and strong willed people of Havana, as well as the spectacular UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site of the Valley of the Sugar Mills, and the colonial town of Trinidad on Cuba’s southern coast. The people of Cuba are friendly and open. You will find so many wonderful faces to photograph in the cities and the countryside. There are those in Havana that earn a living this way and those that are just as pleased to be photographed looking for nothing in return.
Wander and explore with Corey through Havana’s colonial architecture, while watching the antique vehicles pass you by. There will be daily educational programs given by your local guide, where you will learn about the arts, traditional music, dance, artistry, rum factory exploration, visit with local families of diverse neighborhoods, and the sugar and tobacco farmers of the countryside.
March 20: Home - Miami
Due to the time of the group charter flight tomorrow morning it will be necessary for everyone to fly to Miami today and overnight there. Otherwise, we cannot be responsible for missed connections. We recommend everyone staying at the same hotel as your photo leader in order to coordinate departure time in the morning back to the airport. Suggested hotel to overnight at will be announced.
March 21: Havana
Depart Miami today on the charter flight to Havana (time to be announced). Currently we can arrange and pre-pay the Cuba Travel Visa fee for you. The airfare and Visa are included in your tour cost.
Upon arrival, the group will depart from the airport to Old Havana. Your local guide will orient you to the highlights of Old Havana on a walking tour. As you stroll the streets, you will be overwhelmed with sights to photograph, from the antique American cars, children playing in the streets or in abandoned lots, from the beautifully restored hotels to the paint peeling off dilapidated buildings. Havana’s architecture is the most beautiful in the various plazas, where locals and tourists congregate to share stories. Plaza de Armas, Plaza de la Cathedral, Plaza Vieja, and Plaza de San Francisco, are a few that are within walking distance of our hotel. You will be able to return late at night while music fills the air, or early in the morning to photograph as the streets come to life again. Overnight Hotel Capri or similar (D)
March 22-23: Vinales
Viñales is a small town located in the Pinar del Rio Province. It has an economy based on agriculture, mainly tobacco farming, and its soil is considered to be some of the richest in the world. Photograph rural family life amidst the tobacco fields and traditional buildings of this region. In the Viñales Valley, another UNESCO World Heritage site, we’ll see mountainous “mogotes”, made of hard limestone left over after millennia of erosion, as well as rural farmland vistas. The hotel offers commanding views of the landscape, which we will capture at sunset this evening, and early morning sunrise photography the next day. We will then head down into the valley and walk the paths through fields of tobacco and sugar cane, meeting the farmers and photographing their homes and farms. Lunch will be at an organic farm overlooking the valley, and then continue our exploration of this beautiful valley. Overnight Los Jazmines or similar. (B, D; B, L)
March 24: Playa Larga - Bay of Pigs
After sunrise photography from the hotel and breakfast, we drive to the southern coast and the Province of Zapata. Playa Larga is located at the end of the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). This region is known for its beaches, wetlands, and wildlife. There will be crocodiles, colorful birds, fishing boats, and tropical beaches, providing us with an opportunity to photograph the natural side of Cuba. Given time this afternoon (and given the interest of the group) we will have a chance to photograph and discuss music education with the students and teachers at the Korimacao Community Project. The project houses some of the country’s finest musicians, dancers, and artists. We can watch, learn, and photograph them as they work. There is optional snorkeling or scuba diving in this region from the hotel. Overnight Playa Larga (B, L, D)
March 25-26: Trinidad
After an early breakfast, we will travel to Trinidad. There may be time to stop in the City of Cienfuegos, a very modern city by Cuba’s standards. Trinidad was founded in the early 16th century on the southern coast of the country. It was designated an UNESCO site in 1988, and it’s the perfect example of a traditional colonial town, with red tiled roofs and an array of pastel colored houses lining cobbled stone streets. Walk with Corey or wander on your own capturing the simplicity of this quaint town and its villagers. Both evenings there will be an amazing opportunity for locals and visitors to get together for drinks, some wonderful traditional music and a chance to dance away the night. This will be a lively experience and one not to forget!
After breakfast, your guide will join you for a walking tour of the city streets, where you may visit and photograph at an artist studio, or local school. Photograph artisans as they work or school children as they interact with one another and their teachers. Travel to the Valley of the Sugar Mills, photographing the beautiful landscape and ruined 19th Century sugar estates. The landscape speaks of the transitions this country has seen. Explore with your local guide as they educate you on the sugar plantations of yesterday. Overnight evenings in Casa particular: participants will stay in various local homes to experience the family hospitality and central location in town. All rooms have private baths. (B, D; B, L)
March 27-29: Havana
Return to Old Havana after breakfast. In 1982, Old Havana was designated an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is brimming with a variety of historical landmarks and interesting things to do. Walking the streets in this area is a favorite pastime and will surely result in an unforgettable experience with lots of chances to take advantage of a myriad of photo ops. After early morning shoots on foot, return to the hotel for breakfast, then meet your local guide to visit La Torre (the tower) with a bird’s eye view of the harbor and city. Morro Cabana (fortress) just across the harbor provides another perspective of the waves crashing on the lighthouse and fortress, along with the skyline of Havana. If time permits, there will be a guided tour of the Havana Rum Museum, to learn the history and photograph during the program, ending with a wee sample of this famous rum.
There will be free time in the late afternoons to walk the Prado down to the Malecon, with incredible panoramic views of the harbor and the skyline of Havana. You can also photograph from the roof top terraces of Park Central or Hotel Saratoga for additional skyline views. Overnight Inglaterra or similar (B; B, L; B, D)
March 30: Havana - Miami
There will be a morning transfer to Havana airport for your trip home (Exact time to be announced). Confirm with Strabo Tours prior to booking your Miami tickets. Be sure to leave three hours between your connection times from the Havana ETA to your Miami departure. This will all be worked out when we are closer to our date. (B)