(As part of M&M Photo Tours)

December 12-21, 2016

CubaCubaPhoto by Mike Gulbraa
Photo by Mike Gulbraa


DAY 1:

Hola, bienvenido a Cuba! We will arrive in the morning.
After clearing immigration and customs we will meet our guide and driver and will visit Finca Vigia, the site where Ernest Hemingway lived while in Cuba. Welcome lunch will be served at Restaurant El Divino.
Check in at Melia Cohiba Hotel, in the neighborhood of Vedado. Welcome cocktail and meeting with our guide that will explain the program for our trip. Dinner will be served at 6:45PM at Paladar Cañonazo. We need to move quickly because the cannon blast ceremony is scheduled for 9PM. After the ceremony we will attend a presentation by Felipe Ventura about the Colonial history related to pirates and buccaneers. We will have opportunities to take some pictures and to have informal chats with those young men who run the ceremony while serving their military duties.

DAY 2: 

This morning we will walk through Old Havana in a guided tour for appreciation of the colonial buildings in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Central Park, Obispo Street, Cathedral Square, the Old and Saint Francis Abbey and a book market are among the spots we will visit. After a short walk through cobblestone streets in Old Havana, lunch will be served at “Paladar Habana 61". After lunch we will visit Callejon de Hamel guided by Elias Assef, a specialist in Afro-Cuban religion. We will visit the home of a Babalao, (Yoruba Priestess) who will receive the group and explain the religious deities and elaborate alters in her home. We will witness the entire ceremony photographically. Photo walk Cuba’s famed seawall, the Malecón, to capture a beautiful sunset while we create photo opportunities with locals in a very Cuban atmosphere.

Before return to the hotel we can stop by Nacional Hotel to enjoy the sea breeze in the patio. Return to the hotel for rest and leisure. Dinner at Paladar Rejoneo.

DAY 3:

 After breakfast at the hotel we will meet self employed taxi drivers who run their businesses in old cars such as Chevy, Chrysler, Oldsmobile, all of them built in U.S. before the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Ride those cars to visit Art Studio of Jose Fuster. He is well known for his work converting a poor fishermen village into an open art gallery. Lunch at Paladar Atelier.

Photographic session with the drivers and the cars at different strategic locations of Havana (Facing Capitolio, Next to locomotive repair station, from the car wondering around the Malecon). After lunch, complete the Old Havana tour visiting the Cuban Association of Artisans where they will show us the way they express, through their art, the modern living of the Cuban people. Bargain and buy artworks from authentic Cuban painters. In the way back to the hotel we will visit an orphanage in Miramar where about 15 children between 10 and 15 years old have a home. Return to the hotel for rest. Dinner will be served at Paladar California.

DAY 4:

Check out at 9AM. Depart to the Viñales valley accompanied by one or two members of the PhotoClub of Havana. Vinales landscape is interspersed with dramatic rocky outcrops. Check in at casas particulares (private homes). Lunch at "Balcon del Valle" (Valley Balcony). After a brief rest with our guest at homes we will meet farmers in a tobacco plantation. They will explain us how they preserve their rich tradition in agriculture to grow and prepare the leaves for the famous Cuban cigars. This tour will be guided by a biologist who specializes in the flora and fauna of the province of Pinar del Rio. We will visit private farm of Raul Reyes to learn about organic gardening in Cuba.

We will conduct a series of photo sessions with the families at different scenarios at the tobacco plantation. This night we will have the dinner at home family style.

DAY 5:

 This morning we will visit the prehistoric mural painting of the Valley. Visit the archeological museum and visit a farmer home to get to know the life in the countryside of Cuba.
We will conduct a series of photo sessions with the families at interesting surroundings.
Visit "Finca Paradiso", an experimental ecological-organic farm where the lunch will be served accompanied by local musicians.

After lunch we will go inside the countryside visiting small towns around Viñales. Dinner will be served at paladar "La Cuenca"

DAY 6:

 The breakfast will be early as we need to depart to Trinidad to explore its colonial architecture. Exotic lunch at Paladar "Palpite". We will make a stop to visit the historic Bay of Pigs, learn the role of the invasion in the history of the relations between Cuba and the USA. Continue our trip to Trinidad, one of the 7 first villages of Cuba. It was founded by Diego Velazquez in 1514. Together with the nearby Valle de los Ingenios (Sugar Mill Valley), it has been one of UNESCO ́s World Heritage sites since 1988. For this tour we have handpicked several "casas particulares" -private homes in the center of the Village- where we will be lodged. Dinner will be served at home accompanied by the Cuban friends.

DAY 7:

Early morning photo shoot to catch the beautiful sunrise of Trinidad, walk around the colonial houses and capture the local atmosphere, return to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast we will meet the Historian of the Village who will offer a lecture about the Colonial Heritage in the region. We will be able to chat with other artists who will explain their motivation to create art in this ancient village of Cuba. We will visit the gallery of Danilo Moreno to discover the sculptures and the ingenuity of their creations with disposable materials. The lunch will be served at paladar "San Jose" with a very special menu designed exclusively for In Touch.

In the afternoon we will visit the pottery of Chichi Santander to learn about the restoration process of the village, we will visit "El Valle de los Ingenios" -Sugar Mills Valley. They represent the importance of sugar to the Cuban economy over the centuries.
Return home for a brief rest and to have one of the best sunset from the balcony of one of our homes. We should find a place for photo sunset with colonial atmosphere. At night we will get together in one of our homes for a pizza time (or visit "La Botija" restaurant). After dinner we can burn calories dancing at "Casa de la Musica" in the center of the Village.

DAY 8:

 Visit Parque El Cubano and other important spots in the Valley to learn about the projects to protect the environment in the area. Lunch at the park.
Visit the gallery of Yudit Vidal and continue to the village Ancon. We will visit the reef barrier and learn about endangered species and how they protect them. Enjoy the sunset.

Return to Trinidad to catch the photogenic spirit of the afternoon in the town. Visit the local market and catch one of the best sunsets from our house.
Dinner will be served at local paladar "Guitarra Mía".

DAY 9:

Depart to Cienfuegos in the morning. Visit Castillo de Jagua to learn about the colonial history of this village. Late lunch at Paladar Villa Lagarto. Visit Palacio del Valle. Depart to Cienfuegos airport to board our return flight to Miami. Adios Cuba! See you soon!


What is included?

  • Flight from Miami to Cuba
  • First-class accommodations when hotels selected or Room in private houses where available
  • Travel health insurance while in Cuba
  • Cuban Visa ($85) - Havana Airport departure fee ($25)
  • Letter of Authorization and U.S. Department of the Treasury License Full schedule of guided people-to-people activities
  • All meals
  • Cuban bilingual guide
  • All entrance fees to scheduled activities and events
  • All in-country ground transportation
  • 24-hour emergency phone while in Cuba


What is NOT included?

  • Tips for drivers/ guides
  • Drinks
  • Personal expenses like laundry etc.
  • Other things not mentioned in the itinerary or "What is included"


Price: $6800


For more information, please contact Mike Gulbraa at [email protected]