Cuba & Its People: Photographic Tour
Experience the evolution of Cuba through its people on a cultural program that uses photography as a means of getting to know Cubans from all walks of life. Join a National Geographic photographer and two Cuban photographers for an intimate look at Havana and the surrounding countryside. Rise with the sun to capture the old city’s early morning rhythms, and photograph the people you engage with on visits to schools, dance studios, art cooperatives and more. Each departure is limited to 16 travelers.
Visit a historical home with its owner and focus on its stunning architectural details.
Attend a practice session of a ballet company and photograph graceful dancers.
Step into Cuba’s oldest boxing club to meet with and photograph coaches and boxers.
Tour a leading photography guild with the director and see the work of renowned Cuban photographers.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Miami, Florida/Havana, Cuba
Depart Miami on a charter flight. Upon arrival in Havana, have lunch at a traditional Cuban restaurant and get oriented on a city tour. Stop to visit Centro Cultural Antiguos Almacenes de Deposito San José, an arts and crafts market located in a restored warehouse on the harbor. Explore the colorful stalls with a wood sculptor who is also one of the cooperative’s organizers, learning about its history and engaging with enterprising artisans. As we wander the market, train your lens on a rich array of handicrafts, from paintings and ceramics to leather items, jewelry and musical instruments. Check into our hotel before gathering for a welcome dinner tonight. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (L,D)
Day 2 — Havana
Focus on the restoration of Old Havana during a morning photo walk and a meeting with a representative from the city historian’s office. Then head to Plaza Vieja to meet with Nelson Ramírez de Arellano, the director of Fototeca de Cuba. Founded in 1986 to preserve and promote Cuba’s photographic heritage, Fototeca de Cuba is home to the nation’s largest collection of Cuban photography. Learn about the organization’s role in nurturing young talent, explore current exhibitions, and enjoy an interactive presentation on renowned Cuban photographers. Have lunch at a paladar (privately owned restaurant). Later, delve into the origins of Afro-Cuban folkloric dance at a local dance company. Converse with students and musicians, and shoot portraits of dancers in motion. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L)
Day 3 — Havana/Countryside
Rise early for a sunrise photo walk followed by breakfast, then travel into the lush countryside outside Havana. Visit a farming community to speak with farmers about innovations in organic agriculture and capture evocative images of rural life. Spend the afternoon exploring the quiet town of Bejucal to meet and photograph local residents, discussing their hopes and thoughts for the future. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Havana
Cuba has a long and storied tradition of amateur boxing which has thrived, in large part, due to a 50-year ban on professional boxing. Bring your camera as we go behind the scenes at Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Trejo, the oldest boxing club in Cuba. The director will introduce us to the illustrious history of this popular sport in Cuba, which includes 32 Olympic boxing gold medals since 1972. Talk with coaches and their boxing students, and then take a position ringside to photograph a lively training session. Later, meet with dancers and instructors at a ballet company, and capture the graceful choreography of a ballet rehearsal. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L)
Day 5 — Havana
Join the morning bustle at Old Havana’s Mercado Agropecuario Egido, where we have an opportunity to meet independent farmers and produce vendors and photograph their vibrant displays of fruit, vegetables, meat and flowers. Later, travel to Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), the country’s leading art school, which is built on the site of the former Havana Country Club. Meet with Cuban photography students to view their recent work, and engage them in conversation as we tour the campus and its striking architecture. This evening, enjoy a specially arranged session with a group of leading Cuban photographers who will share their portfolios and discuss their careers. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L)
Day 6 — Havana
Capture the early morning light in the Vedado neighborhood as the streets slowly waken. Meet with community members involved in the preservation of the neighborhood’s historical homes, and step inside the home of a local resident to document its rich architectural details. After lunch, interact with teachers and dancers at an innovative dance company, learning about diverse styles of Cuban dance. Then join the company’s weekly “Sábado de la Rumba” — a mesmerizing performance of Afro-Cuban dance and drumming. Fill your lens with the rhythmic energy of dancers performing rumba, guaguancó and yambú. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,L)
Day 7 — Havana
On Sunday, a day of leisure for many Cubans, Havana’s streets come alive with vibrant markets, music and dance performances, pickup sports games and community events. Photographic opportunities abound as we explore the city and interact with its gracious people. Talk about Cuban music with street musicians; step inside local shops to engage cuentapropistas (self-employed workers), who are part of an expanding private sector; learn about the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería; visit a gym to meet athletes and bodybuilders; connect with artists in their studios; and more. Tonight, celebrate our Cuban experience at a farewell dinner. Hotel Mercure Sevilla (B,D)
Day 8 — Havana/Miami
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)
What to Expect
Each departure is limited to 16 travelers. This trip is permitted through the People-to-People general license category from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The itinerary was designed to provide numerous opportunities for travelers to engage in meaningful interactions with Cubans, using photography as a medium for enhancing the educational exchange and cultural exploration.
While we do our best to adhere to the itinerary listed here, traveling in Cuba requires flexibility, and changes to hotels and activities may occur.
Pricing starts at $6,000 per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $600. There is an additional holiday surcharge of $500 per person on the December departure. Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Round-trip charter airfare between Miami and Havana is approximately $550 per person (subject to change).
Accommodations (hotels, tents and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.