Cuba  Photography Tour bienvenido

Wave after wave of convertible Buicks pass you by as you stroll looking for sunset views over the Malecon. Behind you, the faded, colonial architecture of Habana Vieja, slowly being restored brick-by-brick. Cigar smoke scents the air and all around, the sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club start to hum. This is our award-winning Cuba photography tour.

Come experience eleven days of turquoise Caribbean seas, lush tropical plantations, step-back-in-time museum towns and the unmissable Havana. We’ll snooze in some of the best, dine in local paladares and get to the very heart of both rural and urban.

 

Almost 6,000,000 Americans visited Mexico in 2016; Puerto Rico got 4,200,000 and even the tiny island of Dominican Republic got 2,100,000. And Cuba? 84,000.

Like everything that happens in Cuba, the reported ‘US tourist invasion’ is taking it’s time. American travellers can only visit under strict visa restrictions, such as educational or professional visits – and tourism is still technically illegal. This has meant just a minor increase on numbers from last year, so this isle of intrigue, romance and politics quite unlike any other, is still muy autentica.

There are rousing rhythms, dancing in cobblestone streets (for real), wafting cigar smoke, a bounty of beaches and a Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack to accompany every style of journey. And ours takes in the highlights.

We’ve been running trips here for years – garnered awards for them even – and know all the best bars, restaurants, shooting locations and people in the know to make our photography tour to Cuba really rather special.

 

On your Creative Escape to Cuba, you’ll

  • Meet with Roberto Salas, Castro’s personal photographer, at his house
  • Capture incredible street images of Habana Vieja; faded murals, crumbling buildings and of course those decrepit 50’s Buicks
  • Shoot professional cigar rollers, in an exclusive location frequented by celebs
  • Create timeless black-and-white portraits of tobacco farmers in Vinales
  • Craft panoramics of the stunning mogotes – limestone cliffs in lush plantations
  • Exclusive access to photograph the Cuban Royal Ballet in their classrooms*
  • Practice interior photography in one of Havana’s finest mansions
  • Try out sports photography in a famed outdoor boxing gym
  • Snap the hotel where Al Capone used to meet all the mafiosi
  • Try out documentary photography on a rickety old train deep into the Cuban countryside
  • Create images right out of the pages of travel magazines, in our dusk shoot in ancient Trinidad
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Highlights of Cuba Photography Tour .

Cuba Photography Tour Itinerary.

We’ll transport you right off the plane downtown to our luxurious hotel in the heart of old Havana, where you’ll get a first glimpse of the sights, sounds and jaw dropping architecture of this incredible city. After a restful sleep & leisurely breakfast, we’ll dive into the basics of camera control and operation, then head off to shoot some street scenes in the old town. Later, we’ll get our first view of Cuban life (and catch some rays) in the back seat of a 1950’s convertible Buick taxi and cruise along the Malecón towards Revolucion Square, stopping en route to practice your new found skills. Come evening, we’ll soak up the buzz at a local paladar – Cuban gourmet restaurants – and sample local delights in an elegant mansion setting which retains its original 1948 furniture, decor and artwork.

This morning, we’ll group review our images from the day, giving key tips on composition, positioning and lens choice that will add to your growing set of creative skills. After lunch, we’ll swing by the house of Roberto Salas – Castro’s personal photographer, who will regale you with stories of Che & Fidels revolutionary adventures, and show you his incredible work. Then we’ll learn cigar-rolling (and documentary style shots) at a secret boutique rolling house far from the crowds. Come evening, we’ll dine out under the stars in an open air courtyard favourite, then it’s your choice – some outdoor jazz in the streets, kitsch Cuban cabaret or some more sedate folk in the Renaissance-styled gardens of a rose-coloured mansion.

Early next morning, we’re off to Vinales, popularly known as the ‘Garden of Cuba’. Here lush, hilly landscapes provide panoramic views over tobacco, coffee, sugar cane, oranges and avocados in an atmosphere of almost complete serenity. After a delicious lunch on an organic farm overlooking the Silencio valley, we’ll swing by a working tobacco farm, shoot some portraits of local farmers, and learn how to roll our own. We’ll then explore the scenic valleys further, punctuated by a series of limestone karst hill formations, or mogotes.

The views at sunset from the small mountains rounding the valley are spectacular. On our return, we’ll hold the first of our 1-on-1 sessions, spending time with you individually to assess you progress and give you tailored advice on ways to help take your images to that next level.

Today, we depart for Trinidad, a perfectly preserved UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, bursting with jaw-dropping photographic scenes. We’ll celebrate our arrival with a ‘Canchanchara’ a chilled cocktail made with rum, honey and lime which is the speciality of Trinidad; later, we’ll swing by an open air acoustic concert in the heart of the old town, right under the stars.

Up early the next day to catch the morning rays, we’ll take our seats on board our 1919 wooden-carriaged steam train and journey to the once formidable Valle de Los Ingenios, the sugar-caned landscapes. In between shooting some glorious landscapes, here we’ll hold the first of our 1-on-1’s – individual reviews of your images to date, observations on your photography style, plus some tips to take you to that next level. That night, we’ll review the work on the big screen, giving you plenty of professional tips on how to improve your photographs.

Today, you’ll learn the art of black and white photography in the cobbled streets of ancient Trinidad – and understand how to tell stories using your photography. We’ll review images of past masters, then take to the streets, along with your tutor watching closeby, and craft some timeless images of a town steeped in history.

Next day is you time; perhaps you’d like to head off on ‘seafari’ to Cayo Blanco island, a tropical island famed for its powder white beaches, stunning coral – and lobster BBQ’s! Or  you could head for Playa Ancon, a precious ribbon of bleached white sand and crystal azure sea 12km from Trinidad; for the more energetic, head somewhere cooler and do some mountain trekking in the Topes de Collantes, 20 minutes north. This former Che hangout has breathtaking pine trails and culminates in a refreshing dip in the stunning El Cubano waterfall.

On our final day in Trinidad, we’ll start putting it all together, and work on a mini-assignment to show off all your new found skills – and take your photography to that next level. Our tutor will review all of your images so far, and work with you to show your emerging style – before reviewing all your hard work in an outdoor party under the stars.

Chance to go behind the scenes today, on our guided photo walk to some of the most incredible locations in Havana – including a mix of shooting dancers at the Cuban National Ballet (*permission granted on the day), interiors at the finest and most beautiful private house in Havana, portraits of artists in an artisan community west of the city, documentary B&Ws at a 50s government owned ice cream parlour, still life in a hotel where Al Capone used to meet all the mafia bosses, plus sunset shots of boxers training in a stunning outdoor gym, and street documentary of life before the night starts in the backdrop of fading architecture, fifties automobiles and the faint whisper of music.

This is a smorgasbord of photographic delights, and chance to test all your new found talents behind the camera, before our final presentation and show of all our best images of the week, at our very own ‘pop-up’ photo exhibition over some refreshing mojitos.

lazy morning – with some free time to take in the last few glimpses of this incredible city – and chance to get some 1-on-1 feedback from our professionals on your progress, your emerging style and tips on where next to take your photography. We’ll share a final lunch together, before departing back to the airport for the flight home.

Cuba Photography Tour Details.

 13 – 23 November, 2017
Fully Booked

16 – 26 April, 2018
Spaces available

4 – 14 June, 2018
Spaces available

12 – 22 November, 2018
Spaces available

11 days. 10 nights. Starts and ends in Havana, Cuba.

£2445 sharing / £3065 single

Price includes 
11 days, 10 nights accommodation at the listed hotels, plus guide
11 full days tuition from our UK-based professional photographer
Private audience with Roberto Salas at his house
Private entry to exclusive cigar rolling house, with cigar
Entry to the Royal Cuban Ballet (permission granted on the day)
Private photoshoot at a famous boxing gym in old Havana
Guided walk, with lunch, through the tobacco fields in Vinales
Private photoshoot inside one of Havana’s best interiors
All transfers to and from the airport
All transportation to shooting locations
Train ride through rural Cuba
Multiple 1-on-1 tuition sessions

Price excludes international flights, lunch and dinner.

 

Virgin Atlantic fly direct from the UK into Havana, starting from £650. There are a multitude of other flights with minimal connections using KLM, Air France, Iberia and more, from £450.

"I had a fantastic time in Cuba last month with CE, my first group holiday of any kind & I was nervous but need not have worried! Hotels, guide, tutor & locations all excellent plus the company of a lovely bunch of fellow travellers made it a very enjoyable memorable trip! Thank you!"


Jo Wimbush, Cuba 2016