Cuba 2017


December 6 -19, 2017

Santiago de Cuba • Baracoa • Gibara • Holguin • Bayamo •
Guantanamo • Guardalavaca • Havana

Join photographer Ron Herman on a 14-day U.S. government-approved educational program to Eastern Cuba. 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. Most people traveling to Cuba don’t see anything outside of Havana. This trip will focus on El Oriente, the eastern side of Cuba, a place where few Americans ever get a chance to travel. The special itinerary designed for this program offers photographers endless opportunities to discover and experience an unexplored Cuba. Santiago de Cuba is the birthplace of nearly all of the island’s music, and where locals move to the beat of the city’s drummers. With its Afro-Cuban origins, religion, music and dance dominate this region, and will be the emphasis of our photographic excursions. You will learn about Santeria, the Afro-Cuban religion which combines elements of Catholicism with the Yoruba religion, and will visit the El Cobre Basilica, which attracts people from all over Cuba who come seeking the Virgin’s purported healing powers. Considered the birthplace of the Cuban Revolution, eastern Cuba is steeped in history, but also rich has a natural biosphere, the world’s most colorful snails (polymitas), beautiful beaches, and let’s not forget chocolate, since this is the center of Cuba’s chocolate industry.

The trip will end in Havana for a 4-night’s stay to enjoy the artistic vibrancy of the capital city.  The relationships I have developed over the years will allow you to go beyond the traditional tourist destinations, and into the homes and studios of Cuba’s leading artists. In addition, you will have the opportunity to experience Havana through the eyes of a local as you go on a guided photo walk with a Cuban photographer, exploring Havana’s vibrant street life, visiting local markets, and experiencing Cuba’s burgeoning free enterprise scene at private restaurants (paladares). The Havana International Jazz Festival sponsored by famed Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdes, and the Havana Film Festival will both be going on during this time, offering a plentitude of interesting performances and screening events throughout the city.  In addition, you will have the special opportunity to experience the Procession de San Lázaro in El Rincón, considered to be one of Cuba’s most important pilgrimages.

This will be a small group tour (10-15 people).  The small group size is designed to get participants into unique, engaging locations and to allow for a more rewarding and fulfilling experience.  Space is limited and can only be held upon receipt of registration form and deposit.

Package Includes
  • 13 nights accommodations at the following hotels or similar:
  • 4 nights Hotel Casa Granda 4-star, Santiago de Cuba
  • 3 nights Hotel El Castillo 3-star, Baracoa
  • 2 nights Hotel Encanto Ordoño 3-star, Gibara
  • 4 nights Hotel Parque Central 5-star, Havana
  • Intra flight: Holguin-Havana
  • Related documents required for legal travel to Cuba
  • Shared room accommodations in 5-4-3-star hotels (single supplement available)
  • 2 meals per day (excluding arrival and departure days)
  • Preparatory reading and orientation materials
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure days
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in private air-conditioned motor coach
  • Services of English-speaking tour escort/manager from arrival to return
  • Local guides as required
  • Welcome cocktail and one bottle of water daily
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Admissions, honoraria and fees to all program activities
Not Included
  • Flights to and from Miami as well as related transfers
  • International flight: Miami-Holguin and Havana-Miami
  • Travel visa ($65)
  • Extra Beverages or snacks and one meal a day
  • Optional tours/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)
  • Anything not mentioned in the package includes section
Special Features
  • Learn about the Afro-Cuban religion, music, and dance that dominates this region
  • Visit the church and major pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre
  • Enjoy a son music performance, the Cuban musical style synonymous with Cuban culture
  • Visit La Fabrica de los Coches, and take a ride on a horse-drawn cart through town
  • Enjoy photo walks through remote towns and cities
  • Visit Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca del Morro (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Explore Cafetal La Isabelica Coffee Plantation (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Tour the Moncada Barracks, where Castro and his revolutionaries staged their attack against Batista.
  • Visit Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, where Fidel Castro and Jose Marti are buried
  • Take a ferry ride to Caya Granma
  • Explore Cuba’s vibrant street life, visiting local markets
  • Visit Bacardi Rum Factory
  • Enjoy sunset at a beautiful beach
  • Visit a chocolate farm
  • Ride a traditional canoe through Cuchillas de Toa Natural Biosphere (UNESCO)
  • Visit the Garden of Polymitas, and see the world’s most colorful snails
  • Visit Fabrica de Organo, the only mechanical organ factory in Latin America
  • Explore Choro de Maita, an important pre-Columbian site
  • Visit a cigar factory
  • Enjoy a dance performance by Tumba Francesca
  • Ride classic cars along the Maelcon
  • View the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo
  • Visit a community center for seniors
  • Witness Procession de San Lazaro, one of Cuba’s most important pilgrimages.
  • Enjoy a private jazz concert
  • Visit the homes and studios of the country’s leading artists
  • Experience the burgeoning free enterprise scene at private restaurants (paladares)

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