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cuba starHavana photo tour

 

Havana Photo Tour Cuba

 

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cuba star5 days in another world

 

The Havana Photo Tour is a dream come true for the serious photographer. From Monday to Friday we spend the week exploring Havana, from the colonial core to the surrounding neighborhoods and to places few tourists ever go. The main focus is on street photography, but there will be many opportunities for interior- and portrait photography as well. You'll see one thousand colorful houses, one thousand characteristic faces - along with water, cement, sunsets, dogs, markets, crowds and vintage cars - all in the living museum that is Havana. We see the rich and poor side of Havana, we discover the city that truly never sleeps from above and below, from coast and sunset to gritty potholed streets.

 

After this tour, you will not only have shot photos where few to no tourists have ever shot anything, you will also have covered more ground and gotten to know Havana in a way that few regular tourists ever will.

 

 

Open Havana Photo Tours 2017

 
TOUR NUMBER TOUR DATES 2017 FEE
1-17 January 9 - January 13 $1,049
2-17 February 20 - February 24 $1,049
3-17 March 27 - March 31 $1,049
4-17 April 17 - April 21 $1,049
5-17 May 8 - May 12 $1,049
6-17 June 12 - June 16 $1,049
9-17 September 4 - 8 $1,049
10-17 October 23 - 27 $1,049
11-17 November 20 - 24 $1,049
12-17 December 25 - 29 $1,249 (high season surcharge)

 

 

Please note that the maximum number of participants is 4/5 persons per Photo Tour in order to maximize the experience for the participants. Number subject to availability of vehicle.

 

If we have 6 participants for the same tour we will normally split up into two smaller groups each with their own vehicle and guide - in rare cases in one van together.

 

DETAILS  
FULL FEE

$1,049 - deposit $200-350 payable via PayPal. (deposit can vary but total price remains the same)

DISCOUNT

5% for 2 bookings on same tour in double room

INCLUDES 5 nights accommodation (Sun-Thu), breakfast every day, transportation, guide, local fees and taxes.
GROUP SIZE Minimum 3 - Maximum 5
LANGUAGE English (Spanish secondary for non-english speaking spanish speakers)
BOOKING SELECT TOUR & READ TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 

cuba starFor all levels of photographers

 

The Havana Photo Tour is not a workshop or class. And it doesn't matter to us or any other participants if you're working with an expensive DSLR camera or shooting with your compact point-and-click camera. But, of course, if you ever thought about investing in new gear or upgrading your current equipment, there was probably never a better reason than before taking this tour.

 

Cuba photo tour

 

cuba starMeet the heart and soul of Havana

 

It's about getting around, covering ground, but still spending enough time in each place to get a feel for it. It's about getting the best out of Havana and getting Havana under your skin, as much as it's about the photos. Cuba is about feeling and experiencing, not just seeing. As such, don't expect Havana to open up to you and give you those 'real Cuban moments' unless you meet the city on its own terms. But once you do, you may get to know the heart and soul of this amazing city.

 

The quality of the photos is a direct result of the feel you get for the city, and that can be done with any camera. Cameras don't take great photos - people take great photos. We're serving you the opportunity to absolutely immerse yourself in Havana.

 

We have even had spouses, boy-and girlfriends join this tour with their more photo-enthusiastic partners, just tagging along enjoying the scenery and meeting people while shooting a bit with their point-and-shoot or even with their cellphone. They all felt it was worth every cent for the tour and the experience alone.

 

cuba starCuba stays with you

 

Videographers are equally welcome. We have had many video shooters on our tours and the tour is as suitable for shooting moving action as it is for shooting stills. And you will bring back another magic angle to your Havana experience: the sounds of a vibrant city, music in the streets, horse drawn carriages down cobblestoned streets.

 

The tour is about getting to know Havana and going places you would not be going otherwise. The photos you will come home with will be a direct result of having stepped into Havana and given it a piece of your heart and soul. Most people end up leaving a chunk of their heart and soul in Cuba, that's the danger of that place, it stays with you forever and a part of you stays in Cuba forever.

 

But the photos and the memories, they leave with you, they are yours to keep forever.

 

havana photo tour

 

 

Havana Photo Tour details

 

TOPIC DETAILS
ACCOMMODATION

We stay in casas particulares (Cuban version of B&B's) in Old Havana and Centro Habana. This is a form of lodging extremely popular in Cuba. It's cheaper than a hotel, but more importantly it's a much better way to submerge one self in the authentic Cuba by staying in the house of Cubans. And in real living neighborhoods.

 

These are quality houses approved by the state to have the standards to rent to tourists. And tested and used by us for years. Rooms are private, clean and safe. They have double beds (twins by request), aircon and private bathrooms. Guests can come and go as they please and will often even be given their own key. The casa is included in the price from Sunday to Friday (option to leave luggage there until returning from the last day of the tour on Friday), extra nights can be booked through us if you wish to arrive before the tour or extend your stay after the tour.

 

Participants can upgrade to a hotel if they prefer so at an extra cost. Please ask us to quote.

FOOD

Breakfast Monday thru Friday at the casa particular is included. It will usually consist of eggs to order, bread, butter, jam and honey, various fresh fruits and fresh juice. The house owners will usually go out of their way to accommodate special requests or diets.

 

While touring, we hold a lunch break every day of about an hour. Not at very fancy places, but good enough to be on the safe side with the food. Each tour day we end before dinner time. It happens that the tour participants go out for dinner together on Friday after the tour completion.

TRANSPORTATION

We drive around in a discrete van (or car on smaller group tours). Not a big ugly tour bus. We'll be a maximum of 7 persons - guide & driver included - in that van, with a maximum of 5 participants per van. This is the most comfortable group size for the participants. All transportation is included. We usually meet somewhere central in Centro Habana or Habana Vieja in the late morning and end somewhere close to homebase as well. We book all participants within walking distance of the meeting point.

ARRIVAL IN HAVANA

As participants usually arrive from different corners of the earth and rarely at the same time, we cannot offer a combined airport pick up. But Jose Martí Airport in Havana is extremely easy to navigate and taxis are easy to find and will cost you 30-35 CUC to anywhere in Havana. If you feel more comfortable being picked up and taken to your casa by us, you can request this service when booking. It's $45 each way.

DAILY SCHEDULE

Let's face it, Havana has something to offer at night and while you might come home with gold-medal photos you're not in town to train for the Olympics. In other words, we understand that some participants may want to go out at night, so we start each day at around 11 with a program that runs until lunch at around 2. After lunch we typically continue until around 6 or 7. This varies from day to day, and according to winter/summer time, and as things in Cuba can change without warning, schedules can also be altered ad hoc. But the rule of thumb is that we don't get up with the roosters in the morning and that we end in time for participants to get home to the casa and grab a shower before heading out for dinner.

 

Also, most photographers would agree that there are two times of day especially suitable for taking photos; when the light from the sun is dim and cool after sunrise and before sunset. Since we can't stretch the daily program to 10-12 hours daily and don't want to break it up by 3-4 hours mid afternoon, we have chosen to concentrate on hitting the late afternoon blue hour every day. Nobody stops you from getting up at 6 in the morning to catch the early blue hour on your own before having breakfast and joining that days tour.

SAFETY

While we will not just be covering the tourist parts of Havana, but also areas where few to no tourists ever go, safety should not be a major concern. Violent crime against tourists in Cuba is almost unheard of and while pickpocketing and snatch and grabs are not completely unheard of, anybody taking standard precautions should be fine.

 

It goes without saying that you shouldn't leave your expensive camera lying around on tables at restaurants and bars or in an open car, and not flash expensive watches or jewelry.

GUIDE AND STYLE

The tour leader speaks fluent English and Spanish. The tour is conducted in English. Custom booked tours can be arranged in other languages for single language groups.

 

The tour leader has lots of experience working with photographers and getting them into situations and conditions to take great photos. He or she understands the needs of photographers. This is his main skill, don't expect the tour leader to be able to offer technical help on photographing. This tour is not about tutoring, it's about life, people, situations, moments - and making those things happen for the 'real' photographers on the tour.

 

Your tour leader is not your typical guide in a screaming yellow polo with a blue palm tree on the back and an equally yellow umbrella that everybody in the group must hypnotically follow at all times. Your tour leader is wearing normal clothes. Nor is he / she your typical bossy kindergarten teacher who hurdles everyone around like sheep and says things like 'You have two minutes here!'. We don't believe in this form of travel. We don't even believe in two minutes. We hope and believe all participants are adults who know the time and how to move around.

 

The tour leader is a door-opener, a story-teller, a resolver, a person trained to accommodate photographers looking for the best shot - and someone who knows the streets of Havana and the people living there. He or she is not a babysitter. So if you're one of those travelers who don't have the nerves to travel in a typical tour group, rest assured this is not how it works at the Havana Photo Tour. Participants on the tour are not treated like sheep - they are treated like photographers.

 

 

cuba starSecuring your spot

 

Our tours are very popular, but we keep our group sizes to a maximum of 5 participants in order to maximize the experience for the participants. Book soon to secure your spot on your preferred tour, especially if you are more than one person wanting to join the same photo tour.

 

If you're a minimum of 3 persons wanting to arrange a tour outside of the scheduled tours listed above, get in touch with us to arrange that at any time of your convenience. Any special requests, don't hold back, after all tailor-making is our speciality.

 

Havana photo tour

Havana photo tour

Havana photo tour

 

Complete program

 

DAY PROGRAM
MONDAY

11:00 / Meet up and introduction, Hotel Inglaterra outside terrace.

Early program - Theme: "Colonial beauty"

11:45 / Habana Vieja and back streets, on foot, barrios Belén and Jesús Maria

14:00 / Lunch break

Late program - Theme: "Colonial beast"

15:00 / Move to Centro Habana. Street walk.

16:00 / We meet up with a local photographer for a tour around his favorite streets, blocks and buildings in what many would call the pumping heart of Havana.

18:30 / End of today's program.

 

TUESDAY

11:00 / Meet up at Hotel Inglaterra outside terrace.

Early program - Theme: "Havana in the sun"

11:00 / A tour around town and up on top of some of the buildings in Havana that offer the most extraordinary views of the city from above. From the terraces of famous hotels to the roofs of run down residential buildings. We see Havana from above, from just about every imaginable angle.

14:45 / Lunch break

Late program - Theme: "Havana in the shade"

15:45 / Interior photography. We visit and enter some interesting buildings to get some interior shots in the twilight between sun and shade.

18:30 / End of today's program.

WEDNESDAY

11:00 / Meet up at Hotel Inglaterra outside terrace.

Early program - Theme: "Close but no cigar"

11:00 / A tour on wheels into some of the neighborhoods that surround the central parts of Havana, but that are way off the beaten tourist track. Cerro, 10 de Octubre, Luyanó and further out that way. Prepare for a warm bumpy and noisy day among bikes, people, vintage cars and diesel fumes.

14:30 / Lunch on the go

Late program - Theme: "Coasting"

15:00 / We do a huge stretch of Havana coast. From the colonial core and to way out west. We stop by interesting buildings, people and barrios and see how the ocean beats up Havana on a daily basis. Hopefully by the end of the day, Havana treats us with a beautiful sunset

19:00 / End of today's program.

THURSDAY

11:00 / Meet up at Hotel Inglaterra outside terrace.

Early program - Theme: "Mansions, palaces and the color of money"

11:00 / From upscale Vedado we move on to Miramar, Playa and Siboney. We see the finest architecture and most well kept mansions in all of Cuba.

14:30 / Lunch on the go

Late program - Theme: "Dirt, wood and the color of survival"

From palaces of presidents we turn the corner into some of Havanas poorest working class neighborhoods where many roads are dirt and houses erected with wood and plastic. We pass through El Romerillo and head on to Marianao. Havana is one of very few capitals of developing nations where a group of tourists with cameras can move around safely in such areas as long as they use their basic street smarts.

19:00 / End of today's program.

FRIDAY

11:00 / Meet up at Hotel Inglaterra outside terrace.

Early program - Theme: "Hemingway drive"

11:00 / A drive and walk to some famous Hemingway spots, doing a drive half an hour out of the city center to San Francisco de Paula then onto the fishing village of Cojímar for a visit to Hemingways main residence followed by a walk by the coast in Hemingways footsteps. It's not just about the writer and his tracks, it's also about seeing and passing interesting areas of Havana with some great photo ops.

14:00 / Lunch break by the sea

Late program - Theme: "Havana from across"

15:00 / Driving back to Havana along the coast with a few stops we end the tour at El Morro across the bay from Havana, the old fort guarding the harbor entrance with a great view over the city. Bring your widest lense if you have one. We end the day, and the tour, with a drink overlooking Havana.

18:00 / End of daytime program

19:30 / Sometimes the group arranges a last night dinner together. Sometimes even a night out afterwards. If the group wants to do a collective dinner, we'll be happy to extend driving services to include transportation for that.

 

 

Daily start and finish times may be slightly adjuisted during winter time

 

 

 

map havana photo tour

 

A few words from recent participants

 

 

"I was blown away by Havana. Probably the five most amazing days of my life!"

- John Hampton, London, UK

 

 

"I just got back from the photo tour. My heart is hurting and pumping too fast, I am missing Cuba, trying to get a hold of the thousands of memories. Almost about to cry when I run through the photos I took. Just overwhelmed. I will mail you guys when I snap back to reality."

- Mike Cowan, New York City, USA

 

 

"I had been to Havana two times before and taken more than 1000 photos. I had my favorite shots for sale online, but never sold a single photo. After I took this tour I am selling 4 to 6 photos monthly and I just sold three photos to the winter catalogue of one of the biggest travel agencies here."
- Anders Mild, Stockholm, Sweden

 

 

"I'm an enthusiastic amateur, so I was a bit wary of joining a photo tour, but not only did I come home with 500 great photos, I also saw Havana in a way that I think very few tourists ever get to see. I recommend this tour for pros and amateurs alike and even people with a cellphone camera! Even without a camera! I was in Cuba for three weeks and the five days on this tour were the biggest highlight of my trip."

- Michael Parker, Liverpool, United Kingdom

 

 

"Me and two friends joined the photo tour in May 2014 and it was an absolute blast. Our guide was not only a really nice guy, but also amazingly cool. He connects with Cubans as if he is Cuban, and since none of us could do anything like that, we would never have stepped through the doors that were opened for us everywhere we went if it had not been for this tour. Thanks, we really loved it."

- Brandon Kemp, Toronto, Canada

 

 

"This tour has a perfect mix of street- and architectural photography combined with interior and portrait photography. That's what I loved most about it. I wasn't borred for a second because we were always moving onto something new and exciting. And I really had no clue that Havana was so big!"

- Jane Rademacher, Los Angeles, USA

 

 

"My wife talked me into this. I am a semi-pro photographer and thought I could gain little from this. I was wrong. I spent the first four days in Havana shooting the same ten buildings all other tourists shoot and the next five days shooting some of the best photos of my life in places I would never have gone or found on my own. Thanks you guys. And thanks to my wife!"

- Ryan McFaden, Sydney, Australia

 

 

"The most exciting, uplifting, surprising and memorable five days I have ever spent on any vacation."

- Marta Londoño Hernandez, Barcelona, Spain

 

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