Embark on a Photographic Journey Back in Time on an Artfully Crafted Itinerary Exploring Cuba's Far East
CUBA AT THE CROSSROADS PHOTO WORKSHOP WITH AWARD-WINNING PHOTOGRAPHERS MAGDALENA SOLE & LUIS ALARCON
Crumbling colonial buildings, thatched fishing villages and palm-covered peaks that sweep down to the sea – Cuba is a treat for photographers. And thanks to year-round sunshine, life happens outdoors: stoops fill like grandstands, alleys act as baseball diamonds for children, plazas as musicians’ stages and national parks as biological playgrounds. As relations ease with the US, Cuba is on the brink of a shift that will likely see it utterly changed within the next decade. For now, however, the island remains wholly unique: stunted but undoubtedly stunning.
Yet for all its camera-ready qualities, photographing Cuba isn’t without its challenges. Guiding photographers through the technical, practical and artistic processes during this workshop is Magdalena Solé, an award-winning social documentary photographer whose past projects have covered such diverse subjects as the aging day laborers of Kamagasaki, Osaka and the communities of the Mississippi Delta. She is currently working on a new photography book: Cuba: hasta siempre. (Cuba: Forever) Joining Solé on the workshop is photographer Luis Alarcon, who specializes in introducing guests to an authentic Cuba away from tourism. Luis manages one of the most important Cuba YouTube channels for the Hispanic market, a product of his long-time experience in this beautiful and unexplored country.
DAY 1 - MIAMI - SANTIAGO
The adventure begins. Today we meet early at Miami international Airport for our charter flight to Santiago de Cuba. The workshop begins in Cuba’s second city. Here, you’ll wander the colonial center and visit the 16th-century home of Spanish conqueror Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. Sip coffee and watch life unfold on a central square, Parque Céspedes, then admire the view over the bay from Balcón de Velázquez lookout.
A mid-day boat ride will bring you out to the speck-sized Granma Island, where you can mingle with the tight-knit island community, who are still recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy. Back on the mainland, investigate the bullet-scarred Moncada Barracks, where in July, 1953, a young Fidel Castro led his failed coup. (L,D)
DAY 2 - SANTIAGO DE CUBA
Head out onto the Santiago streets to further explore the city. Join locals at the farmers’ market, stroll through El Tivoli, where peeling houses exude a weathered colonial charm, and point your viewfinder onto the sun-bleached tombstones of Cementerio Santa Ifigenia.
Photograph the deteriorating mansions of the Vista Alegre district, where the wealthy pre-revolutionary elite once lived. You’ll also browse the exhibits at the Museo de las Religiones Populares, where you can learn about Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion borne out of the slave trade. During your down time, you may want to experience the city’s music scene – unquestionably the best in the country. You’ll also have your first group meeting today, during which you can review your photography and set out your objectives for the workshop. (L,D)
DAY 3 - SANTIAGO - GUANTANAMO - BARACOA
A scenic morning drive will include a stop-off in Guantánamo to find out about indigenous music at Casa de Changüí. Back on the road, we’ll skirt the coast and climb La Farola mountain pass – a mountainous road hewn out of the rock in 1965. Prior to this, Baracoa was only accessible by sea.
Upon arrival in Baracoa, get acquainted with the town and the sparkling bay, forests and mountains that surround it. Bring your camera and try to capture the fading afternoon light. (B,D)
DAY 4 - BARACOA
On Day 4, our journey will take us East along the coast through the Túnel de los Alemanes (German tunnel) natural arch. We’ll emerge at Boca de Yumurí where the Yumurí River flows through a deep canyon into the Atlantic. After a boat ride through the canyon, we will continue on to the Playa Manglito beach and the remote village of La Maquina, where you’ll have the chance to chat with locals. You may want to bring along gifts – fishing equipment (hooks, lines etc.) will be particularly well-received.
On the way back to Baracoa, we’ll stop at a beautiful seaside village to photograph fishermen returning with their fresh catch at sunset. (B)
DAY 5 - BARACOA - GIBARA
Leaving Baracoa, we’ll head to Rio Toa, Cuba’s biggest river. Trek along the banks and take to the water in a traditional cayuka boat. We’ll visit a cocoa farm and a coconut-processing factory as well as Playa Maguana, a glorious white-sand beach.
The journey continues to Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt. Toxic rocks have forced the plant and animal life in the park to adapt, resulting in unique species that can only be found in the lush rainforest and pristine bay here. You’ll also photograph the nearby mining town of Moa, whose harsh industrial cityscape is coated in a layer of red dust. The town is particularly eerie and mesmeric at sundown.
Finish up for the day at the remote coastal town of Gibara, where’ll you have free time to eat dinner, review and edit your pictures. (B,D)
DAY 6 - GIBARA - CAMAGÜEY
Spend the morning exploring and photographing Gibara, whose isolated setting has led to a stuck-in-the-past vibe. Early afternoon, our small bus will take us on a cross-country drive to Camagüey. Later in the day, you’ll take your camera around the historic inland city of Camagüey, weaving your way through the beautiful plazas and confusing zigzag streets, which were built to thwart marauding invaders. That evening, you’ll meet a local artist who creates leather jewelry and art. (B,D)
DAY 7 - CAMAGÜEY
Get to know Camagüey during a pedal-powered bici-taxi tour of the town, observe vendors peddling their wares at the Agro Farmers Market. You’ll also call into the music school, housed in an old leprosy hospital. You will also visit either the local art school, where you can meet students, or the Casanova potters’ studio, where you can check out pottery displays and talk to the ceramicists. That evening, you’ll have the option to listen to local musicians perform live. (B,D)
DAY 8 - CAMAGÜEY - KING RANCH
Leaving the hotel, we’ll move on to the city’s peaceful cemetery and the surrounding flower shops, where colorful flowers and bouquets add vibrancy to the scene. Then it’s on to King Ranch to see a Cuban take on a Texan-style ranch and to watch a rodeo. Return to Camagüey for some last-minute photographing. If the time is right, you may even be able to catch a game of baseball, the darling sport of the Cuban nation. (B,L,D)
DAY 9 - CAMAGÜEY - MIAMI
Rise early to photograph a bit more before departure as the sun breaks over the horizon and lights up the sky above the city. Later, transfer to the airport for the flight home. (B)
Trip licensed by Other Cuban Journeys, LLC. License No. CT-2014-306910-1 by the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which authorizes registered guests of our programs to legally travel to Cuba, to participate and engage in a full time schedule of authorized exchange activities in Cuba, which will involve meaningful interaction between our travellers and people in Cuba. Trip itineraries are subject to change due to factors outside of our control but if any changes need to take place, we will substitute with something just as interesting!
This workshop is subject to the terms and conditions of Other Cuban Journeys which are specified in the Trip and Reservation Forms which are sent upon registering to the workshop. La liga a donde te lleva TERMS AND CONDITIONS se queda igual
- $5,995per person double occupancy
- Add $495 for single supplement
- Registration deadline to participate in this workshop is September 15, 2015.
- Award Professional Guide & Group Manager
- Accomodations: 8 Nights / 9 Days in Cuba
- Round Trip Air from Miami – Santiago and Camaguey -Miami
- Hotel accommodations in Cuba
- Tour leader who teaches photo technique
- Breakfast daily and other meals as listed on itinerary
- Opportunity to try privately owned Paladars and sample some of the best cuisine of Cuba
- Land transportation in Cuba by a driver with many years of service
- Services of an experienced Cuban, English speaking professional guide who has much knowledge of the Cuban community, politics, education, medical system, arts, economics, etc.
- Entrance fees to the important cultural and historic sites
- Medical insurance while in Cuba – this does not cover preexisting conditions
- US airport departure tax
- Cuban visa fee (if Cuban born, additional fees apply)
- Gratuities to wait staff at included meals and bellboys in Cuba
- NOT INCLUDED:
- Trip cancellation insurance – highly recommended. Cancellation for any reason prior to trip can cause you to lose all money paid
- Tips for guide and driver ( SUGGESTED IS $10 PER PERSON PER DAY FOR GUIDE, $5 PER PERSON PER DAY DRIVER)
- Meals not mentioned as included in the itinerary
- Domestic airfare to Miami
- Excess baggage charges
- Download important information about this trip