New Cuba Trip Added May 17-22 2015

Peggy Farren 2015-02-13

Our first trip sold out so we added another one! March 4 UPDATE: We have one opening for a lady who would like to share a room for the May 17 trip. Otherwise, both trips are full. Please email me at to be put on the waiting list and/or to be put on notification for our next Cuba trip. We are just in the planning stages but we are thinking fall 2015!!! Let me know if you are interested! Peggy Farren

Don't miss your chance to experience Cuba before it changes! Relaxed restrictions are in the works - investors are already talking about building resorts, fast food restaurants and more once the restrictions are lifted. NOW is the time to see Cuba!!!

We kept our trips very affordable. Only $2895 includes airfare (from Miami), hotel (Hotel Nacional), transportation, most meail and photography instruction and help.

We'll travel on a "People to People" visa so we'll experience the rich culture and tradition of the Cuban people. We'll stay in Havana and visit the surrounding areas, with amazing photographic opportunities at each stop. Our lead instructor, Joe Fitzpatrick, is an instructor who is technical, yet can explain things so simply. Joe will have lessons along the way, as well as time to help people individually as needed.

This will be a fun trip for photographers and non photographers alike.

For a detailed itinerary and to register, please click here: Or scroll down past the pictures for more info.

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

Cuba photography old car
Cuba photography Fort
Havana Cuba photography trip
Cuba photography trip
Cuba photography trip hotel

Detailed Itinerary Day One:

Miami Overnight & Introductory briefing.

Your unforgettable 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 to get acquainted with your fellow travelers and review your documents, camera equipment and skill level, and program itinerary. You will be informed of the departure time of the group shuttle leaving the hotel tomorrow morning.

Day two: Miami/Havana.

Today, transfer to the Miami International Airport to board your non-stop flight bound for Havana, Cuba’s capital city and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bienvenidos a Havana! You are welcomed by your private Cuban people-to-people representative 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.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the center of Old Havana, followed by a leisurely orientation walk with your guide through the vibrant cobblestone streets as you immerse yourself in the colors of Cuba which surround you.

Explore the Used Booksellers Market, a cross-cultural treasure trove for readers of every genre. Meet local independent booksellers and engage in friendly conversation with Cuban readers about popular Cuban and American literature. Photo leader Joe Fitzpatrick will guide you toward the best settings for your camera and point out potential compositional techniques you may want to try. You never know what you will see in Cuba so keep your camera ready!

Now that you’ve had a taste of what lies ahead during your visit to Cuba, it’s time to check in to your hotel.

This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Most nights, Joe will be outside sitting at a table and helping any students who would like to join him. Just come to the back of the hotel and look for him! Overlook the beautiful Havana Harbor, have a drink and learn photography!

Day Three: Old Havana

Today, you’ll have ample opportunities for cultural environmental portraiture, as well as the beautiful Cuban architecture and history that surrounds all of Havana. Joe will guide the group on the best settings, metering modes, filters and whatever other camera techniques will work best for each location.

We begin our day 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. Then continue on to the private studio of one of Cuba’s talented independent artists such as Eduardo Roca, affectionately known as “Choco”. 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.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon, visit the Vocal Leo, a group of 14 talented singers who perform under the direction of Corina Campos, general and musical director of this unique, award-winning group known internationally for its distinctive interpretation of choral music. The group is named for the Cuban guitar virtuoso, composer and orchestra conductor, Leo Brower. After watching a performance or rehearsal, discuss the professional music scene in Cuba and the USA.

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.

Afterwards, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Breakfast & lunch provided.

Day Four: Havana, Alamar & Cojimar.

This morning, drive to Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s Cuba retreat. Then, drive to the district of Alamar on the outskirts of Havana. Started as an expansive social housing project in the 1970′s, these Soviet-style pre-fabricated concrete apartment blocks are now home to hundreds of thousands of Cubans.

Amongst the buildings in Alamar are community gardens, called Organoponicos, where residents grow fruit, vegetables and herbs for their own consumption and local sale. Similar to co-op and community gardens in the United States, these Organoponicos facilitate community development and offer Alamar’s residents access to fresh produce. Enjoy a visit to one of these Organoponicos, which few visitors to Cuba have the opportunity to do.

Then, visit Cojimar, the fishing village that was the setting for Hemingway’s book, The Old Man and the Sea, and enjoy lunch at a local paladar.

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. 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.

Visit Lazaro Salsita, a wonderful art project for children in Central Havana, run by Lazaro Medina. Here, children learn not only how to create art, but also how to invent materials from just about anything. His most popular materials are typically discarded “Granma” and “Juventud Rebelde” newspapers. Lazaro has received national recognition as a “neighborhood leader” for his community-based project. Meet Lazaro, his young students and maybe try your own hand at creating a sculpture made out of old newspaper or discarded string. Afterward, return to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Our photo leader will be available for questions and photography help.

Day 5: Havana & Las Terrazas.

Depart for Las Terrazas in Artemisa Province, a “must see” in Cuba and known worldwide for its magnificent, scenic beauty.

Las Terrazas was founded shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 as a model community, where local farmers, known as campesinos, moved closer together in order to help each other overcome the hardships of sleeping in huts with thatched roofs, of living without electricity and of living without local schools or medical services.

First, stop briefly at the Clinica Las Terrazas† to learn how medical services are handled in rural Cuba. Locals visit this small, multi-purpose center for medical advice, often non-traditional and homeopathic, and referrals to larger medical centers in the city, dental care by the area’s sole dentist, and even a haircut by the town hairdresser, with whom the space is also shared.

At our next stop, we’ll visit the town’s only coffee shop, Café Maria. Café Maria is owned by the oldest member of the community, Maria. She and her family have been welcoming visitors for years to enjoy the “best coffee in the country.” Discuss coffee culture in Cuba and throughout the world and how cafes act as places for social interaction.

Las Terrazas is now part of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve, much of it reforested coffee plantation. Real reforestation began in the late 1960s by the local farmers who were concerned that their land had been degraded by former French coffee barons.

Visit the art studio of Lester Campa (when in residence).

Now you’re in for an authentic, country-style lunch prepared and served outdoors at a local farmhouse near Las Terrazas.

On the way back to Havana after lunch, we have the distinct pleasure of visiting “Fusterlandia”, the home and surrounding neighborhood of “The Picasso of the Caribbean”, Jose Fuster. Starting with a small wooden home as his canvas, Mr. Fuster has turned his dream into reality and transformed not just his own home but the entire neighborhood into a unique and colorful artistic landscape. Using the money he makes from selling his artwork, Jose adorns the community with sculptures and mosaics galore.

After some well-deserved down time at the hotel, 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.

Don’t miss the photo opportunities of the colorful costumes and fun dance routines!

Breakfast, lunch & most dinners provided.

Don't miss a thing.

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