Festivals of Cuba Photo Tour with Ron Herman

Join me on a 12-day U.S. government-approved educational program to Cuba. On this small group tour (10-15 people), you will immerse yourself in Cuban culture through activities and events that get you up close and personal to all that this country has to offer.  This island nation, with its Spanish colonial architecture and cobblestone streets filled with classic American cars, has appeared frozen in time for the past 50 years, but is now undergoing significant changes.  The relationships I have developed in Cuba over the years will allow you to go beyond the traditional tourist destinations, and into the homes and studios of Cuba’s leading artists.

We will be based in Old Havana (UNESCO World Heritage Site), where the splendors of the city are right outside your doorstep.  You will have the opportunity to experience Cuba through the eyes of a local as you go on photo walks with Cuban photographers, exploring Havana’s vibrant street life, visiting local markets, and experiencing Cuba’s burgeoning free enterprise scene at in-home restaurants called paladares. Both the Havana International Jazz Festival sponsored by famed Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdes and the Havana Film Festival will be going on during this time, offering a plentitude of interesting performances and screening events throughout the city.  We will take various excursions outside the city center to quieter places off the beaten track, including Hershey Village, the model town founded by U.S. chocolate tycoon Milton S. Hershey in 1916; Guanabacoa, which has historically been one of the centers for Afro-Cuban culture in Havana; the small town of Santa Cruz del Norte, and the fishing village and beach of Jibacoa.  You will also travel outside of Havana, visiting the colonial towns of Cienfuegos (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Trinidad (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Sancti Spiritus, and Remedios, where locals will be preparing for and celebrating Las Parrandas, a special celebration that leads up to Christmas Eve.

You will learn about Santeria, the Afro-Cuban religion which combines elements of Catholicism with the Yoruba religion, and have the unique opportunity to experience the Procession de San Lázaro in El Rincón, considered to be one of Cuba’s most important pilgrimages. During this annual event honoring both the Catholic St. Lazarus and the African-inspired Babalú-Ayé, up to 50,000 faithful descend en masse on the venerated shrine of Lazarus.  People crawl on bloodied hands and knees dragging boulders chained to their legs, to exorcise evil spirits and pay off debts for miracles granted by Lazarus, a saint known for his ministrations to lepers and the poor. Watch VideoProcession de San Lázaro

  • Round trip international airfare: Miami-Havana and Santa Clara-Miami
  • Travel visa and related documents required for legal travel to Cuba
  • Double room accommodations in either 5-star or 3-4 star (single supplement available)
  • 7 nights Havana, 3 nights Trinidad, 1 night Remedios
  • 2 meals per day (excluding arrival and departure days)
  • Preparatory reading and orientation materials
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure days
  • English speaking guide/translator
  • Private air-conditioned motor coach 
  • Luggage transfer
  • Welcome cocktail and one bottle of water daily
  • Admissions, honoraria and fees to all program activities
Not Included
  • Flights to and from Miami
  • Optional evening activities
  • Expenses of a purely personal nature
  • Room service charges
  • Gratuities to the bellboys and waiters, and your guide and driver
  • Transportation of luggage in excess of weight allowance
  • Travel/Medical Insurance (recommended)
  • Cuban departure tax (appx $28 paid in cash at Miami airport)
  • Baggage handling fee (appx $20 paid in cash at Miami airport)
  • Extra Beverages or snacks and one meal a day