The Cuba countryside is defined by its gentle and gracious people and its stunningly beautiful landscapes. Nowhere are these two ingredients more evident than the central corridor of the island. Majestic mountains and river valleys command your attention while the simplicity of country life harkens to a bygone era.
This journey to the fascinating central provinces of Cuba, led by Eddie Soloway and Kip Brundage, explores a culturally and visually rich corner of Cuba that offers a wealth of flora, fauna, landscapes, and welcoming people. The nature reserve park at Topes de Collantes in the Escambray Mountains and colorful and historic cities of Trinidad and Matanzas are the focus of this photographic adventure.
We begin our trip in Varadero, then continue by motor coach to the Topes preserve in the Escambray. Nestled among tall pines and tree ferns, our mountain lodge is home for the next five nights. Our days are filled with expeditions down trails leading to caves, rivers, and lakes. Waterfalls flow into crystalline pools and streams that thread their way down the mountains the short distance to the city of Trinidad and the Caribbean Sea. The mountainsides are home to exotic animals as well as hearty farmers who harvest bananas that thrive at this altitude.
We venture from our mountaintop to the verdant plains surrounding Trinidad to visit coffee plantations and sugar mill ruins. The colonial city of Trinidad with its cobblestone streets and plazas surrounded by colonial buildings is a photographer’s paradise. Its lovely people invite us into their kitchens for café criollo and conversation.
As our journey draws to a close, we travel back to the northern coast and stay in Varadero for our final two nights in Cuba. This gives us the opportunity to explore the now deserted spa town of San Miguel de los Baños as well as the bustling port city of Matanzas. The Land and People of Cuba is your passport to see and experience the little-traveled part of the island that a PBS documentary called The Accidental Eden.
This 8-day, U.S. government-approved educational program offers unparalleled access to the nature preserve at Topes as well as the cultural centers of Trinidad and Matanzas and their surrounding countryside. Photographer Kip Brundage, Cuba Program Director for Santa Fe Workshops, joins this trip with Eddie to handle logistics as well as offer his knowledge of Cuba. In addition to Kip, English-speaking Cuban photographers act as our local hosts and translators. In alliance with Cuba's premier photographic organization, Fototeca de Cuba, and its director Nelson Ramírez, this unique program allows participants learn about Cuba's long and colorful history and engage directly with Cubans from all walks of life.
True to the requirements of a people-to-people General License with U.S. Treasury Department, The Land and People of Cuba focuses on educational exchanges with the Cuban people and recording their amazing lives with our cameras.