Cuba Photography Tour October 25, 2015

Peggy Farren 2015-05-29

This trip is sold out. Stay tuned! We have two more Cuba trips coming up: February 7-14, 2016 and April 2016. Details will be here on the website soon. Or email us and we'll put you on the mailing list:

With the amazing reviews and excitement from our recent two Cuba trips, we are flying high and are ready to go again! Here's a piece of one: "Roger and I have been on many trips and tours. We agree that this was the best one ever.... The right mix of people. Enough time. It was fun. VERY informative. Satisfying visually and intellectually." ~Lana Withers

Understand Photography Havana Tour October 25-30, 2015 Only $2895 person/duo occupancy (early registration through July 26) Single supplement $299

Includes airfare from Miami, all transportation, lodging and most meals

Understand Photography and Friendly Planet have teamed up to make another unforgettable trip to the sultry island of Cuba. We completely customized this trip by touring the most interesting places to photograph, all the while experiencing the rich Cuban culture, its fabulous music and colorful people. We travel on a People to People visa, which gives us the opportunity to see Cuba, meet the Cubanos and see how they live.

The US is starting to loosen the restrictions in Cuba so don't miss your chance to experience Cuba NOW before all the developers change it. It won't take long before there is a McDonald's on every corner, just like everywhere else in the world!

The old ornate buildings in Havana, the colorful people, the music, the art and of course the OLD CARS are amazing to photograph! Cuba truly is a photographer's paradise. This trip is designed for the most beautiful photographic opportunities, while honoring the rules of the People to People visa.

We'll travel mostly by air-conditioned bus with our group of up to 24 people. It's a fun tour for photographers of every experience level, as well as for non-photographers! Peggy and Joe will be there every step of the way to help you with your camera settings, give composition tips and show you the view to get the best shots.

Our visas are obtained through Friendly Planet tour company: Operated by Friendly Planet Travel, U.S. Treasury Dept. OFAC License No. CT-2014-309385-1

Questions? Call or email Peggy Farren or Joe Fitzpatrick at or 239-263-7001.

Register on the Friendly Planet site: tricycle

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Miami Overnight/ Introductory briefing. Your journey to Cuba begins today with an overnight stay in Miami, Florida. If you are arriving at Miami International Airport, complimentary hotel shuttle service to the Crowne Plaza is available every 20 minutes from any 2nd level departure terminal, simply hail the driver as they pass. This evening at 7:30pm, participate in an introductory briefing with your Tour Manager to get acquainted with your fellow travelers and review your documents and program itinerary. We’ll discuss some of the photo opportunities we’ll come across as well as talk about etiquette on photographing the very friendly Cuban people. You will be informed of the departure time of the group shuttle leaving the hotel tomorrow morning, and have all your questions answered. Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Miami Airport.

Day 2: Miami/Havana. Today, transfer to the Miami International Airport to board your very short non-stop flight to Havana, Cuba’s capital city and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. You are welcomed by your private Cuban guide, holding a Friendly Planet sign outside the arrivals terminal at the Havana Airport. Board your air-conditioned coach, and jump right in as you head directly to your first destination in Cuba.

Our first stop will be to enjoy a leisurely lunch in the center of Old Havana at a beautiful square. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to photograph the old, but beautiful ornate buildings, musicians and people in the area. In addition, your camera will capture the old cars, horses, beautiful pillars and interesting characters in the area.Cuban lady

This evening, enjoy you dinner at the Hotel Nacional. Be sure to see the Vista al Golfo bar, also known as the Hall of Fame, which provides a panorama of the illustrious guests who have stayed at or visited the hotel from 1930 to the present day. Located overlooking Havana Bay, also known as the Malecon, your stay the Hotel Nacional will surely be drenched in Cuban history. 2 Hotel Nacional

Lunch & dinner provided.

Day 3: Old Havana. Our morning begins with a visit to a primary school (ages 5 - 12) located in Old Havana. Interact with the children in their classrooms and participate in a discussion session with some of the school’s administrators and teachers about Cuba’s education system and how it compares to that of the United States. 3 grade school
We’ll continue on to the private studio of one of Cuba’s talented independent artists. On our way, we’ll have interesting photo ops. During your visit you’ll learn different techniques of printmaking, sculpture and other art forms from innovative and internationally acclaimed Cuban artists and their teams. 4 cathedral square bigger view

What would a visit to Cuba be without cigars, Cuban coffee and Cuban rum? We’ll have a demonstration on how to smoke a Cuban cigar, along with rum and Cuban coffee. Restrictions have relaxed and we can now bring back up to $100 worth of rum and cigars. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase them here.cigar smoking Cuba

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, we’ll visit the colorful Callejon de Hamel, one of the shortest but most interesting streets in Havana. Here you will discover how the African Cuban religion of Santeria, a fusion of African belief systems like spirit worship and Christianity, is portrayed in the street art and music. Photograph the dance show put on by the Santerias.Santaria
You may even get the chance to meet with artists, including Salvador Gonzalez Escalona (when in residence), whose prolific murals that adorn the neighborhood reflect the culture and religious beliefs of this area. The art in this area is just fascinating and fun to photograph.

This evening, meet in our pre-reserved meeting room at our hotel and engage in a discussion with an English-speaking Cuban expert on the history of U.S./Cuban relations in the 20th & 21st centuries with the opportunity to ask questions in an uncensored format.

Afterward, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Join us at one of the lounges on the lawn of the hotel for a Mojito and photography advice. Hotel Nacional Lawn

Breakfast & lunch provided.

Day 4: Havana. Today you will visit El Morro or Casa Blanca overlooking the old city, known as Havana Vieja. Morro Castle is named after the three biblical Magi, is a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay in Havana, Cuba. The design was drawn up by the Italian engineer Juan Bautista Antonelli; originally under the control of Spain, the fortress was captured by the British in 1762, and was returned to the Spanish under treaty terms a year later. We’ll get some incredible photographs of this centuries old fort as well as a group photo!  El Morro

Later enjoy lunch and afterwards, we’ll guide you through another beautiful city square. We’ll visit the Fototeca de Cuba (exhibit space of great Cuban photographs). Afterwards, return to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Breakfast & lunch provided.

If you like, you can always join us for Mojitos and photography conversation outside at the hotel lounge.

Day 5: Havana. After breakfast today you will visit Colon Cemetery, founded in 1876, one of the great historical cemeteries of the world.  Colon cemetary church

We will also visit the Revolution Square, which is an important landmark in Cuba, featuring the Jose Marti Memorial monument.

With all your gear, we will walk through a busy local Street to experience the fruit markets and other street vendors. This street is a highlight for photographers and very rarely on other tourists’ radar. Men pushing bike Jim Robellard

cardenas cigar smoker
We’ll have lunch at 3 Monedas. After lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to return to the hotel or to visit the Artisans Market and museums.

This evening join your fellow travelers at the farewell dinner, served in a privately owned restaurant. Be sure to wear your dancing shoes as you enjoy live, traditional Cuban Buena Vista-style music and salsa dancing.

Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.

Day 6: Havana / Miami. This morning, you will visit Habana Compass Dance Center (time permitting). Then, bid farewell to Cuba as you transfer to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport and check-in for your charter flight back to Miami. Adios Havana!

Breakfast provided.

Old cars in Cuba

NOTE: This itinerary provides a full time schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interactions between you and individuals in Cuba. U.S. law requires that all persons who participate in this program adhere to this full time schedule, and imposes on Understand Photography and Friendly Planet the obligation to ensure such adherence. We've designed this tour to fit the People to People requirements in the most photogenic way possible.

Infrastructure in Cuba, especially in hotels, may not be sufficient to satisfy demand in certain periods. While all inclusions in your tour will be maintained, it is possible that the itinerary may be rerouted to accommodate hotel availability. Please be flexible and understand that we will always do whatever we can to assure the best possible experience for all our Cuba travelers.

† These visits are subject to availability. When not possible to visit, appropriate alternate visits will be included.

9 old pink car and palm tree

photographer ebuff
Panning at Jose Marti Memorial
malecon looking at casablanca
El Morro from el Malacon
cathedral person
cathedral fun ladey
cardenas fruit stand

Register on the Friendly Planet site:

Questions? Call or email Peggy Farren or Joe Fitzpatrick at or 239-263-7001.

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