Date: January 2024 (12 days/11 nights)
Group Size: Minimum of 4, maximum of 8 people
Cuba is an island to overload your senses, from the exotic rhythms of salsa and rumba emanating from every corner, the incredible architecture, the street life and the sense of a country lost in the 1950’s. What better place to want to go take photographs?
Cuba will offer you unparalleled opportunities to capture amazing images of a country trapped in time, but time will not be standing still for long. As new opportunities for tourism and business take hold in the next few years the qualities that make Cuba unique will diminish and the images we are able to capture will change with it. Now is the time to seize this opportunity to capture this amazing country before it surges forward in time.
Day 1: ARRIVE HAVANA (D)
Built around a deep natural harbour, Havana is one of the best surviving colonial cities in the Americas. Modern day Havana is a mixture of restored and crumbling architectural marvels. Art Deco-style buildings are the backdrop for 1950s American Cadillacs cruising past. The old district (Habana Vieja) has beautiful neoclassical and baroque buildings.
On arrival at Havana Airport you will be met by a local representative who will assist you with the transfer to your hotel in Old Havana, only minutes from the Plaza Vieja, Plaza San Francisco, Plaza de Armas and Plaza dela Cathedral.
Day 2: HAVANA (B/L/D)
Street photography is the order of the day with so many opportunities to capture classic Cuban images you won’t know which way to look. Depart your hotel this morning to explore Old Havana, walking among its World Heritage’s colonial architecture, tread the cobblestone streets and see some of this city’s fascinating historical and cultural value. Visit Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas, Cathedral Square, and Plaza de San Francisco de Asis. Afterwards we visit Rafel Trejo Boxing Gym before enjoying lunch at an authentic Cuban Paladar. In the afternoon we enjoy a convertible classic car tour before settling down with a drink whilst watching the sunset over the Malecon.
Day 3: HAVANA – CIENFUEGOS (B/L/D)
This morning we depart Havana early for our long day of travel and photography. We travel south-east down the highway before departing the main road at a small town called Australia where we will have some time to explore and photograph a local workshop where they restore and maintain old steam trains from the sugarcane period.
We continue to the Bay of Pigs region where we enjoy a very special photoshoot with the local Hummingbirds before continuing to Cienfuegos. On arrival in Cienfuegos we visit the town centre and enjoy an afternoon of street, architecture and portrait photography, with colour being the order of the day. Late afternoon we walk the outskirts of town, ending watching sunset over the bay.
Day 4: CIENFUEGOS – TRINIDAD (B/L/D)
We rise early to explore the town as it commences the new day. From Cienfuegos we head to Trinidad, stopping at Laguna Guanaroca where flamingos, pelicans and Tocororo are regular visitors.
Trinidad is a ’museum town’ and reminiscent of the Spanish colonial era, with Baroque church towers, wrought iron gates, cobbled streets and tiled rooftops. Many of the buildings retain their traditional character and are painted in lovely pastel shades. The surrounding area was one of the main centres of both sugar production and slavery and was frequented by smugglers until the late 1700s.
After lunch we wander through the historical centre of Trinidad, a beautiful city full of stunning colonial architecture and street photography options aplenty. We visit Palacio Cantero, Canchanchara, Palacio Brunet, Plaza Mayor, Museo Romantico, and a pottery workshop among other sights. Our day ends with an enjoyable evening at Casa de la Musica where we enjoy a refreshing drink or two whilst being entertained by Cuban dance and music.
Day 5/6: TRINIDAD (B/L/D)
Over the course of two full days there will be ample opportunity to continue exploring and photographing this amazing town at our leisure, making the most of the cobblestone lanes, colourful buildings, the dynamic residents and the local cowboys with their horses.
In addition to the activities within the town, we will also head out of town to explore Valle de los Ingenios, the valley of the Sugar Mills, the local art scene and also head down to Playa Ancon for a relaxing afternoon at one of the most beloved beaches in Cuba.
Our evenings no doubt will be filled with fine dining, refreshing cocktails and Cuban music and dance that will seem to follow us no matter where we are.
Day 7: TRINIDAD – SANTA CLARA (B/L/D)
This morning we have one final chance to explore the streets of Trinidad before departing for Santa Clara. Santa Clara is a beautifully maintained city, and while its existence is hardly a secret, it’s not a place that all that many visitors to Cuba get to experience. Its history might be dark, but its present is bright.
Upon our arrival we enjoy a guided city walk with visits to Che Guevara Memorial, the Armoured Train Museum and Cigar Factory.
Day 8: SANTA CLARA – HAVANA (B/L/D)
We rise early to experience and photograph Santa Clara as it wakes for the new day. After breakfast we commence our journey back to Havana where we will enjoy a very special photoshoot with Cuban Ballerinas.
At night we once again take the opportunity to enjoy some fine dining and local entertainment.
Day 9: HAVANA – VINALES (B/L/D)
After an early morning of street photography in Havana, it’s now time to travel to Vinales in the western province of Pinar del Rio. Vinales will seem like a world away from the bustling city of Havana, however it’s an area of great importance. This is where some of the world’s finest tobacco is grown and cigars manufactured. It’s a simple area where country folk reside on their farms, or in simple homes in basic but small villages. Vinales also offers some beautiful landscapes thanks to mogotes or flat-topped mountains scattered around the countryside.
Our afternoon will involve visiting a cigar manufacturing workshops, local farms and the town with locals going about their daily lives.
Day 10: VINALES – HAVANA (B/L/D)
This morning we enjoy some free time in Vinales before commencing our journey back to Havana. Stops will be provided along the way as photo opportunities arise.
On arrival in Havana you’re free to do your own thing or continue to explore the streets with me seeking out great photo opportunities.
Day 11: HAVANA (B/L/D)
Today we enjoy two very special architectural visits. First opened in 1915, the Gran Teatro de la Habana is home to Cuba’s National Ballet company and hosts many touring companies and festivals. The building itself is embellished with numerous statues and frescoes and the detail is incredible. We will also enjoy a tour of the recently opened El Capitolio Nacional (National Capitol of Cuba). This majestic construction, located in the Centro Habana, is similar to that in Washington D.C, but a metre higher, a metre wider, and a metre longer, as well as much richer in detail.
Day 12: DEPART HAVANA (B)
Depending on your flight departure time, you are free to explore Havana for those last-minute images, shopping or just relax the day away with a cool Mojito.
You will then be transferred to the airport for departure.
The cost includes the complete tour as per the itinerary, Accommodation (combination of Casa’s and Hotels), Meals as specified in itinerary (B/L/D), Arrival and departure transfers, Professional photographic leader/s, Local English-speaking tour guide/s, Entry fees and taxes whilst on organised tour, Purified drinking water.
Return International Airfare, Visa or Tourist Card, Travel Insurance is required. Please ensure that Cuba is covered by your insurer, Meals not indicated in program, Any drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) – unless part of an organised day tour, Activities during free time, Any expenses of a personal nature (such as laundry, phone calls, porterage etc.), Tips and gratuities, Excess Baggage Fee.