PHOTO TOUR to CUBA
October 22 - 31, 2019
Cuba is a country seemingly frozen in time -- in 1959. Photo opportunities are everywhere, literally. Classic American cars from the 40's and 50's with a backdrop of grand but decaying architecture makes for some of the most exciting travel photography. Jim sets up models in colorful Caribbean outfits, and we also have a photo session with a ballerina. And the music and dance extravaganza at the Tropicana is second to none. The Cuban people are warm, welcoming, and very photogenic. You will have a legal license to visit this island nation, and we stay in four- and five-star hotels for maximum comfort and Internet access. Visit Cuba now before it modernizes and loses its incredible charm.
VISIT THE GALLERY
Day 1, Oct. 22, Tuesday.
Arrive in Tampa, Florida before 5:30 pm and take the free shuttle to the Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore. Upon arrival and after you collect your bag, you have to call the hotel and they will send the shuttle. At 7:30 pm Jim will give an orientation and answer questions about the tour in the lobby of the hotel, and he will find out what people most want to learn so he can help everyone get the most out of the trip. Overnight Tampa Hilton.
Day 2, Oct. 23, Wednesday.
We transfer to the airport for our early morning flight to Cuba. We need to check-in 2 1/2 hours prior to departure. Upon arrival, we clear customs, exchange currency, and meet our local guide, and have a tour of the capital and to a hilltop location next to the Christ statue. We then head to the Hotel Nacional for a private check-in. You'll have some free time to walk along the Malecon, the main street that parallels the beach, to photograph old cars passing by the colonial buildings that face the ocean. Overnight Hotel Nacional, Havana.
Day 3, Oct. 24, Thursday.
After breakfast, we visit Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, giving you time to observe life, mingle with and meet local people, and photograph the color, vibrancy, and culture. We will visit four of the five historic plazas that make Havana unique in the Western Hemisphere. Following lunch, we visit Hamel Alley, an area of wild and crazy street art, the likes of which you've never seen. Portraits of people on the street with colorful backgrounds look amazing. We then return to the hotel for dinner in a private restaurant nearby. Overnight Hotel Nacional, Havana.
Day 4, Oct. 25, Friday.
This morning Jim will set up a model shoot that will include two or three old cars with a backdrop of colonial architecture. Following this, we will have the opportunity to photograph a ballerina in a lovely setting and with beautiful lighting. After lunch, we will visit Havana's Colon Cemetery, famous for its beautiful statuary, followed by a visit to the beautiful Havana Cathedral with its exquisite stained-glass windows. This is a great time to practice HDR. In the early evening, we will take beautiful night photos of the Grand Theater, one of Havana's most beautiful buildings that is artfully illuminated. Overnight Hotel Nacional, Havana.
Day 5, Oct. 26, Saturday.
We depart for Trinidad this morning and arrive around lunchtime. Trinidad is famous among photographers because of the colorful houses and cobblestone streets that offer wonderful photo opportunities. We have a walking tour of the old town and visit a family-run pottery factory. We will also visit the Valle de los Ingenios where once sugar mills stood. Overnight in Hotel Las Bristas, Trinidad.
Day 6, Oct. 27, Sunday.
After breakfast, Jim will set up another model shoot this morning using the multi-colored houses as a backdrop along with an old car. The mixture of colors and textures make awesome images. Throughout the day, we continue to explore the area including the ruins of a church, the main square, and some of Jim's favorite compositions. Overnight in Hotel Las Bristas, Trinidad.
Day 7, Oct. 28, Monday.
We have an early departure this morning to Cienfuegos, a town on the coast that has a lovely square, a beautiful church, and more great architectural backgrounds for old cars and interesting portraits. After lunch, we continue to the city of Australia, Cuba and photograph a steam train. Heading back toward Havana, we stop in Veradero to photograph a huge crab sculpture. Overnight Hotel Velasco, Veradero.
Day 8, Oct. 29, Tuesday.
After breakfast, we arrive back in Havana, have lunch, and then visit the house of Jose Fuster, an amazing Cuban artist who created wild, colorful mosaics all over his property. It is a fantasy experience on steroids! We return to the hotel to get ready for a dinner and dance show at the Tropicana that is truly spectacular. Overnight Presidente Hotel, Havana.
Day 9, Oct. 30, Wednesday.
Every time you walk the streets of Havana, there are photo opportunities everywhere. Mimes, dancers, street artists, cigar-smoking old women, and photogenic children can be found on any street. We spend this morning adding to our collection of amazing images of Cuba. In the afternoon, we visit a cigar factory and learn about the process of this famous Cuban industry. We have our farewell dinner in a lovely restaurant. Overnight Presidente Hotel, Havana.
Day 10, Oct. 31, Thursday.
After breakfast, we depart for the airport for our return flight home, knowing we've taken remarkable pictures in this wonderful photographic destination.
Tour cost: $5195
Single supplement: $670
Includes: All lodging in Cuba in 4- and 5-star hotels, Hilton Hotel in Tampa, all meals starting with our arrival in Havana, all ground transportation, all sightseeing, photo session in old American cars, tickets for the Tropicana performance, English speaking guide, photo models, photo instruction.
Not included: International airfare (the airfare from Tampa to Havana will be done as a group and ticketed by a travel agency -- it is about $275 - $400 per person round trip), items of a personal nature, tips to local guide and bus driver, trip cancellation insurance.
NOTE: The mandatory insurance required by Cuba will not get an ill person home (medical evacuation) and does not provide cancellation or interruption insurance. A separate policy is available to you upon request.